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Why Humans Like to Cry: Tragedy, Evolution, and the Brain by [Trimble, Michael]
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Why Humans Like to Cry: Tragedy, Evolution, and the Brain Kindle Edition

2.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Length: 241 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled Page Flip: Enabled

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Product Description


Trimble ambitiously cracks the surface of a complex human process. (Scientific American)

This is a stimulating adventurous book. (Daily Telegraph)

Trimble earned my respect for his erudition and ambition ... an engaging storyteller. (Randolph Cornelius, New Scientist)

Fascinating volume ... an insightful account ... offers a profound glimpse into the human heart as well as deep insight into the role of art in our lives. (Guardian)

About the Author

Professor Trimble is emeritus professor of Behavioural Neurology at the Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London. His research for many years has been on the behavioural consequences of neurological disorders, especially epilepsy and movement disorders. He has a lifelong research interest in neuroanatomy, hence his ability to explore the neuroanatomical basis of crying. However, he is also a psychiatrist with much clinical experience of mood disorders, and had investigated the latter in patients using neurological techniques, such as brain imaging. He is the author of The Soul in the Brain (Johns Hopkins, 2007).

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1036 KB
  • Print Length: 241 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 1 edition (22 Nov. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #554,803 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not a book for the layman! The title and photograph on the front cover, however, suggest that it is. The first part of the book is virtually incomprehensible, even with a dictionary beside me. Here is one sentence: "Supradiaphragmatic structures are governed by myelinated vagus fibres which stem from a vagus nucleus called the nucleus ambiguus, while infradiaphragmatic ones are unmelinated and come from another vagus nucleus, the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus." Once the brain physiology aspects have been dealt with it becomes a little more readable. Unfortunately, the author does not have the ability to explain things in a simple manner. He is too steeped in his specialist subject to be able to stand back and view things from a layman's stance.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the second book by Michael Trimble I have bought - he is clearly a master of his subject and whilst the detail of the medical terms can be difficult to understand for the layman, he traverses the fields of medicine culture music and the arts to deliver a well written tome.

I would highly recommend it in my case it has been very useful when talking to music publishers
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Had been recommended to me.
Kept my attention but only in short doses.
Will probably be a book I will dip in and out of over time.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9daa2078) out of 5 stars 6 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa008860c) out of 5 stars Rather muddled 4 Mar. 2013
By John R. Plotz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I am a layperson with a great interest in the emotions, and some small knowledge of the subject. Michael Trimble's book gives a great deal of information about the structure of the brain -- how the amygdala connects to the hippocampus and the like -- but it was over my head. That's not a criticism, exactly. Perhaps the book was aimed at a more knowledgeable audience or perhaps I didn't try hard enough. Still, I was disappointed.

More to the point, I found his discussions of Nietzsche and aesthetics to be muddled and not well connected to his material on the brain. And since his subject was the evolutionary development of some emotions, like sorrow, he should certainly have discussed the work of John Tooby and Leda Cosmides. To speak of the functions and mechanics of emotion without discussing Jaak Panksepp and Paul Ekman and quite a few others is not a good thing. Also, Professor Trimble makes many statements that are mere assertions. He says, for instance, that art was "initially of a religious nature." (p. 130.) Oh?

After reading the book, I felt I did not know any more about why humans like to cry than I did before.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9dce4780) out of 5 stars ENGROSSING!! 17 Jan. 2013
By ROSS E. BLOUIN - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In-depth exposure to the latest information in neuro-psych and neuro-anatomy...expounded upon by a virtuoso in the field of neuro-psychology. Ideal material for serious neuro studies.
HASH(0x9da9c6fc) out of 5 stars Great book on biology of sadness and social support 19 Jun. 2016
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a neuroscience PhD student with a masters in psychology. This book is a thoughtful and well-informed take on the evolutionary advantages and physiological substrates of tragic emotion; and how they relate to the societal role of Tragedy as an artistic genre. This book is enough to make me highly respect the author, who is himself a successful neuroscientist. Furthermore, I'm glad I read this book as a personal journey into understanding the human experience.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By john smythies M.D. F.R.C.P. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Michael Trimble is one of the world's leading neurologists and knows how to present a fascinating story of humans and their brains that everyone can understand. This book is one of a series of such books he has written. It is devoted to the interesting fact that humans are the only species that cry when moved by sorrow, joy or pity. Professor Trimble first traces out the brain mechanisms involved in the emotional storms that lead to weeping, and then takes us through its evolutionary, psychological and cultural anthropological aspects. This story is interwoven with an account of the interplay of Dionysean and Apollonian themes in the theatre, particularly in classical Greece, that depict the human tragi-comedy that is life.
I warmly recommend this little masterpiece.
John Smythies
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9daff570) out of 5 stars wonderful! 26 Jan. 2013
By Cindy Dorf - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In his new book, Why humans like to cry: Tragedy, Evolution and the Brain, Michael Trimble beautifully illuminates the links between neuroanatomical pathways, evolutionary biology, empathy, tragedy, and music that give rise to the "uniquely human ability" to cry emotionally. Trimble addresses why we cry drawing on his deep knowledge of neuro anatomy and human behavior to show us that it is our compassion, originating perhaps as far back as the early hominid communities, from which swell our tears in response to the tragedies of life that echo in Tragic drama and the language of music. This insightful book is highly recommended; the style is clear and the topic universal.
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