Stanford: Introduction to Human Behavioral Biology

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Stanford: Introduction to Human Behavioral Biology

#1  Postby Spearthrower » Jul 14, 2015 3:10 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNnIGh9 ... 949691B199

Just found this on YT, so I thought I'd share.
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Re: Stanford: Introduction to Human Behavioral Biology

#2  Postby tuco » Jul 14, 2015 6:40 pm

There is 25 lectures total. Nice one.
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Re: Stanford: Introduction to Human Behavioral Biology

#3  Postby Spearthrower » Jul 16, 2015 7:37 am

It's a great series and Sapolsky (I think I finally might have spelled his name right) is well into genius territory.

Sadly, he uses quite an old, and somewhat boring style of teaching - there are practically no visual aids at all, and they can communicate some of these ideas much more clearly than waving your hands around as you talk.
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Re: Stanford: Introduction to Human Behavioral Biology

#4  Postby GrahamH » Jul 16, 2015 7:53 am

Thanks for posting that. Very interesting.
Why do you think that?
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Re: Stanford: Introduction to Human Behavioral Biology

#5  Postby Animavore » Jul 16, 2015 10:44 am

Sold after the first lecture.

Spearthrower wrote:

Sadly, he uses quite an old, and somewhat boring style of teaching -


I found his style engaging and his enthusiasm infectious.

Spearthrower wrote:
- there are practically no visual aids at all, and they can communicate some of these ideas much more clearly than waving your hands around as you talk.


I thought he had all the visual aids he needed in his crude diagrams. Though I'm a hand-wavy type too, so I speak that organic sign language rather well.

EDIT: Actually I could listen to this in audio only.
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Re: Stanford: Introduction to Human Behavioral Biology

#6  Postby Matthew Shute » Jul 16, 2015 11:10 am

Excellent - thanks for posting these, Spearthrower. :cheers:
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Re: Stanford: Introduction to Human Behavioral Biology

#7  Postby Animavore » Jul 16, 2015 11:14 am

He mentioned Chaos, by James Gleick. I was actually given that as a Valentine's gift by an ex- a few years ago just before we split up and as a consequence never read it.
I just literally dusted it off.
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Re: Stanford: Introduction to Human Behavioral Biology

#8  Postby Spearthrower » Jul 16, 2015 1:11 pm

Animavore wrote:Sold after the first lecture.

Spearthrower wrote:

Sadly, he uses quite an old, and somewhat boring style of teaching -


I found his style engaging and his enthusiasm infectious.

Spearthrower wrote:
- there are practically no visual aids at all, and they can communicate some of these ideas much more clearly than waving your hands around as you talk.


I thought he had all the visual aids he needed in his crude diagrams. Though I'm a hand-wavy type too, so I speak that organic sign language rather well.

EDIT: Actually I could listen to this in audio only.


Sorry I was unclear - wrote it in the morning before rushing out to work.

I don't mean that he was boring - he was fascinating and the topics he addressed swept along easily and cleanly - he's clearly done this course many times before.

What I meant was that there were so many times where he was having his students imagine something, some relationship between objects, when he could have shown a very simple picture to aid that comprehension. This is one of many of the newer methods of pedagogy - helping people learn stuff good! :D - you get students to use multiple senses, to move around (not so easy with adults), and to see what they hear, and they'll tend to process it and retain it better.

I was sketching while he was talking! :grin:
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Re: Stanford: Introduction to Human Behavioral Biology

#9  Postby Spearthrower » Jul 16, 2015 1:14 pm

Animavore wrote:He mentioned Chaos, by James Gleick. I was actually given that as a Valentine's gift by an ex- a few years ago just before we split up and as a consequence never read it.
I just literally dusted it off.


Seems ordained by the very Fates themselves, the saggy-titted hags!
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Re: Stanford: Introduction to Human Behavioral Biology

#10  Postby Spearthrower » Jul 16, 2015 1:15 pm

GrahamH wrote:Thanks for posting that. Very interesting.


Matthew Shute wrote:Excellent - thanks for posting these, Spearthrower. :cheers:


:cheers:

I wish my professor in this course had been so engaging. Mine spent a lot of time talking about himself and how his own theories were so good that others were just jealous! :grin:
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Re: Stanford: Introduction to Human Behavioral Biology

#11  Postby Boyle » Jul 16, 2015 6:14 pm

Awesome link Spearthrower!
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Re: Stanford: Introduction to Human Behavioral Biology

#12  Postby ElDiablo » Jul 22, 2015 2:46 am

Very engaging. Thanks for the post.
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Re: Stanford: Introduction to Human Behavioral Biology

#13  Postby John Platko » Aug 02, 2015 6:19 pm

Spearthrower wrote:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNnIGh9g6fA&index=1&list=PL150326949691B199

Just found this on YT, so I thought I'd share.


