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Hot, Cold, or Cool: How self-image and the brain shape our world




An illustration of connections in a human brain.
An illustration of connections in a human brain.
Illustration by Holly Wilder/USC.

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As you lie still under the scanner, your head on the cool surface of the table, the researchers show you a picture of the newest piece of technology - you think it's cool, and your brain lights up hot.

That's just part of the new research from CalTech's Steven Quartz, who studied the connections between the brain, self-image, and their nexus with the world. Our identities and choices are shaped by how our perceptions of the world, and these have profound effects on our happiness. For example, in a New York Times op-ed, Quartz and his co-author Anette Asp discuss how conspicuous consumption and the advent of cool products and technology have raised our happiness, even in a world that has become increasingly economically unequal.

How do you view "cool," and what's "cool" to you?

Guest:

Steven R. Quartz, Caltech Professor of Philosophy and leader of the Brain, Mind and Society PhD Program at Caltech. Co-author of the new book "COOL: How the Brain's Quest for Cool Drives Our Economy and Shapes Our World"



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