Brains, Genes, and Personality

“What makes us who we are? The question has captivated philosophers and scientists for millennia, from the ancient Greeks and their humors to the  19th- century phrenologists who believed they could divine someone’s personality by mapping the bumps on his skull. The personality question captivates us still, though the answers have gotten more  complicated—and microscopic. But fret not: To help navigate the modern maze of neurotransmitters, animal models, and evolutionary theory, we have science writer Hannah Holmes and her book Quirk.”

I recently had the pleasure of reading–and reviewing–Quirk: Brain Science Makes Sense of Your Peculiar Personality for The Wilson Quarterly. The book explores the biological underpinnings of personality, from the micro to the macro level. (Some of the most interesting sections of the book probe why evolution would have allowed such variations in personality to persist–and why personality diversity, just like genetic diversity, would have been a boon to humanity as a whole.) To find out more, read my full review.

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