The Dopaminergic Mind in Human Evolution and History

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What does it mean to be human? There are many theories of the evolution of human behavior which seek to explain how our brains evolved to support our unique abilities and personalities. Most of these have focused on the role of brain size or specific genetic adaptations of the brain. In contrast, in this text, Fred Previc presents a provocative theory that high levels of dopamine, the most widely studied neurotransmitter, account for all major aspects of modern human behavior. He further emphasizes the role of epigenetic rather than genetic factors in the rise of dopamine. Previc contrasts the great achievements of the dopaminergic mind with the harmful effects of rising dopamine levels in modern societies and concludes with a critical examination of whether the dopaminergic mind that has evolved in humans is still adaptive to the health of humans and to the planet in general.