Psychology

A Natural History of Human Thinking

Author: Michael Tomasello

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674726367

Category: Psychology

Page: 193

View: 7584

Tool-making or culture, language or religious belief: ever since Darwin, thinkers have struggled to identify what fundamentally differentiates human beings from other animals. Michael Tomasello weaves his twenty years of comparative studies of humans and great apes into a compelling argument that cooperative social interaction is the key to our cognitive uniqueness. Tomasello maintains that our prehuman ancestors, like today's great apes, were social beings who could solve problems by thinking. But they were almost entirely competitive, aiming only at their individual goals. As ecological changes forced them into more cooperative living arrangements, early humans had to coordinate their actions and communicate their thoughts with collaborative partners. Tomasello's "shared intentionality hypothesis" captures how these more socially complex forms of life led to more conceptually complex forms of thinking. In order to survive, humans had to learn to see the world from multiple social perspectives, to draw socially recursive inferences, and to monitor their own thinking via the normative standards of the group. Even language and culture arose from the preexisting need to work together and coordinate thoughts. A Natural History of Human Thinking is the most detailed scientific analysis to date of the connection between human sociality and cognition.
Psychology

A Natural History of Human Morality

Author: Michael Tomasello

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674915879

Category: Psychology

Page: 206

View: 6991

Michael Tomasello offers the most detailed account to date of the evolution of human moral psychology. Based on experimental data comparing great apes and human children, he reconstructs two key evolutionary steps whereby early humans gradually became an ultra-cooperative and, eventually, a moral species capable of acting as a plural agent “we”.
Psychology

A Natural History of Vision

Author: Nicholas J. Wade,Nicholas Wade

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 9780262731294

Category: Psychology

Page: 466

View: 6560

This illustrated survey covers what Nicholas Wade calls the "observational era of vision," beginning with the Greek philosophers and ending with Wheatstone's description of the stereoscope in the late 1830s. This is the first history of vision to present extracts of the works of scholars, organized both topically and chronologically. In what has become the author's signature style, the book juxtaposes verbal and visual descriptions. Many of the more than three hundred illustrations are derived from engravings—of portraits of the scholars cited, as well as of scientific diagrams. Each portrait appears beside a significant quotation by the scholar and the source of the original illustration. The author's commentary provides the context for the quotations and traces the scientific development within each topic. The book is organized around the principal topics within the investigation of visual phenomena: light, color, subjective visual phenomena (such as afterimages and pattern distortions), motion, binocularity, space, and visual illusions.
Social Science

Origins of Human Communication

Author: Michael Tomasello

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 0262261200

Category: Social Science

Page: 408

View: 4291

Human communication is grounded in fundamentally cooperative, even shared, intentions. In this original and provocative account of the evolutionary origins of human communication, Michael Tomasello connects the fundamentally cooperative structure of human communication (initially discovered by Paul Grice) to the especially cooperative structure of human (as opposed to other primate) social interaction. Tomasello argues that human cooperative communication rests on a psychological infrastructure of shared intentionality (joint attention, common ground), evolved originally for collaboration and culture more generally. The basic motives of the infrastructure are helping and sharing: humans communicate to request help, inform others of things helpfully, and share attitudes as a way of bonding within the cultural group. These cooperative motives each created different functional pressures for conventionalizing grammatical constructions. Requesting help in the immediate you-and-me and here-and-now, for example, required very little grammar, but informing and sharing required increasingly complex grammatical devices. Drawing on empirical research into gestural and vocal communication by great apes and human infants (much of it conducted by his own research team), Tomasello argues further that humans' cooperative communication emerged first in the natural gestures of pointing and pantomiming. Conventional communication, first gestural and then vocal, evolved only after humans already possessed these natural gestures and their shared intentionality infrastructure along with skills of cultural learning for creating and passing along jointly understood communicative conventions. Challenging the Chomskian view that linguistic knowledge is innate, Tomasello proposes instead that the most fundamental aspects of uniquely human communication are biological adaptations for cooperative social interaction in general and that the purely linguistic dimensions of human communication are cultural conventions and constructions created by and passed along within particular cultural groups.
Psychology

