Why do we do what we do? Especially those seemingly inexplicable behaviors-from the disreputable to the downright despicable?Between what can be learned from evolutionary psychology (thinking that has developed in our species over the millenniums to ensure its propagation) and cognitive science (how our minds literally think) a picture emerges. In Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life, social psychologist Douglas Kenrick fuses these two fields to create a coherent story of human nature. In his analysis, many ingrained, apparently irrational behaviors-one-night stands, prejudice, conspicuous consumption, even art and religious devotion-are quite explicable and (when desired) avoidable. When combined with insights from complexity theory, Kenrick’s argument reveals how simple mechanisms give rise to complex life.Through an engaging blend of anecdote, analogy and research findings, Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life takes listeners on a singular tour of the human mind, exploring the pitfalls and promises of our biological inheritance.
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by Geoff Herbach
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"Kenrick's book, with its sensationalistic title, is actually the academic's account of his work in the field of evolutionary psychology, with personal stories helping to illustrate scientific insights into human nature. Kenrick's sometimes overly feisty tone is tempered by Fred Stella's smooth voice, ready expressiveness, and geniality. His voice is slightly husky and pleasant to listen to. The author mentions having a New York accent, but Stella's is inconsistent--now here, now, where we would expect it, not. But the distraction proves minor, and the reading lets the book's positives--the frequently interesting subject matter and Kenrick's intelligence--come through. W.M. (c) AudioFile 2011, Portland, Maine"