What are the weird things we do

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Robert Provine

A strange being

Why we yawn, burp, sneeze and do other weird things
Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek 2014
ISBN 9783498052126
Hardcover, 320 pages, 19.95 EUR


Would you have thought that there are parallels between sneezing and orgasm? Do you know why yawning is so contagious? And what do burps and farts have to do with human language ability? The neuropsychologist Robert R. Provine ventures into topics that scientists normally avoid. And he comes to fascinating insights into what defines us as human beings: our evolution, our unconscious and our character as social beings. "A strange being" is the essence of decades of research and a real treasure trove of amazing connections and amusing stories.

Review note on Frankfurter Rundschau, December 29, 2014

Arno Widmann learns lots of useful things from neuroscientist Robert R. Provine: How often a 30-year-old farts on average every day or how loud the loudest burp was. Widmann is very interested, especially since Provine brings his findings across credibly and the professor identifies himself as a specialist in the field of human behavior, according to the reviewer. That the Marseillaise can be intoned using intestinal windings and what a fart actually consists of - who hasn't always wanted to know, says Widmann.

Review note on Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, October 4th, 2014

Sneezing with open eyes is possible, the Marseillaise tends not to fart, says reviewer Hannes Hintermeier, who is infected by neuropsychologist Robert R. Provine and his cheerful science. Provine tells of yawning, crying and sneezing as a break in our self-control, but often fails to provide explanations, as the reviewer notes. Scientifically based, anecdotally enriched and always self-deprecating, the way the book comes along, it is nevertheless worth reading for Hintermeier.
Read the review at buecher.de

Review note on Die Welt, 09/13/2014

Wiebke Hollersen feels like at a good party reading this. For Hollersen that means there are interesting things to hear, but not all of the details need to be understood. What the neuroscientist Robert Provine offers in his book under the label "little science" is above all fun for Hollersen. The reviewer can also learn something: about human behavior such as crying, laughing and sneezing, what they mean, where they come from. Because the author drafts "entertaining" theories about this, Hollersen endures the book for a while.