Some time ago YouTube started spitting lectures about human behaviour at me by this bloke called ‘Robert Sarpolsky’. (1)
Robert Sarplosky is a lecturer at Stanford University in the US.
In the interests of science I decided to investigate and watch.
Initially, I was really stuck by the ‘Slash’ hairdo (of Gun’s N’ Roses fame) with a beard for intellectual credibility. What really struck me was this curly chimp lover’s quirky teaching style.
Neurology and behaviour shouldn’t be so interesting, but he manages to make what could be a series of lectures that make as much sense as ‘Lost’ and go way over Kiefer Sutherland’s ‘24’ hours of viewing REALLY interesting and valuable time spent.
The lectures that are available to watch are Stanford’s Human Behavioural Biology Module from 2010.(2)
Personally, I find them gripping and if you are also interested in this kind of thing then all 25 lectures are available to watch online.
One of the benefits of this course is that if like me you do not have the kind of background and finances that can get you a place at Stanford, the online lectures are the closest you or I will ever get to this world class course.
Sarpolsky cover’s human behavioural biology in a way that is really broad. The first lecture mentions some of the reading list recommendations such as ‘Chaos: Making A New Science’ the best-selling book by James Gleick that first introduced the principles and early development of chaos theory to the public.(4) Apparently reading this could be so life transforming ‘you may never need to meditate again’ I quote.
What I like about the way the subject is presented is that as the introduction of chaos theory suggests, the course content is diverse. The subjects may be viewed separately, but once they are woven together this is the first time I have seen a full western science course try to piece together human behavior and neurology in a way that acknowledges everything is interconnected.
I have to warn you that although the course is a GREAT deal more interesting and makes more sense than ‘Lost’ I still haven’t finished watching all of the lectures and need to go away and do a PHD on every single one, but for those fortunate to have PHD in genetics, or biology, neuroscience or even if you like me went to the university of ‘life’ this is a really challenging and rewarding series. Don’t be put off by the titles just get stuck in.
It covers topics like, evolutionary behavior, molecular genetics, area’s of the brain, schizophrenia and neuroscience. Perhaps just grazing through them will give you an idea of their flavour.
Anyone who wants to have a look at Sarpolsky’s work in a more accessible way, check out ‘Stress, Portrait of a killer’ documentary 2008. (4)
Human behaviour can be baffling, but you may never need to get lost in ‘Lost’ again.