Human Nature, Mind, and Culture

The evolution of the human from non-human apes entailed acquiring the capacity to communicate in symbolic language, which launched the ongoing process of cultural evolution. Offered below are links to websites, videos, and books that present accessible accounts of our current science-based understandings of the human and human culture. If you have suggestions of additional materials, please contact us at:



Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes, by Svante Pääbo

Lone Survivors: How We Came to Be the Only Humans on Earth, by Chris Stringer

A Natural History of Human Thinking, by Michael Tomasello

The Myth of Mirror Neurons: The Real Neuroscience of Communication and Cognition, by Gregory Hickock

In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind, by Eric R. Kandel

The Symbolic Species: The Co-evolution of Language and the Brain, by Terrence W. Deacon

Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals, by Frans de Waal

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion, by Jonathan Haidt

The Neuroscience of Religious Experience, by Patrick McNamara

Amythia: Crisis in the Natural History of Western Culture, by Loyal D. Rue

Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us About Morality, by Patricia Churchland

Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved, by Frans de Waal

Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain, by Antonia Damasio

The Better Angels of our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, by Steven Pinker

The Moral Animal: Why We Are, the Way We Are: The New Science of Evolutionary Psychology, by Robert Wright

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, by Jared M. Diamond

Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering How the Brain Codes Our Thoughts, by Stanislas Dehaene

Spirit Unleashed: Reimagining Human-Animal Relations, by Anne Benvenuti

Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel, by Carl Safina

Our Beleaguered Species: Beyond Tribalism, by Elizabeth Crouch Zelman

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari

Darwin’s Bridge: Uniting the Humanities and Sciences, Joseph Carroll, Dan McAdams, E.O. Wilson (editors)