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Dark and Magical Places

The Neuroscience of How We Navigate

Christopher Kemp



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01 March 2022
Within our heads, we carry around an infinite and endlessly unfolding map of the world. Navigation is one of the most ancient neural abilities we have - older even than language - and in Dark and Magical Places, Christopher Kemp embarks on a journey to discover the remarkable extent of what our minds can do.

From the secrets of supernavigators to the strange, dreamlike environments inhabited by people with 'place blindness', he will explore the myriad ways in which we find our way, explain the cutting-edge neuroscience that is transforming our understanding of it - and try to answer why, for a species with a highly-sophisticated internal navigation system that evolved over millions of years, do humans get lost such a lot?
Imprint:   Profile
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Edition:   Main
Dimensions:   Height: 252mm,  Width: 140mm,  Spine: 28mm
Weight:   440g
ISBN:   9781788164405
ISBN 10:   1788164407
Pages:   256
Publication Date:  
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  General/trade ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Christopher Kemp is an English scientist and science journalist. He works at Michigan State University, overseeing a research group that studies Parkinson's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. He is the author of Floating Gold: A Natural (and Unnatural) History of Ambergris and The Lost Species: Great Expeditions in the Collections of Natural History Museums

Reviews for Dark and Magical Places: The Neuroscience of How We Navigate

Chris Kemp may not be able to find his way out of a stairwell, but he has quickly and with no false turns made his way to the top of my list of favorite science writers. For all his navigational shortcomings, Kemp is an expert guide to the most complex landscape of all: the human brain. He's a natural storyteller, a deft explainer, and a terrific and funny writer. -- Mary Roach, author of FUZZ Christopher Kemp's brilliant and beguiling new book reveals that behind the curtain of the seemingly quotidian act of traversing space lies an array of intricate neuroscientific magic tricks, temporal feats of strength, hiccups, and elusive mysteries that only the human brain can contain. Like the brain itself, Kemp's wild writing quakes and sparks, uncovering the lyric lurking in the neuroscientific, the hilarious in the incantatory. -- Matthew Gavin Frank, author of FLIGHT OF THE DIAMOND SMUGGLERS Christopher Kemp's captivating exploration of the brain's hippocampus and its seemingly magical powers will alter the way you see and move through the world. As both scientist and scribe, Kemp brings his gifts of curiosity and intelligence to bear on the topic of navigation and shows us that there is no shame in being lost. On the contrary, Kemp demonstrates that to be continuously and authentically in search of our place on earth is a wondrous thing. -- M. R. O'Connor, author of WAYFINDING

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