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Biology And Behavior - An Introduction Part I

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Hello, my name is Robert Sapolsky. I’m a professor of neurobiology at Stanford University. And I’m very pleased to be doing this course because... not surprisely I think this is a subject that is so important... every child and adult in America should be forced to learn about this and it’s basically try to understand the biology of... what makes who we are. The biology of our individual differences, the biology of our behaviors, what I believe that is incredibly important for everyone of us to study. Ok, to begin with, let me give you a scenario that should catch your attention. And it envolves two hypothetical individuals. First one is Chuck. Chuck is xxxxx... Chuck is extraverted, charismatic, xxxx xxxx in his superficial sort of way. He is confident, he is flirtatious. He is having some fidelity problems with its 3rd married right now. In contrast we’ve got Arthur. Arthur is xxx xx xxxxxxx He’s obsessive, he’s rigidly ethical, sufficiently serve the people that are xxxxx xx with this guy. He’s extremely reliable at work as a result. He’s regularly exploited by his coworkers. He lives alone. He spend his evenings making model ships and airplanes. However there have been some changes in Chuck and Arthur recently. Chuck, bizarrely, is suddenly getting more introverted. He is getting more withdrawn. He is getting less talkative, long periods of silence that are beginning to make his costumers very uncomfortable and... within a few months it is going to cost him his job. Most bizarre from out of nowhere he has developed this obsession with painting. He’s now painting every spare moment. And he is xxx, xxxx campuses that he can't begin to explain. Meanwhile, Arthur is been having some changes as well. He is starting to tell sexual jokes. And this is initially sort of xxxxx to his coworkers… but lately they have been getting a little bit beyond the edge. A little bit inappropriate. He is taking to stock in women. And within a month or so it is going to get him into trouble with the law for the first time when he exposes himself. What is remarkable is that within a year or so both of this man are going to be institutionalized. What’s going on here? Are they having horrendous middle life crises? Is there satanic possession? Or are they psychiatric disturbed? Remarkably, each one of these man has a mutation. A single gene mutation given rise to a neurological disorder, where this xxx the first symptoms. And most amazingly... they’ve got the exact same mutation. So we're suddenly stuck with this major puzzle, where is this coming from? What we make with the fact that we can be so determinate by our genes... that this could change these men personalities? What we make with the fact... that we are so freed from our genes that the same exact mutation can produce such incredible different changes in these two men? What do we make with the fact that we are beginning to understand the biology of what goes wrong in a case like this. And we are beginning to understand the biology of even far more subtle* states. We are beginning to grasp something about the brain and anatomy that may have something to do with our sexual orientations. Amazingly there is a type of neurological disorder... where one of the most consistent side effects is... you develop this passionate interest in philosophy and religion. What do we do about the fact that, recently, scientists had figured out a way to change the brain chemistry of a male xxxx and turn it from beeing polygamous into monogamous. And it's not clear if this counts as a intervention or if this counts as therapeutics sort of issue that we should be trying on human males. What we make with the fact that we're beginning to develop a biology that explains our tastes, our personalities, how we evolve, what foods we like, who we love and how faithful we are to them. What we do with the fact that we're beginning to get a biology of... what makes who we are. Now, in a try to think about this here in this course, we're taking this on a very particulary challenging way. It's trivial relatively* to figure it out how some migratory birds figures out how they get to Terra do Fogo in a certain time of the year with the biology of migration. How come biologicaly all the xxx xxx xxxxxx the same week. That's easy in comparison to what we are trying to figure it out here, which is... The biology of human behavior. The biology of why some humans... behave differently than others. And most challengingly, the biology of where the our most damaging, most frightening, most inappropriate behaviors come from. Now, this is not easy to go after. And we tend to have a way to deal with a complex... subject like this: What's the biology of our behavior? We tend to think about it... to aproach the subject with the certain cognitive* style. Essentially, what we do is: We think categorically. We try to come up with labels... We try to come up with... buckets of explanation. Here's a genetic explanation... Here's an environmental one. Here's a hormonal one. And we hang on to that bucket as... our explanatory model. And it's not surprising we think that way. For a very simple reason: categorical thinking helps our memory in a certain helm. Let me give you an example here: Here we have a diagram of the visual spectrum. Visual spectrum... The colours we can see starting with violet at one end... Red at the other. Classic sort of rainbow. This continue move colour... with no obvious transition where you go from yellow to orange or orange to red. There's no obvious transition but there's something we do in every single... language on earth... Which is: we impose an artificial boundary. We say: Ok, here's a category... Here's another category. We break it up from this point... to this point. We suddenly change colour terms everything in here we call... one colour. Everything in here, another. And what's most important is: From one language to the next, the boundaries are put in different places... for this colours terms. Why do we put this colours terms with boundaries? Turns out it helps our memory. Classic sort of studies, you show somebody a colour... and if that colour comes from right in the middle of their colour category... versus right on the boundary - boundary between two different colours... people remember the colours better from the middle of their category. Yes... they showed me that red before a not sure if a saw that yellow xxxxx thing or not. When we think categorically, it helps our memory. But, there's a downside to it... in a couple of ways: The first one as we shown in the same classic studies, back to this diagram... What you do in this case is you show somebody a pair of colours. And... in one case, the two colours come within the colour term in