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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 »

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!

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“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 »

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