Finished What We Believe but Cannot Prove: Today's Leading Thinkers on Science in the Age of Certainty [8/10/2009]

This is the second John Brockman edited, collection that I've read. It was much easier to get through than The Third Culture, because most of the essays are very short. The range of topics was also much broader, including psychology and sociology as well as physics and math. Two of the entries that most interested me were those by Alex Pentland and Robert R Provine. Alex Pentland believes, "A very large part of our behavior is determined by mainly unconscious social signaling, which sets the context, risk, and reward structure within which traditional cognitive processes proceed." [pg 156] Similarly, Robert Provine believes that "we overestimate the conscious control of behavior" and "we vastly overestimate the amount of time that we are aware of our actions, whatever their cause." [pg 145] Their essays were interesting enough that I might attempt to overcome my fear of psychology research and go out and read their recent books: Provine's Laughter: A Scientific Investigation and Pentland's Honest Signals: How They Shape Our World.