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Join us as we celebrate the release of Dennis Proffitt and Drake Baer’s new book, Perception: How Our Bodies Shape Our Minds. Book sales and a signing will follow.
About the Book: Over decades of study, University of Virginia psychologist Dennis Proffitt has shown that we are each living our own personal version of Gulliver’s Travels, where the size and shape of the things we see are scaled to the size of our bodies, and our ability to interact with them. Stairs look less steep as dieters lose weight, baseballs grow bigger the better players hit, hills look less daunting if you’re standing next to a close friend, and learning happens faster when you can talk with your hands.
Written with journalist Drake Baer, Perception marries academic rigor with mainstream accessibility. The research presented and the personalities profiled will show what it means to not only have, but be, your unique human body. The positive ramifications of viewing ourselves from this embodied perspective include greater athletic, academic, and professional achievement, more nourishing relationships, and greater personal well-being. The better we can understand what our bodies are—what they excel at, what they need, what they must avoid—the better we can live our lives.
"This endlessly fascinating book makes the case that we can't hope to understand ourselves—or anyone else, for that matter—until we see that we aren't just brains, but brains in bodies, which shape everything we see, think, and know. Reading Perception is transformative, in a profound sense: it adds a whole new dimension to the way you feel yourself to exist in the world."
—Oliver Burkeman, author of The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking
Dennis Proffitt is the Commonwealth Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Virginia. During his 40 years at UVA, he authored approximately two hundred research publications, mostly in the areas of visual perception. Proffitt was the Founding Director of UVA’s Cognitive Science degree program, Chair of the Psychology Department, Cavalier Distinguished Teaching Professor, and New Dominion Bookshop owner Julia Kudravetz’s SOCA youth soccer coach. Over the years, students in his courses asked questions that he could not satisfactorily answer, and that forced him to broaden his perspective and to question some of the underlying assumptions of his field. This book is the result.
Drake Baer is a deputy editor at Business Insider, where he leads a team of 20+ journalists in covering the shifting nature of organizations, wealth, and demographics in the United States. He has been a senior writer at New York Magazine, contributing writer at Fast Company, and the director of content for a human resources consultancy. A speaker at the Aspen Ideas Festival and other conferences, he circumnavigated the globe before turning 25. Perception is his second book.