Let’s read this “Behave by Robert Sapolsky” review to see for yourself the value of this reading. Neurobiologist, a primatologist and anthropologist Robert M. Sapolsky, in his book, Behave!, explore, the behavior of all living things in general. In this more than decade-long research Sapolsky provides the answer to the question of why we do the things we do. He uses a literal epochal approach in his analysis. First, he processes specific factors that influence an individual’s response and behavior at a given moment, then gradually goes back in time, ending deep in the history of our species and its evolutionary legacy. With this approach, it seeks to show what influenced our current response in the given circumstances.

Behave by Robert Sapolsky

The author’s initial level of interpretation is neurobiological, and the response and behavior of the living being is a reaction to an external impulse. Then Sapolsky moves to a broader time perspective:

  • What, in the recent past, caused a specific impulse in the nervous system to trigger this behavior?
  • What hormones worked for hours or days before, and how did they affect the response of individuals?
  • How have behaviors been affected by structural changes in the nervous system in recent months, from adolescence and childhood to embryo and genetic conception?
  • How has a particular culture shaped individual beings, and what ecological factors influenced them?
  • How did evolutionary factors affect the origin of our species and life in general?

The result is one of the most inspired and comprehensive books on human behavior. The intertwining of the various scientific sciences and their integration Sapolsky brings together a subtle view of what creates human behavior. Good or bad. The author uses all this as a starting point in which the present man faces some of the most pressing problems of modern society: tribalism and xenophobia, hierarchy and competition, morality and free will, and war and peace.

For example, if someone wants to steal something on the road for us, then (simply and schematically) we first respond to it at a basic, neurological level, while triggering a bunch of (hormonal and other) mechanisms in the body what cause that we deal with the attacker. We might just give him prey or do something else. Sapolsky then takes us thoughtfully, synthetically and with an approach that increasingly links natural sciences and social sciences to the roots and causes of our concrete response. At a neurological, hormonal and direct physical level, it processes our childhood, adolescence, and the environment in which we grew up and the development of our brains during this period. It identifies the importance of genes and the way they are expressed in a particular environment. He shows many of the current research in individual areas (such as exploring twins who have lived separately) and so on.

In general, Sapolsky is universal and honest in his approach: when he reaches out to a particular field, he first examines key authors and their findings, if different, draws and analyzes them, and finally draws his position from synthesis and his own experience.

The Second Part of the Book

In the second part of the book, Sapolsky captures human behavior from a broader social and cultural perspective. He introduces concepts such as yours and ours. He offers many answers (also relevant to our space), how leaders manage to discriminate against other-thinking social groups negatively. He analyzes theses on the moral behavior of Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind), respect for the authority of Stanley Milgram (Obedience to Authority) and Philip Zimbardo (The Lucifer Effect), and many other scholars who have tried to sharpen the image of human behavior in modern civilization through their research efforts. The result is, however, a large-scale, but very broad-based work that carries the findings of many other books and people, and thus offers a comprehensive insight into the workings of man.

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Behave : The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst

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About the Author Robert M. Sapolsky

Robert M. Sapolsky (1957) is an American neurobiologist, primatologist, and anthropologist. He studied at Harvard and Rockefeller universities, and today teaches biology and neurology at Stanford University. He is the recipient of many accolades, including the MacArthur Foundation Prize, and the author of many high profile books, including works such as Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers (1994), The Trouble with Testosterone (1997) and A Primate’s Memoir (2002). In his latest book, Behave !, which is the author’s best book, he explores in an interdisciplinary way the reasons for human behavior and the decisions we make.

Listen to the author himself in the next video.

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