Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A new favorite topic

Reading How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer. It was hard to get started at first, now I can't put it down.

The book basically presents the latest neuroscience research in story form. What we have found out in the last few decades about how the brain works.

Is this to gain insight into my own brain and my own recovery? Not really.

Every so often someone points out in no uncertain terms that cycling is a dangerous activity. The general idea is no one should ride a bike and expect a good outcome. It's irresponsible to recommend it to others.

Sometimes a finger wag comes along for the ride. I'm a child whose logic needs supervision. Who has colored outside the lines or left toys outside. In these cases the speaker implies that they only do (and recommend) safe activities. The superior path.

During a recent TBI presentation I was questioned on bicycling as therapeutic activity. I said the physics of car accidents is much riskier, due to greater mass and higher speeds. Relatively speaking, cycling is as safe as riding in a car. The moderator gave me a long, thoughtful look then moved to a new topic.

The facts are that my TBI came as the result of being in a car, and fully half of TBI cases are caused by car accidents. Whenever I get into a car now there's a heightened awareness that this could end badly. Why do I see that risk so clearly while others drive right on by?

Wanting to know more I plugged "risk perception" into Google. There's a new book, How Risky is it Really? Why Our Fears Don't Always Match the Facts. Here's a blog entry on the topic. It's due back next Saturday at the library but in the meantime, I'll start with How We Decide. Its neighbor on the shelf was Blunder (Why Smart People Make Bad Decisions) which also came home in my bag.

Maybe becoming an armchair neurologist is the answer. Maybe it means I'll never have to see a neurologist again...

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