Books by Subject

Human Behavior

Critical Mass : How One Thing Leads to Another
by Philip Ball Farrar, Straus and Giroux; (June 1, 2004)
Are there any "laws of nature" that influence the ways in which humans behave and organize themselves? In the seventeenth century, tired of the civil war ravaging England, Thomas Hobbes decided that he would work out what kind of government was needed for a stable society. His approach was based not on utopian wishful thinking but rather on Galileo's mechanics to construct a theory of government from first principles. His solution is unappealing to today's society, yet Hobbes had sparked a new way of thinking about human behavior in looking for the "scientific" rules of society.

Adam Smith, Immanuel Kant, Auguste Comte, and John Stuart Mill pursued this idea from different political perspectives. Little by little, however, social and political philosophy abandoned a "scientific" approach. Today, physics is enjoying a revival in the social, political and economic sciences. Ball shows how much we can understand of human behavior when we cease to try to predict and analyze the behavior of individuals and instead look to the impact of individual decisions-whether in circumstances of cooperation or conflict-can have on our laws, institutions and customs.

Lively and compelling, Critical Mass is the first book to bring these new ideas together and to show how they fit within the broader historical context of a rational search for better ways to live.
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The Dawn of Human Culture
by Richard G. Klein, Blake Edgar

Hardcover - 256 pages (May 2002)
John Wiley & Sons; ISBN: 0471252522
Editorial Reviews
Book Description
A bold new theory about what sparked the "big bang" of human culture

Why is it that Homo sapiens suddenly developed a remarkable range of new talents in a "big bang" that produced the first signs of truly human culture? Over a stunningly short period, early humans began painting sophisticated cave paintings; invented musical instruments; created jewelry and clothing; fashioned fishing poles and tackle; and even began burying their dead in ritual style. The abrupt emergence of human culture has been one of the great enigmas of human evolution: Why did all of this culture develop so fast, and what was the trigger? Now, preeminent anthropologist Richard Klein offers a compelling answer. He reexamines the archaeological evidence -- including the latest findings -- and brings in new discoveries in the study of the human brain to show that the incredibly rapid evolution of new skills was the result of a dramatic neurological change in the human brain that allowed humans to think and behave in much more sophisticated ways. A stunning, 16-page photo gallery features full-color pictures of key archeological finds, including the oldest human graveyard, the oldest human clothing, and the most ancient cave paintings

Richard G. Klein, PhD (Palo Alto, CA), is Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University and the author of The Human Career, the definitive text on the subject of the origins of human culture. Blake Edgar (San Francisco, CA) is Associate Editor of Pacific Discovery magazine, published by the California Academy of Sciences. He has written extensively for Discover, GEO, and other magazines and he is the coauthor (with Donald Johanson) of the New York Times Notable Book From Lucy to Language.
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Children and Nature
by Peter H. Kahn (Editor), Stephen R. Kellert (Editor)

Editorial Reviews
Book Description
For much of human evolution, the natural world was one of the most important contexts of children’s maturation. Indeed, the experience of nature was, and still may be, a critical component of human physical, emotional, intellectual, and even moral development. Yet scientific knowledge of the significance of nature during the different stages of childhood is sparse. This book provides scientific investigations and thought-provoking essays on children and nature.

Children and Nature incorporates research from cognitive science, developmental psychology, ecology, education, environmental studies, evolutionary psychology, political science, primatology, psychiatry, and social psychology. The authors examine the evolutionary significance of nature during childhood; the formation of children’s conceptions, values, and sympathies toward the natural world; how contact with nature affects children’s physical and mental development; and the educational and political consequences of the weakened childhood experience of nature in modern society.

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The Anatomy of Racial Inequality (W.E.B. Du Bois Lectures
by Glenn C. Loury

Hardcover - 160 pages (February 2002)
Harvard Univ Pr; ISBN: 0674006259 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.85 x 8.42 x 5.80
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Altruistically Inclined?: The Behavioral Sciences, Evolutionary Theory, and the Origins of Reciprocity
by Alexander J. Field

Hardcover - 336 pages (November 2001)
Univ of Michigan Pr; ISBN: 0472112244 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.26 x 9.34 x 6.26

Editorial Reviews
Book Description
Altruistically Inclined? examines the implications of recent research in the natural sciences for two important social scientific approaches to individual behavior: the economic/rational choice approach and the sociological/anthropological. It considers jointly two controversial and related ideas: the operation of group selection within early human evolutionary processes and the likelihood of modularity--domain-specific adaptations in our cognitive mechanisms and behavioral predispositions.

Experimental research shows that people will often cooperate in one-shot prisoner's dilemma (PD) games and reject positive offers in ultimatum games, contradicting commonly accepted notions of rationality. Upon first appearance, predispositions to behave in this fashion could not have been favored by natural selection operating only at the level of the individual organism.

Emphasizing universal and variable features of human culture, developing research on how the brain functions, and refinements of thinking about levels of selection in evolutionary processes, Alexander J. Field argues that humans are born with the rudiments of a PD solution module--and differentially prepared to learn norms supportive of it. His emphasis on failure to harm, as opposed to the provision of affirmative assistance, as the empirically dominant form of altruistic behavior is also novel.

The point of departure and principal point of reference is economics. But Altruistically Inclined? will interest a broad range of scholars in the social and behavioral sciences, natural scientists concerned with the implications of research and debates within their fields for the conduct of work elsewhere, and educated lay readers curious about essential features of human nature.

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Altruism and Altruistic Love : Science, Philosophy, and Religion in Dialogue
by Stephan Garrard Post (Editor)

Edition: Hardcover

Product Details

Other Editions: Paperback

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The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature
by Steven Pinker

Product Details

Editorial Reviews
Book Description
Our conceptions of human nature affect everything aspect of our lives, from child-rearing to politics to morality to the arts. Yet many fear that scientific discoveries about innate patterns of thinking and feeling may be used to justify inequality, to subvert social change, and to dissolve personal responsibility.

In The Blank Slate, Steven Pinker explores the idea of human nature and its moral, emotional, and political colorings. He shows how many intellectuals have denied the existence of human nature and instead have embraced three dogmas: The Blank Slate (the mind has no innate traits), The Noble Savage (people are born good and corrupted by society), and The Ghost in the Machine (each of us has a soul that makes choices free from biology). Each dogma carries a moral burden, so their defenders have engaged in desperate tactics to discredit the scientists who are now challenging them.

Pinker provides calm in the stormy debate by disentangling the political and moral issues from the scientific ones. He shows that equality, compassion, responsibility, and purpose have nothing to fear from discoveries about an innately organized psyche. Pinker shows that the new sciences of mind, brain, genes, and evolution, far from being dangerous, are complementing observations about the human condition made by millennia of artists and philosophers. All this is done in the style that earned his previous books many prizes and worldwide acclaim: irreverent wit, lucid exposition, and startling insight on matters great and small.

