Gaining Control: How human behavior evolved

Hardcover | April 16, 2015

byRobert Aunger, Valerie Curtis

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Gaining control tells the story of how human behavioral capacities evolved from those of other animal species. Exploring what is known about the psychological capacities of other groups of animals, the authors reconstruct a fascinating history of our own mental evolution. In the book, the authors see mental evolution as a series of steps in which new mechanisms for controlling behavior develop in different species - starting with early representatives of this kingdom, and leading to a species - us - that can engage in a large number of different types of behavioralcontrol. Key to their argument is the idea that each of these steps - from reflexes to instincts, drives, emotions, and cognitive planning - can be seen as a novel type of psychological adaptation in which information is "inherited" by an animal from its own behavior through new forms of learning -a form of major evolutionary transition. Thus the mechanisms that result from these steps in increasingly complex behavioral control can also be seen as the fundamental building blocks of psychology. Such a perspective on behaviour has a number of implications for practitioners in fields rangingfrom experimental psychology to public health. Short, provocative, and insightful, this book will be of great interest and use to evolutionary psychologists and biologists, anthropologists and the scientific community as a whole.

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Gaining control tells the story of how human behavioral capacities evolved from those of other animal species. Exploring what is known about the psychological capacities of other groups of animals, the authors reconstruct a fascinating history of our own mental evolution. In the book, the authors see mental evolution as a series of ste...

Robert Aunger is Senior Lecturer in Evolutionary Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He has a PhD in biological anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and did post-doctoral work in psychology at the University of Chicago and King's College, Cambridge. He has published books on topi...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:176 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.63 inPublished:April 16, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199688958

ISBN - 13:9780199688951

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Table of Contents

PrefaceSection One: The Basic Argument1. Producing BehaviorSection Two: An Evolutionary Narrative2. Living in the Moment3. Getting Directions4. Changing the World for the Better5. Imagining the FutureSection Three: Philosophical Perspectives6. Natural Kinds of Behavior7. Neural TransitionsSection Four: Concluding Thoughts8. Applications9. ImplicationsGlossary of TermsReferences