This riveting narrative explores the world of placebos, hypnosis, false memories, and neurology to reveal the groundbreaking science of our suggestible minds. Could the secrets to personal health lie within our own brains? Journalist Erik Vance explores the surprising ways our expectations and beliefs influence our bodily responses to pain, disease, and everyday events. Drawing on centuries of research and interviews with leading experts in the field, Vance takes us on a fascinating adventure from Harvard’s research labs to a witch doctor’s office in Catemaco, Mexico, to an alternative medicine school near Beijing (often called “China’s Hogwarts”). Vance’s firsthand dispatches will change the way you think—and feel.
Continuing the success of National Geographic’s brain books and rounding out our pop science category, this book shows how expectations, beliefs, and self-deception can actively change our bodies and minds. Vance builds a case for our “internal pharmacy”—the very real chemical reactions our brains produce when we think we are experiencing pain or healing, actual or perceived. Supporting this idea is centuries of placebo research in a range of forms, from sugar pills to shock waves; studies of alternative medicine techniques heralded and condemned in different parts of the world (think crystals and chakras); and most recently, major advances in brain mapping technology. Thanks to this technology, we're learning how we might leverage our suggestibility (or lack thereof) for personalized medicine, and Vance brings us to the front lines of such study.
|Publisher:||National Geographic Society|
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
ERIK VANCE is a science writer based in California and Mexico City. He graduated with honors from Principia College in Illinois in 1999 with a degree in biology. After working on a number of research projects dealing with dolphin intelligence and coastal ecology, he became an environmental educator and then an environmental consultant. But it wasn’t until enrolling in UC Santa Cruz’s science communication program that he discovered his true passion for journalism. There he learned that only through compelling characters can stories touch and inspire us. As such, he has molded his career around science-based profiles of inspiring, dedicated, or controversial figures in society. His work has appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Nature, the New York Times, The Utne Reader, Discover magazine, and The Christian Science Monitor. He is currently under contract with Harper’s Magazine and National Geographic.
Table of Contents
Introduction: What Do You Expect? 9
Part 1 Inside the Placebo Effect 20
Chapter 1 Placebos, Storytelling, and the Birth of Modern Medicine 23
Chapter 2 Meet Your Inner Pharmacist 55
Chapter 3 Hunting the Mysterious Placebo Responder 87
Part 2 Your Mind's Parlor Tricks 112
Chapter 4 The Dark Side of Suggestion 115
Chapter 5 You Are Getting Sleepy 141
Chapter 6 Satan Worshippers, Aliens, and Other Memories of Things That Never Happened 169
Part 3 Suggestible Us 200
Chapter 7 Sex, Drugs, and… 203
Chapter 8 Harnessing the Power of Expectation 229
Appendix: Hypnotic Induction Script 247
About the Author 285
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is an interesting exploration into what we believe and how that helps us heal (or not). The author takes us on a tour of beliefs, and delves into the world of placebos and how they work. Fascinating study of subjects that need more press.