Why do humans engage in violence? Why do we cooperate in peace? How has violence changed over the course of human history? Are we living in unusually violent times? Steven Pinker presents evidence that violence has decreased over time because our peaceable motives have overridden our violent ones, and that media-driven illusions fool us into thinking that violence is constantly rising. Steven Pinker is a Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. He is an experimental psychologist and one of the world’s foremost writers on language, mind, and human nature. He writes for publications such as the New York Times, Time and The Atlantic. Steven Pinker is the author of ten books, including The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, The Stuff of Thought, The Better Angels of Our Nature, and most recently, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century. LINKS: Steven Pinker’s Survival Symposium video. The Survival Symposium video playlist on YouTube. About the Survival Symposium. “You may think the world is falling apart. Steven Pinker is here to tell you it isn’t.“ SCIENCE SPEAKEASY June 20th – “Evolution and Gender Revolution“ July 12th – […]
Origin Stories is The Leakey Foundation’s monthly podcast about what it means to be human and the science behind what we know about ourselves. We’ll look into the deep past, explore the mysteries of the human mind, and hear stories from scientists who are asking fascinating questions about the origins and evolution of our species. We’ll have stories on human evolution, human behavior, primates, archaeology, biology, psychology, science history and much more.
Why do people risk their own lives to save a stranger? Why do we share food or give money to charity? The human capacity for altruism has been a puzzle for scientists since Darwin. In this episode of Origin Stories, primatologist Joan Silk explores the evolution of altruism and cooperation. In our Being Human Bonus segment, we share a story of human kindness from Erika Lantz and WBUR’s Kind World. Origin Stories is a project of The Leakey Foundation. You can support this show and the science we talk about by making a tax-deductible donation. Your donation will be doubled thanks to an anonymous altruistic sponsor! Give today at www.leakeyfoundation.org/donate Links Learn more about Joan Silk and her research at www.joansilk.com. Being Human www.beinghuman.org Kind World www.wbur.org/kindworld Adept Word Management www.adeptwordmanagement.com Credits Produced by Meredith Johnson Edited by Julia Barton Theme music by Henry Nagle Production help from Susan Valot Additional music by Podington Bear, Lee Rosevere, and Alex Fitch About the “Origin Stories” Podcast
Every animal that lives in groups has to make decisions as a group. Even a seemingly simple decision like “where should we go for dinner?” can be complicated to negotiate. Is there a simple rule behind how humans and other animals make group decisions? Margaret Crofoot is a primatologist and Leakey Foundation grantee whose research on baboons suggests there is a rule, and it’s not what you might think. You can read more about Margaret Crofoot’s research and see a video of her GPS data on our blog! Links Margaret Crofoot’s Lab Shared decision-making drives collective movement in wild baboons Sponsors Origin Stories is a project of The Leakey Foundation. You can support this podcast and the research we talk about by making a tax-deductible donation. All donations will be doubled! This episode is part of the Being Human initiative. A joint project of the Baumann Foundation and The Leakey Foundation dedicated to understanding modern life from an evolutionary perspective. Thanks to Adept Word Management for their transcription service. Visit Adept Word Management for your transcription needs. You can download transcripts of our episodes at leakeyfoundation.org/originstories Credits Produced by […]
Humans have evolved very differently from other primates. Is there one thing responsible for humans becoming human? Some evolutionary biologists think that the way we process our food, namely cooking it, could explain why our species developed so differently from others. Did cooking make us human? Dr. Richard Wrangham of Harvard University and Dr. Rachel Carmody of UCSF and Harvard discuss the impact that cooked food has had on human evolution. This episode of Origin Stories was produced by Briana Breen and edited by Audrey Quinn. Music by Henry Nagle. Thanks to Richard Wrangham and Rachel Carmody for sharing their work. Being Human This re-released episode includes a new Being Human bonus segment. Being Human was a joint initiative of The Baumann Foundation and The Leakey Foundation, dedicated to understanding modern life from an evolutionary perspective. Special thanks to Lily Mazzarella of Farmacopia for talking with us about her work for the Being Human segment. Episode Links Richard Wrangham’s Harvard University Website Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human Smithsonian Magazine “Why Fire Made Us Human” Rachel Carmody’s Nature article: Diet rapidly and reproducibly alters the human gut microbiome The Leakey Foundation Origin Stories is a project of The Leakey […]
The Power Paradox What is power? Where does social power come from? What happens in our bodies and with our behavior when we have power and when we don’t? What can we learn about lasting social power from small-scale hunter-gatherer societies? Dacher Keltner is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and the faculty director of the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center. A renowned expert in the biological and evolutionary origins of human emotion, Dr. Keltner studies the science of compassion, awe, love, and beauty, and how emotions shape our moral intuition. His research interests also span issues of power, status, inequality, and social class. He is the author of the best-selling book Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life and of The Compassionate Instinct. Dr. Keltner’s most recent book is The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence. This episode is a live recording from The Leakey Foundation’s Bay Area Science Festival event. Links The Greater Good Science Center The Leakey Foundation Adept Word Management About the “Origin Stories” Podcast