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THOMAS SUDDENDORF was born in 1967 in Germany and is a full professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland, Australia. He has received honors and distinctions for both his research and teaching, including awards from the Australian Academy of Social Sciences, the Australian Psychological Society and the American Psychological Association. He has written 10 book chapters and published more than 50 articles, including a 2007 paper on mental time travel that has become one of the most highly cited in the field of neuroscience and behaviour. He is regularly invited to give talks, keynote addresses and public lectures. His work has been covered in many distinguished international media outlets (such as ABC, BBC, Der SpiegelDie ZeitDiscoverScienceScience NewsSpektrum der Wissenschaft and Sueddeutsche Zeitung). He has particularly strong media links in the US and UK, and has been interviewed for recent stories in New Scientist and The New York Times. THE GAP is his first trade book. 

Featured titles


The Science Of What Separates UsFrom Other Animals


One of PUBLISHERS WEEKLY’s Top 10 Fall 2013 titles in the ‘Science’ category


Beautifully written, well researched and thought provoking – Jane Goodall


Brilliantly combines scholarship with accessibility... This is popular science at its best – erudite, entertaining and wonderfully informative – Michael Corballis, Professor of Psychology, University of Auckland, and author of THE RECURSIVE MIND


Deep, illuminating... expertly reviews the evidence and arrives at provocative conclusions. A must-read – Stanislas Dehaene, author of READING IN THE BRAIN


Sweeping, sharply argued and exceptionally entertaining, it tells a story... that may turn out to be one of the great scientific discoveries of the century... a veritable eye-opener – Endel Tulving, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of Toronto, and author of ELEMENTS OF EPISODIC MEMORY


The definitive account of what we do and what we don’t know about the differences between animal and human minds.


It has been said that every psychologist must at some point fill in the following sentence: ‘The human being is the only animal that _____.’ Yet despite the many claims for human uniqueness, there is seemingly little consensus about what sets our minds apart from those of other animals.

In THE GAP, Thomas Suddendorf puts the record straight by providing the first complete account of exactly what makes human minds different from any others, and how this difference arose. Drawing on two decades of research on apes, children and human evolution, he surveys all the main areas often cited as uniquely human (language, intelligence, morality, culture, ‘theory of mind’ and ‘mental time travel’); proposes that just two innovations account for why our minds appear so distinct in all these areas – our open-ended ability to imagine and reflect on different situations and our insatiable drive to link our minds together; and argues that this gap is becoming wider not just because we are becoming smarter but also because we are making ourselves appear more special by reducing the capacities of our closest living relatives – by causing their extinction.

Weaving together the latest findings in animal behaviour, child development, anthropology, psychology, physiology, genetics, neuroscience and more, THE GAP is an original, provocative and authoritative book that will change the way we think about our place in nature. It is essential reading for anyone interested in what we really are, where we come from and where we are going – and our continuing relationship with the rest of the animal kingdom.


Publisher: Basic (UK & US)

Pub Date: 28 November 2013

Length: 352 pages

All rights available excluding:

World English Language (Basic), China (Shanghai Literature and Art Publishing House), Germany (Berlin), Japan (Hakuyosha), Spain (Ediciones Destino)