Psychology
Resources

 email page    print page

All Topic Reviews
A Theory of Feelings Addictions Memory and the Self"Intimate" Violence against Women1001 Solution-Focused Questions101 Healing Stories101 Things I Wish I'd Known When I Started Using Hypnosis50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God8 Keys to Body Brain BalanceA Brief History of Modern PsychologyA Conceptual History of PsychologyA Conceptual History of Psychology: Exploring the Tangled Web A Cooperative SpeciesA Guide to Teaching Introductory PsychologyA History of Modern Experimental PsychologyA History of Psychology in AutobiographyA History of Social PsychologyA History of the BrainA History of the MindA Hole in the HeadA Matter of SecurityA Mind of Its OwnA Natural History of Human ThinkingA Place for ConsciousnessA Short Introduction to Promoting Resilience in ChildrenA Social History of PsychologyA Stroll With William JamesA System Architecture Approach to the BrainA Theory of FreedomA Very Bad WizardAbductedAbout FacesAccounts of InnocenceAction, Emotion and WillAdapting MindsADHD & MeADHD in AdultsAdieu to GodAdolescence and Body ImageAdult Bipolar DisordersAdvances in Culture and PsychologyAdvances in Identity Theory and ResearchAffect Regulation, Mentalization, and the Development of SelfAffective MappingAgainst EmpathyAgainst HappinessAges and StagesAll Joy and No FunAll Out!All We Have to FearAlterations of ConsciousnessAmerican Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical NeurosciencesAn Argument for MindAncient Bodies, Modern LivesAnimal Tool BehaviorAnimals in TranslationAnomalous CognitionAping MankindArtificial ConsciousnessAspects of PsychologismAsperger Syndrome and Your ChildAsperger Syndrome, Adolescence, and IdentityAssessment and Treatment of Childhood Problems, Second EditionAssisted Suicide and the Right to DieAttachedAttention is Cognitive UnisonAutism and the Myth of the Person AloneAutopsy of a Suicidal MindBecoming an Effective PsychotherapistBehavingBehavioral Genetics in the Postgenomic EraBeing No OneBelievingBetween Two WorldsBeyond AppearanceBeyond BlueBeyond BullyingBeyond MadnessBeyond the BrainBeyond the DSM StoryBig DreamsBiofeedback for the BrainBipolar ChildrenBipolar DisorderBipolar KidsBlackwell Handbook of Childhood Cognitive DevelopmentBlind SpotsBlindsight & The Nature of ConsciousnessBlubberlandBlushBodiesBody ConsciousnessBody Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in YouthBody SenseBody WorkBorderline Personality DisorderBorderline Personality Disorder and the Conversational ModelBorn DigitalBorn to Be GoodBorn Together - Reared ApartBounceBoundaries in Human RelationshipsBounded RationalityBozo SapiensBrain and CultureBrain and the GazeBrain Arousal and Information TheoryBrain BugsBrain Change TherapyBrain Circuitry and Signaling in PsychiatryBrain FictionBrain, Mind, and Human Behavior in Contemporary Cognitive ScienceBrain-Based Therapy with AdultsBrain-WiseBrainstormBrainstormingBraintrustBrainwashingBrandedBreaking Murphy's LawBright-SidedBuddha's BrainBullying and TeasingBuyologyCaptureCare of the PsycheCartesian LinguisticsCartographies of the MindCerebrum 2007Cerebrum 2010Cerebrum 2015Cerebrum Anthology 2013Changing the SubjectCharacter Strengths and VirtuesCheating LessonsChild and Adolescent Psychological DisordersChildrenís Dreaming and the Development of Consciousness Chomsky NotebookClinical Psychiatry in Imperial GermanyClinical Psychology in Practice ClosureCognition and PerceptionCognition and the BrainCognitive BiologyCognitive DissonanceCognitive FictionsCognitive Mechanisms of Belief ChangeCognitive PragmaticsCognitive ScienceCognitive ScienceCognitive Systems and the Extended MindCognitive Therapy of Anxiety DisordersCognitive Unconscious and Human RationalityCold-Blooded KindnessComing of Age in Second LifeCommunication Issues In Autism And Asperger SyndromeCompassion and Healing in Medicine and SocietyComplementary and Alternative Therapies ResearchComprehending ColumbineConfessions of a SociopathConquering Shame and CodependencyConsciousnessConsciousnessConsciousnessConsciousnessConsciousnessConsciousness ConsciousnessConsciousness and Its Place in NatureConsciousness and LanguageConsciousness and Mental LifeConsciousness and MindConsciousness and the NovelConsciousness and the Social BrainConsciousness EmergingConsciousness RecoveredConsciousness RevisitedConsciousness, Self-Consciousness, and the Science of Being HumanContemporary Debates in Cognitive ScienceConversations on ConsciousnessConviction of the InnocentCooperation and Its EvolutionCreating a Life of Meaning and CompassionCredit and BlameCritical New Perspectives on Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity DisorderCritical PsychologyCritical Thinking About PsychologyCross-Cultural PsychologyCrowdsourcingCrueltyCultural Assessment in Clinical PsychiatryCuriousDamasio's Error and Descartes' TruthDangerous and Severe Personality DisorderDaniel DennettDaughters of MadnessDeafness In MindDeath and ConsciousnessDeath of a ParentDecomposing the