Alan Miller, Satoshi Kanazawa
Penguin Press ( 2007)
A lively and provocative look at how evolution shapes our behaviour and our lives.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, our brains and bodies are hardwired to carry out an evolutionary mission that determines much of what we do, from life plans to everyday decisions.
With an accessible tone and a healthy disregard for political correctness, this lively and eminently readable book popularizes the latest research in a cutting-edge field of study-one that turns much of what we thought we knew about human nature upside-down.
Every time we fall in love, fight with our spouse, enjoy watching a favourite TV show, or feel scared - walking alone at night, we are in part behaving as a human animal with its own unique nature-a nature that essentially stopped evolving 10,000 years ago. Alan S Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa re-examine some of the most popular and controversial topics of modern life-and shed a whole new light on why we do the things we do.
Reader beware: You may never look at human nature the same way again.
'That mouthful of a title says it all. According to Kanazawa, a media-savvy researcher whose studies of "beautiful people" have been covered by the BBC and the New York Times, and the late Miller, a professor of social psychology, evolutionary psychology explains almost everything about human behaviour. Proponents of what they call "the Standard Social Science Model" believe that the human mind is exempt from biological pressures, while evolutionary psychologists hold that people are an animal species driven by animal needs. The authors suggest that human evolution stopped when agriculture began changing the world much faster than the world could change us, and now 10,000-year-old impulses to find the right mate and produce healthy offspring control nearly every aspect of our existence, from choosing jobs to religious belief. This accessible book opens the youthful field of evolutionary psychology wide for examination, with results often as disturbing as they are fascinating.'