Magazine article Wired

Applied Cognition

Magazine article Wired

Applied Cognition

Article excerpt

Applied Cognition


You have to know the brain to train the brain.


How the mind works and how you can make it work for you.

How we think is as important as what we think. The workings of our minds have long been mysterious, but we understand our mental processes much better today than we did 20 years ago. Unfortunately, education hasn't caught up.

In this course, we'll get smart on brains, beginning with a sequence on neuro-rhetoric. Ads, political campaigns, and spam have sharpened the art of persuasion and given it a quantitative edge. We'll read Denis Higgins' The Art of Writing Advertising and Robert Cialdini's Influence. We'll dissect late-night infomercials and Zynga's games to understand what makes them so compelling.

Next we'll turn to decisionmaking. We'll learn how emotion influences reasoning and how language influences emotion. You'll read Jonah Lehrer's How We Decide and Barry Schwartz's The Paradox of Choice. We'll study the spread of memes with Facebook's in-house sociologist, Cameron Marlow.

Finally, we'll delve into the fraught topic of brain maintenance. …

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