As If By Design: How Creative Behaviors Really Evolve

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Cambridge University Press, Jul 22, 2021 - Psychology
The eureka moment is a myth. It is an altogether naïve and fanciful account of human progress. Innovations emerge from a much less mysterious combination of historical, circumstantial, and accidental influences. This book explores the origin and evolution of several important behavioral innovations including the high five, the Heimlich maneuver, the butterfly stroke, the moonwalk, and the Iowa caucus. Such creations' striking suitability to the situation and the moment appear ingeniously designed with foresight. However, more often than not, they actually arise 'as if by design.' Based on investigations into the histories of a wide range of innovations, Edward A. Wasserman reveals the nature of behavioral creativity. What surfaces is a fascinating web of causation involving three main factors: context, consequence, and coincidence. Focusing on the process rather than the product of innovation elevates behavior to the very center of the creative human endeavor.
 

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Contents

Prelude
3
Previewing the Vignettes
13
Dick Fosburys High Jump Was No Flop
21
Shedding Fresh Light on the History of
28
Jockeying for Position
39
Riding AceyDeucy
49
One Singular Sensation
55
Millions Have Been Saved
65
Advancing Hygiene through Data Visualization
133
Taking Mental Floss to Dental Floss
152
A Very Close Shave
162
ARTS ENTERTAINMENT AND CULTURE
171
Art for Arts Sake?
173
Genius Puppeteer
192
And More Mundane Modes of Moving
199
Play on Words
212

Effective Treatment for Clubfoot Only 2400 Years in the Making
77
The Heimlich Maneuver
88
The Lifesaving Contribution of Stanley Dudrick
97
Whats in a Drug Name?
106
SelfMedication by People and Animals
112
The End of TrialandError Treatment?
121
HYGIENE
131
Cuatro Festivales Españoles
223
Puzzles of the Pathétique
241
The Rise and the Demise of the Iowa Caucus
259
If I Write It They Will Build It
276
Are We Just Making It Up as We Go Along?
309
Copyright

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About the author (2021)

Edward A. Wasserman is Professor of Psychology at the University of Iowa, USA, and has held visiting appointments in England, Russia, Japan, and France. He has published widely and received several prestigious awards in the areas of learning, memory, and cognition in people and animals.

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