Friday, January 13, 2006

Hardwired Behavior

This book from Cambridge University Press looks interesting. I haven't actually read it yet, but the new issue of Nature has a rather positive review of it. A brief passage from the review:

Laurence Tancredi’s book Hardwired Behavior powerfully presents science that shows the gross inadequacy of the binary terms we often use to talk about the genesis and character of complex human behaviours. He writes: “Our brain structures are not immutable; they are susceptible to change for the better and change for the worse.” Indeed, much of the research he discusses rests on this neuroplasticity. He reports on research showing that talk therapy can produce neuronal changes. His chapter on gender differences suggests that changing social conceptions of the roles of women “will inevitably affect the biology of their brains over time”. He reports on research showing that rats deprived of nurture at birth fail to express a gene that is correlated with their ability to handle stress. And he refers several times to a fascinating study by Avshalom Caspi and colleagues (Science 301, 386–389; 2002), which found that the likelihood of children becoming antisocial as adults is a function of both their genomes and their experiences. As Tancredi observes, this finding “emphasizes the interactive nature of genes and environment, nature and nurture”.

Tancredei, L. (2005): Hardwired Behavior. What Neuroscience Reveals About Morality. Cambridge University Press.
Publisher's description.


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