We are social animals and talking is a defining part of what makes us human. Chatting with friends or debating the future, we move through life in a state of near-constant dialogue, bridging the gap between our inner and outer worlds.
But what purposes does conversation serve? In this revelatory tour of the science of talking, neuroscientist Shane O'Mara explores how and why we communicate, what is happening in our brains when we do it, and what it means for us as individuals, groups and societies. Our brains create our realities, but we shape them by talking.
How do our thoughts, memories, and conversations change the very fabric of our brains? What does it mean that we spend the majority of our thinking lives in a five-minute bubble around the present moment? Why does our sense of self solidify with age, even as we become more forgetful? How does our default mode of trusting what others say both influence life as we know it and empower us to effect change? What does it mean to say we imagine futures together? And how do our very nations begin as conversations?
Moving from the personal to the social and ultimately towards a radical new perspective on the defining phenomenon of our times, populist nationalism, this is the story of how conversation builds the worlds around us - and how, together, we can talk our way into a better tomorrow.
'Invaluable ... fascinating' David Crystal, author of Let's Talk