The Curious Science of Our Minds


Ever wondered how people cope with 24-hour darkness or if smartphones make children stupid? Have you heard about the US plan to supercharge minds? Originally written for the Wellcome charity, these 16 stories explore the mysteries of the human brain. Learn about everything from the science of pain to VR surgery to the therapeutic quality of LSD.
Date Published :
May 2018
Publisher :
Canbury Press
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Paperback
ISBN : 9781912454006
Pages : 272
Dimensions : 7.8 X 5.1 inches
Stock Status : In stock


16 revealing stories about the human brain

Ever wondered how Scandinavians cope with 24-hour darkness, why we feel pain - or whether smartphones really make children stupid?

Have you heard about the US army's research into supercharging minds?

You need some Brainology. Written for Wellcome, the health charity, these stories follow doctors as they solve the puzzle of our emotions, nerves and behaviour.

Discover fascinating and intriguing stories from the world of science.



• Ouch! The science of pain - John Walsh

• Why doctors are reclaiming LSD and ecstasy - Sam Wong

• Inside the mind of an interpreter - Geoff Watts

• How should we deal with dark winters? - Linda Geddes

• Smartphones won’t* make your kids dumb (*Probably) - Olivia Solon

• You can train your mind into ‘receiving’ medicine - Jo Marchant

• Charting the phenomenon of deep grief - Andrea Volpe

• The mirror cure for phantom limb pain - Srinath Perur

• Can you think yourself into a different person? - Will Storr

• How to survive a troubled childhood - Lucy Maddox

• What tail-chasing dogs reveal about humans - Shayla Love

• A central nervous solution to arthritis - Gaia Vince

• Could virtual reality headsets relieve pain? - Jo Marchant

• What it means to be homesick in the 21st Century - John Osborne

• Lighting up brain tumours with Project Violet - Alex O'Brien

• The US military plan to supercharge brains - Emma Young


A companion to Bodyology, Brainology consists of articles originally published on the Mosaic Science website and funded by medical charity Wellcome. These are well-written, professional articles: if you hit on a topic that interest you, it's very easy to be sucked in.

Because I'm not a great fan of medical journalism, I was less interested by topics such as 'the nerve cure for arthritis' and 'you can train your body to receive medicine.' However, some of the other articles really rewarded my read: for example, 'How should we deal with dark winters' and (despite the 'doctor' word) 'How doctors are reclaiming LSD', which was genuinely interesting on the history of attempts to use LSD and MDMA for medical purposes (though perhaps a little light on the deaths allegedly caused by the latter). 

For me, though, the standout article was 'What tail-chasing dogs reveal about humans', which uses studies of the compulsive behaviour of dogs to try to get insights into OCD. If I'm honest, I wasn't very interested in the human side, but the idea that dogs could have such behaviour - one dog, for example, apparently had to put seven pieces of food into recesses in a couch before eating - was fascinating.

In reviewing Bodyology, I complained about the over-heavy use of 'true life stories'. This is also the case with Brainology, though more of them here are first person, which tend to have less of the over-dramatised wording. Perhaps because of limiting the book to a single organ - even one as interesting as the brain - though, I found there were fewer stories that really grabbed me. However, the ones that did were superb.

As with Bodyology, it's a great collection to dip into for a single item as a quick read - though it's very tempting then to read just one more. And another. Makes a potentially heavy topic approachable and fascinating.

- Brian Clegg, Brainology - Mosaic Science

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