Why We Cooperate

Author: Michael Tomasello

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 0262258498

Category: Psychology

Page: 232

View: 7390

Understanding cooperation as a distinctly human combination of innate and learned behavior. Drop something in front of a two-year-old, and she's likely to pick it up for you. This is not a learned behavior, psychologist Michael Tomasello argues. Through observations of young children in experiments he himself has designed, Tomasello shows that children are naturally—and uniquely—cooperative. Put through similar experiments, for example, apes demonstrate the ability to work together and share, but choose not to. As children grow, their almost reflexive desire to help—without expectation of reward—becomes shaped by culture. They become more aware of being a member of a group. Groups convey mutual expectations, and thus may either encourage or discourage altruism and collaboration. Either way, cooperation emerges as a distinctly human combination of innate and learned behavior. In Why We Cooperate, Tomasello's studies of young children and great apes help identify the underlying psychological processes that very likely supported humans' earliest forms of complex collaboration and, ultimately, our unique forms of cultural organization, from the evolution of tolerance and trust to the creation of such group-level structures as cultural norms and institutions. Scholars Carol Dweck, Joan Silk, Brian Skyrms, and Elizabeth Spelke respond to Tomasello's findings and explore the implications.
Social Science

Anatomy of Love

A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray

Author: Helen E. Fisher

Publisher: Ballantine Books

ISBN: 0449908976

Category: Social Science

Page: 431

View: 3287

An exploration of human behavior examines the innate aspects of love, sex, and marriage, discussing flirting behavior, courting postures, the brain chemistry of attraction, divorce and adultery in societies around the world, and more. Reprint.
Nature

The Dog

A Natural History

Author: Ádám Miklósi

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 1400889995

Category: Nature

Page: 224

View: 4120

An accessible and richly illustrated introduction to the natural history of dogs—from evolution, anatomy, cognition, and behavior to the relationship between dogs and humans As one of the oldest domesticated species, selectively bred over millennia to possess specific behaviors and physical characteristics, the dog enjoys a unique relationship with humans. More than any other animal, dogs are attuned to human behavior and emotions, and accordingly play a range of roles in society, from police and military work to sensory and emotional support. Selective breeding has led to the development of more than three hundred breeds that, despite vast differences, still belong to a single species, Canis familiaris. The Dog is an accessible, richly illustrated, and comprehensive introduction to the fascinating natural history and scientific understanding of this beloved species. Ádám Miklósi, a leading authority on dogs, provides an appealing overview of dogs' evolution and ecology; anatomy and biology; behavior and society; sensing, thinking, and personality; and connections to humans. Illustrated with some 250 color photographs, The Dog begins with an introductory overview followed by an exploration of the dog's prehistoric origins, including current research about where and when canine domestication first began. The book proceeds to examine dogs' biology and behavior, paying particular attention to the physiological and psychological aspects of the ways dogs see, hear, and smell, and how they communicate with other dogs and with humans. The book also describes how dogs learn about their physical and social environments and the ways they form attachments to humans. The book ends with a section showcasing a select number of dog breeds to illustrate their amazing physical variety. Beautifully designed and filled with surprising facts and insights, this book will delight anyone who loves dogs and wants to understand them better.
Science

Snakes, Sunrises, and Shakespeare

How Evolution Shapes Our Loves and Fears

Author: Gordon H. Orians

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022600337X

Category: Science

Page: 224

View: 3007

Our breath catches and we jump in fear at the sight of a snake. We pause and marvel at the sublime beauty of a sunrise. These reactions are no accident; in fact, many of our human responses to nature are steeped in our deep evolutionary past—we fear snakes because of the danger of venom or constriction, and we welcome the assurances of the sunrise as the predatory dangers of the dark night disappear. Many of our aesthetic preferences—from the kinds of gardens we build to the foods we enjoy and the entertainment we seek—are the lingering result of natural selection. In this ambitious and unusual work, evolutionary biologist Gordon H. Orians explores the role of evolution in human responses to the environment, beginning with why we have emotions and ending with evolutionary approaches to aesthetics. Orians reveals how our emotional lives today are shaped by decisions our ancestors made centuries ago on African savannas as they selected places to live, sought food and safety, and socialized in small hunter-gatherer groups. During this time our likes and dislikes became wired in our brains, as the appropriate responses to the environment meant the difference between survival or death. His rich analysis explains why we mimic the tropical savannas of our ancestors in our parks and gardens, why we are simultaneously attracted to danger and approach it cautiously, and how paying close attention to nature’s sounds has resulted in us being an unusually musical species. We also learn why we have developed discriminating palates for wine, and why we have strong reactions to some odors, and why we enjoy classifying almost everything. By applying biological perspectives ranging from Darwin to current neuroscience to analyses of our aesthetic preferences for landscapes, sounds, smells, plants, and animals, Snakes, Sunrises, and Shakespeare transforms how we view our experience of the natural world and how we relate to each other.
Discoveries in science

