Author with York County ties: Learned the brain inside and out in writing ‘How We Decide’

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Jonah Lehrer’s second book has been compared to Malcolm Gladwell’s bestselling “Blink.” He has York County ties. Background posts: York author’s works adapted to the big screen: ‘Legacies,’ Part Last and Cameron Mitchell, Craig Sheffer, Dixie Chick born here and ‘Weekly Reader’s’ founder Eleanor Johnson, ‘York Legacies,’ Part III.

A considerable part of Jonah Lehrer’s considerable gray matter originated in York County.
He is the son of York native Jean Hively.
The Columbia grad and Rhodes Scholar writes books that make national headlines.
His first book “Proust Was a Neuroscientist” gained notice in the New York Times Book Review, as has his brand new second work, “How We Decide.”
A Malcolm Gladwell disciple? …


Here’s an excerpt from the Times book review:

This is not exactly uncharted terrain. Early on, Lehrer introduces his main theme: “Sometimes we need to reason through our options and carefully analyze the possibilities. And sometimes we need to listen to our emotions.” Most readers at this point, I suspect, will naturally think of Malcolm Gladwell’s mega-best-seller “Blink,” which explored a similar boundary between reason and intuition. But a key difference between the two books quickly emerges: Gladwell’s book took an external vantage point on its subject, drawing largely on observations from psychology and sociology, while Lehrer’s is an inside job, zooming in on the inner workings of the brain. We learn about the nucleus accumbens, spindle cells and the prefrontal cortex. Many of the experiments he recounts involve fMRI scans of brains in the process of making decisions (which, for the record, is a little like making a decision with your head stuck in a spinning clothes dryer).

On that matter of the amount of gray matter with York County ties?
Well, Lehrer probably has that figured out.
To see Lehrer in action on video, click here.

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
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