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Enlisting research in evolutionary biology, genetics, and psychology, along with advances in molecular neuroscience and neuroimaging, Harvard psychiatrist Smoller redefines the biology of normal. Genetic variation, natural selection, environment, and unique individual experiences coalesce in molding our social and emotional selves. He considers the neural basis of social cognition, empathy, and even love, both the romantic and maternal varieties. Smoller maps out the biology of disgust, resiliency, and fear and then correlates these phenomena with anatomical areas of the brain—the insula, hippocampus, and amygdala, respectively. We learn that our memories get resculpted. And that oxytocin, a peptide hormone consisting of a measly nine amino acids, works like a love potion in women and also stimulates trust. In the fetching chapter The Brain of the Beholder: Beauty and Sexual Attraction, we find out that evolution seems to favor symmetrical facial features and statistically middling appearances rather than an exotic visage. In the worlds of psychiatry and neuroscience, normal is hardly average nor necessarily an ideal state but, rather, a landscape of human possibility. --Tony Miksanek
“Move over Oliver Sacks - I couldn’t put this fascinating book down! Path-breaking and witty, as entertaining as it is informative, The Other Side of Normal is filled with insights into why we behave as we do and how biology determines so much of our emotional makeup. A brilliant mind and dazzling writer, Smoller has written a book that will change the way you look at every day life.” (Amy Chua, Yale Law Professor and New York Times bestseller Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother)
“Exciting... provocative...Clearly and articulately, he ties evolutionary psychology, biological psychiatry, animal behavior, and related fields into a package of rare coherence.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Highly interesting and accessible study of brain science and behavior....This thoroughly documented work provides enough information to satisfy the science-savvy without leaving the rest of us behind....Readers will be fascinated.” (Library Journal)
“An informative overview of research in neuroscience that provides a scientific foundation for understanding mental disorders.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Smoller redefines the biology of normal.” (Booklist)
“Are we born crazy, or is crazy thrust upon us? Smoller investigates.” (Denver Post)
One of my favorite books. I learn a lot from this book every time I read if but it does not read like a textbook. Highly recommendPublished 1 month ago by Hannah Selig
I bought it as a gift so really cannot offer much advice about it but some page turning seemed to be agreeable.Published 8 months ago by R. Brockman
Good and easy-reading book! It talks about specific psychiatric cases and other general ones .
I am a med student and found it really interesting!
Great and all. But it's a library book. It has that plastic wrap stuff. It's hard cover, I guess I didn't read the fine print. Kinda bulky. Read morePublished 20 months ago by lovefoolio
An excellent book. It clarified the causes of depression and anxiety based upon biological causes. Dr Smoller is an excellent researcherPublished on July 5, 2013 by GERALD FALBEL
I like that the author stays away from useless speculation and makes a convincing case for the underlying science for why our brains develop along the paths they do.Published on June 8, 2013 by Amazon Customer
Very readable; well done. Recognizes nature vs nurture impacting our emotions. Answers many questions about personality disorders and other difficult peoplePublished on May 25, 2013 by Pat Green
I found this book extremely informational, educational, and interesting. I was lucky enough to receive this wonderfully researched mental health advanced reader's copy free from... Read morePublished on May 19, 2013 by MoonShineArtSpot