The Art of Science

A Natural History of Ideas

Author: Richard Hamblyn

Publisher: Pan Macmillan Adult

ISBN: 9780330490764

Category: Discoveries in science

Page: 485

View: 1388

Science - and the art of science writing - can, and should, be something to get excited about. The extracts featured in this anthology span centuries and continents, but are connected by their authors' desire to understand, explain and enrich the world. From Galileo to Lewis Carroll, from Marie Curie to Stephen Jay Gould, from rust to snowflakes, from the fi rst use of the word 'scientist' to the first computer, Th e Art of Science is a book about people, which is to say it's a book about passion, politics, and poetry.
Nature

Thinking Animals

Animals and the Development of Human Intelligence

Author: Paul Shepard

Publisher: University of Georgia Press

ISBN: 0820342343

Category: Nature

Page: 274

View: 4515

In a world increasingly dominated by human beings, the survival of other species becomes more and more questionable. In this brilliant book, Paul Shepard offers a provocative alternative to an "us or them" mentality, proposing that other species are integral to humanity's evolution and exist at the core of our imagination. This trait, he argues, compels us to think of animals in order to be human. Without other living species by which to measure ourselves, Shepard warns, we would be less mature, care less for and be more careless of all life, including our own kind.
Psychology

THE CULTURAL ORIGINS OF HUMAN COGNITION

Author: Michael TOMASELLO

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 9780674044371

Category: Psychology

Page: 256

View: 6331

Bridging the gap between evolutionary theory and cultural psychology, Michael Tomasello argues that the roots of the human capacity for symbol-based culture are based in a cluster of uniquely human cognitive capacities. These include capacities for understanding that others have intentions of their own, and for imitating, not just what someone else does, but what someone else has intended to do. Tomasello further describes with authority and ingenuity how these capacities work over evolutionary and historical time to create the kind of cultural artifacts and settings within which each new generation of children develops.
Psychology

Mindreaders

The Cognitive Basis of "Theory of Mind"

Author: Ian Apperly

Publisher: Psychology Press

ISBN: 1136846719

Category: Psychology

Page: 232

View: 3904

Theory of mind, or "mindreading" as it is termed in this book, is the ability to think about beliefs, desires, knowledge and intentions. It has been studied extensively by developmental and comparative psychologists and more recently by neuroscientists and cognitive psychologists. This book is the first to draw together these diverse findings in an account of the cognitive basis of "theory of mind", and establishes the systematic study of these abilities in adults as a new field of enquiry. Apperly focuses on perceptions, knowledge and beliefs as paradigm cases of mindreading, and uses this as a basis from which more general lessons can be drawn. The book argues that an account of the cognitive basis of mindreading is necessary for making sense of findings from neuroscience and developmental and comparative psychology, as well as for understanding how mindreading fits more broadly into the cognitive system. It questions standard philosophical accounts of mindreading, and suggests a move away from the notion that it consists simply of having a "theory of mind". This unique study into the cognitive basis of mindreading will be ideal reading for academics and advanced students from the diverse disciplines that have studied theory of mind in particular, and social cognition more generally.
Social Science

Becoming Yellow

A Short History of Racial Thinking

Author: Michael Keevak

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 9781400838608

Category: Social Science

Page: 240

View: 8348

In their earliest encounters with Asia, Europeans almost uniformly characterized the people of China and Japan as white. This was a means of describing their wealth and sophistication, their willingness to trade with the West, and their presumed capacity to become Christianized. But by the end of the seventeenth century the category of whiteness was reserved for Europeans only. When and how did Asians become "yellow" in the Western imagination? Looking at the history of racial thinking, Becoming Yellow explores the notion of yellowness and shows that this label originated not in early travel texts or objective descriptions, but in the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century scientific discourses on race. From the walls of an ancient Egyptian tomb, which depicted people of varying skin tones including yellow, to the phrase "yellow peril" at the beginning of the twentieth century in Europe and America, Michael Keevak follows the development of perceptions about race and human difference. He indicates that the conceptual relationship between East Asians and yellow skin did not begin in Chinese culture or Western readings of East Asian cultural symbols, but in anthropological and medical records that described variations in skin color. Eighteenth-century taxonomers such as Carl Linnaeus, as well as Victorian scientists and early anthropologists, assigned colors to all racial groups, and once East Asians were lumped with members of the Mongolian race, they began to be considered yellow. Demonstrating how a racial distinction took root in Europe and traveled internationally, Becoming Yellow weaves together multiple narratives to tell the complex history of a problematic term.
Psychology

