Us and Them
The Science of Identity
In this award-winning book, David Berreby describes how twenty-first-century science is addressing these age-old questions. Ably linking neuroscience, social psychology, anthropology, and other fields, Us and Them investigates humanity’s “tribal mind” and how this alters our thoughts, affects our health, and is manipulated for good and ill. From the medical effects of stress to the rhetoric of politics, our perceptions of group identity affect every part of our lives. Science, Berreby argues, shows how this part of human nature is both unexpectedly important and surprisingly misunderstood.
Humans need our tribal sense—it tells us who we are, how we should behave, and links us to others as well as the past and future. Some condemn this instinct, while others celebrate it. Berreby offers in Us and Them a third alternative: how we can accept and understand our inescapable tribal mind.
“[A] brave book. . . . Berreby’s quest is to understand what he sees as a fundamental human urge to classify and identify with ‘human kinds.’”—Henry Gee, Scientific American
“We leap to categorize people. . . . Berreby uses mind and brain science to investigate why the human tendency to typecast is so powerful—and apparently so automatic.”
One "That's Our Biggest Difference"
Two "There Are Few Questions More Curious Than This"
Three Counting and Measuring
Four Birds of a Feather
Five Mind Sight and Kind Sight
Six Looking for the Codes
Seven How Mind Makes World
Eight Inventing Tradition in Oklahoma, or What I Did on My Summer Vacation
Nine Them, We Burn
Ten "Our Common Humanity Makes Us Weep"
Eleven No Humans Involved
Twelve Don't Be a Stranger
Thirteen Hazings and Conversations
Fourteen The Heads on the Poles
Fifteen Species of Darwinism
Notes and References