About the Author
Steven Pinker is one of the world's leading authorities on language and the mind. His popular and highly praised books include Words and Rules, How the Mind Works, and The Language Instinct. The recipient of several major awards for his teaching and scientific research, Pinker is Peter de Florez professor of psychology in the department of brain and cognitive sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Human Face
by Brian Bates, John Cleese 

Hardcover - 240 pages 1st edition (July 1, 2001)
ISBN: 0789478366

Editorial Reviews
Review by William  A.  Spriggs,  July 10,  2001

This is a large picture-book suitable for libraries and coffee tables that makes an excellent introductory book for young adults or grown adults who may be curious about the science behind the face. Similar in layout and size to the Manwatching: A field Guide to Human Behavior, the 1977 book by Desmond Morris, (which was the first book ever to draw my attention to the connection between primate and human behavior), and it is written in non-academic and lucid language. With John Cleese on board one is occasionally presented with a humorous one-liner, but overall the book takes its subject very seriously, is well researched, and what surprised me, was its total commitment to the evolutionary perspective throughout the book.

There were a few minor errors throughout the book, including this passage explaining our ability to recognize faces for criminal identification, (It was opposite four police mug shot photographs of two black-skinned men showing frontal and profile views): "And so people turn out to be poor at recognizing faces they have glimpsed only once. And things get worse if we are confronted with faces of a different ethnic type, unless we are familiar with such faces through extended contact." p.63. Although the statement is correct, it also seems to take the assumed perspective that the reader is white. But this one small glitch does not detract from the excellent groundwork that the book prepares one for, and the book is very evenly divided showing many photos of racial and ethnic faces. Let me share with you some highlights of the book:

In explaining expressions on the face as a form of communicating our inner feelings to others: "We might think that facial expressions are redundant now that humans have language, an infinitely superior tool for expressing ideas and concepts. But in evolutionary terms, language is a relatively new addition and has it limitations. Our face can express things that are difficult to put into words. Expression can communicate emotions faster, more subtly and more effectively than words, which is why facial expressions remain crucial for humans as social animals." p. 71.

Here is a marvelous paragraph explaining facial expressions which leads readers into a section about the human smile: "Our expressions then are rather like the colours in painting; there is a small number of primary coulours that make strong, unambiguous 'statements', and there are endless shades of coulour that can be created from them by mixing the palette. From the basic, inbuilt expressions we extrapolate to create variations that constitute a conscious, non-verbal language of facial expressions. It is in this rich interface between the basic and modified expressions that we can learn a lot about ourselves as individuals and as a species. The smile, for example, is an expression in which we can clearly see basic and consciously controlled expressions alternating, interacting, even competing." p. 90.

Of the book's six chapters; Origins; Identity; Expressions; Beauty; Vanity, and Fame, the book hits its highmark with its chapter on Vanity. In contrast to the beautiful side, we find vanity's dark side; for as we "select" beautiful people to be icons in our society, we must "reject" others to make room for the people we "vote" as the most beautiful. It's origins no doubts were to select those with the best outward signs of health, but with our new knowledge of the evolutionary perspective, we also have within our grasp the understanding of the hardships we are causing others with this rejection. We should understand that our societies could be losing vast resources and capabilities simply because no one wants to pay attention to what these "ugly" or deformed people bring to the table unless they exert extraordinary efforts.

Think I'm daft? Here's a quote from the book to let us know that this separation starts early in our lives. "In the 1970s, teachers in 400 classrooms in Missouri were given the report card of a ten-year-old student, and asked to make judgments about the child's abilities, social skills and so on. The card detailed many aspects of the child's work, including grades, evaluation of attitude, work habits and attendance. But researchers attached to the report card various photographs purporting to be the child -- an attractive or unattractive girl or boy. Although the card contained a lot of information about the child's performance, the teacher's judgments were heavily skewed by the photographs. Teachers expected the good-looking children to be more intelligent, sociable, and more popular with their peers." p. 187.

In the mix of multi-cultured faces, I counted about 30 celebrities that act as a hook to catch the browser’s attention at the book store. I was going to complain about this, but if the book catches the attention of some young person or adult about the human face then perhaps they will go beyond the "facial" exterior of the book and learn more about the inner soul and wealth of information to be learned that dwells within. I highly recommend this book as an introductory path in the evolutionary perspective through one small piece of the puzzle called the human face.

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The Triumph of Sociobiology
by John Alcock
Hardcover - 256 pages (May 2001)
Oxford Univ Pr (Trade); ISBN: 0195143833 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.96 x 9.55 x 6.35

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Human Nature After Darwin : A Philosophical Introduction
Janet Radcliffe Richards
Paperback - 416 pages (January 2001)
Routledge; ISBN: 0415212448

Other Editions: Hardcover

Editorial Reviews
Book Description
With the beginner firmly in mind, Janet Radcliffe Richards carefully introduces readers to the fundamental questions the Darwinian revolution raises for understanding human nature: the scientific basis of the Darwinian revolution and arguments about whether it is 'true'; whether human nature can be explained in Darwinian terms; the implications of Darwinism for human freedom and moral responsibility; and how the Darwinian revolution raises questions about political thinking. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.

About the Author
Janet Radcliffe Richards is a Professor of Bioethics at University College, London. 
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Brave New Brain : Conquering Mental Illness in the Era of the Genome
by Nancy C. Andreasen 

Hardcover - 352 pages (June 2001)
Oxford Univ Pr (Trade); ISBN: 0195145097 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.27 x 9.56 x 6.40

Editorial Reviews
After centuries of outsiders carping about scientific reductionism, the promised synthesis is finally on its way. Immunology, genetics, medicine, neurology, and other fields are starting to overlap more and more, and prominent neuropsychiatrist Nancy C. Andreasen explores one exciting intersection in Brave New Brain. The author's broad understanding and straightforward writing offer readers a penetrating glimpse into new and future treatments for mental illness. Focusing on four devastating maladies (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, and dementia), she shows what scientists have learned about them recently thanks to powerful imaging and biochemical tools. This knowledge, growing exponentially and integrated with data from diverse scientific research including the Human Genome Project, is used to propose mechanisms underlying diseases and potential cures--from genetic repair to bold new pharmacologic interventions.

Well-illustrated and lucidly explained, the book is an excellent lay primer on the brain and its disorders. Though Andreasen's prose isn't as elegant as some of her colleagues', it is clear and always to the point; many readers will appreciate the lack of distraction from the book's content. The hope she holds out to sufferers of mental illness, if not immediately promising, is certainly brighter than has been offered in recent years. Despite its moderately sinister title, Brave New Brain is an enlightening and even uplifting look at the convergence of several important scientific disciplines. --Rob Lightner

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Evolution and Human Behavior : Darwinian Perspectives on Human Nature
by John Cartwright

Paperback - 400 pages (July 24, 2000)
MIT Press; ISBN: 0262531704 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.87 x 9.21 x 6.20
Other Editions:

Editorial Reviews
Book Description
The past decade has seen an upsurge of interest in the application of evolutionary thinking to the study of human behavior. This introductory book provides an overview of the key theoretical principles of human sociobiology and evolutionary psychology and shows how they illuminate the ways humans think and behave. The book takes as one of its main premises the idea that we think, feel, and act in ways that once enhanced the reproductive success of our ancestors.

The book covers fundamental issues such as the origins and function of sexual reproduction, mating behavior, human mate choice, patterns of violence in families, altruistic behavior, the evolution of brain size and the origins of language, the modular mind, and the relationship between genes and culture. It also examines the larger implications of Darwinism for how we view ourselves as a species and our sense of ourselves as a moral animal. The book includes a valuable historical introduction to evolutionary theories of behavior and concludes with an examination of the social and political ramifications of evolutionary thought. It contains numerous diagrams and illustrations, comprehensive references, summaries, and suggestions for further reading.

