Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life: A Psychologist Investigates How Evolution, Cognition, and Complexity are Revolutionizing our View of Human Nature

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Kindle Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life: A Psychologist Investigates How Evolution, Cognition, and Complexity are Revolutionizing our View of Human Nature When a baseball player steps up to the plate and wags his bat at the wall past outfield, it's a sign.  Next pitch is a homerun.  When someone, in this case, Douglas Kenrick, entitles a book Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life it's the literary equivalent of holding a bat straight out to the centerfield wall.The introduction begins, "You and I have probably never met, but you might be shocked to learn how well we know one another and how intimately our lives are connected."  Kenrick goes on to say, "this is a book about the biggest question we can ask: What is the meaning of life?"  However, he explores questions regarding the choices people make and how evolution may play into those decisions, without really addressing the meaning of life, or the other question he brings up, "How can I live a more meaningful life?"  Instead, as if he were ready for critic's comments, Kenrick states, "Despite what you might have read in Malcolm Gladwell's book Blink, first impressions can be misleading.  If you do a blink-style speed-read of this book, you might think it is mostly about me...But if you keep reading, I am pretty sure you'll discover that this book is really about you, your family, and your friends and about the important decisions you confront every day."It feels like Kenrick is putting the onus on the reader.  If you think the book is about me, obviously you are not a close reader, obviously you skimmed my book.  Balance those sentences with the powerful title and warning signs may begin to flare.  In my experience, books are skimmed because they are not engaging.  Let's look at the sentences with some modifications.  "If you do a blink-style speed-read of this book, you may think I am not an engaging writer.  But if you keep reading, I'm pretty sure you'll discover that this book is worth it."  It's hard to get past "but if you keep reading."  As I thought about it, my main impulse was to say, "But if you keep reading, I'm pretty sure you'll discover that this book is not really engaging."Stripped away, Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life is a book centered around the author and his interests.  The writing trends toward creating a persona of a New York City kid turned intellectual but still with his folksy, blue-collar charm.  It comes across feeling as fabricated as Hillary Clinton having a shot of whiskey with rural constituents.  Someone may say a scientist researches their interests, and thus Kenrick's interests are really the foundation of his research.  That may be the case, but I didn't find Kenrick's interests and research too interesting.  Instead, the tone of the book is soapbox.  He's not looking to help people have a more meaningful life, but is defending evolutionary psychology against critics.  Moreover, he is supplanting structure with stories from his life.Overall, I came away having learned some concepts of evolutionary and cognitive psychology, but it was at a cost.  The cost was wading through a tiresome narrative from a writer who loves spinning yarns, but is not a good storyteller nor an engaging writer.  The cost was being placed in the middle of a brawl between a defensive scientist and the status quo without a background in experimental design.  The cost was a writer who was ready to turn on his reader in the first few pages of the introduction.  With a title like Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life, the reader expects a homerun and deserves at least a double play.  Kenrick displayed his personality with a catchy title, then left the crowd disappointed with a grounder skittering along the infield dirt.. Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life: A Psychologist Investigates How Evolution, Cognition, and Complexity are Revolutionizing our View of Human Nature Viral Book What do sex and murder have to do with the meaning of life Everything.In Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life, social psychologist Douglas Kenrick exposes the selfish animalistic underside of human nature, and shows how it is intimately connected to our greatest and most selfless achievements Masterfully integrating cognitive science, evolutionary psychology, and complexWhat do sex and murder have to do with the meaning of life Everything.In Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life, social psychologist Douglas Kenrick exposes the selfish animalistic underside of human nature, and shows how it is intimately connected to our greatest and most selfless achievements Masterfully integrating cognitive science, evolutionary psychology, and complexity theory, this intriguing book paints a comprehensive picture of the principles that govern our lives As Kenrick divulges, beneath our civilized veneer, human beings are a lot like howling hyenas and barking baboons, with heads full of homicidal tendencies and sexual fantasies But, in his view, many ingrained, apparently irrational behaviors such as inclinations to one night stands, racial prejudices, and conspicuous consumption ultimately manifest what he calls Deep Rationality Although our heads are full of simple selfish biases that evolved to help our ancestors survive, modern human beings are anything but simple and selfish cavemen Kenrick argues that simple and selfish mental mechanisms we inherited from our ancestors ultimately give rise to the multifaceted social lives that we humans lead today, and to the most positive features of humanity, including generosity, artistic creativity, love, and familial bonds And out of those simple mechanisms emerge all the complexities of society, including international conflicts and global economic markets By exploring the nuance of social psychology and the surprising results of his own research, Kenrick offers a detailed picture of what makes us caring, creative, and complex that is, fully human Illuminated with stories from Kenrick s own colorful experiences from his criminally inclined shantytown Irish relatives, his own multiple high school expulsions, broken marriages, and homicidal fantasies, to his eventual success as an evolutionary psychologist and loving father of two boys separated by 26 years this book is an exploration of our mental biases and failures, and our mind s great successes Idiosyncratic, controversial, and fascinating, Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life uncovers the pitfalls and promise of our biological inheritance.. Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University His research and writing integrate three scientific syntheses of the last few decades evolutionary psychology, cognitive science, and dynamical systems theory He is author of over 170 scientific articles, books, and book chapters, the majority applying evolutionary ideas to human cognition and behavior.His father and brother both spent several years in Sing Sing, but he broke the family tradition and went to graduate school to study psychology He studied social psychology under Robert B Cialdini and received his Ph.D from Arizona State University in 1976 He has edited several books on evolutionary psychology, contributed chapters to the Handbook of Social Psychology and the Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology, and been an author of two multi edition textbooks Psychology, with John Seamon and Social Psychology Goals in Interaction, with Steven Neuberg and Robert B Cialdini He writes a blog for Psychology Today magazine, titled Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life He has a forthcoming book of the same title.. Good Books Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life: A Psychologist Investigates How Evolution, Cognition, and Complexity are Revolutionizing our View of Human Nature A rather boldish review of psy stuff.Q:Эмерджентность — свойства системы, которые не присущи ее элементам по отдельности, а возникают благодаря объединению этих элементов в целостную систему. Именно таким образом описывается возникновение психики в нашем мозге в настоящее время.(c)Q:Наши воспоминания могут проявляться в двух формах. Иногда, когда мы вспоминаем прошлое, на ум приходят события, происходившие на самом деле, как поцелуй втроем или звонок мамы с печальной вестью. А порой мы думаем о том, что могло бы произойти, если бы в свое время в прошлом мы выбрали другую дорогу в жизни. Действительно, мы, бывает, лучше помним то, чего не сделали, чем то, что произошло на самом деле.Когда я был моложе, я влюбился в красивую, но сдержанную особу. Как-то раз она, казалось, решилась преодолеть свою застенчивость и начала увлекать меня в спальню. Однако я подумал о своей тогдашней подружке и не воспользовался предоставляющейся возможностью. Тем не менее я все думаю: что бы было, если бы я тогда остался? Стало бы это приятным воспоминанием о краткосрочной пылкой связи или полностью перевернуло бы мою жизнь?У многих моих друзей есть подобные воспоминания о несостоявшихся событиях, подобных моему, о моментах, когда они были готовы лечь в постель с женщиной, которая им нравилась. Интересно, бывают ли такие воспоминания у женщин?Как-то много лет спустя во время творческого отпуска мы разговорились с Нилом Роузом, который в то время работал в Университете имени Саймона Фрэйзера в Британской Колумбии. Нил считается самым крупным специалистом в мире по контрфактуальным воспоминаниям. Он изучает воспоминания людей об альтернативах, которые они упустили, и то, как повернулась бы жизнь, если бы они сделали другой выбор. Независимо друг от друга мы оба начали размышлять о возможных различиях при мыслях о несбывшемся у мужчин и женщин.Исследователи, ранее изучавшие контрфактуальное мышление, не обнаружили половых различий, достойных внимания. Но чем больше мы с Нилом говорили, тем очевиднее становилось, что ошибка исследователей, вероятно, заключалась в неверной постановке вопроса. В предыдущих исследованиях проводилось изучение контрфактуальных мыслей людей о возможных успехах, которых они не достигли (например, «Если бы я больше тренировался, я выиграл бы»), но они не затронули пласт взаимоотношений в воспоминаниях. Во время нашей работы с коллегами Нила Джинджер Пеннигтон, Джил Коулмэн и Марией Джаники и моим коллегой Нормом Ли мы более пристально посмотрели на то, что люди думают о несостоявшихся романтических отношениях. На протяжении ряда исследований мы просили испытуемых подумать об их романтических отношениях в прошлом, об их успехах в учебе, о друзьях или взаимоотношениях с родителями. Когда они начинали вспоминать прошлое, мы задавали им вопрос: «Не хотели бы вы поступить иначе, если бы можно было вернуть прошлое?»Когда речь шла о родителях или школьных делах, и мужчины, и женщины в два раза чаще сожалели о своем бездействии, о том, что им следовало сделать, а они не сделали, чем о действиях, которые они совершили и о которых сожалеют. Что же касается любовных взаимоотношений, то здесь реакции мужчин и женщин очень отличаются. У женщин гораздо больше сожалений по поводу того, что они сделали (наподобие: «Связала свою жизнь с этим эгоистом и подонком! А ведь мама предупреждала!»). А мужчины в подавляющем большинстве сожалеют о том, чего не сделали (к примеру, жалко, что не познакомился поближе с такой-то дамочкой).С точки зрения эволюционной психологии в этом есть смысл: мужчины более склонны к беспорядочным сексуальным связям, тогда как женщины в этом отношении более осторожны. Когда женщины принимают неверное решение, они об этом долго помнят. Вероятно, эти воспоминания позволяют им избегать подобных ошибок в будущем.(c)

