SOCIAL SCIENCES

Why? What Makes Us Curious

S. & S. Jul. 2017. 272p. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781476792095. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781476792125. PSYCH
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In his latest book, astrophysicist Livio (Brilliant Blunders) investigates the human spirit of inquiry. This work is an examination of famously inquisitive people from the past and present, including artists, musicians, mathematicians, and scientists, with a presentation of the newest psychological and neuroscientific research on what makes people curious. Livio discusses whether nature or nurture is responsible for individual levels of curiosity, and what brain structures are involved. In addition, he explains what makes the human brain different from that of any other creature, and why a desire to know the unknown is specific only to humans. The information presented is accessible to all readers and the tone is engaging, sometimes even playful. Livio describes himself as a curious individual and explains how his own passion to learn about the world helped him in the field of astrophysics and exploration.
VERDICT Recommended for anyone involved in the arts or sciences as well as readers interested in human cognitive science and behavioral development. [See Prepub Alert, 1/23/17.]

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