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European neuroscientists challenge the Human Brain Project as is

pyramidalcellsNeuroscientists attack ‘off-course’ human brain project (BBC News):

“Senior neuroscientists have attacked the Human Brain Project, a billion-pound European Commission initiative aiming to simulate the human brain. An open letter to the EC from over 200 scientists says the project is “not on course”, Read the rest of this entry »

The Science of Optimism: a Conversation on ‘The Optimism Bias’ with neuroscientist Tali Sharot

I like to think of myself as a positive and optimistic person. It seems to me to make for an easier and more enjoyable journey through life. So I was intrigued when I read of neuroscientist Tali Sharot’s research into the Optimism Bias, which has shown that despite all the bad news stories we are bombarded with on a daily basis: war, violence, wrong-doing and financial meltdown, the majority of us are optimistic by nature; our brains are hardwired to be so. It’s a fascinating concept and one I had to find out more about, so I bought the book and met with Tali in her office at University College London for an enthralling discussion. Read the rest of this entry »

Peace Among Primates (Part 3)

A few days ago we published the first and second installments of this Peace Among Primates series, by neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky. Today we publish the third and final one.

Peace Among Primates (Part 3)

Anyone who says peace is not part of human nature knows too little about primates, including ourselves.

–By Robert M. Sapolsky

Natural born killers?

Read the rest of this entry »

Peace Among Primates (Part 2)

(Editor’s Note: A few days ago we published the first installment of this Peace Among Primates series, by neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky. Today we publish the second installment. Next Saturday, April 19th, you can come back and read the third and final part in the series.)

Peace Among Primates (Part 2)

Anyone who says peace is not part of human nature knows too little about primates, including ourselves.

–By Robert M. Sapolsky

Left behind

In the early 1980s, “Forest Troop,” a group of savanna baboons I had been studying—virtually living with—for years, was going about its business in a national park in Kenya when a neighboring baboon group had a stroke of luck: Read the rest of this entry »

Peace Among Primates- by Robert Sapolsky

(Editor’s Note: One of the most original minds we have ever encountered is that of Robert Sapolsky, the Stanford-based neuroscientist, primatologist, author of A Primate’s Memoir, and more. We highly recommend most of his books. Above all, for anyone interested in brain health, this is a must read and very fun: Why Zebras Don't Have Ulcers- Robert SapolskyWhy Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: An Updated Guide To Stress, Stress Related Diseases, and Coping. We are honored to bring you a guest article series by Robert Sapolsky, thanks to our collaboration with Greater Good Magazine.)

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Peace Among Primates

Anyone who says peace is not part of human nature knows too little about primates, including ourselves.

–By Robert M. Sapolsky

It used to be thought that humans were the only savagely violent primate.  “We are the only species that kills its own, narrators intoned portentously in nature films several decades ago. That view fell by the wayside in the 1960s as it became clear that some other primates kill their fellows aplenty. Males kill; females kill. Some use their toolmaking skills to fashion bigger and better cudgels. Other primates even engage in what can only be called warfare, organized, proactive group violence directed at other populations.

Yet as field studies of primates expanded, what became most striking was the variation in social practices across species. Yes, some primate species have lives filled with violence, frequent and varied. But life among others is filled with communitarianism, egalitarianism, and cooperative child rearing. Read the rest of this entry »

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