About the Author
John Cartwright is Senior Lecturer in Biology at Chester College, UK.

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The Revolt of the Primitive: An Inquiry into the Roots of Political Correctness
by Howard S. Schwartz

Hardcover - 256 pages (June 2001)
Praeger Pub Text; ISBN: 0275965775

Editorial Reviews
Book Description
Perceptions of men as abusers, sexual predators, and deadbeat dads have become firmly entrenched in our culture. Schwartz aims to dispel some of these negative images by delving into the psychological dynamics that have caused them. Revealing the hard facts about how we view men and women in our society, this work explores why the gender war and political correctness continue to be part of our culture.

About the Author
HOWARD S. SCHWARTZ is Professor of Organizational Behavior in the School of Business Administration at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.

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Handbook of Emotion, Second Edition
by Michael Lewis (Editor), Jeannette M. Haviland-jones (Editor)

Hardcover - 710 pages 2nd edition (June 5, 2000)
Guilford Press; ISBN: 1572305290 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.78 x 10.32 x 7.43

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The Dangerous Passion : Why Jealousy Is As Necessary As Love and Sex
by David M. Buss, PhD

Hardcover - 258 pages (February 2000)
Free Press; ISBN: 0684850818 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.95 x 9.54 x 6.50

Book Description
Why do men and women cheat on each other? How do men really feel when their partners have sex with other men? What worries women more -- men who turn to other women for love or men who simply want sexual variety in their lives? Can the jealousy husbands and wives experience over real or imagined infidelities be cured? Should it be? In this surprising and engaging exploration of men's and women's darker passions, David Buss, acclaimed author of The Evolution of Desire, reveals that both men and women are actually designed for jealousy. Drawing on experiments, surveys, and interviews conducted in thirty-seven countries on six continents, as well as insights from recent discoveries in biology, anthropology, and psychology, Buss discovers that the evolutionary origins of our sexual desires still shape our passions today.

According to Buss, more men than women want to have sex with multiple partners. Furthermore, women who cheat on their husbands do so when they are most likely to conceive, but have sex with their spouses when they are least likely to conceive. These findings show that evolutionary tendencies to acquire better genes through different partners still lurk beneath modern sexual behavior. To counteract these desires to stray -- and to strengthen the bonds between partners -- jealousy evolved as an early detection system of infidelity in the ancient and mysterious ritual of mating.

Buss takes us on a fascinating journey through many cultures, from pre-historic to the present, to show the profound evolutionary effect jealousy has had on all of us. Only with a healthy balance of jealousy and trust can we be certain of a mate's commitment, devotion, and true love.
Hardcover - 288 pages (February 2000)
Free Press; ISBN: 0684850818
This item will be published in February 2000. You may order it now and we will ship it to you when it arrives.
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Evolutionary Origins of Morality : Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives
by Leonard D. Katz (Editor)

Paperback - 352 pages (March 1, 2000) Imprint Academic; ISBN: 090784507X

Book Description
To what extent is human morality the outcome of a continuous development from motives, emotions and social behaviour found in nonhuman animals? Psychologist Jerome Kagan, primatologist Hans Kummer, philosopher Peter Railton and others discuss the principal paper by primatologists Jessica Flack and Frans de Waal. Cultural anthropologist Christopher Boehm synthesizes social science and biological evidence to support his theory of how our hominid ancestors became moral by establishing purposeful social control over individual behaviour. Can an evolutionary understanding of human nature allow or predict sacrifice for others and ultimate desires for another's good? Philosopher Elliott Sober and evolutionary biologist David Sloan Wilson argue 'Yes' in their book Unto Others: The Evolution and Psychology of Unselfish Behavior (Harvard, 1998), summarized here. How can fairness to others at one's own expense evolve or survive in competition with selfish strategies? Brian Skyrms (Evolution of the Social Contract, Cambridge, 1996) argues that game theory based on adaptive dynamics must join the social scientist's use of rational choice and classical game theory to explain cooperation.
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The Math Gene: How Mathematical Thinking Evolved and Why Numbers Are Like Gossip
by Keith J. Devlin

Hardcover - 328 pages (January 15, 2000)
Basic Books; ISBN: 0465016189 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.17 x 9.68 x 6.48

Editorial Reviews
For many, the mere word "mathematics" is enough to conjure memories of incomprehension at school, and fear and loathing ever afterward. Countless otherwise well-educated people see mathematics as the skeleton in their intellectual closet--the one key subject demanding a talent that they so obviously did not possess.

Or so it seems to anyone who has felt very much on the outside of the subject. British mathematician Keith Devlin is certainly on the inside, and in The Math Gene, he has wonderful news for everyone: we can all join him there. For Devlin argues that we all possess the ability to cope with mathematics--if only we recognize what's required. While a number of recent books, notably Stanislas Dehaene's The Number Sense, have focused on numerical ability, the scope of Devlin's book is much larger. He examines the evidence that we all possess, if not literally a gene, then at least an inherent ability not just for arithmetic but for real mathematics: algebra, calculus, and the rest. Devlin even puts forward a Darwinian explanation for the origin of this ability, based on the idea that being able to handle abstract ideas and relationships confers key evolutionary advantages.

Mathematics merely involves a relatively high level of abstraction--but one we can all cope with, if we work at it. "Doing mathematics is very much like running a marathon," writes Devlin. "It does not require any special talent, and 'finishing' is largely a matter of wanting to succeed."

In its wealth of wonderful examples supporting the central argument, The Math Gene bears comparison with Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct, and its plain common sense about this most misunderstood of subjects is inspirational. Thoroughly recommended for anyone seeking to rid their intellectual closet of the skeleton of mathematical "incompetence." --Robert Matthews,

Book Description
A groundbreaking book about math and language, from the well-known NPR commentator Keith Devlin

If people are endowed with a "number instinct" similar to the "language instinct"-as recent research suggests-then why can't everyone do math? In The Math Gene, mathematician and popular writer Keith Devlin attacks both sides of this question.

Devlin offers a breathtakingly new theory of language development that describes how language evolved in two stages and how its main purpose was not communication. Devlin goes on to show that the ability to think mathematically arose out of the same symbol-manipulating ability that was so crucial to the very first emergence of true language.

Why, then, can't we do math as well as we speak? The answer, says Devlin, is that we can and do-we just don't recognize when we're using mathematical reasoning.

Book Info
Argues that mathematics is a great artistic triumph of the race, one made possible by an innate human ability. Offers a new theory of language development that describes how language evolved in two stages and how its main purpose was not communication. Suggests ways in which we can all improve our mathematical skills.