WillDeep Brain StimulationDeep ChinaDefining DifferenceDefining Psychopathology in the 21st CenturyDelusion and Self-DeceptionDelusions of GenderDennett and Ricoeur on the Narrative SelfDeparting from DevianceDescartes' BabyDescartes's Changing MindDescribing Inner Experience?Desert Islands and Other Texts (1953-1974)Destructive EmotionsDevelopment of Geocentric Spatial Language and CognitionDevelopment of PsychopathologyDialogues on DifferenceDid My Neurons Make Me Do It?Digital HemlockDirty MindsDisgust and Its DisordersDisorders of VolitionDo Apes Read Minds?Do Fish Feel Pain?Does Consciousness Cause Behavior?Doing without ConceptsDrunk Tank PinkEducating People to Be Emotionally IntelligentEffective IntentionsEffective Writing in PsychologyEffortless AttentionEmbodied Minds in ActionEmbracing MindEmbracing UncertaintyEmotion and ConsciousnessEmotion ExperienceEmotion RegulationEmotion, Evolution, And RationalityEmotional IntelligenceEmotionally InvolvedEmotionsEmotionsEmotions and LifeEmotions in Humans and ArtifactsEmotions RevealedEmotions, Aggression, and Morality in ChildrenEmotions, Stress, and HealthEmpathyEnjoymentErotic MoralityEscape Your Own PrisonEssays in Social NeuroscienceEssential Sources in the Scientific Study of ConsciousnessEthical Issues in Forensic Mental Health ResearchEthically Challenged ProfessionsEveryday Mind ReadingEvidence for PsiEvidence-Based Mental Health PracticeEvil MenEvolution and Human BehaviorEvolution and LearningEvolution, Games, and GodEvolution, Gender, and RapeEvolutionary Psychology and ViolenceEvolutionary Psychology as Maladapted PsychologyExacting BeautyExperiences of DepressionExperimenterExplaining the BrainExplaining the BrainExplorations in Neuroscience, Psychology and ReligionExploring TranssexualismExpression and the InnerExtending Self-Esteem ResearchExtraordinary BeliefsFact and Value in EmotionFaking ItFatigue as a Window to the BrainFavorite Activities for the Teaching of PsychologyFeeling GoodFeeling Pain and Being in PainFeelings and EmotionsFinding Meaning, Facing FearsFitting In Is OverratedFlourishingFlow: The Psychology of Optimal ExperienceFolk Psychological NarrativesFooling HoudiniForever YoungFormulation in Psychology and PsychotherapyFoucault, Psychology and the Analytics of PowerFoundational Issues in Human Brain MappingFoundations of Psychological ThoughtFree Will as an Open Scientific ProblemFreedom And NeurobiologyFreedom EvolvesFrom Axons to IdentityFrom Madness to Mental HealthFrom Neurons to Self-ConsciousnessFrom Passions to EmotionsFrom Philosophy to PsychotherapyFrom Symptom to SynapseFrontiers of ConsciousnessGay, Straight, and the Reason WhyGenerosityGenes, Environment, and PsychopathologyGenetic Nature/CultureGeniusGetting Under the SkinGlued to GamesGoing SaneGot Parts?Group GeniusGrowing Up GirlGuilt, Shame, and AnxietyGut ReactionsHallucinationHandbook New Sexuality StudiesHandbook of Closeness and IntimacyHandbook of Critical PsychologyHandbook of Emotion RegulationHandbook of EmotionsHandbook of Personality DisordersHandbook of PsychopathyHandbook of Self and IdentityHandbook of Self and IdentityHandbook of Spatial CognitionHappinessHappinessHappinessHappinessHappiness at WorkHappiness Is.Happy at LastHard to GetHardwired BehaviorHatredHealing the SplitHidden ResourcesHope and DespairHot ThoughtHot ThoughtHouse and PsychologyHow Animals Affect UsHow Animals GrieveHow Can the Human Mind Occur in the Physical Universe?How Doctors ThinkHow Enlightenment Changes Your BrainHow Families Still MatterHow History Made the MindHow Infants Know MindsHow Many Friends Does One Person Need?How Professors ThinkHow The Body Shapes The MindHow the Body Shapes the Way We ThinkHow the Mind Explains BehaviorHow the Mind Uses the BrainHow to Change Someone You LoveHow We ReasonHow We RememberHughes' Outline of Modern PsychiatryHumanHuman BondingHuman Reasoning and Cognitive ScienceHypnotismHysteriaiBrainIdentifying Hyperactive ChildrenIdentifying the MindiDisorderImagination and the Meaningful BrainImitation and the Social MindImpulse Control DisordersImpulsivityIn an Unspoken VoiceIn Defense of SentimentalityIn DoubtIn Search of HappinessIn the Wake of 9/11Individual and Collective Memory ConsolidationInner Experience and NeuroscienceInner PresenceInside the American CoupleIntegrated Behavioral Health CareIntegrating Evolution and DevelopmentIntegrating Psychotherapy and PharmacotherapyIntegrity and the Fragile SelfIntellectual DisabilityIntelligenceIntelligence, Destiny, and EducationIntentions and IntentionalityInterdependent MindsInterpreting MindsInto the Minds of MadmenIntoxicating MindsIntrospection VindicatedIntuitionInventing PersonalityInvestigating the Psychological WorldIrrationalityIs There Anything Good About Men?Issues for Families, Schools and CommunitiesJane Sexes It UpJoint AttentionJoint AttentionJudgment and Decision MakingJust a DogJust BabiesJuvenile-Onset SchizophreniaKarl JaspersKey Thinkers in PsychologyKidding OurselvesKids of CharacterKilling MonstersLack of CharacterLanguage