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A Biological and Cultural Perspective

Sport by Jay Schulkin
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Sports are as varied as the people who play them. We run, we jump, and we swim. We kick, hit, cradle, and shoot balls as well as hit them. We ride sleds in the snow and surf in the sea. From the Olympians of ancient Greece to today’s professional athletes, from adult pick-up soccer games to children’s gymnastics classes, people at all levels of ability at all times and in all places have engaged in sport. What drives this phenomenon?

In Sport the neuroscientist Jay Schulkin argues that biology and culture do more than coexist when we play sports, they blend together seamlessly, propelling each other toward greater physical and intellectual achievement. To support this claim, Schulkin surveys history, literature, and art and engages the work of philosophers and the latest psychological and sociological research. He connects sport’s basic neural requirements, including spatial and temporal awareness, inference, memory, agency, direction, competitive spirit, and endurance, to the demands of other human activities. He affirms sport’s natural role as a creative evolutionary catalyst, turning the external play of sports inward and bringing profound insight to the diversion that defines our species. Sport, we learn, is a fundamental part of human life.
Columbia University Press; September 2016
256 pages; ISBN 9780231541978
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Title: Sport
Author: Jay Schulkin