Book Forum

The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life

(Oxford University Press, 2018)

January 9, 2018 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM EST

Hayek Auditorium, Cato Institute

Featuring the author Robin Hanson, Associate Professor of Economics, George Mason University; Research Associate, Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University; and Amanda Pustilnik, Professor of Law, University of Maryland School of Law; moderated by Jason Kuznicki, Research Fellow, Cato Institute and Editor, Cato Books.

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Robin Hanson and Kevin Simler have written a book about the hidden motives in all of us: quite often, our brains get up to activities that we know little or nothing about. This isn’t just a question of regulating hormone levels or involuntary reflexes. Many of these involuntary behaviors are social signals, such as laughter or tears. Involuntary motives appear to underlie many forms of human sociability, including family formation, art, religion, and recreation. What are the implications for public policy? How can we understand politics and governance better in light of our hidden motives? Our discussion of The Elephant in the Brain: Hidden Motives in Everyday Life will focus on just these questions.