I like the first hand, get involved, stick my head into a large object style of science writing that characterizes Mind Wide Open. While perhaps not as personal as when Mary Roach had sex with her husband during a functional MRI in Bonk: the Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, I think Johnson deserves some credit.
Mind Wide Open has some really great insights into recent discoveries in neuroscience, explained in a clear, practical manner. Johnson describes behaviors of his own that he wants to understand better, and then describes the underlying brain chemistry that explains those behaviors. This leads him to neurofeedback practitioners, cognitive scientists, psychologists, and, yes, sticking his head in a functional MRI while mentally rewriting the text from a chapter of this book.
Hopefully, I’ll remember the following brain chemicals from the book. If not, I’ll have to read my own review.
- serotonin – modulating rejection sensitivity and social confidence
- dopamine – regulates pursuit of new experiences and surprise
- endorphins and norepinephrine – regulates pleasure seeking and reward dependence
- cortisol – stress
- oxytocin – drive to create emotional bonds