The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique
Ecco Press, Hardcover, 9780060892883, 447pp.
Publication Date: June 24, 2008
One of the world's leading neuroscientists explores how best to understand the human condition by examining the biological, psychological, and highly social nature of our species within the social context of our lives.
What happened along the evolutionary trail that made humans so unique? In his widely accessible style, Michael Gazzaniga looks to a broad range of studies to pinpoint the change that made us thinking, sentient humans, different from our predecessors.
Neuroscience has been fixated on the life of the psychological self for the past fifty years, focusing on the brain systems underlying language, memory, emotion, and perception. What it has not done is consider the stark reality that most of the time we humans are thinking about social processes, comparing ourselves to and estimating the intentions of others. In Human, Gazzaniga explores a number of related issues, including what makes human brains unique, the importance of language and art in defining the human condition, the nature of human consciousness, and even artificial intelligence.
“Gazzaniga, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara (and one of the inventors of the field), takes us on a lively tour through the latest research on brain evolution.”
-New York Times Book Review
“The book is an intellectual romp through the cognitive neurosciences . . . a rich testimony to the incredible accomplishments of the human brain in coming to understand itself.”
-New York Sun
“In this book, Gazzaniga uses science AND some truly engaging, witty writing to explain us to us.”
“A savvy, witty guide to neuroscience today.”
“Brilliantly written and utterly fascinating. Gazzaniga stands as a giant among neuroscientists, for both the quality of his research and his ability to communicate it to a general public with infectious enthusiasm.”
-Robert Bazell, Chief Science Correspondent, NBC News
“One could ask for no better guide... compelling, wide-ranging tour.”
“[Readers] will enjoy the science he unravels.”
-Floyd E. Bloom
“Michael Gazzaniga shares his considerable insight... compelling, and at the same time, clear.”
-Dr. Steven E. Hyman
“Gazzaniga is one of the founders of the field of cognitive neuroscience... full of dazzling insights... engaging.”--
“...[A] shimmering new book...[Gazzaniga] explains the latest findings from the sciences of mind and brain in a coherent and satisfying narrative. This is the place to look to learn about our best scientific understanding of what it means to be human.”
-Steven Pinker, author of THE LANGUAGE INSTINCT and HOW THE MIND WORKS
“As wide-ranging as it is deep, and as entertaining as it is informative, the latest offering from UC–Santa Barbara neuroscientist Gazzaniga (The Ethical Brain) will please a diverse array of readers.
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Readers of Gazzaniga’s intriguing insights into the realm of neuroscience are certain to have their consciousnesses pleasantly piqued in numerous ways.”
-Saturday Evening Post
“Wonderfully smart and often funny...I recommend [HUMAN] highly. This book combines succinct views of how we became the amazing animals that we are, the biological bases of morality, and some atonishing futurology.”
“As wide-ranging as it is deep, and as entertaining as it is informative, the latest offering from University of California at Santa Barbara neuroscientist Gazzaniga (The Ethical Brain) will please a diverse array of readers.”
“Sweeping, erudite and humorous. . . If you are looking for one book that gives you a Cook’s Tour of the human brain, where it came from and where it is heading, this would be an excellent choice.”