Intercultural Understanding and Empathy
Our Moral Endowment
From a very early age, babies have the ability to understand the minds of others and display empathy, compassion, and helpfulness that enables us to thrive in complex social groups.
How the Evolution of Social Life Shaped the Human Mind
Robin Dunbar, Clive Gamble & John Gowlett
The social brain that drives our behavior and contemporary culture is essentially the same brain that appeared with the earliest humans some 300,000 years ago.
The Weirdest People in the World
How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous
Joseph Henrich; reviewed by Robert Twigger
Literacy does strange things to you, and mass literacy does strange things en masse. Did you know that literate people have worse facial recognition abilities than those who are illiterate? Or that in learning to read and write your corpus callosum (the cable if you like connecting your right and left hemisphere) will have grown thicker?
Why Our Brains are Wired to Connect
Matthew D. Lieberman
Our need to connect with other people is even more fundamental, more basic, than our need for food or shelter. Understanding the neuro-cognitive functions underlying this need can help us rise to the unique challenges we face today.
Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them
Joshua D. Greene
Our innate moral behavior evolved over millions of years to promote cooperation within our group. Each group has its own moral code, which provides a map for how individuals can live successfully within it. Our other innate tendency, to favor our group over all others, is something we need to understand and mitigate to address the existential challenges of our modern global society.
The Righteous Mind
Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
Jonanthan Haidt; reviewed by John Zada
We are without doubt living in an era of polarised thinking, marked by much bickering across social and political lines. But could positions of both side have roots in common moral foundations?
New World New Mind
Moving Toward Conscious Evolution
Robert Ornstein and Paul Ehrlich
Over millions of years, our minds evolved with quick reflexes to deal with sudden threats, which makes long-term threats like pollution and overpopulation invisible to us. Our survival now requires that we consciously evolve a new mind and new perceptions to adapt.
A New Way of Looking at Human Behavior
Going beyond the left-brain/right-brain dichotomy of the rational, sequential mind vs. the creative, intuitive one, Dr. Ornstein describes the working of our everyday minds as being an ever-changing sequence of separate, special-purpose “small minds” that “wheel” in and out of consciousness to handle specific tasks—with surprising and important ramifications.
Humanity on a Tightrope
Robert Ornstein and Paul Ehrlich; reviewed by John Zada
Psychologist Robert Ornstein and biologist Paul Ehrlich join forces to explain why the human race has reached its current perilous precipice. To sidestep the fate they say is now barreling towards us will require us to address our “empathy shortfall.”
The Matter with Things
In this landmark new book, Iain McGilchrist addresses some of the oldest and hardest questions humanity faces – ones that, however, have a practical urgency for all of us today. Who are we? What is the world? How can we understand consciousness, matter, space and time? Is the cosmos without purpose or value? Can we really neglect the sacred and divine?
Travel the Journey
The Heroic Imagination Project
The Heroic Imagination Project was founded by Dr. Philip Zimbardo, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Stanford University. HIP is a research-based organization which provides knowledge, tools, strategies, and exercises to individuals and groups to help them to overcome the social and psychological forces which can keep them from taking effective action at crucial moments in their lives.