Perception: How Our Bodies Shape Our Minds

Perception: How Our Bodies Shape Our Minds

by Dennis Proffitt, Drake Baer


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A groundbreaking popular psychology book that explores the deep connection between our body and our brain.

Over decades of study, University of Virginia psychologist Dennis Proffitt has shown that we are each living our own personal version of Gulliver’s Travels, where the size and shape of the things we see are scaled to the size of our bodies, and our ability to interact with them. Stairs look less steep as dieters lose weight, baseballs grow bigger the better players hit, hills look less daunting if you’re standing next to a close friend, and learning happens faster when you can talk with your hands.

Written with journalist Drake Baer, Perception marries academic rigor with mainstream accessibility. The research presented and the personalities profiled will show what it means to not only have, but be, your unique human body. The positive ramifications of viewing ourselves from this embodied perspective include greater athletic, academic, and professional achievement, more nourishing relationships, and greater personal well-being. The better we can understand what our bodies are—what they excel at, what they need, what they must avoid—the better we can live our lives.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250219114
Publisher: St. Martin's Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/28/2020
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 415,661
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

DENNIS PROFFITT has helped develop the field of embodied cognition in his near 40-year tenure at UVA. He is a highly sought speaker, and his research has been widely covered in the press. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia with his wife, Deborah Roach.

DRAKE BAER is a deputy editor at Business Insider, where he leads a team of 20+ journalists in covering the shifting nature of organizations, wealth, and demographics in the United States. He has been a senior writer at New York Magazine, contributing writer at Fast Company, and the director of content for a human resources consultancy. A speaker at the Aspen Ideas Festival and other conferences, he circumnavigated the globe before turning 25. Perception is his second book.

Table of Contents

Introduction: I Sing the Body Electric 1


1 Developing 11

2 Walking 35

3 Grasping 55


4 Thinking 77

5 Feeling 99

6 Speaking 121


7 Connecting 143

8 Identifying 165

9 Acculturating 187

Epilogue: The Path Is Made by Walking 209

Acknowledgments 217

Further Reading 221

Notes 225

Bibliography 257

Index 279

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