Variation is the norm

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A note for Lesson no. 6, "Brains Make More Than One Kind of Mind," in Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context from page 102 is:

... variation is the norm — and is a blessing for our species ...

We humans are more variable in our behaviors than any other species on earth.[1][2] In other animal species, the degree of behavioral diversity is matched by the degree of underlying genetic diversity, but not so in humans: our behaviors may vary more widely than in any other animal species, but the diversity in our gene pool is, in fact, considerably lower than expected.[3]


  1. Winterhalder, Bruce, and Eric Alden Smith. 2000. "Analyzing Adaptive Strategies: Human Behavioral Ecology At Twenty‐Five." Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews: Issues, News, and Reviews 9 (2): 51–72.
  2. Brown, Gillian R., Thomas E. Dickins, Rebecca Sear, and Kevin N. Laland. 2011. "Evolutionary Accounts of Human Behavioural Diversity." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 366: 313–324.
  3. Gagneux, Pascal, Christopher Wills, Ulrike Gerloff, Diethard Tautz, Phillip A. Morin, Christophe Boesch, Barbara Fruth, Gottfried Hohmann, Oliver A. Ryder, and David S. Woodruff. 1999. "Mitochondrial Sequences Show Diverse Evolutionary Histories of African Hominoids." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 96 (9): 5077–5082.