OriginsLanguage, Consciousness, CultureLanguage, Vision, and MusicLaw, Mind and BrainLess Than HumanLet Kids Be KidsLet's Talk About DeathLiving NarrativeLiving with Mild Cognitive ImpairmentLonelinessLooking for SpinozaLossLOT 2Love at Goon ParkMachine ConsciousnessMacrocognitionMade for Each OtherMadnessMaking a Good Brain GreatMaking Habits, Breaking HabitsMaking Minds and MadnessMaking Up the MindMale SexualityMan and WomanMan's Search for MeaningMan, Beast, and ZombieManic MindsManlinessMapping the MindMarking the MindMarvelous Learning AnimalMasculinity Studies and Feminist TheoryMeaningMeaning, Mortality, and ChoiceMedical MusesMeditating SelflesslyMeetings with a Remarkable ManMemoryMemory and DreamsMemory and EmotionMemory And UnderstandingMental BiologyMental IllnessMental Time TravelMetacognitionMetacognition and Theory of MindMethods in MindMindMindMind and BrainMind and ConsciousnessMind Games:Mind in LifeMind TimeMind to MindMind, Brain and the Elusive SoulMindful AngerMindfulnessMindfulness and AcceptanceMindfulness-Based Treatment Approaches: Clinician's Guide to Evidence Base and ApplicationsMinding AnimalsMinding MindsMindreadersMindreading AnimalsMinds, Brains, and LawMindsightMindworldsMirrors in the BrainMistakes Were Made (But Not by Me)Models of MadnessMoodMoral Development and RealityMoral MindsMoral Psychology, Volume 1Moral Psychology, Volume 2Moral Psychology, Volume 3Mothers and OthersMotivation and Cognitive ControlMotivational Interviewing: Preparing People For ChangeMovies and the MindMulticulturalism and the Therapeutic ProcessMultiplicityMuses, Madmen, and ProphetsMy Family AlbumMyths about SuicideNarrative IdentitiesNarrative PsychiatryNarratives in PsychiatryNaturalizing Intention in ActionNature and NarrativeNature Via NurtureNeither Bad nor MadNerveNeurobiology and the Development of Human MoralityNeurochemistry of ConsciousnessNeurodiversityNeuroethicsNeuroLogicNeurological Foundations of Cognitive Neuroscience Neuroscience and PhilosophyNo Child Left DifferentNo Two AlikeNot By Genes AloneNot Much Just Chillin'Not So Abnormal PsychologyNurturing the Older Brain and MindOn AnxietyOn Being HumanOn Being MovedOn Deep History and the BrainOn DesireOn KillingOn Nature and LanguageOn PaedophiliaOn PersonalityOn the Frontier of AdulthoodOn the Origins of Cognitive ScienceOn The Stigma Of Mental IllnessOnflowOpen MindsOpening Skinner's BoxOrigin of MindOrigins of PsychopathologyOther MindsOut of Our HeadsOut of the WoodsOvercoming Depersonalization DisorderPanpsychism and the Religious AttitudePanpsychism in the WestParenting and the Child's WorldPassionate EnginesPathologies of the WestPatient-Based Approaches to Cognitive NeurosciencePediatric PsychopharmacologyPeople Types and Tiger StripesPerception & CognitionPerception beyond InferencePerception, Hallucination, and IllusionPersonal Development and Clinical PsychologyPerspectives on ImitationPhantoms in the BrainPhenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal KnowledgePhenomenology and Philosophy of MindPhilosophical Foundations of NeurosciencePhilosophical MidwiferyPhilosophy and HappinessPhilosophy of PsychologyPhilosophy, Neuroscience and ConsciousnessPhrenologyPhysical RealizationPhysics in MindPieces of LightPlaying with FirePositive PsychologyPositive PsychologyPostcards from the Brain MuseumPostpsychiatryPosttraumatic Stress DisorderPoverty and Brain Development During ChildhoodPractical Ethics for PsychologistsPractical Management of Personality DisorderPractical Management of Personality DisorderPredicative MindsPredictably IrrationalPreference, Belief, and SimilarityPrenatal Testosterone in MindPrivileged AccessProcrastinationProust Was a NeuroscientistPsychiatric SlaveryPsychiatry as Cognitive NeurosciencePsychiatry, Psychoanalysis, And The New Biology Of MindPsychological AgencyPsychological Concepts and Biological PsychiatryPsychological Dimensions of the SelfPsychologists Defying the CrowdPsychologyPsychologyPsychology and Consumer CulturePsychology and LawPsychology and the Question of AgencyPsychology for ScreenwritersPsychology of Women: A Handbook of Issues and TheoriesPsychology's GhostsPsychology's Interpretive TurnPsychology's TerritoriesPsychopathologyPsychopathyPsychosis and EmotionPsychotherapy, American Culture, and Social PolicyPutnam CampPutting a Name to ItQuantum Memory PowerQuietRadical DistortionRadical Embodied Cognitive ScienceRadical ExternalismRadical GraceRapeRe-Visioning PsychiatryReal MaterialismReality CheckReconstructing Reason and RepresentationReconstructing the Cognitive WorldRecovery in Mental IllnessRecreative MindsRedirectReducing Adolescent RiskRegulating EmotionsRelational BeingRelational Mental HealthRelational Suicide AssessmentReliability in Cognitive NeuroscienceRemembering HomeRemembering Our ChildhoodResearch Advances in Genetics and GenomicsResearching Children's ExperienceResilience in ChildrenRestoring ResilienceRethinking ADHDRethinking Learning DisabilitiesRethinking Middle YearsRethinking the Western Understanding of the SelfRevolution in PsychologyRoadmap to ResilienceRomance and Sex in Adolescence and Emerging AdulthoodSchizophrenia RevealedSchizophrenia, Culture, and SubjectivityScience and Pseudoscience in Clinical PsychologyScience and Pseudoscience in Clinical PsychologySecond NatureSecond NatureSecond That EmotionSecond-order Change in PsychotherapySecrets of the MindSee What I'm SayingSee What I'm SayingSeeing and VisualizingSeeing RedSelf and SocietySelf Comes to MindSelf Control in Society, Mind, and BrainSelf-Awareness Deficits in Psychiatric PatientsSelf-CompassionSelf-RegulationSelf-Representational Approaches to ConsciousnessSelfless InsightSelvesSerial KillersSex at DawnSex on the BrainSex, Time and PowerSexual Coercion in Primates and HumansSexual DisordersSexual FluiditySexual ReckoningsSexualized BrainsShame and GuiltShatteredSimulating MindsSisyphus's BoulderSNAPSocial NeuroscienceSocial NeuroscienceSocial NeuroscienceSocial Psychology and DiscourseSome We Love, Some We Hate, Some We EatSoul DustSparkSpiral of EntrapmentSplendors and Miseries of the BrainSports Hypnosis in PracticeStanding at Water's EdgeStich and His CriticsStillpowerStop OverreactingStructure and Agency in Everyday LifeStructures of AgencyStuffStumbling on HappinessSubjectivity and SelfhoodSubstance Abuse and EmotionSupersizing the MindSweet DreamsSynaptic SelfTales from Both Sides of the BrainTalking Oneself SoberTalking to BabiesTaming the Troublesome ChildTargeting AutismTeaching Problems and the Problems of TeachingTeleological RealismTen Years of Viewing from WithinThat's DisgustingThe 5 Elements of Effective ThinkingThe Accidental MindThe Age of EmpathyThe Altruism EquationThe Altruistic BrainThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Clinical PsychiatryThe Anatomy of BiasThe Anxious BrainThe Archaeology of MindThe Art and Science of MindfulnessThe Art InstinctThe Art of HypnosisThe Asymmetrical BrainThe Bifurcation of the SelfThe Big Book of ConceptsThe Big DisconnectThe Birth of IntersubjectivityThe Birth of the MindThe Blackwell Handbook of Organizational Learning and Knowledge ManagementThe Blank SlateThe Body Has a Mind of Its OwnThe Bounds of CognitionThe Boy Who Was Raised as a DogThe BrainThe Brain and the Meaning of LifeThe Brain SupremacyThe Brain That Changes ItselfThe Brain's Way of HealingThe Brain: Big Bangs, Behaviors, and BeliefsThe Cambridge Handbook of Cognitive ScienceThe Cambridge Handbook of Situated CognitionThe Character of ConsciousnessThe Chemistry Between UsThe Choice EffectThe Clinical Science of Suicide PreventionThe Cognitive Approach to Conscious MachinesThe Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety: A Step-By-Step ProgramThe Cognitive NeurosciencesThe Cognitive-Emotional BrainThe College Fear FactorThe Commercialization of Intimate LifeThe Compass of PleasureThe Concepts of ConsciousnessThe Conscious BrainThe Conscious SelfThe Consuming InstinctThe Creating BrainThe Creative BrainThe Crucible of ConsciousnessThe Crucible of ExperienceThe Cure WithinThe Dao of NeuroscienceThe Developing MindThe Developing MindThe Development of PsychopathologyThe Disappearance of the Social in American Social PsychologyThe Dissolution of MindThe Duty to ProtectThe Educated ParentThe Ego TunnelThe Elephant in the RoomThe Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human ExperienceThe Emotional Journey of the Alzheimer's FamilyThe Encultured BrainThe Encyclopedia of StupidityThe Enduring Self in People with Alzheimer'sThe Epidemiology of SchizophreniaThe Essential DifferenceThe Ethical BrainThe Evolution of ChildhoodThe Evolution of CooperationThe Evolution of LanguageThe Evolution of MindThe Evolving BrainThe Executive BrainThe Faces of TerrorismThe Feeling BrainThe Feeling of What HappensThe First IdeaThe Folly of FoolsThe Folly of FoolsThe Folly of FoolsThe Foundations of Cognitive ArchaeologyThe Fundamentalist MindsetThe GapThe Gender TrapThe Geography of BlissThe Gift of ShynessThe Good LifeThe Good LifeThe Happiness HypothesisThe Happiness of PursuitThe Health Psychology HandbookThe Healthy Aging BrainThe High Price of MaterialismThe History of PsychologyThe Human FaceThe Human SparkThe Hypomanic EdgeThe Imagery DebateThe Immeasurable MindThe Imprinted BrainThe Incredible Shrinking MindThe Innate MindThe Innate MindThe Integrated SelfThe Intentional BrainThe Language of ThoughtThe Languages of the BrainThe Lexicon of Adlerian PsychologyThe Lie DetectorsThe Lives of the BrainThe Lonely AmericanThe Lust for BloodThe Madness of WomenThe Male BrainThe Man Who Lost His LanguageThe Man Who Shocked the WorldThe Man Who Tasted ShapesThe Man Who Wasn't ThereThe Matter of the MindThe Mature MindThe Mean Girl MotiveThe Meaning of EvilThe Meaning of OthersThe Meaning of the BodyThe Measure of MadnessThe Measure of MindThe Medicalization of Everyday LifeThe Mind and the BrainThe Mind in ContextThe Mind of the ChildThe Mind of the HorseThe Mind's EyeThe Mind, the Body and the WorldThe Mind-Gut ConnectionThe Mindful BrainThe Misleading MindThe Moral MindThe Most Dangerous AnimalThe Most Human HumanThe Mother