New Books Network

Sam Sommers, “Situations Matter: Understanding How Context Transforms Your World” (Riverhead Books, 2011)
Human behavior is notoriously complex and difficult to predict. For decades, social psychologists have been exploring situational variables and how they impact our behavior. We might like to think that we behave consistently in various contexts, but that turns out not to be the case. In his book, Situations Matter:... Read More
Stephen E. Nadeau, “The Neural Architecture of Grammar” (MIT Press, 2012)
Although there seems to be a trend towards linguistic theories getting more cognitively or neurally plausible, there doesn’t seem to be an imminent prospect of a reconciliation between linguistics and neuroscience. Network models of various aspects of language have often been criticised as theoretically simplistic, custom-made to solve a single... Read More
Jesse J. Prinz, “The Conscious Brain: How Attention Engenders Experience” (Oxford UP, 2012)
For decades now, philosophers, linguists, psychologists and neuroscientists have been working to understand the nature of the hard-to-describe but very familiar conscious experiences we have while awake. Some have thought consciousness can’t be explained scientifically, and others have argued that it will always remain a mystery. But most consider some... Read More
Peter Gray, “Free to Learn” (Basic Books, 2013)
In his book Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life (Basic Books, 2013), Peter Gray proposes the following big idea: we shouldn’t force children to learn, rather we should allow them to play and learn by themselves.... Read More
Willem J. M. Levelt, “A History of Psycholinguistics: The Pre-Chomskyan Era” (Oxford UP, 2012)
The only disappointment with A History of Psycholinguistics: The Pre-Chomskyan Era (Oxford UP, 2012) is that, as the subtitle says, the story it tells stops at the cognitive revolution, before Pim Levelt is himself a major player in psycholinguistics. He says that telling the story of the last few decades is a task for someone... Read More
Tony Veale, “Exploding the Creativity Myth: The Computational Foundations of Linguistic Creativity” (Bloomsbury Academic, 2012)
In these days of increasing automation, the prospect of obsolescence is an alarming one for those of us who make a living by stringing words together instead of doing something demonstrably useful. From this perspective, it’s tempting to think of “computers”, “language” and “creativity” as the constituents of a literary... Read More
Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang, “Welcome to Your Child’s Brain: How the Mind Grows from Conception to College” (Bloomsbury, 2011)
Many parents are interested in learning about how their children develop, and pretty much all parents want to do a good job with their kids. So, often they turn to parenting books. Unfortunately, many books for parents do not present the developmental research accurately, probably because the authors of those books... Read More