About Author

  1. Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University His research and writing integrate three scientific syntheses of the last few decades evolutionary psychology, cognitive science, and dynamical systems theory He is author of over 170 scientific articles, books, and book chapters, the majority applying evolutionary ideas to human cognition and behavior.His father and brother both spent several years in Sing Sing, but he broke the family tradition and went to graduate school to study psychology He studied social psychology under Robert B Cialdini and received his Ph.D from Arizona State University in 1976 He has edited several books on evolutionary psychology, contributed chapters to the Handbook of Social Psychology and the Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology, and been an author of two multi edition textbooks Psychology, with John Seamon and Social Psychology Goals in Interaction, with Steven Neuberg and Robert B Cialdini He writes a blog for Psychology Today magazine, titled Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life He has a forthcoming book of the same title.

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Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life: A Psychologist Investigates How Evolution, Cognition, and Complexity are Revolutionizing our View of Human Nature Comment

  1. A rather boldish review of psy stuff.Q , , c Q , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , c


  2. When a baseball player steps up to the plate and wags his bat at the wall past outfield, it s a sign Next pitch is a homerun When someone, in this case, Douglas Kenrick, entitles a book Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life it s the literary equivalent of holding a bat straight out to the centerfield wall.The introduction begins, You and I have probably never met, but you might be shocked to learn how well we know one another and how intimately our lives are connected Kenrick goes on to say, this [...]



  3. This was a brisk, enlightening, and easy to digest account of a lot of evolutionary psychology theories I ve read a lot of books on this topic before, but this was a good presentation that would serve equally well as a refresher, introduction, or further reading, depending on your level of experience with the field A pleasantly affable, yet still knowledgeable, tone pervades this work Recommended to anybody interested the the subject.


  4. Much as I wanted to love this book, and in spite of all the enthusiastic reviews reader, peer and pro no less , I was disappointed by the lack of content and development a scant 200 pages sans notes of a fascinating subject The author runs through each theme with an opening anecdote based on personal experience, a brief description of one or two studies carried out by his own research team or approved affiliates and concludes with yet another anecdote which is meant to illustrate the validity of [...]


  5. Useful and funny, but the scope seemed too broad I enjoyed the attention given to personal anecdotes, but the trade off perhaps determined by what fit within a couple hundred pages was that large concepts were introduced without being fully explained and without ever being returned to Examples The four levels of analysis functional, historical, developmental, proximate seem to me, at least according to their brief definitions here, to separate into an overarching evolutionary goal of promoting s [...]