FactorThe Myth of ChoiceThe Myth of Depression as DiseaseThe Myth of Mirror NeuronsThe Myth of Self HelpThe Myth of Self-EsteemThe Myth of the Spoiled ChildThe Nature of the SelfThe Necessity Of MadnessThe Neuro RevolutionThe Neuropsychology of the UnconsciousThe Neuroscience of Human RelationshipsThe Neuroscience of PsychotherapyThe Neuroscience of Psychotherapy: Healing the Social BrainThe New BrainThe New Science of DreamingThe New Science of the MindThe New UnconsciousThe Normal PersonalityThe Origins of FairnessThe Overflowing BrainThe Oxford Companion to the MindThe Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of MindThe Paradoxical PrimateThe Perfectionist's HandbookThe Peripheral MindThe Phenomenology ReaderThe Philosopher's Secret FireThe Philosophical BabyThe Political MindThe Politics of HappinessThe Positive Side of Negative EmotionsThe Postnational SelfThe Postpartum EffectThe Power of PlayThe Praeger Handbook of TranssexualityThe Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday LifeThe Primate MindThe Prism of GrammarThe Psychobiology of Trauma and Resilience Across the LifespanThe Psychological Construction of EmotionThe Psychology of Good and EvilThe Psychology of Good and EvilThe Psychology of HappinessThe Psychology of LifestyleThe Psychology of Religious FundamentalismThe Psychology of Science and the Origins of the Scientific MindThe Psychology of Science and the Origins of the Scientific MindThe Psychology of SpiritualityThe Psychology of StereotypingThe Psychology of SuperheroesThe Psychophysiology of Self-AwarenessThe Pursuit of PerfectThe Quest for Mental HealthThe Rational ImaginationThe Ravenous BrainThe Reasons of LoveThe Righteous MindThe Routledge Companion to Philosophy of PsychologyThe Routledge Companion to Philosophy of PsychologyThe Science of EvilThe Science of Intimate RelationshipsThe Science of Shame and its Treatment The Second SelfThe Secret History of EmotionThe Secret Lives of BoysThe Self and Its EmotionsThe Self-Sabotage CycleThe Sensitive SelfThe Shape of ThoughtThe Social AnimalThe Social Nature of Mental IllnessThe Social Neuroscience of EmpathyThe Social Psychology of Good and EvilThe Social Psychology of MoralityThe Social Psychology of MoralityThe Story of Intellectual DisabilityThe Structure of ThinkingThe Survivors ClubThe Talking ApeThe Teenage BrainThe Tell-Tale BrainThe Temperamental ThreadThe Tender CutThe Tending InstinctThe Time ParadoxThe Trauma MythThe Trauma of Psychological TortureThe Trauma of Psychological TortureThe True PathThe Truth About GriefThe Turing TestThe Uncertain SciencesThe Undoing ProjectThe Unhappy ChildThe Upside of IrrationalityThe War for Children's MindsThe Well-Tuned BrainThe Wild Girl, Natural Man, and the MonsterThe Winner's BrainThe Wisdom in FeelingThe Woman RacketThe World in My Mind, My Mind in the WorldThe Wow ClimaxThe Yipping TigerThemes, Issues and Debates in PsychologyTheoretical Issues in Psychology: An IntroductionTheory of AddictionTheory of MindThings and PlacesThink CatThink Confident, Be ConfidentThinking about AddictionThinking and SeeingThis Emotional Life: In Search of Ourselves...and HappinessThought and LanguageThought in a Hostile WorldTo Have and To Hurt:Toward an Evolutionary Biology of LanguageToward Replacement Parts for the BrainTrauma and Human ExistenceTrauma, Tragedy, TherapyTreating Attachment DisordersTreating Self-InjuryTreating Self-Injury: A Practical GuideTrue to Our FeelingsTrusting the Subject?Understanding and Treating Borderline Personality DisorderUnderstanding ConsciousnessUnderstanding ParanoiaUnderstanding PeopleUnderstanding TerrorismUndoing Perpetual StressUnlock the Genius WithinUnsettled MindsUnstrange MindsUnthinkingUs and ThemViolent PartnersVirtue, Vice, and PersonalityVision and MindVisual AgnosiaWarrior's DishonourWe Who Are DarkWednesday Is Indigo BlueWelcome to Your BrainWhat Do Women Want?What Dying People WantWhat Have We DoneWhat Intelligence Tests MissWhat Is an Emotion: Classic and Contemporary ReadingsWhat Is Emotion?What is Intelligence?What Is Mental Illness?What Is Thought?What Makes Your Brain Happy and Why You Should Do the Opposite What the Best College Students DoWhat the Dog SawWhat We Know about Emotional IntelligenceWhat We Say MattersWhat's Wrong With Morality?When Boys Become BoysWhen Perfect Isn't Good EnoughWhen the Impossible HappensWhen Walls Become DoorwaysWho's Been Sleeping in Your HeadWho's in Charge?Why Humans Like to CryWhy Love MattersWhy Lyrics LastWhy People CooperateWhy People Die by SuicideWhy Sex Matters: A Darwinian Look at Human BehaviorWhy Smart People Can Be So StupidWhy the Mind is Not a ComputerWhy Us?Why We LieWhy We LoveWider than the SkyWilliam James at the BoundariesWilling, Wanting, WaitingWittgenstein And PsychologyWomen and Child Sexual AbuseWorking MindsYoga and PsychologyYou Are What You RememberYoung Minds in Social WorldsYour Brain on CubsYour Brain on FoodYour Brain on Food: How Chemicals Control Your Thoughts and Feelings,Your Brain on YogaYour Child in the BalanceZombies and Consciousness

