Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Icon

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.)

—————–

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 »

Stress and Neural Wreckage: Part of the Brain Plasticity Puzzle

Victoria Crater MarsEditor’s Note: Below you have a very insight­ful arti­cle on stress by Gre­go­ry Kel­let, a researcher at UCSF. Enjoy!

———————————————-

My brain is fried, toast, fraz­zled, burnt out. How many times have you said or heard one ver­sion or anoth­er of these state­ments. Most of us think we are being fig­u­ra­tive when we utter such phras­es, but research shows that the bio­log­i­cal con­se­quences of sus­tained high lev­els of stress may have us being more accu­rate than we would like to think.

Crash Course on Stress

Our bod­ies are a com­plex bal­anc­ing act between sys­tems work­ing full time to keep us alive and well. This bal­anc­ing act is con­stant­ly adapt­ing to the myr­i­ad of changes occur­ring every sec­ond with­in our­selves and our envi­ron­ments. When it gets dark our pupils dilate, when we get hot we sweat, when we smell food we sali­vate, and so forth. This con­stant bal­anc­ing act main­tains a range of sta­bil­i­ty in the body via change; and is often referred to as allosta­sis. Any change which threat­ens this bal­ance can be referred to as allo­sta­t­ic load or stress.

Allo­sta­t­ic load/stress is part of being alive. For exam­ple just by get­ting up in the morn­ing, we all expe­ri­ence a very impor­tant need to increase our heart rate and blood pres­sure in order to feed our new­ly ele­vat­ed brain. Although usu­al­ly man­age­able, this is a change which the body needs to adapt to and, by our def­i­n­i­tion, a stres­sor.

Stress is only a prob­lem when this allo­sta­t­ic load becomes over­load. When change is exces­sive or Read the rest of this entry »

Brain Plasticity, Health and Fitness Books

As you may have noticed, we just changed a few things in our site, includ­ing prepar­ing a more sol­id Resources sec­tion. Please take a look at the nav­i­ga­tion bar at the top.

One of the new pages, that we will update often, is an expand­ed Books page. Here are the books that we are rec­om­mend­ing now.

Fas­ci­nat­ing books on neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty (the abil­i­ty of the brain to rewire itself through expe­ri­ence):

Sharon Begley: Train Your Mind, Change Your BrainTrain Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Sci­ence Reveals Our Extra­or­di­nary Poten­tial to Trans­form Our­selves — by Sharon Beg­ley.

 

The Brain That Changes Itself - Norman DoidgeThe Brain That Changes Itself: Sto­ries of Per­son­al Tri­umph from the Fron­tiers of Brain Sci­ence — by Nor­man Doidge.

 

Great pop­u­lar sci­ence books by Read the rest of this entry »

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters and more, SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking health and performance applications of brain science.

Follow us and Engage via…

twitter_logo_header
RSS Feed

Search for anything brain-related in our article archives

Enter Your Email to receive Sharp­Brains free, monthly eNewslet­ter:

Join more than 50,000 Sub­scribers and stay informed and engaged.