Your Cro-Magnon brain

    When you do stupid things like choose immediate gratification over long term benefit, or fall for dumb advertising ploys, it may be because your brain doesn’t belong in this millennium.

    My guest on Fresh Air today is a neuroscientist who says our brains have all kinds of weird quirks and weaknesses because they’re adapted for a prehistoric world.

    Think of it – Our brains can quickly analyze the features of a human face for instant recognition, or do the calculations necessary to catch a fly ball on the run. But we’re not naturally good at quantitative thinking. Why? Our ancestors needed to recognize a dangerous animal quickly, but didn’t need to know whether there were 12 or 13 of them.

    Dean Buonomano is the brainy man on the show today. He’s a nueroscientist from UCLA who has a book called Brain Bugs: How the Brain’s Flaws Shape our Lives.

    I also have a short interview with Brian Chen, who writes for, where he’s particularly up on everything from Apple. He has a book about how iPhones and other smart phones are affecting our lives and culture.

    It’s called Always On: How the iPhone Unlocked the Anything-Anytime-Anywhere Future.

    You can hear Fresh Air at 3 and 7 on WHYY (91FM). If you’re not listening in the Philadelphia area, find a station here. And you can always listen, download a podcast or get more information at the Fresh Air website.

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