The Biology of Humans at Our Best and WorstBook - 2017
Why do we do the things we do? Stanford professor Robert Sapolsky attempts to answer that question as fully as possible, looking at it from every angle. Sapolsky starts by examining the factors that bear on a person's reaction in the precise moment a behavior occurs, and then hops back in time from there, in stages, ultimately ending up at the deep history of our species and its evolutionary legacy. The first category of explanation is the neurobiological one. A behavior occurs -- whether an example of humans at our best, worst, or somewhere in between. What went on in a person's brain a second before the behavior happened? Then Sapolsky pulls out to a slightly larger field of vision, a little earlier in time: What sight, sound, or smell caused the nervous system to produce that behavior? And then, what hormones acted hours to days earlier to change how responsive that individual is to the stimuli that triggered the nervous system? By now he has increased our field of vision so that we are thinking about neurobiology and the sensory world of our environment and endocrinology in trying to explain what happened. Sapolsky keeps going: How was that behavior influenced by structural changes in the nervous system over the preceding months, by that person's adolescence, childhood, fetal life, and then back to his or her genetic makeup? Finally, he expands the view to encompass factors larger than one individual. How did culture shape that individual's group, what ecological factors millennia old formed that culture? And on and on, back to evolutionary factors millions of years old.
Publisher: New York, New York :, Penguin Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC,, 2017
Copyright Date: ©2017
Characteristics: 790 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm