Something on TypePad is screwed up; my previous post on the book How the Mind Works didn’t show up in my own aggregator except for the first sentence. Here’s the full post:
I just read a fascinating book – How the Mind Works by Steven Pinker. It’s thick, and calls for jumping around to chapters of interest. The best chapter of the book is called “Family Values” which is about the psychology of social relations, about our inborn motives that put us into conflict with one another. Given that our brains were shaped by natural selection, it could hardly be otherwise. There are great bits on how siblings interact (ie the psychology of kinship), how children fight for parental resources, and the like. Also really interesting stuff on the popular theory that one’s personality is shaped in the formative years by the parenting process. Not so fast, says Pinker. For example, identical twins separated at birth are not only similar; they are virtually as similar as identical twins raised together. Adoptive siblings in the same house are not just different; they are about as different as two children plucked from the population at random. The biggest influence that parents have on their children is at the moment of conception. This book makes you think.