The question of how much our behaviour and choices are determined by our genetic heritage rather than the environment we live in, by the culture in which we are immersed, remains uncertain and timely. On the one hand, our genes make us what we are (standing erect, eyes placed in a frontal position and, not least, a well-developed cerebral cortex). On the other, we cannot help but wonder if our thoughts, emotions, deeds and attitudes also depend exclusively on such genetic features. Are we really trapped in our brains? In this simply written, easy-to-read and engaging book, the author attempts to address this dilemma on the basis of his experience as a scholar of cognitive neuroscience. The end result is an up-to-date, exhaustive meditation that is documented by the most recent discoveries of novel “brain science”.
Lamberto Maffei, formerly professor of Neurobiology at the University of Pisa’s Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa and director of its laboratory, is the president of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei.