Quirk by Hannah Holmes
Brain Science Makes Sense of Your Peculiar Personality

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Synopsis

Who are you? It’s the most fundamental of human questions. Are you the type of person who tilts at windmills, or the one who prefers to view them from the comfort of an air-conditioned motorcoach? Our personalities are endlessly fascinating—not just to ourselves but also to our spouses, our parents, our children, our co-workers, our neighbors. As a highly social species, humans have to navigate among an astonishing variety of personalities. But how did all these different permutations come about? And what purpose do they serve?

With her trademark wit and sly humor, Hannah Holmes takes readers into the amazing world of personality and modern brain science. Using the Five Factor Model, which slices temperaments into the major factors (Extraversion, Neuroticism, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness) and minor facets (such as impulsive, artistic, or cautious), Holmes demonstrates how our genes and brains dictate which factors and facets each of us displays. Are you a Nervous Nelly? Your amygdala is probably calling the shots. Hyperactive Hal? It’s all about the dopamine.

Each facet took root deep in the evolution of life on Earth, with Nature allowing enough personal variation to see a species through good times and bad. Just as there are introverted and extroverted people, there are introverted and extroverted mice, and even starfish. In fact, the personality genes we share with mice make them invaluable models for the study of disorders like depression, schizophrenia, and anxiety. Thus it is deep and ancient biases that guide your dealings with a very modern world. Your personality helps to determine the political party you support, the car you drive, the way you eat M&Ms, and the likelihood that you’ll cheat on your spouse.

Drawing on data from top research laboratories, the lives of her eccentric friends, the conflicts that plague her own household, and even the habits of her two pet mice, Hannah Holmes summarizes the factors that shape you. And what she proves is that it does take all kinds. Even the most irksome and trying personality you’ve ever encountered contributes to the diversity of our species. And diversity is the key to our survival.
 


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Hannah Holmes

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HANNAH HOLMES is a science and natural history writer, and a regular contributor to the Discovery Channel Online. Her freelance work has been widely published, appearing in the Los Angeles Times Magazine, the New York Times Magazine, Outside, Sierra, National Geographic Traveler, and Escape. Her broadcast work has been featured on NPR’s Living on Earth and the Discovery Channel Online’s Science Live.
 
Published February 22, 2011 by Random House. 288 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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This model is far from a scientific tool—it describes but does not explain the function of a personality facet—but it is one of the best guides available to our natural inclinations and for identifying risks for personality disorders.

| Read Full Review of Quirk: Brain Science Makes Se...

Oregon Live

In "Quirk," Holmes again compares human behavior to animal behavior (this time sticking with lab rodents).

Feb 19 2011 | Read Full Review of Quirk: Brain Science Makes Se...

Bookmarks Magazine

Using the Five Factor Model, which slices temperaments into the major factors (Extraversion, Neuroticism, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness) and minor facets (such as impulsive, artistic, or cautious), Holmes demonstrates how our genes and brains dictate which factors and facets each...

Feb 21 2011 | Read Full Review of Quirk: Brain Science Makes Se...

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