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Joseph L. Giovannoli was born in Eastern Pennsylvania but moved to Northern New Jersey during childhood. He developed an early interest in science and history and, as he grew older, became fascinated by variations in how people perceived reality. This diverse range of interests led him to become a generalist. 


He received BSE and JD degrees for his studies in science, applied science, and law, joined the law department of Union Carbide in New York City, and subsequently co-founded a law firm in New Jersey. He became an entrepreneur, and one of his startup companies involved with computer technology led to his invention of an automated reverse auction purchasing system for which he received US and foreign patents. Zillow and LendingTree acquired licenses to use his technology, earning him recognition in the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame as Inventor of the Year in 2013. 

Throughout his career, he continued studying why people perceived reality differently. In 2000, he published The Biology of Belief, integrating existing neurological and cultural research to explain how genetic predispositions and acquired beliefs shape how we perceive reality. Among other things, it described how beliefs are cultural equivalents of DNA. The book was recommended reading in courses at eight universities in Europe and North America, including a seminar for doctoral candidates at Boston University School of Theology. Over the following two decades, he completed a trilogy using original, relatable metaphors and evolution-based concepts that explain why social and political polarization are genetic. 

He and his wife, Shirley Wescott, reside in Northern New Jersey, where he studies cultural evolution and reads science research abstracts.

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