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Hormones and Social Behavior [Hardcover]

Donald W. Pfaff , Claude Kordon , Philippe Chanson

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Book Description

June 24 2008 3540792864 978-3540792864 2008

The evolutionary approach presented in this book provides clues to the relevance of social interactions as part of the natural selection process, for the survival of species, including ours. Proceeding further, as science often does, from the simple to the complex, and taking advantage of the wide pluridisciplinary range of the participants – coming from fields as diverse as molecular neuroscience, anthropology and psychology – a final question was raised as to whether biological substrates of complex social behaviors may also be relevant to moral issues characteristic of humans beings (Hauser and Young 2008): for instance, information aiming at decision making is not processed by the brain in the same way, whether or not a given situation is perceived as involving moral dilemmas. In fact, it could be argued that human social behavior mechanisms do not constitute a simple extension of other central nervous system regulatory functions but instead represent and require a different level of analysis. Understanding how social patterns are controlled by the brain may yield new insights into the nature of consciousness: human conscious experience depends upon a person being embedded in a complex social environment. According to this view, rational, moral behavior is a natural product of the human mind operating in social contexts and having been selected for during the process of human evolution

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Advances in 21st Century neuroscience and endocrinology will permit complex problems of medicine and public health to be elucidated. Among these problems are failures of normal social and sexual behaviors. As it turns out, these behaviors are influenced by hormone actions in the human brain using mechanisms that we have inherited from lower animals. This book concentrates on two major topics: First, the molecular and neural biology of hormone actions relevant to normal social behaviors; and Second, the clinical treatment of human patients in whom these behaviors have gone wrong.

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