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Science writer Sadie Dingfelder has always known that she’s a little quirky. But while she’s made some strange mistakes over the years, it’s not until she accosts a stranger in a grocery store (who she thinks is her husband) that she realizes something is amiss.
With a mixture of curiosity and dread, Dingfelder starts contacting neuroscientists and lands herself in scores of studies. In the course of her nerdy midlife crisis, she discovers that she is emphatically not neurotypical. She has prosopagnosia (faceblindness), stereoblindness, aphantasia (an inability to create mental imagery), and a condition called Severely Deficient Autobiographical Memory.
What Dingfelder learns about the brain captivates her. What she learns about the places where her brain falls short forces her to reinterpret major events from her past and grieve for losses she didn’t even know she’d had.
As Dingfelder learns to see herself more clearly, she also discovers a vast well of hidden neurodiversity in the world at large. There are so many different flavors of human consciousness, and most of us just assume that ours is the norm. Can you visualize? Do you have an inner monologue? Are you always 100% sure whether you know someone or not? Do you know your left from your right? If you can perform any of these mental feats, you may be surprised to learn that many people — including Dingfelder — can’t.
A lively blend of personal narrative and popular science, Do I Know You? is the story of one unusual mind’s attempt to understand itself — and a fascinating exploration of the remarkable breadth of human experience.
“Sadie Dingfelder was born funny, in both senses of the word.”Dave Barry, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and author of Lessons From Lucy
“Sadie Dingfelder has opened a new window into human neurological diversity, or neurodiversity. She learns about neurodiversity when she discovers she is faceblind. She can see people just fine, but she can’t recognize them. That’s been a problem all her life, and when she is presented with a medical diagnosis—prosopagnosia—she embarks on a voyage of self-discovery that leads her to discover the huge spectrum of human visual processing. The realization that some people see a flat world while others are menaced by three-dimensional objects is stunning. But it doesn’t end there. Digging deeper, she follows psychologists who are unraveling how we think about what we see and how our imaginations and memories are built. It’s a fascinating story that will make you rethink how you see the world.”John Elder Robison, author of Look Me in the Eye
“When a skilled science writer starts to wonder about her own mental landscape and not that of others, a rare and insightful story unfolds. Dingfelder gives us a front row seat to her subjective reality as understood by modern day psychological and brain sciences. This book is chock full of dazzling insights and told with warmth and humor.”Michael S. Gazzaniga, author of The Consciousness Instinct
- On Sale
- Jun 25, 2024
- Page Count
- 288 pages
- Little Brown Spark