Supernormal Stimuli: How Primal Urges Overran Their Evolutionary Purpose Kindle Edition
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Besides being written by a scientist rather than a journalist—Dr. Barrett is a psychologist at Harvard Medical School—you might wonder if there is any reason to read the original.
The answer is a resounding yes. First, unlike the many paleo popularizers, Barrett’s account is light on speculation and strong on scientific fact. More significantly, Barrett has a somewhat radical vision of a reformed society which is lacking in most popular science stories.
Noting that the sources of pleasure can be easily rewired in the human brain, Barrett envisions a society where people are nudged from unhealthy pleasure sources like sugar and television to vegetables and real social contact. In other words, less reruns of “Friends” and more real friends. Less Coke and cheeseburgers and more lean meat and cauliflower.
Of course, these insights have moved into the mainstream of public discourse and are not as startling as they were when Barrett first made them. But reading the original source shows that these ideas do not stem from pop psychology but rather have a real scientific grounding. In short, they are not meant for interesting banter at parties frequented by millennial but could lead to real and lasting improvements in human society.
I am thoroughly enjoying reading this book and will sure to check out her other books.
King Solomon's Ring (Routledge Classics)
Anyone who is interesting in evolutionary psychology would really like this book.