Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst

Robert Sapolsky
In Conversation With evolutionary biologist Amy Parish
Thursday, May 25, 2017
Episode Summary

Why do we do the things we do? Author and MacArthur recipient Robert Sapolsky’s game-changing new book Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst attempts to answer this very question, one of the deepest questions of the human species. Moving between neurobiological factors, to the sensory world of our environment and endocrinology, to tracing individual’s childhoods and their genetic makeup, to encompassing larger categories of culture, ecology, and evolution, Sapolsky considers millions of years of science to wrestle with why we ultimately do the things we do…for good and for ill. Discussing his staggering work with evolutionary biologist Amy Parish, Sapolsky takes us on an engrossing tour of the science of human behavior.

Participant(s) Bio

Robert M. Sapolsky is the author of several works of nonfiction, including A Primate’s Memoir, The Trouble with Testosterone, and Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers. He is a Professor of Biological Sciences, Neurology, Neurological Sciences, and Neurosurgery at Stanford University. Dr. Sapolsky is considered one of the world’s leading neuroscientists and has been called “one of the finest natural history writers around” by the New York Times. For more than thirty years, Sapolsky has divided his time between field work with baboons and highly technical neurological research in the laboratory. His study of stress in non-human primates has offered a fascinating insight into how human beings relate to this universal pressure. Dr. Sapolsky is a recipient of a MacArthur Foundation genius grant and lives in San Francisco.

Amy Parish is a biological anthropologist, primatologist, and Darwinian feminist who has taught at the University of Southern California in the gender studies, arts and letters, anthropology, and preventive medicine programs and departments since 1999. Dr. Parish has been studying the world’s captive population of bonobos for the last twenty years. In all of her research, Dr. Parish uses an evolutionary approach to shed light on the origins of human behavior. Her work has been featured in Ms. Magazine, and she has appeared on Nova, National Geographic Explorer, NPR, and Discovery Health Channel productions.