Why We Snap: Understanding the Rage Circuit in Your Brain

Why We Snap: Understanding the Rage Circuit in Your Brain by Douglas Fields

Book Description – Why We Snap: Understanding the Rage Circuit in Your Brain

Product Details Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Dutton (January 12, 2016) Language: English
ISBN-10: 052595483X
ISBN-13: 978-0525954835
Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.3 inches

Editorial Reviews


“An important and timely book that uses neuroscience to illustrate why society must come to terms with our evolutionary heritage.”

Science Magazine

“For those craving an action-packed account of what scientists currently know about how rage works, this book delivers.”

Scientific American MIND

“Synthesizing his own and others’ research and scores of case studies, Fields argues that many apparently inexplicable cases of violent rage are down to a clash between hard-wiring in the brain’s hypothalamus, amygdala andlimbic system, and nine rage triggers, from life-or-death situations to threats to social order… Cogent and timely.”


“Neuroscientist Fields provides insight into the seemingly inexplicable… highly readable… a thoughtful and essential light on one of the darkest aspects of human behavior.”

Publishers Weekly

“Neurobiologist Fields offers a sensible, plainspoken guide to the all-too-common phenomenon of rage… [a] thoughtful and anecdotal examination… Fields’ timely exploration of sudden acts of violence is sure to inspire conversation.”


“The interplay between conscious and unconscious cognition is not unfamiliar territory, as readers of Daniel Kahneman or Malcolm Gladwell will recognize, but Fields’ personal experience adds a fresh viewpoint to an intriguing subject.”

Kirkus Reviews

“A fusion of news, in-person interviews, and academic research, this book will appeal to readers of popular neuroscience and those seeking specific information on anger and rage.”

Library Journal

“R. Douglas Fields illuminates the intricate neural processes involved in the common human experience of ‘flipping our lid’ as we snap out of clear thinking and into states of rage.  By carefully documenting the brain science beneath the complex states of fury and illustrating with examples of real life stories of those who’ve ‘lost it’, our expert guide reveals how we can both understand the mechanisms and the triggers for such states and use this new knowledge in practical ways to minimize the potential damage of going down ‘the low road’ with ourselves and others.  This is a fine example of applied neuroscience for the benefit of our common humanity.  Bravo!”

Daniel J. Siegel, MD, author of
Brainstorm and
Clinical Professor, UCLA School of Medicine, Executive Director, Mindsight Institute

“This book is a riveting journey into your brain’s most mysterious, dangerous, and possibly redemptive territory. Douglas Fields guides us into the core of rage, and offers us a blueprint for understanding—and perhaps remedying—the explosions of violence that can mar our world and our lives.”

—Dan Coyle, author o
f The Talent Code
“Doug Fields explores the dark matter of the soul engrained in a the web of neurons in our brain. This is a superbly told investigation into the question of why we snap with urgent, useful implications for our personal lives as well as for the wider world. Everyone should know about the triggers of the rage circuit Doug Fields has defined.”

—Daniela Schiller, PhD, Neuroscientist, Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai

“A superb must-read for anyone hoping to understand the common neural roots of spontaneous acts of violence, rage, and, yes, heroism.  The argument is both riveting and convincing; the implications are profound, from rethinking the relationship between violence and personal responsibility to possible ways to temper the ‘snap’ response.”

—Robert Burton, M.D. author of
On Being Certain

About the Author

R. Douglas Fields is senior investigator at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. He became head of the Neurocytology and Physiology Unit, NICHD in 1994 and chief of the Nervous System Development and Plasticity Section, NICHD in 2001. He is editor in chief of Neuron Glia Biology and a member of the editorial board of several other journals in the field of neuroscience. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.

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