Oddities, mysteries and logic within the brain

By Marianne Szegedy-Maszak, Marianne Szegedy-Maszak is a senior editor in the Washington bureau of Mother Jones and the author of “I Kiss Your Hands Many Times: Hearts, Souls, and Wars in Hungary.” NeuroLogic The Brain’s Hidden Rationale Behind Our Irrational Behavior By Eliezer J. Sternberg Pantheon.298 pp. $28.95 Somewhere, Sigmund Freud must be smiling. Not the misogynist, sex-crazed, dream-interpreting Freud of so many parodies and misunderstandings, but the 39-year-old Viennese neurologist who labored over an audacious and ultimately failed endeavor he called the Project for a Scientific Psychology. He began in 1895, hoping to combine the psychological observations and insights from his clinical practice with the neurophysiology he had studied, and thereby “furnish a psychology that shall be a natural science” so that the mysteries of consciousness would become as explicable…


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