their language... And in the other case it comes across the boundary. In terms of the visual spectrum... these two pairs are equally different. But you ask somebody: How similar are... these two colours on the scale one to ten? And what you see consistently... are two things: if the two colours come within a colour category in that language... people tend to underestimate how different they are. And if they come across... a boundary, people tend to overestimate how different they are. Categorical boundaries, distort our hability to see the similarities or differences... between different facts. There's another downside to thinking categorically in this... way. And for this one, I need to give you an example. You need to think this thru on... your own. And what you need to do is I'm going to tell you an imaginary word... in english and what you should do is - just think in your head, don't write it down - just think about how you would pronounce this imaginary word. Just using the rules... of english phoneme. Here is the word: "CHO PHO USE". How would you... pronounce that word. Don't write it down: "CHO PHO USE". And if you're like... ninety percent of the people out there, including me, what you just come up with... this imaginary word: "CHOPHOUSE". And what you should when you have a... chance is: write down that word and see what it actually is. And what you see here now is our third lesson of xxxx problems with... categorical thinking. Which is if you pay too much attention to the boundaries... You have trouble seeing the big picture, and the picture as a hole. So we've got this tendency and the purpose of this course is: to try to fight that tendency. Instead of thinking categorically is to think in a much broader way. Ok, what I need about this when we look at the biology of our behavior? What would count as categorical thinking? You've got some chicken, some male chicken who sees some female chicken... on the other side of some street. And the female chicken does some sexually... solicitive thing with its wings or whatever this female chicken's do. And he, very exciting... goes running over to her. And thus, we have this behavioural biological question: Why does this chicken crossed the road? And you can answer this as an anatomist... You could say: Well, because the muscle turn the legs of the chicken in a certain xxxx. Or you can answer like an endocrinologist: a xxxxx xxxx if... this chicken has certain levels of circulating hormones. Or you can answer like an evolutionary biologist: over the course of the millenium... male chickens who didn't respond to this solicitive gesture... had fewer copies of their genes and it could respond the categorical way. And the challenge of this course is to avoid the categorical thinking. What we'll be doing instead are shown on this chart which is basically our blueprint for... the entire course. Is the start of looking at what behaviour is. In a particularly cathegory, in a particularly class, sexual behavior, agressive behaviour, xxxxx behaviour... and then begin to ask biologically where do got behaviour come from? What we'll start off with is a whole bunch of time on the brain, the nervous system which is in a sense... way of asking what and on that person's brain two seconds before that xxxxxx behaviour... That aggressive act occoured. What is the neurobiology of where that behaviour came from. And for someone thinking categorically in the helm of the brain as a bucket that (where you stop?). This is how you explain behaviour, the brain basis of behaviour. That isn't what we're going to do. What we'll do then start doing are shown on this chart working back in time... is to then ask environmental question: What in the environment triggered that brain to produce that behaviour? What sound, what smell... What pain, what fustration, beginning to work back in time. Then try to understand further the things that modulate the nervous system... Once that further back, what about the hormones in the bloodstream that xxx individual? How do those hormones make that individual more or less sensitive... To that environmental trigger which causes the brain to produce that behaviour. And then working to the left in this chart all the way back in time... What were the earlier experiences of that organism... What were the hormones, not hormones that day, that week, but hormones back in childhood xxxxxx xxxxx. What is the nutritional environment, the stressed environment of the fetus back when... And then working further back, what are the genetic atributes of the population that the individual comes from. Which pushes us all the way back to this evolutionary set of questions: What are the pressures of natural selection that sculpted that species, that population to have a certain biology... Play that xxxx xxxx xxxx. hormones this week, making you more or less sensitive to this environmental trigger... of the brain producing this behaviour. That's going to be our general strategy... And the critical concept of this entire course is to go one step beyond saying: Oh, it's important as we look at this chart to xxxx know something about the neurobiology... the endocrinology, the earlier experiences, etc. The most subtle point of this entire course is... At any given stage, whatever of this boxes, whatever of this categorical buckets you're sitting in... It's simply a way of saying: This is where we're and describing all of the biological influences... that had come before from 1 second before in the nervous system to millions of years back in natural selection. At any given point it's merely a way of describing it. If you talk about evolution natural selection... You're talking about genes. If you're talking about genes and their affect on behaviour... You're talking about a brain that works one way vs. the other. All of this are ways of pulling this pieces together. Ok, so that's great. Officialy we're going to think in a complex certain way. Xxxxx for us you might say: Yes, this is a whole of verbiage essentialy getting to the point of saying... This is a complicated subject, we are proud to think in a complicated way and obviously... Any serious scientist out there knows to do the same. Let me read three quotes to you... To show you the extent to which all sorts of xxxxx xxxxxx scientists out there had not thought this way. Instead have thought in very, very demarcated categorical buckets. Ok, first quote:

Video Details

Duration: 14 minutes and 11 seconds
Country: Brazil
Language: English
Views: 147
Posted by: renan.ferreira on Jun 3, 2012

Robert Maurice Sapolsky (nascido em 1957), é um cientista e escritor estadunidense. Atualmente, ele é professor de ciências biológicas e ciências neurológicas, e por cortesia, neurocirurgia, na Universidade Stanford. Além disso, ele é pesquisador adjunto no Museu Nacional do Quênia.

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