TED : Ideas worth spreading

Review: The biology of our best and worst selves

Speaker: Robert Sapolsky
TED2017
Date: April 2017
Location: Vancouver, BC

Description from TED website:
How can humans be so compassionate and altruistic — and also so brutal and violent? To understand why we do what we do, neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky looks at extreme context, examining actions on timescales from seconds to millions of years before they occurred. In this fascinating talk, he shares his cutting-edge research into the biology that drives our worst and best behaviors.

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My Review / Notes / Thoughts

A very interesting talk indeed! He goes into some interesting detail about the brain, hormones, development, etc. He basically shows us that a decision we make here and now is not random. It is fashioned and formed by events that happened days, weeks, or even decades ago.

I’m curious as to how this train of thought might affect our legal system. So based on that, I think this would be a very interesting talk for students of legal studies to watch. The professor could give them a case and ask them questions such as: If the defense attorney had used this information to inform his defense of his client, what would the case have looked like? Would the outcome have been different? How might the jury have responded differently? Might the prosecutor have changed the charges? Might the judge have ruled differently or given different sentencing?

Similarly, this talk could be used in any field that studies human behavior such as psychology and sociology… possibly even anthropology.

What do you think? How could this talk be used in your environment? What types of assignments might you pair with this talk to engage the students?


Until next time … live long, life-learner!

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