Impulse: Why We Do What We Do Without Knowing Why We Do It by Dr David Lewis
|Impulse: Why We Do What We Do Without Knowing Why We Do It by Dr David Lewis|
|Category: Popular Science|
|Reviewer: Louise Jones|
|Summary: A fasciniating insight into how the brain works and why it is so hard to resist temptation.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 336||Date: May 2013|
|Publisher: Random House Books|
|External links: Author's website|
How many times have we asked ourselves the question:
Why did I do that?
Most of the time, the question is a response to a sudden inexplicable impulse or urge on our part. That extra helping of chocolate cake, that flirtation with the guy in the office, or that must-have item in the supermarket trolley may all be causes for regret once our rational brain kicks in. But why is it that we humans are often slaves to our base instinct?
This is a question explored by Dr David Lewis in his rather engaging new book, Impulse. Lewis examines the difference between our rational thought processes as opposed to our Zombie Brain, or impulsive actions. He shows how a whole industry has built up around the idea of exploiting our impulses and urges (ever wondered why you spend so much in the supermarket?) and how our physiology and chemical makeup play a part in how well we can control those impulses.
The book is essentially pop-science, written in a reader-friendly format. The text is interspersed with fun quizzes, optical illusions, diagrams and photographs all designed to get us thinking about how our brains react in certain situations. A section that I found particularly amusing featured two photographs; one male and one female. Researchers used eye-tracking technology to show how males and females view the opposite sex. Whilst a woman usually focuses on the facial area, the males tended to be drawn to the hips, abdomen and breasts!
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, although I didn’t always agree with the opinions of the author. The latter chapters of the book seemed to indicate that as humans, we are basically a bag of chemicals without any free will and that criminals, violent individuals and paedophiles have little choice over their actions. Personally, I could not agree with this idea, but there is no doubt that it forms an interesting basis for further debate and discussion.
Impulse is an entertaining introduction into the way that the brain works, replete with plenty of fun facts, stories and activities. The content was fascinating and Lewis has clearly done his research, as indicated by the rather large reference section at the back of the book. I am glad that I followed my impulse to read this book!
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You can read more book reviews or buy Impulse: Why We Do What We Do Without Knowing Why We Do It by Dr David Lewis at Amazon.com.
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