THE ALTRUISTIC BRAIN

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The Altruistic Brain

Author : Donald W. Pfaff
ISBN : 9780199377466
Genre : FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS
File Size : 79.66 MB
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"Unlike any other study in its field, The Altruistic Brain synthesizes into one theory the most important research into how and why - by purely physical mechanisms - humans empathize with one another and respond altruistically."--Book jacket.
Category: FAMILY & RELATIONSHIPS

The Altruistic Brain

Author : Donald W Pfaff
ISBN : 9780199377480
Genre : Medical
File Size : 77.30 MB
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Since the beginning of recorded history, law and religion have provided "rules" that define good behavior. When we obey such rules, we assign to some external authority the capacity to determine how we should act. Even anarchists recognize the existence of a choice as to whether or not to obey, since no one has seriously doubted that the source of social order resides in our vast ethical systems. Debate has focused only on whose system is best, never for an instant imagining that law, religion, or some philosophical permutation of either was not the basis of prosocial action. The only divergence from this uniform understanding of human society has come from the behavioral sciences, which cite various biological bases for human goodness. Putting aside both ancient and relatively modern ethical systems, neuroscientists, psychologists, and evolutionary biologists have started a revolution more profound than any anarchist ever dreamed of. In essence, these researchers argue that the source of good human behavior - of the benevolence that we associate with the highest religious teachings - emanates from our physical make-up. Our brains, hormones, and genes literally embody our social compasses. In The Altruistic Brain, renowned neuroscientist Donald Pfaff provides the latest, most far-reaching argument in support of this revolution, explaining in exquisite detail how our neuroanatomical structure favors kindness towards others. Unlike any other study in its field, The Altruistic Brain synthesizes all the most important research into how and why - at a purely physical level - humans empathize with one another and respond altruistically. It demonstrates that human beings are "wired" to behave altruistically in the first instance, such that unprompted, spontaneous kindness is our default behavior; such behavior comes naturally, irrespective of religious or cultural determinants. Based on his own research and that of some of the world's most eminent scientists, Dr. Pfaff puts together well-established brain mechanisms into a theory that is at once novel but also easily demonstrable. He further explains how, using psycho-social approaches that are now well understood, we can clear away obstacles to the brain's natural, altruistic inclinations. This is the first book not only to explain why we are naturally good, but to suggest means of making us behave as well as we can. The Altruistic Brain is required reading for anyone who wants to understand the behavioral revolution in science and the promise that it holds for reorienting society towards greater cooperation.
Category: Medical

The Fear Factor

Author : Abigail Marsh
ISBN : 9781541697201
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 43.97 MB
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"A riveting ride through your own brain." --Adam Grant How the brains of psychopaths and heroes show that humans are wired to be good At fourteen, Amber could boast of killing her guinea pig, threatening to burn down her home, and seducing men in exchange for gifts. She used the tools she had available to get what she wanted, like all children. But unlike other children, she didn't care about the damage she inflicted. A few miles away, Lenny Skutnik cared so much about others that he jumped into an ice-cold river to save a drowning woman. What is responsible for the extremes of generosity and cruelty humans are capable of? By putting psychopathic children and extreme altruists in an fMRI, acclaimed psychologist Abigail Marsh found that the answer lies in how our brain responds to others' fear. While the brain's amygdala makes most of us hardwired for good, its variations can explain heroic and psychopathic behavior. A path-breaking read, The Fear Factor is essential for anyone seeking to understand the heights and depths of human nature. "You won't be able to put it down."--Daniel Gilbert, New York Times bestselling author of Stumbling on Happiness "[It] reads like a thriller... One of the most mind-opening books I have read in years." --Matthieu Ricard, Author of Altruism
Category: Psychology

