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Human: The Science Behind What Makes Your Brain Unique Paperback – June 30, 2009
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Dr. Gazzaniga's stance (as proclaimed in the Prologue) is that although most human activity can be related to antecedents in other animals, somewhere in the evolution of our brain the equivalent of a "phase shift" occurred and we became unique: His rallying cry is "... let us start the journey of understanding why humans are special, and let's have some fun doing it." "Human" succeeds in doing that throughout its nine chapters.
All of the recent discoveries and salient theories from the fields of neuroscience, molecular biology, genetics, evolutionary and cognitive psychology, and artificial intelligence (among others) are presented in a cogent and evenhanded way; whenever Dr. Gazzaniga favors one theory over another, he carefully explains why, and the result is that readers can weigh the data and various viewpoints themselves to improve their comprehension of human behavior.Read more ›
Gazzaniga adopts an evolutionary perspective by demonstrating that "most human activity can be related to antecedents in other animals". But he goes on to show that despite the common biochemical and physiological make-up, humans are in fact very different from other creatures. It is as if "something like a phase shift has occurred in becoming human", he writes, referring to the phase transitions of matter. Mindful that general opinion is actually quite varied, however, the author duly mentions dissenting views in the book's afterword, such as "I think at the core humans are no different from animals" and the well-known "Humans are self-centered egotists". Thus the reader is informed of the wider range of critical judgment regarding the contested issue of our inherent humanity versus animality.
The grand tour starts out with a discussion of the remarkable organ that makes being human possible, the brain, followed by a comparison between humans and our closest living relatives, the chimps. Then the role of big brains in negotiating social worlds is examined, with particular attention devoted to the evolutionary development of morality (including the related themes of rationality and decision making) and of awareness and empathy.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Extremely readable overview of a complicated field. Gave me a much greater appreciation for what we know and don't know about the human brain, and also for what it means, in... Read morePublished 5 months ago by BooGroove
Opened up many new areas of understanding what has been learned about the human brain. Was a great learning source to better understand why we believe the things we choose to... Read morePublished 9 months ago by John J. Scalfani
Another in a growing series of popular science books about the human brain and the ways we think. Readable and useful, but I prefer both Ramachandran and Damasio, whose analyses... Read morePublished 14 months ago by ronbc
An excellent exploration of human body! Interesting facts on latest findings and trends. It was an enjoyable read and highly recommend it to those who are interested to learn more... Read morePublished 15 months ago by nostradamus
Gazzaniga is brilliant yet has the affability of your uncle Frank at the family barbecue. He is engaging, witty, articulate with the rare ability to synthesize and analyze heady... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Dr Dave
I have not yet had time to read this book so I don't know whether it is a good book or not.Published on December 30, 2013 by Helen G. Berrigan
"Human", by Michael Gazzaniga, is a book about what makes humans unique from any other creatures. Gazzaniga is a professor at University of California, Santa Barbara. Read morePublished on December 11, 2013 by Kelly Stec
Purpose of Book:
Michael S. Gazzinga looks into what makes humans exceptionally unique compared to other organisms and deciphers what change occurred for this process to... Read more