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Short Synopsis
In Social, renowned psychologist Matthew Lieberman explores groundbreaking research in social neuroscience, revealing that our need to connect with other people is even more fundamental, more basic, than our need for food or shelter.

Full Synopsis
In Social, renowned psychologist Matthew Lieberman explores groundbreaking research in social neuroscience, revealing that our need to connect with other people is even more fundamental, more basic, than our need for food or shelter. Because of this, our brain uses its spare time to learn about the social world—other people and our relation to them. It is believed that we must commit 10,000 hours to master a skill. According to Lieberman, each of us has spent 10,000 hours learning to make sense of people and groups by the time we are ten.

Social argues that our need to reach out to and connect with others is a primary driver behind our behavior. We believe that pain and pleasure alone guide our actions. Yet, new research using fMRI—including a great deal of original research conducted by Lieberman and his UCLA lab—shows that our brains react to social pain and pleasure in much the same way as they do to physical pain and pleasure. Fortunately, the brain has evolved sophisticated mechanisms for securing our place in the social world. We have a unique ability to read other people's minds, to figure out their hopes, fears, and motivations, allowing us to effectively coordinate our lives with one another. And our most private sense of who we are is intimately linked to the important people and groups in our lives. This wiring often leads us to restrain our selfish impulses for the greater good. These mechanisms lead to behavior that might seem irrational, but is really just the result of our deep social wiring and necessary for our success as a species.

Based on the latest cutting edge research, the findings in Social have important real-world implications. Our schools and businesses, for example, attempt to minimalize social distractions. But this is exactly the wrong thing to do to encourage engagement and learning, and literally shuts down the social brain, leaving powerful neuro-cognitive resources untapped. The insights revealed in this pioneering book suggest ways to improve learning in schools, make the workplace more productive, and improve our overall well-being.

"[Chamberlain] takes what could have been dry, arcane material and produces and interesting and entertaining listening experience." ---Publishers Weekly Audio Review

"The audiobook also provides plenty of stuff to talk about around the water cooler." ---AudioFile

"A fascinating explanation of why 'a broken heart can feel as painful as a broken leg' and social recognition is frequently prized above money." " ---Kirkus

"With the details from study after study, many of them based on imaging scans that examine activity in certain parts of the brain, Lieberman's book is perfect for Malcolm Gladwell fans who want to delve much deeper into the biology behind our social abilities." ---Booklist

"Lieberman's findings are convincing: over the course of their evolution, humans have developed sophisticated means of responding to group challenges and the norms of altruism and cohesion have become ingrained in neural biology." ---Publishers Weekly

Social

Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect

Author Matthew D. Lieberman

Narrated by Mike Chamberlain

Publication date Nov 5, 2013

Running time 11 hrs 17 min

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