Evolution of the Learning Brain: Or How You Got To Be So Smart..., 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Evolution of the Learning Brain

Or How You Got To Be So Smart..., 1st Edition

By Paul Howard-Jones


238 pages | 101 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2018-02-01
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How does learning transform us biologically?

What learning processes do we share with bacteria, jellyfish and monkeys?

Is technology impacting on our evolution and what might the future hold for the learning brain?

These are just some of the questions Paul Howard-Jones explores on a fascinating journey through 3.5 billion years of brain evolution, and discovers what it all means for how we learn today.

Along the way, we discover

  • how the E. coli in our stomachs learn to find food
  • why a little nap can help bees find their way home
  • the many ways that action, emotion and social interaction have shaped our ability to learn
  • the central role of learning in our rise to top predator.

An accessible writing style and numerous illustrations make Evolution of the Learning Brain an enthralling combination of biology, neuroscience and educational insight. Howard-Jones provides a fresh perspective on the nature of human learning that is exhaustively researched, exploring the implications of our most distant past for twenty-first-century education.


"In Evolution of the Learning Brain, Howard-Jones provides an accessible introduction to the evolution of the nervous system and brain – hoping, perhaps, to provide readers with a more accurate model of how the brain learns. Channelling the spirit of David Attenborough, he leads us through an evolutionary history of life on Earth, dropping into the timeline at various points to talk about what is happening to the brain and nervous system."— Nick Rose, TES

"In short, Paul Howard-Jones has provided us with a book which is extremely readable, provides an illuminating perspective on learning and offers much food for thought. It is certainly worth reading and is likely to become ‘well-thumbed’ as time goes on and it is referred to it again and again." — Professor Derek Bell, Learnus

Table of Contents

List of Figures Acknowledgements Chapter 1. The Idea of Evolution Chapter 2. Origins Chapter 3. The Vertebrate Brain Chapter 4. The Social Primate Chapter 5. Homo – Social Cooperative Learners Chapter 6. Speech Chapter 7. The Arrival of Numeracy Chapter 8. The Emergence of the Written Word Chapter 9. Evolution Meets Education Chapter 10. The Future of the Learning Brain References

About the Author

Paul Howard-Jones is Professor of Neuroscience and Education at the School of Education, University of Bristol. He is a cognitive neuroscientist, educational expert and broadcaster.

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