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Supernormal stimuli : how primal urges overran their evolutionary purpose / Deirdre Barrett.

By: Barrett, Deirdre.
Publisher: New York ; London : W. W. Norton, 2010Edition: 1st ed.ISBN: 039306848X (hbk.).Subject(s): Evolutionary psychology | Behavior evolutionDDC classification: 155.7
Contents:
What are supernormal stimuli? -- Making the ordinary seem strange -- Sex for dummies -- Too cute -- Foraging in food courts -- Defending home, hearth, and hedge fund -- Vicarious social settings from Shakespeare to Survivor -- Intellectual pursuits as supernormal stimuli -- Conclusion: Get off the plaster egg.
Subject: In this book, a Harvard evolutionary psychologist explains how our once-helpful instincts get hijacked in our garish modern world. Our instincts--for food, sex, or territorial protection--evolved for life on the savannahs 10,000 years ago, not in today's world of densely populated cities, technological innovations, and pollution. We now have access to a glut of larger-than-life objects, from candy to pornography to atomic weapons--that gratify these gut instincts with often-dangerous results. Animal biologists coined the term "supernormal stimuli" to describe imitations that appeal to primitive instincts and exert a stronger pull than real things, such as soccer balls that geese prefer over eggs. The author applies this concept to the alarming disconnect between human instinct and our created environment, demonstrating how supernormal stimuli are a major cause of today's most pressing problems, including obesity and war.
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Item type Current location Collection Call number Status Date due Barcode
Loanable Book Library
General Collection 155.7 BAR (Browse shelf) Available 000303100

Includes bibliographical references and index.

What are supernormal stimuli? -- Making the ordinary seem strange -- Sex for dummies -- Too cute -- Foraging in food courts -- Defending home, hearth, and hedge fund -- Vicarious social settings from Shakespeare to Survivor -- Intellectual pursuits as supernormal stimuli -- Conclusion: Get off the plaster egg.

In this book, a Harvard evolutionary psychologist explains how our once-helpful instincts get hijacked in our garish modern world. Our instincts--for food, sex, or territorial protection--evolved for life on the savannahs 10,000 years ago, not in today's world of densely populated cities, technological innovations, and pollution. We now have access to a glut of larger-than-life objects, from candy to pornography to atomic weapons--that gratify these gut instincts with often-dangerous results. Animal biologists coined the term "supernormal stimuli" to describe imitations that appeal to primitive instincts and exert a stronger pull than real things, such as soccer balls that geese prefer over eggs. The author applies this concept to the alarming disconnect between human instinct and our created environment, demonstrating how supernormal stimuli are a major cause of today's most pressing problems, including obesity and war.

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