417 pages, 35 b/w photos and b/w illustrations
Based groundbreaking new research, We Are Our Brains is a sweeping biography of the human brain, from infancy to adulthood to old age. Renowned neuroscientist D. F. Swaab takes us on a guided tour of the intricate inner workings that determine our potential, our limitations, and our desires, with each chapter serving as an eye-opening window on a different stage of brain development: the gender differences that develop in the embryonic brain, what goes on in the heads of adolescents, how parenthood permanently changes the brain.
Moving beyond pure biological understanding, Swaab presents a controversial and multilayered ethical argument surrounding the brain. Far from possessing true free will, Swaab argues, we have very little control over our everyday decisions, or who we will become, because our brains predetermine everything about us, long before we are born, from our moral character to our religious leanings to whom we fall in love with. And he challenges many of our prevailing assumptions about what makes us human, decoding the intricate "moral networks" that allow us to experience emotion, revealing maternal instinct to be the result of hormonal changes in the pregnant brain, and exploring the way that religious "imprinting" shapes the brain during childhood. Rife with memorable case studies, We Are Our Brains is already a bestselling international phenomenon. It aims to demystify the chemical and genetic workings of our most mysterious organ, in the process helping us to see who we are through an entirely new lens.
"A fun, wild ride through the big science of the moment"
– Sunday Times
"A blockbusfer about fhe brain [...] provocative. fascinating, remarkable"
– Clive Cookson, Financial Times
"A giant in the field"
– Zoe Williams, Guardian
"Engrossing, intriguing and enlightening"
– Robin Ince
– The Times Higher Education
"Wide-ranging, fun and informative [...] as an ice-breaker at parties, it is unmatched"
– Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times
"Swaab's 'neurobiography' is witty, opinionated, passionate, and, above all, cerebral."
– Booklist (starred review)
"A fascinating survey [...] Swaab employs both personal and scientific observation in near-equal measure."
– Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A cogent, provocative account of how twenty-first-century 'neuroculture' has the potential to effect profound medical and social change."
– Kirkus Reviews
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Dick Swaab is a renowned neuroscience researcher who has received international acclaim for his work on sex differences in the brain, Alzheimer's disease and depression. He served as director of the Netherlands Institute for Brain Research for 27 years and received the Academy medal for his significant role in international neuroscience.