About the Author
Keith Devlin is the Dean of the School of Science at St. Mary's College, Moraga, California, and a Senior Researcher at the Center for the Study of Language and Information at Stanford University. He is the author of 22 books, one interactive CD-ROM, and over 65 technical research papers in mathematics. His voice is heard regularly on National Public Radio, on such programs as "Weekend Edition," "Talk of the Nation," "Science Friday," "Sounds Like Science," and "To the Best of Our Knowledge." His previous books include Life by the Numbers, the companion to a PBS series that aired in April and May, 1998; Goodbye Descartes: The End of Logic; and The Language of Mathematics: Making the Invisible Visible.
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Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers : An Updated Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping
by Robert M. Sapolsky
Paperback - 434 pages (June 1998)
W H Freeman & Co; ISBN: 0716732106 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.29 x 9.20 x 6.08
Editorial Reviews
Why don't zebras get ulcers--or heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases--when people do? In a fascinating look at the science of stress, biologist Robert Sapolsky presents an intriguing case, that people develop such diseases partly because our bodies aren't designed for the constant stresses of a modern-day life--like sitting in daily traffic jams or growing up in poverty. Rather, they seem more built for the kind of short-term stress faced by a zebra--like outrunning a lion.

With wit, graceful writing, and a sprinkling of Far Side cartoons, Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers makes understanding the science of stress an adventure in discovery. "This book is a primer about stress, stress-related disease, and the mechanisms of coping with stress. How is it that our bodies can adapt to some stressful emergencies, while other ones make us sick? Why are some of us especially vulnerable to stress-related diseases, and what does that have to do with our personalities?"

Sapolsky, a Stanford University neuroscientist, explores stress's role in heart disease, diabetes, growth retardation, memory loss, and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. He cites tantalizing studies of hyenas, baboons, and rodents, as well as of people of different cultures, to vividly make his points. And Sapolsky concludes with a hopeful chapter, titled "Managing Stress." Although he doesn't subscribe to the school of thought that hope cures all disease, Sapolsky highlights the studies that suggest we do have some control over stress-related ailments, based on how we perceive the stress and the kinds of social support we have.

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A General Theory of Love
by Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini, Richard Lannon

Hardcover - 288 pages (February 8, 2000)
Random House; ISBN: 0375503897 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.03 x 8.58 x 5.94
Editorial Reviews
Poor, poor science--it gets blamed for everything. While it might be true that some of our alienation and unhappiness stem from a too-rational misunderstanding of emotion, it's also true that science is its own remedy. A General Theory of Love, by San Francisco psychiatrists Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini, and Richard Lannon, is a powerfully humanistic look at the natural history of our deepest feelings, and why a simple hug is often more important than a portfolio full of stock options. Their grasp of neural science is topnotch, but the book is more about humans as social animals and how we relate to others--for once, the brain plays second fiddle to the heart.

Though some of their social analysis is less than fully thought out--surely e-mail isn't a truly unique form of communication, as they suggest--the work as a whole is strong and merits attention. Science, it turns out, does have much to say about our messy feelings and relationships. While much of it could be filed under "common sense," it's nice to know that common sense is replicable. Hard-science types will probably be exasperated with the constant shifts between data and appeals to emotional truths, but the rest of us will see in A General Theory of Love a new synthesis of research and poetry. --Rob Lightner
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The Evolution of Culture : An Interdisciplinary View
by R. I. M. Dunbar, (Editor), Chris Knight, (Editor), Camilla Power (Editor)
Paperback - 272 pages (September 1999)
Rutgers Univ Press; ISBN: 0813527317 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.61 x 9.19 x 6.20
Other Editions: Hardcover

Editorial Reviews
From the Back Cover
The Evolution of Culture seeks to explain the origins, evolution and character of human culture, from language, art, music and ritual to the use of technology and the beginnings of social, political and economic behavior. It is concerned not only with where and when human culture evolved, but also asks how and why. The book draws together original contributions by archaeologists, anthropologists, linguists and psychologists. By integrating evolutionary biology with the social sciences, it shows how contemporary evolutionary thinking can inform the study of the peculiarly human phenomenon of culture. The contributors call into question the gulf currently separating the natural from the cultural sciences. Human capacities for culture, they argue, evolved through standard processes of natural and sexual selection and can be properly analyzed as biological adaptations. The Evolution of Culture is fully referenced and indexed and contains a guide to further reading. It is accessibly written and will be sure to appeal to the growing multidisciplinary readership now asking questions about human origins.
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Design for a Life : How Behavior and Personality Develop
by P.P.G. Bateson, Paul R. Martin

Hardcover - 320 pages (March 2000)
Simon & Schuster; ISBN: 0684869322 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.95 x 9.49 x 6.36

Editorial Reviews
Book Description
How is it possible for each of 6 billion human beings to be unique? How does each of us grow up to be the person we are? How do behavior and personality develop?

In this wonderfully readable book, two distinguished scientists explain how biology and psychology join to shape the behavior of individual human beings. They counter the mistaken notion that science has discovered individual genes that determine certain personality traits; instead, they explain what role genes actually play in the formation of personality. The authors show how change is a vital component of human behavior, restoring the concept of free will to its central place in human psychology. In tracing human development from a fertilized egg to an adult, they explain the important roles that nature and nurture play.

Design for a Life is an eloquent, lucid description of behavioral development, the science that explains how personality emerges. In place of the conventional opposition of nature (genes) and nurture (environment), Bateson and Martin offer a fresh synthesis. Design for a Life brings biology and psychology together by using the metaphor of cooking to show how both the raw ingredients and the cooking process must be successfully combined to produce a meal.

Written in a clear and enjoyable style, Design for a Life helps us to understand the science behind some of today's controversies in fields as diverse as parenting, education, sexuality, social policy, and medicine. The authors brilliantly blend scientific examples and literary anecdotes to illustrate the concepts they describe. Anyone interested in behavioral development and the emergence of personality will find this book indispensable, both entertaining and profound.
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Evolution and Human Behavior : Darwinian Perspectives on Human Nature
by John Cartwright

Paperback - 400 pages (July 24, 2000)
MIT Press; ISBN: 0262531704 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.87 x 9.21 x 6.20
Other Editions:
Editorial Reviews
Book Description
The past decade has seen an upsurge of interest in the application of evolutionary thinking to the study of human behavior. This introductory book provides an overview of the key theoretical principles of human sociobiology and evolutionary psychology and shows how they illuminate the ways humans think and behave. The book takes as one of its main premises the idea that we think, feel, and act in ways that once enhanced the reproductive success of our ancestors.

The book covers fundamental issues such as the origins and function of sexual reproduction, mating behavior, human mate choice, patterns of violence in families, altruistic behavior, the evolution of brain size and the origins of language, the modular mind, and the relationship between genes and culture. It also examines the larger implications of Darwinism for how we view ourselves as a species and our sense of ourselves as a moral animal. The book includes a valuable historical introduction to evolutionary theories of behavior and concludes with an examination of the social and political ramifications of evolutionary thought. It contains numerous diagrams and illustrations, comprehensive references, summaries, and suggestions for further reading.

About the Author
John Cartwright is Senior Lecturer in Biology at Chester College, UK.

