Abigail Marsh is an Associate Professor of psychology at Georgetown University, where she has taught and conducted social and affective neuroscience research since 2008.
She received her PhD in Social Psychology from Harvard University and completed her post-doctoral training in cognitive neuroscience at the National Institute of Mental Health. Her ongoing research employs brain imaging and behavioral testing methods aimed at identifying the roots of human empathy, altruism, and aggression.
Her work has been covered in, The Times, Slate, The Huffington Post, NPR, The Economist and New York Magazine and her TED talk has reached over 1.7 million viewers around the world.
Her first book, Good for Nothing, examines the poles of human empathy, from heroic altruism to child psychopathy, and was published in October 2017 by Robinson / Little, Brown and by Basic Books / Hachette in the US, under the title The Fear Factor, to critical acclaim.
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Good For Nothing: From Altruists to Psychopaths and Everyone in Between – buy it here.
If humans are fundamentally good, why do we engage in acts of great cruelty? If we are evil, why do we sometimes help others at a cost to ourselves? Whether humans are good or evil is a question that has plagued philosophers and scientists for as long as there have been philosophers and scientists.
Many argue that we are fundamentally selfish, and only the rules and laws of our societies and our own relentless efforts of will can save us from ourselves. But is this really true?
Abigail Marsh is a social neuroscientist who has closely studied the brains of both the worst and the best among us-from children with psychopathic traits whose families live in fear of them, to adult altruists who have given their own kidneys to strangers. Her groundbreaking findings suggest a possibility that is more optimistic than the dominant view. Humans are not good or evil, but are equally (and fundamentally) capable of good and evil.
In Good for Nothing Marsh explores the human capacity for caring, drawing on cutting edge research findings from clinical, translational and brain imaging investigations on the nature of empathy, altruism, and aggression and brings us closer to understanding the basis of humans’ social nature.
Publisher: Robinson / Little, Brown
Publication date: 19th October 2017