Pathological Altruism

Author : Barbara Oakley
ISBN : 9780199738571
Genre : Medical
File Size : 56.24 MB
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Pathological Altruism is a groundbreaking new book - the first to explore the negative aspects of altruism and empathy, seemingly uniformly positive traits. In fact, pathological altruism, in the form of an unhealthy focus on others to the detriment of one's own needs, may underpin some personality disorders. Hyperempathy - an excess of concern for what others think and how they feel - helps explain popular but poorly defined concepts such as codependency. The contributing authors of this book provide a scientific, social, and cultural foundation for the subject of pathological altruism, creating a new field of inquiry. Each author's approach points to one disturbing truth: what we value so much, the altruistic "good" side of human nature, can also have a dark side that we ignore at our peril.
Category: Medical

Altruism

Author : Matthieu Ricard
ISBN : 9780316208215
Genre : Self-Help
File Size : 22.72 MB
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The author of the international bestseller Happiness makes a passionate case for altruism--and why we need it now more than ever. In Happiness, Matthieu Ricard demonstrated that true happiness is not tied to fleeting moments or sensations, but is an enduring state of soul rooted in mindfulness and compassion for others. Now he turns his lens from the personal to the global, with a rousing argument that altruism--genuine concern for the well-being of others--could be the saving grace of the 21st century. It is, he believes, the vital thread that can answer the main challenges of our time: the economy in the short term, life satisfaction in the mid-term, and environment in the long term. Ricard's message has been taken up by major economists and thinkers, including Dennis Snower, Amartya Sen, Joseph Stiglitz, and George Soros. Matthieu Ricard makes a robust and passionate case for cultivating altruistic love and compassion as the best means for simultaneously benefitting ourselves and our society. It's a fresh outlook on an ardent struggle--and one that just might make the world a better place.
Category: Self-Help

Survival Of The Nicest

Author : Stefan Klein
ISBN : 9781615191819
Genre : Science
File Size : 50.25 MB
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A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2014 This revelatory tour de force by an acclaimed and internationally bestselling science writer upends our understanding of “survival of the fittest”—and invites us all to think and act more altruistically The phrase “survival of the fittest” conjures an image of the most cutthroat individuals rising to the top. But Stefan Klein, author of the #1 international bestseller The Science of Happiness, makes the startling assertion that altruism is the key to lasting personal and societal success. In fact, altruism defines us: Natural selection favored those early humans who cooperated in groups, and with survival more assured, our altruistic ancestors were free to devote brainpower to developing intelligence, language, and culture—our very humanity. Klein’s groundbreaking findings lead him to a vexing question: If we’re really hard-wired to act for one another’s benefit, why aren’t we all getting along? He believes we’ve learned to mistrust our instincts because success is so often attributed to selfish ambition, and with an extraordinary array of material—current research on genetics and the brain, economics, social psychology, behavioral and anthropological experiments, history, and modern culture—he makes the case that generosity for its own sake remains the best way to thrive.
Category: Science

The Price Of Altruism George Price And The Search For The Origins Of Kindness

Author : Oren Harman
ISBN : 9780393339994
Genre : Biography & Autobiography
File Size : 70.2 MB
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Describes the intellectual journey of eccentric American genius George Price, who tried to answer the evolutionary riddle of why people are nice, and eventually gave away all his belongings and took his own life in a squatter's flat.
Category: Biography & Autobiography

The Selfish Gene

Author : Richard Dawkins
ISBN : 0192860925
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 61.48 MB
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An ethologist shows man to be a gene machine whose world is one of savage competition and deceit
Category: Literary Criticism

Unto Others

Author : Elliott Sober
ISBN : 0674930479
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 49.48 MB
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In Unto Others philosopher Elliott Sober and biologist David Sloan Wilson demonstrate once and for all that unselfish behavior is in fact an important feature of both biological and human nature. Their book provides a panoramic view of altruism throughout the animal kingdom - from self-sacrificing parasites to insects that subsume themselves in the superorganism of a colony to the human capacity for selflessness - even as it explains the evolutionary sense of such behavior. Sober and Wilson offer a detailed case study of scientific change as well as an indisputable argument for group selection as a legitimate theory in evolutionary biology.
Category: Philosophy