  6. Cognitive reductionism with a dash of sexual narcissismI wasn t crazy about this book The simple too simple argument is that evolutionary pressures shape our cognitive and psychological landscape According to the author, the most significant pressure is related to procreative strategies to ensure we continue our genetic lines As a result, how we advertise sexual availability, seek, choose and retain partners, and how well we do as parents, are the driving forces behind a whole slew of heuristic [...]


  7. Simple rules make us profoundly human Weaving together the insights of the three interdisciplinary movements of cognitive science, evolutionary psychology, and dynamical systems theory, Douglas Kenrick reveals the simple rules explaining some of our most complex human behaviors His fascinating journey illuminating human drives, emotions, and behaviors is grounded in the following basic principles 1 Simple selfish rules looking at human behavior through an evolutionary context reveals a collectio [...]


  8. Douglas Kenrick is a pioneer in the field of evolutionary psychology, and despite the criticism it has received for generating too many just so stories to explain human behavior, I thought he did a good job not only of introducing the discipline, but citing good studies to make his case.The mainspring of evolutionary psychology is the idea that we are primarily driven by our desire to pass along our genes to future generations, and that men and women have fundamentally different strategies for d [...]


  9. Literature has long explored the vagaries of the human condition and I guess science decided it was time to catch up a little bit Some insights from the book that made me stop and take notes Conservative attitudes about sex and sexuality may drive religiosity not the other way around , which may explain my total lack of religiosity.Behavioral economics has done a great job at pointing out our economic irrationality, but if we dig deeper we may be able to find an underlying rationality in our evo [...]


  10. The 2nd part of this book was better than the first,changing my 1 star vote to 2 stars.Over all I never felt anything got fully developed The authors defensive edge smoothed as the book went along though so it became easier to enjoy the content of what he wroteBut when the author says you might think this book is about me.but its about YOUn t kid yourself.Sure we are all connected and its the information he writes is about all of usbut you can bet your booty this book is about HIM Kenrick himsel [...]


  11. This was certainly not the best book I ve read on evolutionary psychology however, Kenrick s book made the concepts personal via examples from his own life Some may like that some may not Additionally, he added complexity theory to the mix, which added a new twist to the theory of EP.I wouldn t recommend this book to anyone already familiar with evolutionary psychology as they will likely find it boring and lacking in new material On the other hand, Kendrick s book is useful as an introduction s [...]


  12. It would be a fair question why we should care about the opinion of a psychologist, about the meaning of life Psychology has Sigmund Freud and B.F Skinner to answer for, so it s not as if its record on getting things right is without blemish Moreover, science proceeds best when its focus is, not on the most important questions one can think of, but the most important questions one can think of a good way to test the answers to right now Sex and murder are big enough topics the meaning of life se [...]


  13. Very interesting material overall, but it did lose my attention than a few times I don t remember when I began it, but it s taken me probably over a year to finish I will definitely remember the information, either as trivia or for use in intellectual discussion I am no psychologist though I am an evolutionary biologist but the information was written simply enough for myself, and I believe non scientists, to understand easily Another bonus was despite losing my attention, picking it back up wa [...]


  14. As expected I found listening to this audiobook great Psychology is ever intriguing and I can t get enough I had no idea that murderous thoughts were to be had by than the usual suspects for these things I will forever remember Maslow s hierarchy pyramid.


  15. Sex, Murder and the Meaning of Life by Douglas T Kenrick Sex, Murder and the Meaning of Life is a book about the study of the underside of human nature and then some Using a modern form of psychology grounded in evolutionary biology, cognitive science and new research Mr Kenrick provides the answers of some of the most interesting aspects of human nature This 256 page book is composed of the following twelve chapters 1 Standing in the Gutter How did an innocent young student accidentally fall in [...]


  16. The author says that people have homicidal fantasies I value the effort that goes into getting a degree and conducting ethical studies that make it legal for him to say that people have homicidal fantasies This is good information.


  17. I looked forward to reading this book because of my desire to learn about evolutionary psychology However, I am not sure if this is the book with which that can be achieved First good things Kenrick is a good writer He has a great knack for clearly explaining tricky psychological experiments He is also a hands on experimental psychologist who deals in real data He seems well informed in his subject at least psychology and very main line in his approach to evolution.Now the disappointing I am no [...]


