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Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connectby Matthew D. Lieberman
Synopses & Reviews
In Social, renowned psychologist Matthew Lieberman explores groundbreaking research in social neuroscience, revealing that our need to connect with other people is even more fundamental, more basic, than our need for food or shelter. Because of this, our brain uses its spare time to learn about the social world—other people and our relation to them. It is believed that we must commit 10,000 hours to master a skill. According to Lieberman, each of us has spent 10,000 hours learning to make sense of people and groups by the time we are ten.
Social argues that our need to reach out to and connect with others is a primary driver behind our behavior. We believe that pain and pleasure alone guide our actions. Yet, new research using fMRI—including a great deal of original research conducted by Lieberman and his UCLA lab—shows that our brains react to social pain and pleasure in much the same way as they do to physical pain and pleasure. Fortunately, the brain has evolved sophisticated mechanisms for securing our place in the social world. We have a unique ability to read other people's minds, to figure out their hopes, fears, and motivations, allowing us to effectively coordinate our lives with one another. And our most private sense of who we are is intimately linked to the important people and groups in our lives. This wiring often leads us to restrain our selfish impulses for the greater good. These mechanisms lead to behavior that might seem irrational, but is really just the result of our deep social wiring and necessary for our success as a species.
Based on the latest cutting edge research, the findings in Social have important real-world implications. Our schools and businesses, for example, attempt to minimalize social distractions. But this is exactly the wrong thing to do to encourage engagement and learning, and literally shuts down the social brain, leaving powerful neuro-cognitive resources untapped. The insights revealed in this pioneering book suggest ways to improve learning in schools, make the workplace more productive, and improve our overall well-being.
"Psychologist and UCLA professor Lieberman examines why humans are such naturally social creatures. Is it purely a biological imperative to ensure the proliferation of the species? Are we social simply because mankind needs to keep fornicating? Lieberman believes otherwise. Ultimately, he posits that human brains experience social pain and pleasure in much the same way they experience physical plain and pleasure. Consequently, many businesses and working environments — which attempt to eliminate social distractions are actually doing something self-defeating; such policies, Lieberman argues, shut off the 'social brain' leaving many resources untapped and making the workplace less productive and healthy. Chamberlain's narration is very clear — if a bit nasally — and he boasts excellent pacing and inflection. But most importantly, he takes what could have been dry, arcane material and produces and interesting and entertaining listening experience. A Crown hardcover. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
In Social, renowned psychologist Matthew Lieberman explores groundbreaking research in social neuroscience, revealing that our need to connect with other people is even more fundamental, more basic, than our need for food or shelter.
About the Author
Matthew D. Lieberman is a professor in the department of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research focuses on social cognitive neuroscience and uses neuroimaging to examine how we make sense of others, ourselves, and the relation between these. In addition to Social, he is the author of numerous journal articles. Mike Chamberlain is an actor and voice-over performer, as well as an AudioFile Earphones Award-winning audiobook narrator.Along with animation and video game characters, Mikeperforms narration and voices promos for television.Mike is originally from New Jersey, and he met his wife whileperforming theater in Boston. They now live in SouthernCalifornia with their daughter.
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