Chapter 7

The In-Group Reinforcement

The human brain is social by nature. It evolved to successfully navigate a world populated by predators and prey, but more importantly, by other humans. Consequently, we pay more attention to information about other people than we do about anything else and process that information using a distinct set of brain networks.

There is even a region of the brain’s temporal lobe that is dedicated specifically to recognizing people’s faces, but there are no specialized regions for recognizing types of dogs, fruits, or automobiles. (Incidentally, damage that part of the temporal lobe and you may suffer from prosopagnosia, or “face blindness,” a frustrating disorder that renders you incapable of recognizing anyone from ...

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