Moving Beyond Self-Interest

Moving Beyond Self-Interest : Perspectives from Evolutionary Biology, Neuroscience, and the Social Sciences

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Moving Beyond Self-Interest is an interdisciplinary volume that discusses cutting-edge developments in the science of caring for and helping others. In Part I, contributors raise foundational issues related to human caregiving. They present new theories and data to show how natural selection might have shaped a genuinely altruistic drive to benefit others, how this drive intersects with the attachment and caregiving systems, and how it emerges from a broader social engagement system made possible by symbiotic regulation of autonomic physiological states. In Part II, contributors propose a new neurophysiological model of the human caregiving system and present arguments and evidence to show how mammalian neural circuitry that supports parenting might be recruited to direct human cooperation and competition, human empathy, and parental and romantic love. Part III is devoted to the psychology of human caregiving. Some contributors in this section show how an evolutionary perspective helps us better understand parental investment in and empathic concern for children at risk for, or suffering from, various health, behavioral, and cognitive problems. Other contributors identify circumstances that differentially predict caregiver benefits and costs, and raise the question of whether extreme levels of compassion are actually pathological. The section concludes with a discussion of semantic and conceptual obstacles to the scientific investigation of caregiving. Part IV focuses on possible interfaces between new models of caregiving motivation and economics, political science, and social policy development. In this section, contributors show how the new theory and research discussed in this volume can inform our understanding of economic utility, policies for delivering social services (such as health care and education), and hypotheses concerning the origins and development of human society, including some of its more problematic features of nationalism, conflict, and war. The chapters in this volume help readers appreciate the human capacity for engaging in altruistic acts, on both a small and large scale.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 157.48 x 236.22 x 35.56mm | 566.99g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195388100
  • 9780195388107
  • 1,478,245

About Stephanie L. Brown

Stephanie L. Brown is Associate Professor in the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She is also a faculty member at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. Her scholarly work involves discovering mechanisms that link social behavior to physical health. R. Michael Brown is Professor Emeritus at Pacific Lutheran University. He is co-creator (with Stephanie Brown) of Selective Investment Theory. He is also co-author (with biologist Paul Cook) of the first interdisciplinary introductory psychology text to utilize evolution and development as integrative themes. LLouis A. Penner is a social psychologist and Professor of Oncology at the Karmanos Cancer Institute at Wayne State University. He studies psychosocial aspects of medical care, with a particular focus on health disparities. One important part of his research program is studying ways to help parents and children cope with the stresses of pediatric cancer. The goal of this research is to reduce the amount of distress that children and their parents experience during cancer treatments. This work is supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute.show more

Review quote

This is the most informed book in biological science I've read so far. Stephanie and Michael Brown, who have solid research backgrounds in evolutionary biology, are the driving forces behind this book which shows that we humans are primarily characterized by altruistic concern for the people close to us, and are much less concerned by competition. * Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association *show more

Table of contents

Part I: Introduction ; 1. Background and Historical Perspective ; R. Michael Brown, Louis A. Penner, & Stephanie L. Brown ; Part II: Foundations of Caregiving ; 2. How Altruistic by Nature? ; Dennis L. Krebs ; 3. Adult Attachment and Caregiving: Individual Differences in Providing a Safe Haven and Secure Base to Others ; Mario Mikiluncer & Phillip R. Shaver ; 4. Mechanisms, Mediators, and Adaptive Consequences of Caregiving ; Stephen W. Porges & C. Sue Carter ; Part III: The Neuroscience of Caregiving Motivation ; 5. A Model of Human Caregiving Motivation ; Stephanie L. Brown, R. Michael Brown, and Stephanie Preston ; 6. Neural Circuits Regulating Maternal Behavior: Implications for Understanding the Neural Basis of Social Cooperation and Competition ; Michael Numan ; 7. Neuroscience of Empathic Responding ; Jean Decety ; 8. Parental and Romantic Attachment Systems: Neural Circuits, Genes, and Experiential Contributions to Interpersonal Engagement ; James E. Swain ; Part IV: The Psychology of Caregiving Motivation ; 9. Parental Investment in Caregiving Relationships ; Daphne B. Bugental, David A. Beaulieu, & Randy Corpuz ; 10. The Role of Empathic Emotions in Caregiving: Caring for Pediatric Cancer Patients ; Louis A, Penner, Felicity W. K. Harper, & Terrance L. Albrecht ; 11. The Costs and Benefits of Informal Caregiving ; Richard Schulz & Joan K. Monin ; 12. Too Close for Comfort? Lessons from Excesses and Deficits of Compassion in Psychopathology ; June Gruber & Dacher Keltner ; 13. Egosystem and Ecosystem: Motivational Perspectives on Caregiving ; Jennifer Crocker & Amy Canevello ; 14. Caregiving in Adult Close Relationships ; Ellen Berscheid ; Part V: Implications for Economics, Political Science, and Social Policy ; 15. A New View of Utility: Maximizingshow more

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