Why We Snap: Understanding the Rage Circuit in Your Brain

R. Douglas Fields

This book appeared in Advance Copy, a column in which NASW book editor Lynne Lamberg asks NASW authors to tell how they came up with the idea for their book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. She also asks what they wish they had known before they began working on their book, what they might do differently the next time, and what tips they can offer aspiring authors. She then edits the A part of that Q&A to produce the author reports you see here. Publication of NASW members’ reports in Advance Copy does not indicate NASW’s endorsement of their books. NASW welcomes your comments, and hopes this column stimulates productive discussions. To join the discussion or submit your book, visit Advance Copy.

When a pickpocket grabbed his wallet in Barcelona, Douglas Fields fought back. He recovered his wallet, and was unharmed, but later marveled at his instantaneous, unthinking reaction. In his book, Why We Snap: Understanding the Rage Circuit in Your Brain, he explores the neurocircuitry driving such automatic responses. Some people put themselves in harm’s way to aid strangers, while others respond to minor traffic incidents with road rage and other violent behaviors. From a neuroscience perspective, he suggests, the same brain circuits drive these dissimilar acts.