Can you really rewire an adult brain? In theory the answer is 'yes', but there's a problem: no one seems to know exactly how to do it. In Override, Caroline Williams goes on a mission to find out. Neuroplasticity dictates that the brain adapts physically as we learn something new. But although brain training may be all the rage, the latest studies indicate that it doesn't actually do much to make you smarter. So what does? Visiting top neuroscientists in their labs, Williams volunteers herself as a guinea pig, challenging researchers to make real changes to her imperfect brain. She seeks to improve on weaknesses such as her limited attention span and tendency to worry too much, and then branches out into more mysterious areas such as intelligence, creativity, and the perception of time. Trying everything from high-tech brain stimulation to meditation, adding bolt-on senses and retraining her stress response, Override is an intimate, fascinating journey into discovering what neuroscience can really do for us.
Caroline Williams is a science journalist. A feature editor and regular contributor to New Scientist, her written work has also appeared in The Guardian, BBC Future, and on BBC Earth, among others. She has worked as a radio producer and reporter for BBC Radio and was the regular co-host of the New Scientist podcast from 2006 to 2010. She is editor of the New Scientist Instant Expert guide How your brain works: inside the most complicated object in the universe (John Murray, 2017). She holds a BSc in Biological Sciences from Exeter University and an MSc (Distinction) in Science Communication from Imperial College London. She lives in Surrey, England.