Making Things Up, by Helen Thomson.

“Our reality is merely a controlled hallucination reined in by our senses.”

If this is so, what happens if we loosen the reins?

You may have seen the basketball/gorilla video which shows us that we can only concentrate on a small portion of our visual field at once, and that our brains fill in the gaps. This article explains that in fact, most of our perception consists of our brains filling in the gaps.

The article proposes that most of our perception is in fact a form of externally guided hallucination. It also contains instructions for how to experience hallucinations at home – safely and legally!

“Far from being flights of fancy, hallucinations reveal the true nature of our reality.”

New Scientist no.3098, 5th November 2016, p.28-32.

Right Hand, Left Hand, by Chris McManus

512yxI6NxbLThe left hemisphere of the brain is “logical”, and the right is “emotional”, yes? Left handed people are more creative? Right handed people more logical? These are the kind of pseudo-scientific factoids that give psychology a bad name with other scientists. Like many lazy oversimplifications, there is a grain of truth at the core of them. Proper psychological science is about using observation and experiment to get to the bottom of the matter, and this book reviews what we actually know about lateralisation of function in the human brain.

It is really readable. It ranges from psychology to anthropology, molecular biology to astronomy, and cultural studies to anecdote. It has won loads of prizes, is great fun to read, and frankly is absolutely fascinating.

If you’re just interested in the psychology then perhaps start with chapter 8, but in fact I would just start at the beginning because you’re probably going to end up reading the whole thing anyway!