Related Topics
The Altruistic BrainReview - The Altruistic Brain
How We Are Naturally Good
by Donald W Pfaff
Oxford University Press, 2015
Review by Iraklis Ioannidis
Jun 30th 2015 (Volume 19, Issue 27)

In 1851, Comte coined the term 'Altruism' in order to describe how human beings are made to live, care and love each other. From this he derived, the widely known motto Vivre pour autrui. Based on the emerging positivism of the 19th century, through his research and its methodologies coupled with the first strands of evolutionary theory, he argued that our brains have structures which he designated 'altruistic'. Essentially, these structures are innate tendencies to bond and care for others, and they are a product of our human evolution and not the product of some metaphysical creation. Pfaff'The Altruistic Brain is undoubtedly a "remix" of Comte's theory where, instead of only biology and anatomy, we have neurobiology and neuroscience in an attempt to prove that we have evolved to be altruistic.

Overall, Pfaff's book is well-written and delivers its introductory goal, to explain "a set of new ideas in neuroscience to readers who lack a scientific background" (p. vii), with aplomb. The book is divided into two parts, Part One: Chapters 1-5, and Part Two: Chapters 6-9. The first part successfully meets the author's objective to synthesize the latest scientific findings from all neurological disciplines into a theory which demonstrates how we have evolved into being altruistic. In this part, a review of the relevant evolutionary theories is offered and links are made to relevant neuro-scientific research in order to show that "our brains are wired to produce altruistic behavior" (p.13). This part concludes with The Altruistic Brain Theory (ABT), which is a five-step theory for the altruistic functioning of brains. Each step is explained neurologically via familiar examples of altruistic conduct and at the same time linked to research which supports the relevant explanation.  The second part of the book tackles the essential questions which spring from such a theorization of human nature. For example, if we are made to behave altruistically, then why is it the case that we often do not? In this part the author locates those issues that hinder our innate tendency to behave in harmony with our physiological make up, and offers suggestions for how we need to act, both at individual and collective levels, in order to promote and enhance our capacities, capacities which are the foundation of our being and which have secured our well-being and our evolution over the millennia.

