Brain Waves through Time: 12 Principles for Understanding the Evolution of the Human Brain and Man's Behavior

By Robert T. DeMoss | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
HUMANS IN
PERSPECTIVE

It has taken most of human history for the brain to become widely acknowledged as the primary contributor to behavior. At this point, it would be tempting to throw out the past altogether and start afresh with a contemporary look inside the skull. That course of action, however, would be a mistake, in my judgment, because the brain's distant past holds some fascinating clues to understanding our behavior today. Evolutionary theory has produced some extraordinary insights that have provided an invaluable platform for looking at the brain. Thus, it might be helpful to review some of the major tenets of evolutionary theory.


THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION

"The theory of evolution" is somewhat of a misnomer because contemporary scientific views of evolution are a synthesis of many ideas and discoveries. 1 Nevertheless, evolutionary theory is most often attributed to Charles Darwin, who wrote On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life in 1859. 2 The hallmark of Darwin's theory was "natural selection," which is a concept that continues to play a central role in modern versions of evolutionary theory.

Darwin's ideas about natural selection were founded upon three important observations. First, all living organisms tend to increase their numbers at a higher rate than what would be needed to simply replace individuals who were dying. Second, no single animal or plant completely dominates all environments throughout the world; rather, there is always a struggle for each available niche. Finally, individuals within a group of

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Brain Waves through Time: 12 Principles for Understanding the Evolution of the Human Brain and Man's Behavior
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Chapter 1 - The Paradox 1
  • Chapter 2 - Humans in Perspective 15
  • Chapter 3 - The First Network 31
  • Chapter 4 - The Hungry and Biased Brain 51
  • Chapter 5 - The Indelible Stamp of Development 75
  • Chapter 6 - Memories: Loyal and Misunderstood 99
  • Chapter 7 - The Well Conditioned Body 121
  • Chapter 8 - Seeing or Hearing is Doing 147
  • Chapter 9 - The Reliable Brain 169
  • Chapter 10 - Time Travel 199
  • Chapter 11 - The Human Mind, the Group Mind 227
  • Notes 251
  • Index 267
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