Understanding our humanity - the essence of who we are - is one of the deepest mysteries and biggest challenges in modern science. Why do we have bad moods? Why are we capable of having such strange dreams? How can metaphors in our language hold such sway on our actions?
As we learn more about the mechanisms of human behavior through evolutionary biology, neuroscience, anthropology, and other related fields, we're discovering just how intriguing the human species is. And while scientists are continually uncovering similarities between our behavior and that of other animals, they're also finding insights into everything that makes us unique from any other species.
Join an acclaimed neurobiologist, award-winning teacher, and MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" recipient in a series of 12 invigorating lectures that offer a surprising and undeniably fascinating study of what makes you you, journeying to the front lines of scientific research to gain a new perspective on the quirky nature of being ourselves. Professor Sapolsky explores our humanity by investigating mysterious and sometimes even mundane aspects of human behavior, including bad moods, nostalgia, and dreams, packing the lectures with stories of bold experiments and case studies that illuminate the intricacies of our behavior.
Thought-provoking, witty, and sometimes myth-shattering, this course is sure to have you thinking about and appreciating your life in novel ways.
Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.
©2012 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2012 The Great Courses
This book felt like being back at university sat there listening to a favorite teacher.
Being from an engineering background, I don't have much knowledge of neuroscience. The lectures were well delivered, I had no problem understanding the concepts being presented and found it incredibly interesting.
SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!
What a joy Sapolsky is! This short course has it all: neurobiology, history, social commentary. And God does it have humor. The writing, the delivery, is top notch. Where else will you hear of a baboon being a tease and giving another, totally love-struck, baboon the cold "fur-covered" shoulder? This is a lesson on intermittent reinforcement, and with an image like that, the story that goes with it, seriously. The lesson will stick with me forever.
There's so much packed into so few hours, you won't even feel time flying by. Plus, perhaps you, as I, will find yourself drawing connections to your own experiences. Depression is covered, in certain ways. Did you know just forcing a smile makes a depressed person more likely to feel better? Or that meds targeting an empathy, an I-feel-the-pain-of-the-world type of depression is being developed?
True, Sapolsky does stray from science a lot, but eventually he gets back to the brain. And true, cockroaches get A LOT of air time (and tell me if you don't get squeamish in the parasite section!), but the section on metaphors? That just highlights how breathtakingly beautiful the whole book is written, how insightful and inspiring the text is.
This book is worth it.
I'm happy to be human today...
It isn't utterly horrible. There are some interesting tidbits "from the frontiers of science". However, that's all you get. The prof makes it sound like you are going to embark on a journey that will lead to a far greater understanding of what it means to be a human being. Title should read "Fun Facts from the Frontiers of Science."
Professor Robert Sapolsky is warm and engaging, and his lectures are full of insight and information that can shift how you understand yourself, others, and the world. He has made it on to my short list of people who I unquestionable trust to deliver contemporary, useful material about the brain and what we do with it.
Letting the rest of the world go by
A nicely presented lecture on the nexus between psychology and neuroscience and the author never loses the listener with obscure names of brain regions, hormone names, or body parts.
There is a theme the author presses through out the lecture and that is the conclusions are only as good as the data set the conclusions are based on.
If you ever watch a movie or TV show and they are trying to show how wise a professor of Psychology or Neuroscience is the character in the show will be relating one of the experiments that would have been covered in this lecture. (I'm thinking about the truly marvelous movie, "Boyhood" and the Psychology professor is relating a story that is covered within this lecture).
For me, most (if not all) the stories I have come across elsewhere in my readings, but this lecture series has all the stories in one place and without any jargon to confuse the listener and is given by a lecturer who really knows how to tell a story.
(I got this lecture on the "deal of the day" for $2.95 and at the price it is well worth it. I would imagine Audible will discount it from time to time and I would recommend it at that discounted price).
at first I didn't know what to expect of this Great course. It covers a wide variety of subjects over the 12 chapters. I really enjoyed the Professor although it seemed like he was pressed for time at some points and wanted to go off on a tangent that may have been unrelated to the current chapter. He covers a lot of information though.
This selection is a series of college-level lectures by a well-known and well-regarded professor of neuroscience. Professor Sapolski is, as expected, an excellent lecturer.
If you have been following the rapid accumulation of knowledge in neuroscience since the arrival of functional brain imaging and other whiz-bang, you may find this lecture series a bit slow and simplified.
If you have not been following these developments, this would be as good a place as many to start. You need to know this stuff! If you are over 30 years old, the information you were given during your education and the assumptions you absorbed from the culture about your brain, your learning processes, and your emotions is dangerously out of date. The lectures are slow-paced; but then, its not easy stuff. No math and not much chemistry, but changing your mind about your mind is not for sissies.
The entire purchase price and the investment of time to listen to this series was worth it just for the wonderful lecture devoted to details of neurological parasitism. Yes, indeed, there are tiny parasites that compel their crab hosts to prepare the nesting site for the parasite's babies.These kinds of things are not at all rare and can be scary in a way science fiction and dystopian literature cannot match. I long ago overcame most of my squeamishness about biology and there is no doubt it's important knowledge; but consider this a trigger-warning.
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