  18. Oh well, oh well.is is by far one of the most fascinating book I read the Chinese version I have ever read besides the subject of Currency War little offshoot Professor opens the door for me to understand several points in which I am going to just point out i inclusive fitness ii simple selfish motives iii subselves very important that are dominating our behaviors according to different situationsiv references from Festinger v Female and Male cognitive understanding and behavioral differences to [...]


  19. I suspect most people s objections to psychological research that demonstrates a trend toward our base instincts e.g it s all about mating is rooted in a basic misunderstanding of how said research is conducted It s a series of surveys and other tests administered to a semi random group of volunteers The findings imply general tendencies none of which are all that surprising, by the way but that does not mean we are mindless automatons at the mercies of our impulses Obviously For example, women [...]



  20. Douglas Kenrick writes with a very humorous style that is appealing to all audiences especially with any background knowledge of psychology Within the text he includes personal examples from his own life that highlight why he pursued certain research topics such as how men and women approach sexuality differently He is always sure to give credit to other researchers where credit is due It is a thought stimulating book highlighting his own research in social psychology but also famous studies tha [...]


  21. Review based on ARCThis was, for me, someone without much of a background in evolutionary psychology, interesting and thought provoking I appreciated that the author presented the theory without dumbing it down too much, while still making it accessible to someone who is interested in psychology but doesn t quite have the time to really focus on it.The author expresses his theories on how our natural inclinations toward selfishness and pleasure have often given way to the some of society s great [...]


  22. I can totally see why Robert Sapolsky gave this his mark of approval It s irreverent, funny as hell and stinking brilliant Sure, the blunt, streetwise, Brooklyn guy narrative voice boarders on shtick at times That being said, it has a important function, to playfully broach the offensive to some subject matter that is the hallmark of evolutionary psychology e.g sex including homosex and aggression Of course the material covered in this book which I will not summarize , goes far beyond sex and ag [...]


  23. So, it looks like we are really controlled by our DNAs, good or bad Or accurately speaking happy or sad Depends on whether you r an evolutionary psychologist or not I am NOT I guess I could see the evolutionary advantage of some sort of women seeking successful men over goodlooking ones, but following the same train of thought, I don t get why men seeking pretty women over, say, other kinds of women, offers any evolutionary edge to those men who fail at it or the theory that the author generous [...]


  24. Evolutionary psychology has a hard rap in this world most people are probably put off my the evolutionary and its only natural to freak out a little when people start telling you that your motivations in life stem entirely from what made early humans good baby makers.But then Kenrick comes along and defends evolutionary psychology with skill, wit and insight, and I find it hard to feel sorry for the subject.In Sex, Murder and the Meaning of Life, we explore issues from mate selection, aggression [...]


  25. I really enjoyed this The author was quite amusing and it s an interesting topic It s interesting to look at all human motivations as having to do with evolution My favorite part was when he was describing a study in which coupled men and women were asked about their relationships, then shown pictures of attractive people in the opposite sex, and then asked again about their relationships Men back pedaled a bit about the seriousness of their relationships after seeing models Are women just deep [...]


  26. This is enjoyably written If you have already read a bit on evolutionary psychology similar topics you are not likely to learn anything new.The author does a very nice job of integrating stories about his own life in pertinent ways.However, as he tells us several times, during his rebellious youth he did poorly in algebra and never moved on to calculus More than that, he scrupulously avoids numbers, even when they are very relevant He discusses MANY studies but NEVER tells us how big the studies [...]


  27. I thoroughly enjoyed Kendrick s book on evolutionary psychology.It was well written and engaging to read, and served as an excellent introduction in my opinion to the field of evolutionary psychology.Kendrick methodologically breaks down the science of evolutionary psychology, engaging the reader by using numerous personal anecdotes that he weaves seamlessly into the explanations It felt a little self centered at times and certain paragraphs felt rather byzantine and incomprehensible, requiring [...]


  28. It is rare that I have such a negative view of a book that I ve read but this book is a scurge Popular books on social science typically gloss over nuances that social science researchers care about but most manage to represent the research in an authentic way Steve Pinker is a master at this Kendrick on the other hand simplifies arguments and streams of logic in a way that outright misrepresents Beyond this, much of what is covered is based solely on the author s own work as if that is the only [...]


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