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Human Natures : Genes, Cultures, and the Human Prospect
by Paul R. Ehrlich
Hardcover - 500 pages (August 2000)
Island Press - California; ISBN: 155963779X ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.73 x 9.51 x 6.43
Editorial Reviews
It's common to blame "human nature" for some of the unpleasant facts of life--road rage, say, or murder, or war. The problem with this convenient out, argues the distinguished scientist Paul Ehrlich, is that there really is no single human nature. Humans, it's true, share a common genetic code with remarkably few large-scale differences (if all but native Africans disappeared from the planet, he notes, "humanity would still retain somewhat more than 90 percent of its genetic variability"); and evolution has endowed us with capabilities shared by no other species. But for all that, he adds, our separation into haves and have-nots, weak and strong, and other such categories is more often than not a product of cultural evolution, a process far more complex than the mere mutation and adaptation of a few genes. And, in any event, those genes "do not shout commands to us about our behavior," Ehrlich says. "At the very most, they whisper suggestions."

In this wide-ranging survey of what it is that has made and that continues to make us human, Ehrlich touches on a number of themes--among them, his recurrent observation that science has taught us little about how genes influence human behavior. (Instead, he notes wryly, "science tells us that we are creatures of accident clinging to a ball of mud hurtling aimlessly through space. This is not a notion to warm hearts or rouse multitudes.") He urges that scientists take a larger, interdisciplinary view that looks beyond mere genetics to the larger forces that shape our lives, a view for which Human Natures makes a handy, and highly accessible, primer. --Gregory McNamee
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Origins of Genius : Darwinian Perspectives on Creativity
by Dean Keith Simonton

Hardcover - 288 pages (July 1999)
Oxford Univ Pr (Trade); ISBN: 0195128796 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.12 x 9.49 x 6.40

What makes an Einstein happen? How is it that some kids grow up to be Nobel laureates while others, seemingly their equals, go on to undistinguished careers? Dean Simonton, professor of psychology at the University of California at Davis, has striven to understand this phenomenon for years and has compiled his insights and research in Origins of Genius: Darwinian Perspectives on Creativity. His evolutionary perspective sheds new light on an old topic, suggesting that the genius is able to generate a diverse range of ideas, recombine them, and choose the "fittest" with which to proceed. These faculties might have a wide range of origins, including both genetic and environmental, and Simonton tries to pinpoint them and their similarities with the etiology of mental illness. His writing style is humble and personable, yet as penetrating when discussing experimental results as it is humane when presenting examples of genius and madness at work. While defining such terms as intelligence and creativity are (and should be) daunting even to a thoughtful psychologist like Simonton, his use of the terms is precise enough to avoid mushy thinking yet wiggly enough to satisfy most critics. His deeply engaging writing coupled with the undeniable, almost urgent fascination that his subject holds makes Origins of Genius a rousing success by any standard. --Rob Lightner
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Entwined Lives : Twins and What They Tell Us About Human Behavior
by Nancy L. Segal

Hardcover - 396 pages (April 1999)
E P Dutton; ISBN: 0525944656 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.30 x 9.32 x 6.31
Book Description
Twins fascinate us, whether it's their identical looks, their uncannily similar behaviors, or their help in answering the nature versus nurture debate. As public interest in twins and multiple births steadily increases, the amount of in-depth information available on such topics has not kept up. In Entwined Lives, preeminent twins researcher Dr. Nancy Segal provides a groundbreaking study of all aspects of twin life, capturing both the scientific flavor of twin research and the unique experiences associated with development as a twin. This insightful and comprehensive book brings together an array of topics including twins separated at birth, unrelated children reared together at birth (pseudo-twins), the loss of a twin, new fertility treatments and their consequences, twins in sports, twins in the courtroom, even twins in the animal kingdom. Packed with scientific findings and anecdotes, Entwined Lives is a definitive guide for twins, their families, and anyone curious to know more about this phenomenon.

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The Mating Mind : How Sexual Choice Shaped the Evolution of Human Nature
by Geoffrey F. Miller

Hardcover - 520 pages (April 18, 2000)
Doubleday; ISBN: 0385495161
This item will be released on April 18, 2000. You may order it now and we will ship it to you when it arrives.
Book Description
Many aspects of how and why the human mind evolved remain mysterious. While Darwinian natural selection has successfully explained the evolution of much of life on earth, it has never seemed fully adequate to explain the aspects of our minds that seem most uniquely and profoundly human--art, morality, consciousness, creativity, and language. Nor has natural selection offered solutions to how the human brain evolved so quickly--in less than 2 million years--and why such a large brain remains unique to our species.

Now, in The Mating Mind, a pioneering work of evolutionary science, these aspects of human nature are at last explored and explained. Until fairly recently most biologists have ignored or rejected Darwin's claims for his other great theory of evolution--sexual selection through mate choice, which favors traits simply because they prove attractive to the opposite sex. But over the last two decades, biologists have taken up Darwin's insights into how the reproduction of the sexiest is as much a focus of evolution as the survival of the fittest.

In this brilliantly ambitious and provocative book, evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller shows the evolutionary power of sexual choice and the reasons why our ancestors became attracted not only to pretty faces and healthy bodies, but to minds that were witty, articulate, generous, and conscious. The richness and subtlety of modern psychology help to reveal how the human mind evolved, like the peacock's tail and the elk's antlers, for courtship and mating.

Drawing on new ideas from evolutionary biology, economics, and psychology, Miller illuminates his arguments with examples ranging from natural history to popular culture, from the art of New Guinea's bowerbirds to the sexual charisma of South Park's school chef. Along the way, he provides fascinating insights into the inarticulacy of teenage boys, the diversity of ancient Greek coins, the reasons why Scrooge was single, the difficulties of engaging with modern art, and the function of sumo wrestling.

Witty, powerfully argued, and continually thought-provoking, Miller's cascade of ideas bears comparison with such pivotal books as Richard Dawkins's The Selfish Gene and Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct. It is a landmark in our understanding of our own species.
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The Meme Machine
by Susan J. Blackmore

Hardcover - 272 pages (May 1999)
Oxford Univ Press; ISBN: 0198503652 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.93 x 9.59 x 6.44

In The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins proposed the concept of the "meme" as a unit of culture, spread by imitation. Now Dawkins himself says of Susan Blackmore:

Showing greater courage and intellectual chutzpah than I have ever aspired to, she deploys her memetic forces in a brave--do not think foolhardy until you have read it--assault on the deepest questions of all: What is a self? What am I? Where am I? ... Any theory deserves to be given its best shot, and that is what Susan Blackmore has given the theory of the meme.

Blackmore is a parapsychologist who rejects the paranormal, a skeptical investigator of near-death experiences, and a practitioner of Zen. Her explanation of the science of the meme (memetics) is rigorously Darwinian. Because she is a careful thinker (though by no means dull or conventional), the reader ends up with a good idea of what memetics explains well and what it doesn't, and with many ideas about how it can be tested--the very hallmark of an excellent science book. Blackmore's discussion of the "memeplexes" of religion and of the self are sure to be controversial, but she is (as Dawkins says) enormously honest and brave to make a connection between scientific ideas and how one should live one's life. --Mary Ellen Curtin

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Heroes, Rogues, and Lovers: Testosterone and Behavior
by James McBride Dabbs, Mary Godwin Dabbs
Hardcover - 284 pages (July 24, 2000)
McGraw-Hill; ISBN: 0071357394 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.09 x 9.29 x 6.34
Editorial Reviews
To understand how life works, you must understand testosterone. This male hormone--which is present in both men and women--determines who leads society and how it is led; the professions we choose, and in some cases, how well we do in them; and in some cases how long we live--after all, the high-testosterone guy tends to be a risk-taker.

