Books by Subject


The Things We Do: Using the Lessons of Bernard and Darwin to Understand the What, How, and Why of Our Behavior
by Gary Czikoi

Hardcover - 302 pages (May 15, 2000)
MIT Press; ISBN: 0262032775
Editorial Reviews
Book Description
The remarkable achievements that modern science has made in physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, and engineering contrast sharply with our limited knowledge of the human mind and behavior. A major reason for this slow progress, claims Gary Cziko, is that with few exceptions, behavioral and cognitive scientists continue to apply a Newtonian-inspired view of animate behavior as an organism's output determined by environmental input. This one-way cause-effect approach ignores the important findings of two major nineteenth-century biologists, French physiologist Claude Bernard and English naturalist Charles Darwin.

Approaching living organisms as purposeful systems that behave in order to control their perceptions of the external environment provides a new perspective for understanding what, why, and how living things, including humans, do what they do. Cziko examines in particular perceptual control theory, which has its roots in Bernard's work on the self-regulating nature of living organisms and in the work of engineers who developed the field of cybernetics during and after World War II. He also shows how our evolutionary past together with Darwinian processes currently occurring within our bodies, such as the evolution of new brain connections, provide insights into the immediate and ultimate causes of behavior.

Writing in an accessible style, Cziko shows how the lessons of Bernard and Darwin, updated with the best of current scientific knowledge, can provide solutions to certain long-standing theoretical and practical problems in behavioral science and enable us to develop new methods and topics for research.

About the Author
Gary Cziko is Professor and AT&T Technology Fellow in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of Without Miracles (MIT Press, 1995).
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Origins of Genius : Darwinian Perspectives on Creativity
by Dean Keith Simonton

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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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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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Building Character and Culture
by Pat Duffy Hutcheon, Ph.D.

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Paperback (March 1999)
Praeger Pub Text; ISBN: 0275964698
Book Description
If we are ever to solve the problems of society we must understand how humans function as both the creators and creatures of an evolving culture. Only by viewing socialization as the ongoing product of social interaction in the context of a hierarchy of dynamic, self-organizing, feedback systems will we begin to build the scientifically reliable knowledge that can provide us with the conceptual tools necessary to ensure our survival and the health of our ecology.

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Creation : Life and How to Make It
by Steve Grand
Hardcover - 240 pages (October 2001)
Harvard Univ Pr; ISBN: 0674006542
Book Description
"If you've heard about A-life but aren't quite sure what it is or where it's going, Grand's book is an excellent place to enter one of the more exciting areas of twenty-first-century science." --John L. Casti, Nature

Working mostly alone, almost single-handedly writing 250,000 lines of computer code, Steve Grand produced Creatures(R), a revolutionary computer game that allowed players to create living beings complete with brains, genes, and hormonal systems--creatures that would live and breathe and breed in real time on an ordinary desktop computer. Enormously successful, the game inevitably raises the question: What is artificial life? And in this book--a chance for the devoted fan and the simply curious onlooker to see the world from the perspective of an original philosopher-engineer and intellectual maverick--Steve Grand proposes an answer.

From the composition of the brains and bodies of artificial life forms to the philosophical guidelines and computational frameworks that define them, Creation plumbs the practical, social, and ethical aspects and implications of the state of the art. But more than that, the book gives readers access to the insights Grand acquired in writing Creatures--insights that yield a view of the world that is surprisingly antireductionist, antimaterialist, and (to a degree) antimechanistic, a view that sees matter, life, mind, and society as simply different levels of the same thing. Such a hierarchy, Grand suggests, can be mirrored by an equivalent one that exists inside a parallel universe called cyberspace.

About the Author
He has written and lectured widely on the topic of artificial life and was nominated by the Sunday Times (of London) as one of "The Brains behind the 21st Century." His latest research objective is to build the world's first conscious machine.

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Body Images : Embodiment As Intercorporeality
by Gail Weis

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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Handbook of Personality Psychology
by Robert Hogan (Editor), John Johnson (Editor), Stephen Briggs (Editor)

Hardcover - 987 pages (March 1997)
Academic Press Inc; ISBN: 0121346455 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.96 x 9.56 x 7.79
Other Editions: Paperback

The author, John A. Johnson,, , May 18, 1997
For students and professional personality psychologists...
Our Handbook of Personality Psychology is not only an indispensable reference for professional personality psychologists, it is also an ideal alternative to a textbook for an upper-level undergraduate or graduate personality course. For years I've used reprint packets in my own courses, but copyright and production costs have driven the price of such packets to the cost of the softbound version of the Handbook. If you teach a course on personality psychology as it is practiced today, you'll find no better current and comprehensive treatment than our Handbook of Personality Psychology
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