“Why do we do what we do?” In this thought-provoking series of lectures, Professor Allen D. MacNeill examines the surprising - and sometimes unsettling - answers to this most basic of human questions. The remarkable new field of evolutionary psychology takes a scientific approach to the evolution of human nature. Analyzing human behavior in relation to food, clothing, shelter, health care, and sex, Evolutionary Psychology proves an immensely stimulating exploration of human endeavor.
©2010 Allen D. MacNeill (P)2010 Recorded Books, LLC
The subject was covered with interesting examples and theories that could explain why things are the way they are in our minds and, if they are true, what that means in our modern day environments.Obviously evolutionary pyschology will be about what adaptations our mind has evolved to help us survive and reproduce and I thought the author did a good job keeping to that central theme while exploring briefly ideas that venture from certain conclusions. The author is humorous at times and I thought the book was well read. I'm looking forward to the next segment!
I had high hopes that this book would explain the basics about the subject, and maybe some examples of conditional thinking patterns or something similar, instead the book goes on and on and on about terminology and standards, and about this and that guy who made this and that theory about the subject, there is very little or close to nothing about the science of Evolutionary Psychology.
Insted I Would recommend that you Read “How We Decide- Johan Lehrer” and “Predictable Irrational- Dan Ariely” and then form your own opinions about evolutional psychology
While I am not a practicing scientist I have a doctoral degree and read a good bit of Evolutionary Psychology. I looked forward to this as a good overview of the topic. Instead this is a terribly naive and weak series of lectures. I'm really shocked Cornell University lets this lecturer teach their intro to Evolutionary Psych.
First, the lecturer spends most of the first few lectures arguing that Evolutionary Psych is the first and only field to really understand the human mind "the way it really is and not they way we want it to be." He creates laughable straw men of every other theory of human mind and behavior and then compares them to a hopelessly rosy and triumphalist presentation of Ev Psych. Really?
This man should be forced to take Basic Logic and Philosophy of Science before he ever stands in front of students again.
He actually leaves out many of the methods and discoveries of Evolutionary Psych. His central focus for much of the series is how behavior could have evolved in animals. He then extrapolates from animal behavior to human behavior. Extrapolating from animal research to human research takes up a majority of his lectures. He spends an hour discussing research on communal behavior in social insects and maybe 5 minutes discussing communal behavior in humans. There are similarities, but the behavior of invertebrates is only minimally enlightening when researching human communities.
In addition to focusing on animals almost to the exclusion of interesting Ev Psych research on humans this lecturer seems obsessed with monogamy.
He brings up some interesting discoveries on human sexuality, but he only mentions these in passing as his entire project in the final lectures seems to be to inform us that "serial monogamy" is really a form of polygamy. He comes back again and again to this semantic difference. While Ev Psych discoveries do dispel the idea that humans are "naturally" monogamous, he seems infuriated that any people or society dare to espouse such a ridiculous ideal as monogamy. For someone who states again and again that science is "value free" this lecturer certainly seems to have an axe to grind.
He doesn't even mention the idea that attempting monogamy could have adoptive benefits, despite the fact that there are very strong arguments that in societies with more abundant resources encouraging monogamy as the ideal (even if not followed perfectly) drastically decreases male-male violence, stabilizing the society as a whole. I'm not defending monogamy here, but it's annoying to see an angry professor dealing inaccurate science from a stacked deck.
Evolutionary Psych is a fascinating field and you should study it, however, this lecture series is biased, philosophically naive, and scientifically weak. It is more likely to turn you off to this amazing field of study than turn you on to it.
As long as you realise that this is going to be a set of lectures, just as if you were sitting in a lecture theatre at college, then you will enjoy this very much. It does exactly what it says on the tin. ie it teaches you about evolutionary psychology, in a very interesting and clear way.
My husband and I have listened to this twice thus far. We had already read and thought a lot about evolutionary psychology and evolutionary brain science (we teach it in church and public contexts, and for some, this understanding is "salvific"), but this audiobook is a superb -- and entertaining -- overview. Our only disappointment was that Part 2 was not immediately available.
If you want to learn everything there is to know about who founded what, then this is for you. If you want to know how any of this research is applied to humans, then keep searching. I'm sure the MS series has such an audiobook.
College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.
I really don't understand the handful of bad reviews for this book. I thought it was a wonderful and clear introduction to evolutionary psychology: in a nutshell, that all our motivations are shaped to serve our survival in current circumstances. After reading this, one could certainly go on with more certainty to writers like Pinker, Wright and Dawkins.
Although I have nothing relative to evolutionary psychology with which to compare, I've thoroughly enjoyed this series of lectures. They aren't bogged down with a lot of technicalities and are easy for those unfamiliar with the subject to follow and understand. Time is taken to explain each area, with anecdotes to illustrate the topic at hand. I thought I would be bored to tears but have found it very enlightening and enjoyable.
The best book I read this year. It is very instructive and well organized. It deals with a lot of sensitive subjects, but in my opinion should be part of mandatory reading in school. I only regret I did not read it before and would gladly recommend it to my friends.
It was really slow and the main points were fairly obvious. Felt like in was in 100 level college course with a pompous prof.
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