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The Tending Instinct: How Nurturing is…
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The Tending Instinct: How Nurturing is Essential to Who We Are and How We…

by Shelley E. Taylor

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Interesting book focusing on our "other" response to stress: "tend & befriend" in addition to "fight or flight." For years Taylor has studied stress and our physical, mental, & emotional reactions/consequences to stress, when she discovered that we have long made the assumption that "fight or flight" is our only response to stressful events. This assumption has led to other assumptions--ie, individualism, being out for oneself, the "selfish gene" hypothesis, aggression as dominance, economic self-sufficency theory, etc. However,the latest neuroscience research shows how important the "tending instinct" also is to human development, esp. given how vulnerable human babies are right after birth, and also how long their development period is.
Other topics covered: "talking" as "social glue," women's networking & social skills, oxytocin, EOPs, size of neocortex related to the size of our social connections (Dunbar), "social intelligence" drawing from separate parts of brain as compared to "general intelligence", "affiliative neurociruitry." ( )
  bouillabaisse | Oct 16, 2009 |
I enjoyed the general topic of our natural instincts to comfort and support one another, overall I recommend reading The Tending Instinct. Although it was interesting to read the research studies, case histories, and psychological theories, I found myself distracted and disinterested too often. I suppose I found the book to be too textbook-like for comfortable reading.
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805068376, Hardcover)

A groundbreaking work that reveals how the instinct to "tend and befriend" is vital for human society.

In times of crisis and upheaval, our responses to stress become especially important. We have long heard about the "fight or flight" response, but renowned psychologist Shelley E. Taylor points out that hardwired in females -- both humans and those of other species -- is an instinct that can transcend "fight or flight." Their "tend and befriend" response is not only demonstrable but, as Taylor deftly explains in this eye-opening work, a key ingredient in human social life.

With great skill and insight, Taylor examines stress, relationships, and human society through the special lens of women's biology. She draws on genetics, evolutionary psychology, physiology, and neuroscience to show how this tending process begins virtually at the moment of conception and literally crafts the biology of offspring through genes that rely on caregiving for their expression. Taylor also examines what drives women to seek each other's company, and to tend to the young and the infirm -- acts that greatly benefit the group but often at great cost to the individual.

In the tradition of works such as Daniel Goleman's Emotional Intelligence and Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct, Taylor's book will forever change the way we view ourselves, and will revolutionize our understanding of the role of women and nurturing in maintaining a stable society.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:52 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Taylor examines stress, relationships, and human society through the special lens of women's biology. She draws on genetics, evolutionary psychology, physiology, and neuroscience to show how this tending process begins virtually at the moment of conception and literally crafts the biology of offspring through genes that rely on caregiving for their expression. Taylor also examines what drives women to seek each other's company, and to tend to the young and the infirm -- acts that greatly benefit the group but often at great cost to the individual.… (more)

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