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On Task

How Our Brain Gets Things Done

David Badre



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Princeton University Pres
01 December 2020
A look at the extraordinary ways the brain turns thoughts into actions-and how this shapes our everyday lives.

Why is it hard to text and drive at the same time? How do you resist eating that extra piece of cake? Why does staring at a tax form feel mentally exhausting? Why can your child expertly fix the computer and yet still forget to put on a coat? From making a cup of coffee to buying a house to changing the world around them, humans are uniquely able to execute necessary actions. How do we do it? Or in other words, how do our brains get things done?

In On Task, cognitive neuroscientist David Badre presents the first authoritative introduction to the neuroscience of cognitive control-the remarkable ways that our brains devise sophisticated actions to achieve our goals. We barely notice this routine part of our lives. Yet, cognitive control, also known as executive function, is an astonishing phenomenon that has a profound impact on our well-being. Drawing on cutting-edge research, vivid clinical case studies, and examples from daily life, Badre sheds light on the evolution and inner workings of cognitive control. He examines issues from multitasking and willpower to habitual errors and bad decision making, as well as what happens as our brains develop in childhood and change as we age-and what happens when cognitive control breaks down. Ultimately, Badre shows that cognitive control affects just about everything we do. A revelatory look at how billions of neurons collectively translate abstract ideas into concrete plans, On Task offers an eye-opening investigation into the brain's critical role in human behavior.
By:   David Badre
Imprint:   Princeton University Pres
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 235mm,  Width: 155mm, 
ISBN:   9780691218878
ISBN 10:   0691218870
Series:   Princeton ANZ Paperbacks
Pages:   312
Publication Date:   01 December 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Reviews for On Task: How Our Brain Gets Things Done

Nobody has thought harder about how the brain gets things done than David Badre. In On Task, he moves from early studies of brain damage to modern neuroscience, from childhood to old age, and from human evolution and genetics to the demands of today's electronic world. This authoritative, sweeping, and marvelously accessible book is a great introduction to the questions, insights, and puzzles of modern scientific thinking.--John Duncan, author of How Intelligence Happens In this engaging and authoritative book, David Badre introduces a critical but unfamiliar aspect of cognitive psychology, affording readers a new perspective on human decision making and behavior.--Matthew Botvinick, Google DeepMind and University College London Getting things done is essential to success in life. On Task provides a highly entertaining and informative look into how the brain accomplishes this crucial feat.--Daniel L. Schacter, Harvard University and author of The Seven Sins of Memory Finalist for the PROSE Award in Popular Science and Mathematics, Association of American Publishers

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