It certainly follows that, if we accept that we are made by nature to be altruistic, then we need to find ways to live in harmony with what we are, otherwise our well-being and the  progress of our civilization will be stymied; to such an end, and on an optimistic note, the author draws from relevant contemporary practices, already implemented by societies and institutions which promote altruistic behavior, to propose similar practices that could resolve even the most difficult and controversial ethical issues such as corruption, war, genocide, aggressive behavior, and so on. Overall, the author not only provides a complete scientific theoretical argument about human ontology, but he also attempts to apply that argument to everyday common concerns in order to test it to its limitations. The latter is one of its strongest points since it makes the link from theory to everyday life, that is, from scientific research to social and cultural practices, thus constituting a holistic effort to boost the evidentiary support of the theory altogether.

So, how are we made to act altruistically? ABT posits (Chapters 2 and 3) that each altruistic act has five Steps. The first step is true of all acts; the brain represents the act to be performed before it happens and sends the relevant signals, not only to the muscles as a command to contract, but also sends "an identical message back to the sensory systems" (p. 55), so in this way the system 'knows' what will happen; this phenomenon is known as 'corollary discharge'. The next step is the representation of the person(s) toward whom the act is intended.  The brain creates an image either of a specific person or "visualize[s] a generic" person (p.57). The third step is the most important. The image in step 2 is blurred and converged into an image of the self, based on a process called 'cross-excitation', then, when the brain evaluates, in step 4, whether the act is to be performed toward the other person, it will be accomplished based on an evaluation of the image of the self "(we always have an image of ourselves in our brain)" (p.58) which has been blurred/merged with that of the other "created" at step 2. This process, described as an "ethical switch" (p.60), leads to step 5, which is the performance (or not) of the act based on whether that act would have been beneficial for the self. This five step process is evaluated by the author as similar to the Golden rule of morality: "The positive generous act occurs because it matches the way he [sic] himself must be treated" (p.61).  Essentially, the way we act toward the others is based on treating the other as oneself, or the familiar maxim: Do as you would be done by.

Whereas the theory successfully explains what happens in those cases we refer to as altruistic, it fails to address how we engage in such acts. To use one of the author's examples, I see an older fellow human trying to lift a cart over a staircase and struggling. What will make me, motivate me, or even just attract my attention to start the process that ABT explains, to help her lift the cart? The whole issue of Altruism lies outside the 5 steps, it lies right before. It is their antecedent. There is something that attracts my attention. Something that affects me in the direction of engaging in the process that ABT posits. What this motivation consists in is rather difficult to explain in purely reductive neurologically universal ways. This is the same structure as the common critique of physicalist reductionist theories of the mind, and unfortunately ABT cannot overcome it. So, we may well reduce our actions and thoughts to brain states, and even to find universality in all human beings, but we will never be able to reduce them in such a way as to match the conditions for these brain states for every human being. In the case of altruism this amounts to explaining these conditions which motivate one to be altruistic or to be altruistic toward some and not others. Having failed in this respect, ABT is left merely providing a scientific stamp for our common knowledge, that we can be altruistic and that we can be habituated (p. 159; p. 222-3) to be altruistic.

