Professor of Psychology Douglas Kenrick exposes the selfish animalistic underside of human nature and show how human beings are a lot like howling hyenas, with heads full of homicidal tendencies and sexual fantasies.
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 nuances 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.