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From caveman to modern man ...Few people doubt that humans are descended from the apes; fewer still consider, let alone accept, the psychological implications. But in truth, man not only looks, moves and breathes like an ape, he also thinks like one. Sexual drive, survival, competition, aggression - all of our impulses are driven by our human instincts. They explain why a happily married man will fantasize about the pretty, slim, young woman sitting across from him in the tube and why thousands of people spend their week entirely focused on whether their team will win their next crucial match.But how well do our instincts equip us for the twenty-first century? Do they help or hinder us as we deal with large anonymous cities, stressful careers, relationships and the battle of the sexes? In this fascinating book, Robert Winston takes us on a journey deep into the human mind. Along the way he takes a very personal look at the relationship between science and religion and explores those very instincts that make us human.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780553814927
ISBN-10: 0553814923
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 127mm x 26mm)
Pages: 432
Imprint: Bantam Books (Transworld Publishers a division of the Random House Group)
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Publish Date: 27-Sep-2003
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions


UK Kirkus Review » In this gripping accompaniment to the BBC television series of the same name, Robert Winston delves into the inconsistencies so apparent in much of human existence - our irrational decisions, beliefs, urges and interests - and shows that our genetic baggage affects our psychology much as our ape ancestors influence our physical features. The unpredictability of human behaviour is dissected in terms of many influences - instinctive, physiological, rational and emotional and, inevitably, the awesomely pervasive influence of sex. Fertility expert, politician, television presenter and peer of the realm, the incomparable Professor Winston needs little introduction. He writes very much in the way he presents his TV series, so we do get the occasional patronising 'pity about the ladies', and a distinctly conventional medical view of childbirth, along with some contentious discussions of the origins of male sexual jealousy and rape. Winston seems to be one of those media personalities people either love or loathe, but by and large most readers should find the host of intriguing facts more than compensates for any irritations. Winston is certainly game - having his testosterone levels measured during the World Cup, willingly sniffing T-shirts slept in by young female students and engaging in rock climbing despite being frozen with terror. His sound bites are impeccable - 'for modern humans, mating is a bit like playing chess while your opponent holds a gun to your head' - and his analyses of various viewpoints on just why humans behave as they do are generally intelligent and balanced. He discusses, among much else, our tendency to act first and think second; the genetic basis of fear; the evolutionary benefits of risk-taking; a biological basis for violence, and why girls are nicer than boys and men 'programmed to behave badly'. We learn about co-operation and altruism, cheating, empathy, fairness and guilt, en route to conclusions about morality and spirituality. Eminently readable, completely fascinating and undoubtedly another of Winston's media triumphs. (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - Robert Winston

Robert Winston is one of the country's best-known scientists. As Professor of Fertility Studies at Imperial College, University of London, and Director of NHS Research and Development and Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Hammersmith Hospital, he has made advances in fertility medicine and been a leading voice in the debate on genetic engineering. His television series, including Your Life in Their Hands, Making Babies, The Human Body, Superhuman and A Child Against All Odds have made him a household name across Britain. He became a life peer in 1995.

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