“A tour de force . . . The Tending Instinct elevates women’s natural strengths in caregiving and befriending to a long-deserved prominence in society. A crucial message for us all.” —Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence
For generations, scientists have taught us about the “fight or flight” response to stress. But is this instinct universal? Renowned psychologist Shelley E. Taylor explains that “fight or flight” may only be half the story. Humans—particularly females—are hardwired to respond to stress differently. As Taylor deftly points out in this eye-opening work, the “tend and befriend” response is among the most vital ingredient of human social life.
Ranging widely over biology, evolutionary psychology, physiology, and neuroscience, Taylor examines the biological imperative that drives women to seek each other’s company, and to tend to the young and the infirm, bestowing great benefits to the group but often at great cost to themselves. This tending process begins virtually at the moment of conception, and literally crafts the biology of offspring through genes that rely on caregiving for their expression.
In the tradition of groundbreaking books about the science of human nature such as Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence and Steven Pinker’s The Language Instinct, Taylor’s book will change forever the way we talk and think about ourselves.