An illuminating dive into the latest science on our brain's remarkable learning abilities and the potential of the machines we program to imitate them
The human brain is an extraordinary machine. Its ability to process information and adapt to circumstances by reprogramming itself is unparalleled and it remains the best source of inspiration for recent developments in artificial intelligence. In How We Learn, Stanislas Dehaene decodes the brain's biological mechanisms, delving into the neuronal, synaptic, and molecular processes taking place. He explains why youth is such a sensitive period, during which brain plasticity is maximal, but assures us that our abilities continue into adulthood and that we can enhance our learning and memory at any age. We can all learn to learn by taking maximal advantage of the four pillars of the brain's learning algorithm: attention, active engagement, error feedback, and consolidation.
The exciting advancements in artificial intelligence of the last twenty years reveal just as much about our remarkable abilities as they do about the potential of machines. How We Learn finds the boundary of computer science, neurobiology, and cognitive psychology to explain how learning really works and how to make the best use of the brain's learning algorithms, in our schools and universities, as well as in everyday life.
About the Author
Stanislas Dehaene is the director of the Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit in Saclay, France, and the professor of experimental cognitive psychology at the Collège de France. He is the author of Reading in the Brain.
"There are words that are so familiar they obscure rather than illuminate the thing they mean, and ‘learning’ is such a word. It seems so ordinary, everyone does it. Actually it’s more of a black box, which Dehaene cracks open to reveal the awesome secrets within . . . His explanation of the basic machinery of the brain is an excellent primer.”--The New York Times Book Review
“[An] expert overview of learning . . . Never mind our opposable thumb, upright posture, fire, tools, or language; it is education that enabled humans to conquer the world . . . Dehaene's fourth insightful exploration of neuroscience will pay dividends for attentive readers.”--Kirkus Reviews “[Dehaene] rigorously examines our remarkable capacity for learning. The baby brain is especially awesome and not a ‘blank slate’ . . . Dehaene’s portrait of the human brain is fascinating.”--Booklist
“A richly instructive [book] for educators, parents, and others interested in how to most effectively foster the pursuit of knowledge.” --Publishers Weekly
Praise for Reading in the Brain:
"Splendid...Dehaene reveals how decades of low-tech experiments and high-tech brain-imaging studies have unwrapped the mystery of reading and revealed its component parts...A pleasure to read. [Dehaene] never oversimplifies; he takes the time to tell the whole story, and he tells it in a literate way."—The Wall Street Journal
"Masterful...a delight to read and scientifically precise."—Nature
Praise for Consciousness and the Brain:
"Ambitious . . . Dehaene offers nothing less than a blueprint for brainsplaining one of the world's deepest mysteries. . . . [A] fantastic book."—The Washington Post
"Dehaene is a maestro of the unconscious."—Scientific American Mind
"Brilliant... Essential reading for those who want to experience the excitement of the search for the mind in the brain."—Nature