This issue of Scientific American Mind features cover story "Bored?", an engrossing article which explores lifestyle research into the ultimate cures for boredom. Another four articles explore similar neuropsychological themes, reviewing three decades of research into raising successful and intellectual children, exploring new medical uses for hallucinogenic drugs, investigating the evolution and existence of empathy throughout the animal kingdom, and outlining the gender-specific skills which lead women and men to pursue different types of jobs.
Mark Moran has a clear, conversational performance style which genuinely invites listeners into these exciting dialogues about scientific advancement and discovery.
"Bored?": Researchers have a simple cure for boredom: find focus, live in the moment, and have something to live for.
"Do Animals Feel Empathy?": A look at the evolutionary origins of empathy, and whether animals can experience it.
"The Secret to Raising Smart Kids": More than 30 years of research has revealed the key to success for your kids - in school and in life.
"Sex, Math, and Scientific Achievement": Higher verbal and memory skills that women have lead them to different careers than men (who are better at visual tasks and mental manipulation of objects).
"Psychedelic Healing": The same hallucinogenic drugs that blew minds in the 1960's may soon be treating ailments.
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©2008 Scientific American
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...then skip the first article, taking its own simple advice: "find something interesting to do." (How much funding did it take to come to THAT conclusion?!) A bit more interesting is the study on animals and empathy, though it's pretty old territory, dating back to a 1960's study with rats. (No real new ground here if you have read anything on the subject before.) The best article is probably on children who succeed: it exposes the flaws of the Mr. Rogers mentality ("you are special!") which has led an entire generation to have more of a tendency to give up when things get tough, since they are more likely to believe that skills are innate rather than acquired--and thus they miss the obvious fact that developing skills always requires motivated and repeated trying.
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