Reading and writing: Fill in the blanks
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In a sequence of bestsellers, including The Language Instinct and How the Mind Works, Pinker has argued the swathes of our mental, social and emotional lives may have originated as evolutionary adaptations, well suited to the lives our ancestors eked out on the Pleistocene savannah. Sometimes it seems as if nothing is immune from being explained this way. Road rage, adultery, marriage, altruism, our tendency to reward senior executives with corner offices on the top floor, and the smaller number of women who become mechanical engineers—all may have their roots in natural selection, Pinker claims. The controversial implications are obvious: that men and women might differ in their inborn abilities at performing certain tasks, for example, or that parenting may have little influence on personality.