Posted in Book Reviews, Non-fiction

Book Review: The Domesticated Brain by Bruce Hood

Star Rating: 4/5
Title: The Domesticated Brain
Author: Bruce Hood
Publisher: Pelican
Pages: 352
Genre: Non-Fiction, Psychology, Science, Biology

What makes us social animals?
Why do we behave the way we do?
How does the brain influence our behaviour?

The brain may have initially evolved to cope with a threatening world of beasts, limited food and adverse weather, but we now use it to navigate an equally unpredictable social landscape. In The Domesticated Brain, renowned psychologist Bruce Hood explores the relationship between the brain and social behaviour, looking for clues as to origins and operations of the mechanisms that keep us bound together.

I won this book in a giveaway by the psychologist magazine and they actually asked me to review it for the magazine, but as the review was only a short one and may not get published, I thought that I would review the book on my blog too.

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when going into this book, I was hoping to learn more about the brain itself as this is a topic that I do struggle with, and I was not disappointed. I loved that this book had aspects of Evolutionary, Developmental and Neuro Psychology and really enjoyed learning about them all. There was also a lot of history and comparisons, I love history and this just drew me into the book even more.

If you’ve been a follower of my blog for a while you will know that my particular interest in Psychology is in forensics i.e. criminals. As soon as I opened the book and saw that one of the chapters was titled “Are we Born Bad?” I knew that I was going to enjoy this book, and I wasn’t wrong.

I’m obviously interested in the brain, being a psychology student, but with non-fiction academic reading there can sometimes be a point where you want to stop and read something more light and fun, this was not the case with the domesticated brain, it kept my interest the whole way through and also had me laughing to myself on the bus a couple of times.

I found it fascinating to read about children and how much they are influenced by the world around them, I enjoyed reading about imitation and theory of mind as well as about morality.

Overall, The domesticated brain is interesting and easy to follow. Would be suited to anyone from someone with a small interest in the topic to a keen academic. If you have an interest in this area I would highly recommend giving this book a read.

Have you read this book? What did you think?

2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Domesticated Brain by Bruce Hood

  1. I haven't, but after seeing your review, I'd really enjoy this one. I think it comes down to being curious and wanting to know what makes others tick and where else would you start with but the ins and outs of nature verses nurture and seeing what makes us the people we are today. So what was the general consciousness, are we actually born bad or is it environmental factors or a little of both? My money is on a combination. Hopefully they publish your review Becks, no doubt it was just as fabulous as this one ❤ Just beautiful.


  2. It's definitely a really interesting read! I'm sure you'd enjoy it if you're into those sorts of things, it focuses a lot on development and how children learn things which I'm going to find useful when I eventually have children! And yes it was definitely a mixture of both, theres actually a form of study which looks at both nature and nurture and I think it should be the direction that everything should go, especially in terms of criminals and such! And they have accepted it for review! 😀


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