Thursday, December 06, 2012

Thinking Big: How the Behavioral Sciences Can Bring Us to a Happier, Healthier, and More Caring World

Science has revolutionized our world. Each of these revolutions led to enormous changes in the ability of humans to manipulate the world...But until recently, we have made very little progress in understanding or dealing with human behavior. As a result, we have a world in which many of the products of science endanger us: Nuclear weapons and global warming are two prominent examples. As David Sloan Wilson has put it, it is like a wish in a fairy tale that turns out badly. Science has given us enormous powers to transform our world, but it has, so far, done little to ensure that humans use the products of the physical and biological sciences in ways that ensure human wellbeing. My book tells the story of the behavioral science revolution, which has developed effective ways to prevent or ameliorate all of the most common and costly problems of human behavior. For virtually every problem, there are studies showing how to treat or prevent the problem. That is not to say that everyone who has the problem is cured or that every person at risk to develop the problem is prevented from having it. But all of the studies show that the interventions make things better. And as we begin to use the principles that underlie these intervention to make human environments more nurturing, we can greatly reduce the prevalence of all of these problems. more

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