Shared Reality: What Makes Us Strong and Tears Us Apart

ISBN : 9780190948054

E. Tory Higgins
328 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Jul 2019
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What does it mean to be human? Why do we feel and behave in the ways that we do? The classic answer is that we have a special kind of intelligence. But to understand what we are as humans, we also need to know what we are like motivationally. And what is central to this story, what is special about human motivation, is that humans want to share with others their inner experiences about the world-share how they feel, what they believe, and what they want to happen in the future. They want to create a shared reality with others. People have a shared reality together when they experience having in common a feeling about something, a belief about something, or a concern about something. They feel connected to another person or group by knowing that this person or group sees the world the same way that they do-they share what is real about the world. In this work, Dr. Higgins describes how our human motivation for shared reality evolved in our species, and how it develops in our children as shared feelings, shared practices, and shared goals and roles. Shared reality is crucial to what we believe-sharing is believing. It is central to our sense of self, what we strive for and how we strive. It is basic to how we get along with others. It brings us together in fellowship and companionship, but it also tears us apart by creating in-group "bubbles" that conflict with one another. Our shared realities are the best of us, and the worst of us.


Part I: The Emergence of Shared Reality
Chapter 1: Sharing Is Believing
Chapter 2: Childhood Development of Shared Reality: Infants & Toddlers
Chapter 3: Childhood Development of Shared Reality: Preschoolers & Schoolers
Chapter 4: The Roots of Human Shared Reality
Part II: How Shared Reality Makes Us Human
Chapter 5: What We Feel
Chapter 6: What We Know: More Than Meets the Eye
Chapter 7: Our Sense of Self: Who Am I? How Am I Doing?
Chapter 8: Our Attitudes & Opinions: Experiencing the Subjective As Objective
Chapter 9: What We Strive For & Value
Chapter 10: How We Strive
Chapter 11: How We Get Along: Bringing Us Together & Tearing Us Apart
Epilogue: It Begins With Shared Relevance

About the author: 

E. Tory Higgins is the Stanley Schachter Professor of Psychology, Professor of Business, and Director of the Motivation Science Center at Columbia University. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. He is the author of Beyond Pleasure and Pain: How Motivation Works (Oxford, 2012). He has received the Distinguished Scientist Award (the Society of Experimental Social Psychology), the Anneliese Maier Research Award (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation), the William James Fellow Award for Distinguished Achievements in Psychological Science (the American Psychological Society), and the American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions. He is also a recipient of Columbia University's Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching and the Ambady Award for Mentoring Excellence (Society for Personality and Social Psychology).

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