Author James Dabbs, a social psychologist, has been studying testosterone for decades at Georgia State University, and many of the studies coming out of his lab have made headlines. To pick just one of dozens of examples, he and his colleagues found that high-testosterone soldiers were more likely to get in trouble with the law, use drugs and alcohol, and have 10 or more sex partners in a year. The more testosterone one has, the more wild oats one feels compelled to sow.

Of course, testosterone isn't a static thing; it rises with feelings of victory and accomplishment and crashes with feelings of defeat. Dabbs takes us through the world of testosterone--from the basic chemistry to how it affects love, work, and society--and makes it literate, erudite, and outrageously entertaining. Snippets of Shakespeare are used to make a point alongside stories of high-testosterone female prisoners. Men will find Heroes, Rogues, and Lovers a glorious explanation of their hormonal core, while women can use it to understand the men in their lives, and even themselves--after all, testosterone increases libido in geese as well as ganders. --Lou Schuler

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Mystery of Mysteries : Is Evolution a Social Construction?
by Michael Ruse

Hardcover - 320 pages (April 1999)
Harvard Univ Pr; ISBN: 067446706X ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.22 x 9.57 x 6.52
Book Description
With the recent Sokal hoax-the publication of a prominent physicist's pseudo-article in a leading journal of cultural studies-the status of science moved sharply from debate to dispute. Is science objective, a disinterested reflection of reality, as Karl Popper and his followers believed? Or is it subjective, a social construction, as Thomas Kuhn and his students maintained? Into the fray comes Mystery of Mysteries, an enlightening inquiry into the nature of science, using evolutionary theory as a case study. Michael Ruse begins with such colorful luminaries as Erasmus Darwin (grandfather of Charles) and Julian Huxley (brother of novelist Aldous and grandson of T. H. Huxley, Darwin's bulldog') and ends with the work of the English game theorist Geoffrey Parker-a microevolutionist who made his mark studying the mating strategies of dung flies-and the American paleontologist Jack Sepkoski, whose computer-generated models reconstruct mass extinctions and other macro events in life's history. Along the way Ruse considers two great popularizers of evolution, Richard Dawkins and Stephen Jay Gould, as well as two leaders in the field of evolutionary studies, Richard Lewontin and Edward O. Wilson, paying close attention to these figures' cultural commitments: Gould's transplanted Germanic idealism, Dawkins's male-dominated Oxbridge circle, Lewontin's Jewish background, and Wilson's southern childhood. Ruse explicates the role of metaphor and metavalues in evolutionary thought and draws significant conclusions about the cultural impregnation of science. Identifying strengths and weaknesses on both sides of the "science wars," he demonstrates that a resolution of the objective and subjective debate is nonetheless possible.

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Jacobson's Organ: And the Remarkable Nature of Smell
by Lyall Watson

Hardcover - 256 pages (April 2000)
W.W. Norton & Company; ISBN: 0393049086 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.99 x 8.57 x 5.82
Book Description
Nothing is more memorable than a smell. So why do we persist in dismissing the nose as a blunt instrument? Smell is our most seductive and provocative sense, invading every domain of our lives. We can identify our relatives, detect the availability of a potential mate, sniff out danger, and distinguish between good and bad food just with our noses. In this surprising and delightful book, Lyall Watson rescues our most unappreciated sense from obscurity. He brings to light new evidence concerning Jacobson's Organ: an anatomical feature discovered high in the nose in 1811 and dismissed for centuries as a vestigial ghost. Yet recent research has shown Jacobson's Organ to be an incredibly influential pheromonal mechanism that feeds the area of the brain affecting our awareness, emotional states, and sexual behavior. Following the seven classes of smell devised by the pioneering botanist Carolus Linnaeus in his Odores Medicamentorum, Watson examines the roles of smell and pheromones in humans, plants, and animals. He reveals the curious ways in which trees communicate their distress, the olfactory abilities of feral children, the bond we have with our offspring, the psychosexual effects of perfume, and the link between smell and memory formation. Jacobson's Organ unlocks the door to the strange world of this mysterious sense.
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The Dark Side of Man: Tracing the Origins of Violence
by Michael P. Ghiglieri

Hardcover - 336 pages (April 1999)
Perseus Books; ISBN: 073820076X ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.16 x 9.54 x 6.45

Michael Ghiglieri studies the roots of male violence from a unique vantage: he's a former combat soldier and longtime primate researcher, a protégé of Jane Goodall. In The Dark Side of Man: Tracing the Origins of Violence, Ghiglieri uses this background, accompanied by copious scientific and statistical evidence, to construct an explanation of male violence that is often at odds with popular preconceptions.

Central to Ghiglieri's argument is that violence is a deeply entrenched behavioral strategy--especially among males--that simply emerges when other strategies fail, a thesis he reinforces convincingly with both anecdotes and hard numbers. And while he recognizes that culture and socialization play important roles in encouraging violence, he maintains that ignoring the powerful biological and evolutionary forces at work is "the single most useless--and dangerous--approach one could take in trying to explain human violence."

With extensive sections on rape, murder, war, and genocide, Ghiglieri methodically details our grim heritage, from wilding New Yorkers to wild gorillas. Some of his conclusions are surprising but persuasive--that the goal of rape is actually copulation, not control, for instance. But Ghiglieri's assessment is ultimately a hopeful one: he believes that by understanding and admitting to the biological origins of violence, we are better prepared to deal with it. --Paul Hughes
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Why They Kill : The Discoveries of a Maverick Criminologist
By Richard Rhodes

Hardcover - 352 pages 1 Ed edition (September 1999)
Knopf; ISBN: 0375402497 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.32 x 9.59 x 6.68

In Why They Kill, Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Rhodes traces the life and career of criminologist Lonnie Athens, a man who took his own sad and squalid life and turned it on its head to make a groundbreaking career as a criminologist. Athens grew up in a violent, angry world. Rather than absorbing the sickness and violence around him, though, he studied it, and eventually developed a theory about how violent criminals are created. Rhodes's critical examination of Athens's work forces readers to consider how violent our society really is, how it became that way, and what might be done to change it. When applied to well-known criminals such as Michael Tyson and Lee Harvey Oswald, Athens's ideas become concrete and take on an urgent tone: it's easy to discuss theories and predictors in the abstract, but these stories are real, and they repeat themselves in our society at an alarming rate. Rhodes's approach to this disturbing subject stands apart from many other crime books in its intelligence, humanity, and empathy. These are not just descriptions of "scumbags" and their brutal crimes, but intensely personal stories that reveal how a culture of violence propagates itself. --Lisa Higgins
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Cheating Monkeys and Citizen Bees : The Nature of Cooperation in Animals and Humans
by Lee Alan Dugatkin

