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The Spaces Between Us
- A Story of Neuroscience, Evolution, and Human Nature
- Narrated by: David de Vries
- Length: 5 hrs and 50 mins
- Unabridged Audiobook
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Each of us has a protected zone two or three feet wide, swelling around the head and narrowing toward the feet. This zone isn't fixed in size: If you're nervous, it grows; if you're relaxed, it shrinks. It also depends on your cultural upbringing. Personal space is small in Japan and large in Australia. This safety zone, called personal space, provides an invisible spatial scaffold that frames our social interactions.
As Michael Graziano argues in The Spaces Between Us, it also organizes our social and emotional spacing, influences our facial expressions, and shapes our interactions with everyday objects including tools, furniture, and clothing. Even ordinary actions like walking are informed by a continuous under-the-surface calculation of threats and obstacles around the body - what Graziano calls a virtual Bubble Wrap of active neurons that fire and move us to action, even before we may be conscious of our course corrections in real time. Humans evolved a complex way of interacting with others and their environment, and The Spaces Between Us looks at how this infrastructure may have led to the first smile and to a host of other human activities, from tool use to courtship to a sense of self.
The book concludes with a case study of Graziano's son, who had heartbreaking difficulties developing a functioning personal space. Written with poignant narrative clarity, the book makes the case for the interested scientific public that this system in the brain is more than a fascinating scientific topic: It's deeply personal and shapes our human nature.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
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An incredible insight
I've known how important our personal space is for many years, I mean, who hasn't, right? But this book offers something different, something new. The author shares delicate information about his young son's struggle with dyspraxia, the disability that causes the sufferer to experience movement and coordination difficulties. The connection to personal space ought to be obvious, but it's not, at least not obvious enough.
The result is a very sad story of a child being misunderstood and distressingly mislabelled by the educational professionals around him who really ought to have known better.
It was brave of the author to share such a personal narrative in order to help the reader/listener understand the importance of the spaces around us.
- Dr. Mark
Part neuroscience, part memoir, part emotional cautionary tale, this book is both informative and moving. What makes it possible is the author’s extraordinary writing skills, which make difficult concepts easy to absorb and relate to, whether from his groundbreaking scientific research or from the travails of his son struggling in a world unable to cope with a child’s hidden disabilities.
2 people found this helpful