Becoming Human

A Theory of Ontogeny

Author: Michael Tomasello

Publisher: Belknap Press

ISBN: 0674980859

Category: Psychology

Page: 392

View: 6109

Virtually all theories of how humans have become a distinctive species focus on evolution. Here, Michael Tomasello proposes a complementary theory focused on ontogenetic processes. Built on the essential ideas of Vygotsky, his data-driven model explains how those things that make us most human are constructed during the first six years of life.
Cooking

Cooked

A Natural History of Transformation

Author: Michael Pollan

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 0143125338

Category: Cooking

Page: 468

View: 2581

The author recounts the story of his culinary education and the roles of the four classical elements of fire, water, air and earth in transforming natural ingredients into delicious meals and drinks, in an account that traces his efforts to master classic recipes using one of the four elements. Reprint.
Philosophy

Thought in a Hostile World

The Evolution of Human Cognition

Author: Kim Sterelny

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

ISBN: 9780631188872

Category: Philosophy

Page: 280

View: 6552

WINNER OF THE 2004 LAKATOS AWARD! Thought in a Hostile World is an exploration of the evolution of cognition, especially human cognition, by one of today's foremost philosophers of biology and of mind. Featuresan exploration of the evolution of human cognition. Written by one of today’s foremost philosophers of mind and language. Presents a set of analytic tools for thinking about cognition and its evolution. Offers a critique of nativist, modular versions of evolutionary psychology, rejecting the example of language as a model for thinking about human cognitive capacities. Applies to the areas of cognitive science, philosophy of mind, and evolutionary psychology.
History

Cognitive Variations

Reflections on the Unity and Diversity of the Human Mind

Author: Geoffrey Lloyd

Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand

ISBN: 0199214611

Category: History

Page: 201

View: 3848

Sir Geoffrey Lloyd presents a cross-disciplinary exploration of the unity and diversity of the human mind. He discusses cultural variations with regard to ideas of colour, emotion, health, the self, agency and causation, reasoning, and other fundamental aspects of human cognition. He draws together scientific, philosophical, anthropological, and historical arguments in showing how our evident psychic diversity can be reconciled with our shared humanity.
Psychology

A Natural History of Love

Author of the National Bestseller A Natural History of the Senses

Author: Diane Ackerman

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 0307763323

Category: Psychology

Page: 384

View: 4986

The bestselling author of A Natural History of the Senses now explores the allure of adultery, the appeal of aphrodisiacs, and the cult of the kiss. Enchantingly written and stunningly informed, this "audaciously brilliant romp through the world of romantic love" (Washington Post Book World) is the next best thing to love itself. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Cooking

The Omnivore's Dilemma

A Natural History of Four Meals

Author: Michael Pollan

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 9781594200823

Category: Cooking

Page: 450

View: 5100

An ecological and anthropological study of eating offers insight into food consumption in the twenty-first century, explaining how an abundance of unlimited food varieties reveals the responsibilities of everyday consumers to protect their health and the environment. By the author of The Botany of Desire. 125,000 first printing.
Psychology

The Evolved Apprentice

Author: Kim Sterelny

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 9780262302814

Category: Psychology

Page: 264

View: 2571

Over the last three million years or so, our lineage has diverged sharply from those of our great ape relatives. Change has been rapid (in evolutionary terms) and pervasive. Morphology, life history, social life, sexual behavior, and foraging patterns have all shifted sharply away from those of the other great apes. In The Evolved Apprentice, Kim Sterelny argues that the divergence stems from the fact that humans gradually came to enrich the learning environment of the next generation. Humans came to cooperate in sharing information, and to cooperate ecologically and reproductively as well, and these changes initiated positive feedback loops that drove us further from other great apes. Sterelny develops a new theory of the evolution of human cognition and human social life that emphasizes the gradual evolution of information-sharing practices across generations and how these practices transformed human minds and social lives. Sterelny proposes that humans developed a new form of ecological interaction with their environment, cooperative foraging. The ability to cope with the immense variety of human ancestral environments and social forms, he argues, depended not just on adapted minds but also on adapted developmental environments.