Science has shown us that the brain is miraculous, with ongoing research constantly unveiling more of its mysteries. And no wonder: the brain is the most complex thing we know of in the universe, an organ of 100 billion neurons, 1,000 trillion synapses, and astonishing capabilities. Did you know that the brain can medicate itself? Or that fake medicine can actually make you feel better?
Award-winning science journalist Erik Vance explores the power of the brain to heal our bodies and color our lived experience in Suggestible You: The Curious Science of Your Brain’s Ability to Deceive, Transform, and Heal. Throughout, he sheds light on the surprising ways that our expectations and beliefs can influence our bodily responses to pain, disease, and everyday events.
Vance draws on centuries of research and interviews with leading experts in the field to explore the world of placebos, nocebos (placebo’s evil twin), hypnosis, false memories, and even brand over brain (sure, that expensive wine is delicious, but how much more so, knowing that it’s expensive?). The stories he tells reveal the curious science behind our suggestible minds. Could the key to our personal health lie within our own brains?
Join us for a fascinating journey from Harvard research labs, to a witch doctor’s office in Catemaco, Mexico, to a traditional Chinese medicine school near Beijing, to the offices of Big Pharma. Vance’s firsthand account will change the way you think about the power of your mind—and just maybe, even change the way you feel.
Erik Vance is an award-winning science writer based in California and Mexico City. Raised as a Christian Scientist, he graduated with honors from the Christian Science school, Principia College in 1999 with a degree in biology. After working on research projects dealing with dolphin intelligence and coastal ecology, he became an educator and then an environmental consultant. In 2005, he attended UC Santa Cruz’s famed science communication program and discovered a passion for journalism.
Vance has built his career around science-based profiles of inspiring, dedicated, or controversial figures in society. His work has appeared in Harper’s Magazine, The New York Times, The Utne Reader, Scientific American, and National Geographic.