What We Are Reading Today: Introduction to Social Neuroscience

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Updated 12 August 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Introduction to Social Neuroscience

Edited by Stephanie Cacioppo and John T. Cacioppo

Humans, like many other animals, are a highly social species. But how do our biological systems implement social behaviors, and how do these processes shape the brain and biology? Spanning multiple disciplines, Introduction to Social Neuroscience seeks to engage students and scholars alike in exploring the effects of the brain’s perceived connections with others. 

This wide-ranging textbook provides a quintessential foundation for comprehending the psychological, neural, hormonal, cellular, and genomic mechanisms underlying such varied social processes as loneliness, empathy, theory-of-mind, trust, and cooperation.

Stephanie and John Cacioppo posit that our brain is our main social organ. They show how the same objective relationship can be perceived as friendly or threatening depending on the mental states of the individuals involved in that relationship. They present exercises and evidence-based findings readers can put into practice to better understand the neural roots of the social brain and the cognitive and health implications of a dysfunctional social brain. 

This textbook’s distinctive features include the integration of human and animal studies, clinical cases from medicine, multilevel analyses of topics from genes to societies, and a variety of methodologies.


What We Are Reading Today: The Riddle of the Rosetta

Updated 18 September 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Riddle of the Rosetta

Authors: Jed Z. Buchwald and Diane Greco Josefowicz

 

In 1799, a French Army officer was rebuilding the defenses of a fort on the banks of the Nile when he discovered an ancient stele fragment bearing a decree inscribed in three different scripts. So begins one of the most familiar tales in Egyptology — that of the Rosetta Stone and the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs. 

This book draws on fresh archival evidence to provide a major new account of how the English polymath Thomas Young and the French philologist Jean-François Champollion vied to be the first to solve the riddle of the Rosetta.

Jed Buchwald and Diane Greco Josefowicz bring to life a bygone age of intellectual adventure. Much more than a decoding exercise centered on a single artifact, the race to decipher the Rosetta Stone reflected broader disputes about language, historical evidence, biblical truth, and the value of classical learning. Buchwald and Josefowicz paint compelling portraits of Young and Champollion, two gifted intellects with altogether different motivations. Young disdained Egyptian culture and saw Egyptian writing as a means to greater knowledge about Greco-Roman antiquity. Champollion, swept up in the political chaos of Restoration France and fiercely opposed to the scholars aligned with throne and altar, admired ancient Egypt and was prepared to upend conventional wisdom to solve the mystery of the hieroglyphs.

Taking readers from the hushed lecture rooms of the Institut de France to the windswept monuments of the Valley of the Kings, The Riddle of the Rosetta reveals the untold story behind one of the nineteenth century’s most thrilling discoveries.