In an austere reading, ATB is not really a theory about altruism traditionally construed. Unfortunately, the author does not provide an approximate definition of what he takes altruism to be, so we are left to infer a definition from the examples cited, which pick out different empirical situations which require instinctual responses, or acts which require reflection or deliberation. And this creates a problem for the theory. The author does not make a definite commitment about whether 'the cross-excitation', this image blurring, is conscious or not which is of crucial importance to register the act as altruistic or not.  The example he gives of the young person who took the bullet for his girlfriend, fits the category of instinctual act. The fireman who decides to leave his present enjoyment to go and rescue someone deliberates in one way or another. If I am conscious of the blurring and I see the Other as myself and match the way I want to be treated then there is utility, a form of heteronomy in the Kantian terms that the author uses, which, incidentally, he negates on page 61, but later affirms when he equates altruism to a form of empathetic reciprocity based on utility: "It is precisely such trading – you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours – that brings corruption within the ambit of the Altruistic Brain" (p. 214).  If the act, conversely, is based on an unconscious blurring then we need an account of how, as mentioned earlier, we engage instinctually. The blanket reason that the author offers of a wired tendency for the continuation of the species cannot fit the bill because, as we know, some have this tendency and some do not.

A further contradiction springs from the example of the young individuals who are sacrificing their lives for their partners. The Golden rule cannot apply in this case because, if I am to do unto others what I wished that they would do unto me, and I die, as a foreseen consequence of my action, then this cannot have been the unconscious motivator for my action, for I am now dead and the action has no long-term personal benefit. In this case and in the absence of such a motivator, I do something of which I do not expect a return, which is indeed pure altruism as most people understand the term. But the author cannot explain it with the ATB theory because step 5 would have yielded a "no-go" if it refers strictly back to the self – the blurred image of self-other.  Why would I do something for another, based on the benefit that it would later confer on me, if I am to die as a consequence of my action? So in this case the author attributes this action to an unconscious benefit for the community "which is why - in evolutionary terms – we can have expected it" (p. 68). But now the reader will be baffled. Is it the self or the community for whom altruistic behavior is performed? And then the next question must surely be: Which community? In the first part we have a clear attribution to a community benefit overall and then, in the second part, we have a selective restricted community benefit reduced to particular local group, where the act is intended without an account of how the choice is made. Clearly, there is some choice at work; a 'choiceof which images are being blurred, which is another way of phrasing the earlier problem of what motivates someone to engage in an altruistic act toward some and not others. Even with its best explanatory power, ABT cannot account for this crucial distinction.

Briefly, if I use a Foucaultian term, there is an ideological mark to be found in the margin of this book. The altruism being proposed is not the reciprocal one finds in the works of Mauss, for example, and in the philosophy of the Ubuntu culture, which is crucial positive anthropological research in this sphere, an yet not mentioned in the book. The altruism proposed by Pfaff is a paradoxical form of empathetic reciprocity within the antagonistic framework of capitalism: "ABT becomes a tool for a healthy capitalist economy" (p. 171).  If we take ABT to be true and really try to "create conditions that favor our natural inclinations", then (p.141) it follows that altruism becomes incompatible with any kind of antagonistic laissez-faire. Merging self and other in an empathetic reciprocity seems anti-nomical with capitalism which is conditioned on rivalry and antagonism.

Finally, the book is successful in introducing the reader to the latest neuroscientific findings about the function of our brain, and the author makes an impressive attempt to weave these findings with evolutionary theory into an argument about an innate human tendency for altruism as empathetic reciprocity, just like Comte did. Yet, it utterly fails to account for the phenomenon of altruism. It just explains a phenomenon of glossed utility in scientific terms.

 

© 2015 Iraklis Ioannidis

 

Iraklis Ioannidis, PhD Candidate in Philosophy,The University of Glasgow


Share

Welcome to MHN's unique book review site Metapsychology. We feature over 7800 in-depth reviews of a wide range of books and DVDs written by our reviewers from many backgrounds and perspectives. We update our front page weekly and add more than thirty new reviews each month. Our editor is Christian Perring, PhD. To contact him, use one of the forms available here.

Can't remember our URL? Access our reviews directly via 'metapsychology.net'


Metapsychology Online reviewers normally receive gratis review copies of the items they review.
Metapsychology Online receives a commission from Amazon.com for purchases through this site, which helps us send review copies to reviewers. Please support us by making your Amazon.com purchases through our Amazon links. We thank you for your support!


Join our e-mail list!: Metapsychology New Review Announcements: Sent out monthly, these announcements list our recent reviews. To subscribe, click here.

Interested in becoming a book reviewer for Metapsychology? Currently, we especially need thoughtful reviewers for books in fiction, self-help and popular psychology. To apply, write to our editor.

Metapsychology Online Reviews

Promote your Page too

Metapsychology Online Reviews
ISSN 1931-5716