Hardcover - 256 pages (February 1999)
Free Press; ISBN: 0684843412 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.79 x 5.75 x 8.78
"Man," Aristotle observes in his treatise The Politics, "is by nature a social creature." In this lively book of popular science, Lee Dugatkin takes a close look at the inescapable fact that humans are indeed social creatures whose instinct, it seems, is to aid one another in times of need. He examines the ways in which thinkers of various stripes have considered this subject. Economists, for instance, conceive of a "rational man" who acts cooperatively when the benefits of doing so outweigh the costs; theologians depict humans as being inherently good and thus inclined to kindness; some biologists take the matter of human cooperation as being a more sophisticated expression of cooperation in animal societies (to which Dugatkin rejoins, "animals show us a stripped-down version of what behavior in a given circumstance would look like without our moral will and freedom"). In the face of such views, Dugatkin proposes no dogma of his own. Instead, he takes up one interesting question after another (Do sparrows help one another locate food out of self-interest? What prompts a soldier to fall on a grenade to save nearby comrades? Is blood thicker than water?), expertly leading his readers through contending scientific and philosophical theories while seeking the answers. --Gregory McNamee

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Body Images : Embodiment As Intercorporeality
by Gail Weiss

Paperback - 224 pages (January 1999)
Routledge; ISBN: 0415918030 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.75 x 9.01 x 6.07
Other Editions: Hardcover

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Body Image : Understanding Body Dissatisfaction in Men, Women, and Children
by Sarah Grogan

Paperback - 208 pages (February 1999)
Routledge; ISBN: 0415147859 ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.62 x 8.52 x 5.94

Table of Contents
List of illustrations Preface Acknowledgements 1. Introduction 2. Culture and body image 3. Women and body satisfaction 4. Men and body satisfaction 5. Media effects 6. Age, social class, ethnicity and sexuality 7. Conclusions and implications App. What causes overweight? Bibliography Name index Subject index

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The Biology of Violence (How Understanding the Brain, Behavior, and Environment Can Break the Vicious Circle of Aggression)
by Debra Niehoff

Hardcover - 384 pages (January 1999)
Free Press; ISBN: 0684831325 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.25 x 9.59 x 6.50
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The Undiscovered Mind : How the Human Brain Defies Replication, Medication, and Explanation
by John Horgan

Hardcover - 288 pages (September 1999)
Free Press; ISBN: 0684850753 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.21 x 9.59 x 6.46

What are the limits of self-knowledge? Acclaimed science writer John Horgan takes a penetrating look into the world of neuroscience in The Undiscovered Mind, a follow-up to his more general The End of Science. Already pessimistic about the long-term prospects for the grand endeavor of scientific progress, he finds even more reason for skepticism about the claims of those who study the brain and the mind. Will we ever cross the explanatory gap between our reductionist neuroanatomical knowledge and our everyday awareness of the qualities of our perceptions, thoughts, and feelings? Horgan's answer is no.

He's no neo-Luddite, though--his aim is not to disillusion the public, not to reduce funding, but to address the hubris of the neuroscientists, evolutionary psychologists, and artificial-intelligence researchers who all proclaim a new golden age just around the corner thanks to an imminent grand unified theory of consciousness, a theory Horgan believes unlikely and far off at best. His clear, entertaining prose is more conversational than polemic, and his verbal portraits of luminaries such as Eric Kandel and Lewis Wolpert make for engrossing, thoughtful reading. Even if you disagree with him, as many neuroscientists do, his point of view is refreshing and challenging, and hence well worth consideration. --Rob Lightner
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The Anatomy of Motive : The FBI's Legendary Mindhunter Explores the Key to Understanding and Catching Violent Criminals
by John E. Douglas, Mark Olshaker

Hardcover - 320 pages (June 1999)
Scribner; ISBN: 0684845989 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.09 x 9.52 x 6.47

What makes people kill? Specifically, what are the motivations behind serial, mass, and spree killings? Drawing from cases such as the mass murder in Dunblane, Scotland, in which a lone gunman mowed down 16 children and their teacher, the still-unsolved Tylenol poisonings, and the Unabomber, former FBI profiler John Douglas and coauthor Mark Olshaker try to explain the unthinkable. What sets The Anatomy of Motive apart from so many of the theories about these horrific acts of violence is that Douglas and Olshaker have no obvious political agenda. They don't look for easy answers and they don't provide easy solutions. They do, however, offer some insight into the twisted kind of thinking that can lead a person to believe that the solution to his problems lies in bloodshed. They also provide some danger signs that may help to identify the potentially violent criminal before he has a chance to act out his morbid fantasies. While The Anatomy of Motive is undeniably horrifying, it is also illuminating, and Douglas and Olshaker approach their topic with grace and insight. --Lisa Higgins
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Friday's Footprint: How Society Shapes the Human Mind

By Lisie Brothers, M.D.

Oxford University Press, Oct. 97
ISBN: 0195101030
One of the standard thought experiments in philosophy involves a "congenital Crusoe," a human being growing up in complete isolation, like Robinson Crusoe before he meets Friday. In Friday's Footprint, psychiatrist Leslie Brothers argues that there is no Crusoe without Friday: we are evolved to be social animals, and our minds can only be said to function in a social context. "Just as gold's value derives not from its chemical composition but from public agreement, the essence of thought is not its isolated neural basis, but its social use." Brothers provides a thorough (though somewhat jargon-laden) tour of current research on the social functions of the brain. She has a particularly interesting discussion of psychoanalysis, which she uses as an example of how thought is molded by conversation. --Mary Ellen Curtin

A psychiatrist who has received international recognition for her research on the neural basis of primate social cognition, Leslie Brothers, M.D., offers here a major argument about the social dimension of the human brain, drawing on both her own work and a wealth of information from research laboratories, neurosurgical clinics, and psychiatric wards. Brothers offers the tale of Robinson Crusoe as a metaphor for neuroscience's classic (and flawed) notion of the brain: a starkly isolated figure, working, praying, writing alone. But the famous castaway of literature, she notes, came from society and returned to society. So too with our brains: they have evolved a specialized capacity for exchanging signals with other brains - they are designed to be social. Perhaps most important, she connects neuroscience, psychiatry, and sociology as never before, showing how our daily interaction creates an organized social world - a network of brains that generates meaningful behavior and thought. Emotion, the sense of self - the entire spectrum of the mind - has no existence outside of a social context.

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The Borderlands of Science : Where Sense Meets Nonsense
by Michael Shermer
Hardcover - 320 pages (May 2001)
Oxford Univ Pr (Trade); ISBN: 0195143264 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.26 x 9.51 x 6.38

Book Description
As author of the bestselling Why People Believe Weird Things How We Believe, and Editor-in-Chief of Skeptic magazine, Michael Shermer has emerged as the nation's number one scourg of superstition and bad science. Now, in The Borderlands of Science, he takes us to the place where real science (such as the big bang theory), borderland science (superstring theory) and just plain nonsense (Big Foot) collide with one another.

Shermer argues that science is the best lens through which to view the world, but he recognizes that it's often difficult for most of us to tell where valid science leaves off and borderland science begins. To help us, Shermer looks at a range of topics that put the boundary line in high relief. For instance, he discusses the many "theories of everything" that try to reduce the complexity of the world to a single principle, and shows how most fall into the category of pseudoscience. He examines the work of Darwin and Freud, explaining why one is among the great scientists in history, while the other has become nothing more than a historical curiosity. He also shows how Carl Sagan's life exemplified the struggle we all face to find a balance between being open-minded enough to recognize radical new ideas but not so open-minded that our brains fall out. And finally, he reveals how scientists themselves can be led astray, as seen in the infamous Piltdown Hoax.

