Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?: And Other Reflections on Being Human
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Why do testicles hang the way they do? Is there an adaptive function to the female orgasm? What does it feel like to want to kill yourself? Does "free will" really exist? And why is the penis shaped like that anyway?
In Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?, the research psychologist and award-winning columnist Jesse Bering features more than thirty of his most popular essays from Scientific American and Slate, as well as two new pieces, that take readers on a bold and captivating journey through some of the most taboo issues related to evolution and human behavior. Exploring the history of cannibalism, the neurology of people who are sexually attracted to animals, the evolution of human body fluids, the science of homosexuality, and serious questions about life and death, Bering astutely covers a generous expanse of our kaleidoscope of quirks and origins.
With his characteristic irreverence and trademark cheekiness, Bering leaves no topic unturned or curiosity unexamined, and he does it all with an audaciously original voice. Whether you're interested in the psychological history behind the many facets of sexual desire or the evolutionary patterns that have dictated our current mystique and phallic physique, Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That? is bound to create lively discussion and debate for years to come.
learned of his actions led him to pursue possible surgery mainly to eliminate this postictal behavior.” Other people with similar epileptic profiles also become hypersexualized in the postictal state. To his later horror, one man motioned for his twelve-year-old daughter to join him and his wife in the bedroom following a nighttime seizure. It is in these last few examples, where Klüver-Bucy syndrome manifests itself in criminal behavior such as rape or child molestation, that our materialistic
testified for the defense that the accused was in a dissociative state when the incident occurred and therefore he was not consciously aware of his actions. Difficult legal cases such as these hinge entirely on the demonstrability (or at least strong probability) of an automatism—a crime committed during sleep. This is a concept for which Fenwick provided one of the clearest definitions: An automatism is an involuntary piece of behavior over which an individual has no control. The behavior is
consequence of selection for male ejaculation (which in straight men serves obvious reproductive purposes), some of the shared connective tissue and nervous system pathways in females were “accidentally” shaped for pleasure by evolution, too, leading happily to the occasional orgasm in sexually mature females. The clitoris is essentially the female version of the penis, since the two derive from the same embryological substrate. This also explains why female orgasms are achieved more by clitoral
between laughing “systems” among mammals are reflected by cross-species structural differences in brain regions as well as in vocal architecture. In the same issue of Behavioural Brain Research, the neuropsychologist Martin Meyer and his colleagues describe these differences in rich detail. For example, although brain-imaging studies of human participants watching funny cartoons or listening to jokes reveal the activation of evolutionarily ancient structures such as the amygdala and nucleus
interpretations of these data again were inspired by evolutionary logic: “Schadenfreude laughter might therefore represent a precise (and socially tolerated) tool to dominate the listener without concurrently segregating him from group context.” In any event, I’d like to think that I was witnessing pure, unadulterated joy in King those many years ago, but of course my brain isn’t made to decipher distinct emotive states in gorillas. He’s since been laughing, apparently, at Ellen DeGeneres while