The Deep History of Ourselves: The Four-Billion-Year Story of How We Got Conscious Brains (Hardcover)
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A leading neuroscientist offers a history of the evolution of the brain from unicellular organisms to the complexity of animals and human beings today
Renowned neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux digs into the natural history of life on earth to provide a new perspective on the similarities between us and our ancestors in deep time. This page-turning survey of the whole of terrestrial evolution sheds new light on how nervous systems evolved in animals, how the brain developed, and what it means to be human.
In The Deep History of Ourselves LeDoux argues that the key to understanding all human behavior lies in viewing evolution through the prism of the first living organisms. By tracking the chain of the evolutionary timeline he shows how even the earliest single cell organisms had to solve the same problems we and our cells have to solve today in order to survive and thrive. Along the way, LeDoux explores our place in nature, how the evolution of nervous systems enchanced the ability of organisms to survive and thrive, and how the emergence of what we humans understand as consciousness made our greatest and most horrendous achievements as a species possible.
About the Author
Joseph LeDoux is the Henry and Lucy Moses Professor of Science at New York University, where he is a member of the Center for Neural Science and Department of Psychology. He directs the Emotional Brain Institute at New York University and at the Nathan Kline Institute, and is the author of the books Anxious, Synaptic Self, and The Emotional Brain. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, LeDoux lives in Brooklyn, New York
Praise for The Deep History of Ourselves
"Joseph LeDoux deepens our understanding of a profound question as old as Aristotle: how does our mind set us apart from other species? We could not have a better guide: LeDoux is a world-leading neuroscientist whose research has taken him to the frontiers of behavior, emotions, and consciousness. With brilliance, wit, and wisdom, LeDoux traces four billion years of life, showing how humans share basic behaviors with one-celled organisms yet soar to a reflective self-awareness that may be unique in the universe. Utterly fascinating and a thrill to read."
—Jeffrey D. Sachs, University Professor at Columbia University