Winifred Gallagher, a science writer, journalist, and the author of The Power of Place: How Our Surroundings Shape Our Thought, Emotions, and Actions
, has produced a book about a timeless question: Who are we and how did we arrive this way? Gallagher addresses this fundamental question by looking at the science and history of temperament, including new, fascinating research on how heredity, anatomy, biochemistry, and the way we are raised affect the patterns of human behavior. Tackling a formidable subject and lacing it with the true story of an abandoned child, she has produced a readable and important book.
From Publishers Weekly
Each person's life experience is shaped by the genetically influenced temperament or disposition he or she inherits, asserts science writer Gallagher (The Power of Place). Synthesizing recent research in neuroscience, genetics, psychiatry and biology, she maintains that three basic, partly inherited emotional responses to the world?irritability, gusto and anxiety?shape our adult personalities. According to this theory, heredity inclines us to "select" certain experiences and environments that then further mold our constantly changing selves. Gallagher examines how the temperaments of surgeons, criminals, cops and hard-driving executives are reinforced, even altered, by events. Another finding she reports is that our experience is engraved on our nervous system, so that, for example, severely abused children have impaired cortisol and catecholamine systems, which regulate mood and stress reactions. Her instructive, open-ended exploration of personality sheds new light on parenting, personal growth, gender differences, national character and possible adverse effects of antidepressants such as Prozac. Author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.