|About the Book|
What makes us human? In recent decades, researchers have focused on innate tendencies and inherited traits as explanations for human behavior, especially in light of human genome research. Renowned psychologist Arthur W. Staats thinks this trend isMoreWhat makes us human? In recent decades, researchers have focused on innate tendencies and inherited traits as explanations for human behavior, especially in light of human genome research. Renowned psychologist Arthur W. Staats thinks this trend is misleading. As he shows in great detail in this engaging, highly informative book, what makes our species unique is our marvelous ability to learn, an ability that no other primate possesses. Staats argues that the immensity of human learning has not been understood.The author notes that evolution has endowed us with extremely versatile bodies and a brain of one hundred billion neurons, making us especially suited for a wide range of sophisticated learning. Already in childhood, human beings begin learning complex repertoires—language, sports, value systems, music, science, rules of behavior, and many other aspects of culture. These repertoires build on one another in special ways, and our brains develop in response to the learning experiences we receive from those around us and from what we read and hear and see. When humans gather in society, the cumulative effect of building learning upon learning is enormous.Staats presents a new way of understanding humanness—in human evolution, in the behavioral nature of the human body, in child development, in personality, and in abnormal behavior—a unified conception that provides new ways of solving human problems and lays the foundations for new areas of science.Arthur W. Staats (Honolulu, HI) is professor emeritus in the Department of Psychology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is internationally known as an innovator and is the inventor of time-out for use with children and the token-reward system (token economy). In 2006, Child magazine recognized him as one of “20 People Who Changed Childhood.” He is the author of six books, more than fifty chapters, and over eighty journal articles, among other publications.