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Cover

Sense and Nonsense

Evolutionary perspectives on human behaviour

Second Edition

Kevin N. Laland and Gillian Brown

April 2011

ISBN: 9780199586967

288 pages
Paperback
234x156mm

Price: £34.49

This book asks whether evolution can help us to understand human behaviour and explores diverse evolutionary methods and arguments. It provides a short, readable introduction to the science behind the works of Dawkins, Dennett, Wilson and Pinker. It is widely used in undergraduate courses around the world.

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Description

This book asks whether evolution can help us to understand human behaviour and explores diverse evolutionary methods and arguments. It provides a short, readable introduction to the science behind the works of Dawkins, Dennett, Wilson and Pinker. It is widely used in undergraduate courses around the world.

  • A new edition of a highly successful and impartial monograph describing the range of evolutionary approaches that have been taken to understanding human behaviour
  • Widely adopted on UG and PG courses in psychology and evolution, the new edition has been revised to take this into account, now including key discussion points
  • Provides a synopsis of the ideas and methods behind five evolutionary approaches to the study of human behaviour (sociobiology, human behavioural ecology, evolutionary psychology, cultural evolution, and gene-culture coevolution). Virtually all popular science books take the perspective of just one school. This book provides the reader with a pluralistic perspective.
  • Written in readable, non-technical style as a popular science book rather than academic textbook. Renders highly technical and mathematical works lively, accessible and entertaining.
  • The final chapter compares the different approaches, and assesses to what extent they are compatible. Reader is able to make judgements as to which approaches are the most proimising or useful, and to what extent they can be integrated.

New to this edition

  • The chapter on memes has been replaced by a more general chapter on cultural evolution, which captures important theoretical and empirical developments in the field.
  • More generally, the book has been updated, to take account of important research over the last 10 years
  • Revised taking account of its frequent use on UG and PG courses - now includes key questions and points for discussion

About the Author(s)

Kevin N. Laland, Professor of Biology, University of St Andrews, UK, and Gillian Brown, Lecturer, School of Psychology, University of St Andrews, UK

Kevin N. Laland is Professor of Behavioural and Evolutionary Biology at the University of St Andrews. His research encompasses a range of topics related to animal behaviour and evolution, particularly social learning, gene-culture coevolution, and niche construction. He has published 6 books and over 160 articles on these topics and has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He is also a former President of the European Human Behaviour and Evolution Association.

Gillian R. Brown is a lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of St Andrews. Her research focuses on sex differences in the behaviour of mammals, which she studies from neuroendocrine, developmental and evolutionary perspectives. She has published over 40 articles on sex differences, covering topics such as adaptive birth sex ratios, sex differences in infant and adolescent behaviour, parental investment and the evolution of mating strategies. She has held a Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellowship.

Table of Contents

    1:Sense and nonsense
    2:A history of evolution and human behaviour
    3:Human sociobiology
    4:Human behavioural ecology
    5:Evolutionary psychology
    6:Cultural evolution
    7:Gene-culture coevolution
    8:Comparing and integrating approaches
    Further Reading
    References

Reviews

"this is an important book that with much consideration outlines evolutionary schools of thought without compromising thoughtful critique. Laland and Brown do not only review their own research, but also dispel some of the persisting misunderstandings about evolutionary theory with broad awareness." - Ugur Parlar, Science & Education

"Review from previous edition"

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