The Suggestible Brain

The Science and Magic of How We Make Up Our Minds

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By Amir Raz, PhD

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$39.00 CAD

Neuroscientist Amir Raz shares decades of research and case studies to show how suggestion changes the brain and shapes our behavior—and how we can protect ourselves from and harness suggestibility in our own lives.

Suggestions can make cheap wine taste like Château Margaux, warp our perception of time, and alter our memories—and in an age where disinformation has impacted our personal lives and our politics, the power of suggestion is worth even more attention.

In The Suggestible Brain, world-renowned expert on the science of suggestion Amir Raz, PhD, brings together cognitive aspects of psychology, sociology, and anthropology with issues in our contemporary culture, media, alongside a series of case studies of patients with disorders ranging from Tourette’s Syndrome to false pregnancies, lactose intolerance, and asthma to show exactly how suggestions can cut deep into our brains, shake our fundamental knowledge, and override our core human values. Some questions include: 
  • Why do placebos work even when people know they are inactive pills—and why do red pills cause stress whereas blue pills feel calm?
  • Can suggestions effectively treat depression and anxiety?  
  • How do people weaponize suggestion in the form of gaslighting and mental abuse?
  • Why are we more likely to believe fake news that already aligns with our political beliefs?
  • How can suggestions help fight racism, hatred, and bigotry? Conversely, how can suggestions backfire and create the opposite effect? 
Merging Dr. Raz’s experiences as a magician and hypnotist with decades’ worth of his own neuropsychological research, The Suggestible Brain maps the twilight zone where magic and science coalesce, and shows how easily suggestible and manipulable we all are. Readers will walk away with actionable advice on how to harness the science of suggestion to propel change, protect against manipulative misinformation, and better regulate our internal, mental universe.

“Professor Amir Raz is a consummate scientist and former professional magician. His scientific research and writing have made substantial contributions to our understanding of hypnosis, placebo effects, and suggestion. His book will amaze and entertain you, while at the same time being firmly rooted in the scientific data. It is a magical book.”–Irving Kirsch, PhD, author of The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth

"[This book] could have been titled This is Your Brain on Magic. Told from the twin perspectives of a world-renowned cognitive neuroscientist who happens to be a professional magician, you’ll never again think about what you see, hear, and experience the same way.”—Daniel Levitan, author of This is Your Brain on Music


On Sale
Oct 1, 2024
Page Count
272 pages
Hachette Go

Amir Raz, PhD

About the Author

Dr. Amir Raz is a world-renowned expert on the science of suggestion with recent positions as Canada Research Chair, Professor of Psychiatry, Neurology and Neurosurgery, and Psychology at McGill University, and as Founding Director of The Institute for Interdisciplinary Brain and Behavioral Sciences at Chapman University. Formerly at Columbia University and Cornell Medical Center, his work has been covered widely in the media (e.g., New York Times, Scientific American Mind), and he has written over 200 peer-reviewed articles (Nature, PNAS, Neuroimage, etc.) and won a Young Investigator Award and Early Career Award from the American Psychological Association.  He is a speaker in high demand (e.g., his TEDx talk, “When can deception be good for you?”) and has been featured in documentaries (e.g., with the BBC, National Geographic, and the CBC).

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