Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Why You Are Who You Are: Investigations into Human Personality, by Mark Leary (author, narrator)

The Great Courses, February 2018

Many of us want to understand personality, our own and other people's better, and in this Great Courses set of lectures, Mark Leary presents the current state of knowledge in psychology, neuroscience, and genetics, as it applies to human personality, how it develops, how it affects our choices and our relationships with others, and how much we can affect our own personalities so that we can improve those things if we're not satisfied currently.

This isn't a self-help book. It's not a handbook to fixing yourself. It's intended to expand your knowledge and understanding, and I found that it does that.

He covers the origins of the study of personality, the broadly agreed basics of personality, what's genetic, what's the result of life experience (most features of individual personality are affected by both), and how we've learned these things.

It's really fascinating how much of ordinary personality features are in fact highly heritable. At the same time, very few things are entirely determined by genetics.

He also discusses personality disorders, which have a large heritability component, but are also probably genetically complex. That is, they're not just one gene. They're likely to be a complex set of genes, creating an increased risk of developing a particular personality disorder.

Leary is clear about when he's talking about broadly accepted scientific principles, and when he's expressing his own opinion or sharing his own opinion or scientific ideas that are still speculative. He's a very good, lively, interesting speaker, and I very much enjoyed listening to him.


I bought this audiobook.

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