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God Soul Mind Brain: A Neuroscientist's Reflections on the Spirit World

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  55 ratings  ·  12 reviews
"Essential reading for the devout, the agnostic, and the atheist. In tackling the question of the religious brain, Graziano is respectful, sincere, and scientifically plausible. This might even be an Important Book."—Sam Wang, author of Welcome to Your Brain

"A beautifully crafted, tightly scripted account of how the far-flung legions of the brain's neurons give rise to soc
Paperback, 170 pages
Published August 31st 2010 by Leapfrog Press (first published 2010)
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Jan Rice
I ordered this book after reading an interview with the author in a psychology journal last summer. In the article he asserted that consciousness is essentially a bookmarking system for keeping track of what we're paying attention to. Wow! That seemed a further development in areas of current interest--cognitive psychology, free will, religion. I read several of the author's pieces in The Huffington Post (this one from Oct. 5, 2011, which contains a link to another, earlier article, and this one ...more
Lee Harmon
Aug 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Can a science book be also a feel-good book? This one is. Thank you, Graziano, for the lift.

Graziano brings to the table a professorship in social neuroscience, and builds atop the work of Dawkins and others in social memes, to explain what makes us human. He explains the workings of the brain to model the world around us, helping us interact socially and “feel” our way through life. Consciousness, the great mystery of our age, is merely “social perception applied inwardly.” It’s a process, not
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a short and easy to read introduction to Graziano's explanation of the "spirit world" in terms of brain functions. It's too short, really. The central notions - that consciousness is a process not a stuff, and that God(s), souls and minds are perceptions rather than objective realities - need fuller development to be really clear. Graziano's thesis seems to me, at least, to hover somewhere between these two: that, on the one hand, we are locked up in our own brains and perceptions are en ...more
Sep 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Above and Beyond: 'The Great Mediator'

Michael S.A. Graziano continues to amaze. Having been completely entranced by his novels of fiction, THE LOVE SONG OF MONKEY, and THE DIVINE FARCE, this reader was under the impression that his success in the literary realm was solid enough that he could well become one of the next decade's foremost novelists, so strange and compelling were these two brilliant books. But suddenly up pops this new book GOD SOUL MIND BRAIN and Graziano appears healthy on the o
Mar 03, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley, reviewed
"Brain Asplosion"

Obviously my brain didn't actually explode when I read God Soul Mind Brain by Michael Graziano. XP

Though I do believe it's a bad sign when a book aimed at "the most general, non scientific audience"(p 11) has me searching for a dictionary multiple times throughout the course of the book. The author adores ten-dollar words. I have a fairly large vocabulary myself, or I thought I did before reading this book.

For example, the author really likes the word ubiquitous. I thought I kne
Jun 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
God Soul Mind Brain: A Neuroscientist's Reflections on the Spirit World by Michael S. Graziano

"God Soul Mind Brain ..." is the even-handed and interesting book that shows how burgeoning scientific advances in social neuroscience can explain the special-purpose machinery in the brain that results in making us socially intelligent animals. The book is divided into two parts: Part 1. Mind and Part 2. Brain.

1. Short and sweet yet accomplishes so much in 170 pages.
2. Very accessible boo
Lis Carey
Jan 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: popular-science
Michael Graziano is a professor of neuroscience at Princeton. He freely identifies himself as an atheist, and suggests that he may somewhere on the autism spectrum and that this may affect his view of the world and of people.

Graziano argues that a belief in God is not imaginary, a delusion, or even a "belief" in the usual sense, but rather a perception that grows directly out of the same neural circuitry that allows us to perceive consciousness not only in other people, but in ourselves. We (tho
Mar 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Being both a Neuroscientist and a novelist, Michael S.A. Graziano delves into the subject of our perception of the world in his latest book God Soul Mind Brain: A Neuroscientist's Reflections On The Spirit World, explaining how the perceptions of the world depend on machinery in the brain.
In clear language and with helpful examples like the one of the red apple which, in fact, isn't red as color is just an invented attribute computed inside our heads, the author takes the reader on a fascinating
Crystal Porter
May 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Well it has certainly been thought provoking to say the least and it has been the inspiration behind two different "heavier" posts this week. "God, Soul, Mind, Brain" was a decent book and it was refreshing to find a mild amount of humor interlaced with something that you almost expect to be dry. Graziano introduced some interesting perceptions and followed up with example scenarios. Graziano expressed that Chapters 4 and 7 in the book were the most important conceptually. I found however that t ...more
David Melbie
Dec 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a very significant book on this subject. Neuroscience is the new frontier and Graziano delivers a very reader-friendly treatment here. He is especially clear on the difference between belief in God and the perception of God and he does a great job of explaining his position. God, as a 'perceptual construct' of the brain, is a valid hypothesis and although I am basing my review after reading an advance copy, I highly endorse this book and plan to read it in its officially published form. ...more
Jul 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
An intriguing concise discussion of the neurological basis for our sense of self, construction of the consciousness of others, and tendency to perceive consciousness and intention in many phenomena in the world around us. "Perceive" is the operative word. His explanation of the models the brain constructs for perceiving the world (using color as the sensory example, agency as the other), which are useful but not exact or necessarily accurate, was very clear. He brought in enough of the neuroscie ...more
Ted Stark
Nov 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Theories are better fleshed out in his new book Social Consciousness, which I read before this one, but he lays out the first hint of the theory here.
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