Michael Shermer's enlightening volume will be a valuable a to anyone bewildered by the many scientific theories swirling about. It will help us stay grounded in common sense as we try to evaluate everything from SETI and acupuncture to hypnosis and cloning.

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Action and Responsibility

By Michael Bradie

Bowling Green State University Press, Dec. 1980
ISBN: 0935756027

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Africans In America: America's Journey Through Slavery

by Patricia Smith & the WGBH research team


Harcourt Brace, Oct. 1998
ISBN: 0151003394
Other Editions, Paperback, Audio Cassette
This extraordinary book--the accompanying volume to the PBS series--looks at the history of slavery in the United States with an honesty that reveals both horror and heroism in the common humanity of all Americans. Uncovering the indigenous history of African slavery and the involvement of Arab and European nations, it then traces the journey of enslaved Africans across the "Middle Passage" of the Atlantic to the Caribbean and America. Charles Johnson's spellbinding fictional narratives beautifully evoke the feeling of times and places, such as the Haitian revolution or the plantation slave society. In "The Transmission," two captives in the bottom of a slave ship try to preserve their heritage. "Oboto quietly sang to his brother--in a language their captors could not understand--how their people long ago had navigated the New World ... on and on like a tapestry, Oboto unfurled their past, rituals, and laws in songs and riddles..."

Poet/journalist Patricia Smith's historical anecdotes and references to legendary African American heroes (including Olaudah Equiano, Harriet Tubman, and Frederick Douglass), juxtaposed with rare documents, letters, slave advertisements, slave-ship cargo diagrams, and paintings, provide evidence of the African American fight for freedom, from the black soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War to the Underground Railroad to the return to combat in the Civil War. When emancipation finally came, Smith writes, "the newly liberated slaves sang for themselves, for their new country, and for the thousands upon thousands of Africans ripped from the clutches of home." --Eugene Holley Jr.

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Boo! Culture, Experience, and the Startle Reflex (Series in Affective Science)

By Ronald C. Simons

Oxford University Press, Aug. 1996
ISBN: 0195096266
|Table of Contents
1. Introduction
2. Startle as a Personal Experience and as a Social Resource
3. Making People Jumpy: Tom Sawyer and Huck
Finn Create a Hyperstartler
4. Variations on a Theme: Being Startled
Makes One
5. The Startle Museum I: Exhibits of Startle Sorted by Their Expository Uses
6. The Startle Museum II: Exhibits of Startle Sorted by Properties of Startle Events
7. Attention Capture and the Startle-Matching Syndromes
8. Latah: The Paradigmatic Startle-Matching Syndrome
9. Explaining Latah: The Importance of
Descriptive Detail
10. The Startle-Matching Syndrome in Other
11. Culture, Biology, and Individual Experience
List of Topics Discussed with Latahs
List of Topics Discussed with Malaysian
non-Latah Informants
Latah Stories Reporting Form
Script of the Film Latah: A Culture-Specific Elaboration of the Startle Reflex

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Brain Maturation and Cognitive Development: Comparative and Cross-Cultural Perspectives (Foundations of Human Behavior)

By Kathleen Gibson & Anne C. Petersen (Editor)

Walter De Gruyter, Mar. 91
ISBN: 0202011879

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Grooming, Gossip, and the Evolution of Language

By Robin I. M. Dunbar

ISBN: 0674363345
Other Editions, Paperback
Why is it that among all the primates, only humans have language? According to Professor Robin Dunbar's new book, Grooming, Gossip, and the Evolution of Language, humans gossip because we don't groom each other. Dunbar builds his argument in a lively discussion that touches on such varied topics as the behavior of gelada baboons, Darwin's theory of evolution, computer-generated poetry, and the significance of brain size. He begins with the social organization of the great apes. These animals live in small groups and maintain social cohesion through almost constant grooming activities. Grooming is a way to forge alliances, establish hierarchy, offer comfort, or make apology. Once a population expands beyond a certain number, however, it becomes impossible for each member to maintain constant physical contact with every other member of the group. Considering the large groups in which human beings have found it necessary to live, Dunbar posits that we developed language as a substitute for physical intimacy.

Whether or not you accept Dunbar's premise, his book is worth reading, if only for its animated prose and wealth of scientific information. An obvious choice for science buffs, Grooming, Gossip, and the Evolution of Language is a wonderful book for anyone with an inquiring mind and an interest in what makes the world go round

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Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust

By Daniel Goldhagen

Vintage Books, Feb. 1997
ISBN: 0679772685
In a work that is as authoritative as it is explosive, Goldhagen forces us to revisit and reconsider our understanding of the Holocaust and its perpetrators, demanding a fundamental revision in our thinking of the years between 1933-1945. Drawing principally on materials either unexplored or neglected by previous scholars, Goldhagen marshals new, disquieting primary evidence that explains why, when Hitler conceived of the "final solution" he was able to enlist vast numbers of willing Germans to carry it out. A book sure to provoke new discussion and intense debate. --This text refers to the hardcover edition of this title
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Everyday Irrationality : How Pseudo-Scientists, Lunatics, and the Rest of Us Systematically Fail to Think Rationally
by Robyn M. Dawes

Hardcover - 192 pages (March 2001)
Westview Pr (Trd); ISBN: 081336552X ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.70 x 9.25 x 6.61

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Human Nature: A Critical Reader

By Laura Betzig (Editor)

Oxford University Press, Oct. 1966
ISBN: 019509865X

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The Lucifer Principle

By Howard K. Bloom


Atlantic Monthy Press, Feb. 1997
ISBN: 0871136643

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The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out The Way They Do

by Judith  Rich Harris

Whether it's musical talent, criminal tendencies, or fashion sense, we humans want to know why we have it or why we don't. What makes us the way we are? Maybe it's in our genes, maybe it's how we were raised, maybe it's a little of both--in any case, Mom and Dad usually receive both the credit and the blame. But not so fast, says developmental psychology writer Judith Rich Harris. While it has been shown that genetics is only partly responsible for behavior, it is also true, Harris asserts, that parents play a very minor role in mental and emotional development. The Nurture Assumption explores the mountain of evidence pointing away from parents and toward peer groups as the strongest environmental influence on personality development. Rather than leaping into the nature vs. nurture fray, Harris instead posits nurture (parental) vs. nurture (peer group), and in her view your kid's friends win, hands down. This idea, difficult as it may be to accept, is supported by the countless studies Harris cites in her breezy, charming prose. She is upset about the blame laid on parents of troubled children and has much to say (mostly negative) about "professional parental advice-givers." Her own advice may be summarized as "guide your child's peer-group choices wisely," but the aim of the book is less to offer guidance than to tear off cultural blinders. Harris's ideas are so thought-provoking, challenging, and potentially controversial that anyone concerned with parenting issues will find The Nurture Assumption refreshing, important, and possibly life-changing. --Rob Lightner

Free Press, Sept. 1998
ISBN: 0684844095

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Reason and Decision

By Michael Bradie (Editor)

Bowling Green State University Press
ISBN: 0935756043

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The Neurotransmitter Revolution: Serotonin, Social Behavior, and the Law

By Roger D. Masters & Michael T. McGuire (Editor)

Souther Illinois University Press (txt), Jan. 1994
ISBN: 0809318016

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