That was awesome! Thanks. :cheers:

Edit: (Here's a link to the lecture on religion that he decided to leave out of the online course:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WwAQqWUkpI
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Re: Stanford: Introduction to Human Behavioral Biology

#14  Postby Spearthrower » Aug 02, 2015 11:50 pm

John Platko wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNnIGh9g6fA&index=1&list=PL150326949691B199

Just found this on YT, so I thought I'd share.


That was awesome! Thanks. :cheers:

Edit: (Here's a link to the lecture on religion that he decided to leave out of the online course:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WwAQqWUkpI



Ahhh yeah! I watched that a few years back. It's a good'un. Few points to dispute, but I think there's something sound there.

It also answers Lewis' trilemma! ;)
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Re: Stanford: Introduction to Human Behavioral Biology

#15  Postby John Platko » Aug 08, 2015 4:07 pm

Spearthrower wrote:
John Platko wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNnIGh9g6fA&index=1&list=PL150326949691B199

Just found this on YT, so I thought I'd share.


That was awesome! Thanks. :cheers:

Edit: (Here's a link to the lecture on religion that he decided to leave out of the online course:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WwAQqWUkpI



Ahhh yeah! I watched that a few years back. It's a good'un. Few points to dispute, but I think there's something sound there.

[quote]

Yes. I think he's on thin ice when he starts using personality disorder descriptions like Schizotypal in scientific biological explanations because they are products of political systems and often incorporate the biases of the people who compile them. And they are problematic to his own explanations. For example, Schizotypal describes a person who has trouble developing meaningful relationships, yet as Dr. Sapolsky explains the Shaman Schizotypal person may in fact be pillars of their society. As I try to relate his descriptions to the people that have been important in my life, people like: Jesus, St. Francis, St Bernadette, etc.. they all have the air of crazy magical thinking around them, but when we examine how this affected their relationships with others it's obvious that it depends on who they were relating to. Some liked them and related very well to them, others not so much. Using personality disorder type descriptions doesn't capture that dynamic for me. And what are we to make of people who are attracted to people who display magical thinking, i.e. talking to people who others can't see, etc.? Should there be a personality disorder that describes them? Why isn't there? Too much politics involved in the DSM type descriptions I think for objective science. And Sapolsky seems a bit timid about this too, censoring his online course and all.
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Re: Stanford: Introduction to Human Behavioral Biology

#16  Postby Spearthrower » Aug 19, 2015 5:38 pm

John Platko wrote:
Yes. I think he's on thin ice when he starts using personality disorder descriptions like Schizotypal in scientific biological explanations because they are products of political systems and often incorporate the biases of the people who compile them.


I can't see how that would be a problem when there's an obvious long-running interface between biology and sociology. From a pure definition, it wouldn't even matter what the political or social circumstances were because a schizotypal personality would be in contradiction to their political or social circumstances.

As you continue....


John Platko wrote: And they are problematic to his own explanations. For example, Schizotypal describes a person who has trouble developing meaningful relationships,...


Regardless of the political or social circumstances, this definition would be unproblematic - it's just that 'meaningful' relationships would need to be clarified and consistent with the political and social circumstances.


John Platko wrote:yet as Dr. Sapolsky explains the Shaman Schizotypal person may in fact be pillars of their society.


Being a pillar of society doesn't necessarily entail having meaningful relationships. The 'pillar of society' is the political and social circumstance already discussed, and it would be easy to offer examples from kings and nobility to religious leaders who have no 'meaningful relationship' with the members of their society if we were to clarify what meaningful meant there as being 'normal' human relations.


John Platko wrote:As I try to relate his descriptions to the people that have been important in my life, people like: Jesus, St. Francis, St Bernadette, etc.. they all have the air of crazy magical thinking around them, but when we examine how this affected their relationships with others it's obvious that it depends on who they were relating to.


That's exactly consistent with what Sapolsky was saying, though. They had very close bonds with a select group of similar thinkers, but were at odds with much of society, or were segregated in some way from the rest of society. These people would be contemporarily a-typical.


John Platko wrote: Some liked them and related very well to them, others not so much.


Again, an elect - a close knit group of supporters who share similar attributes, while otherwise at odds with the established order of things.


John Platko wrote:Using personality disorder type descriptions doesn't capture that dynamic for me. And what are we to make of people who are attracted to people who display magical thinking, i.e. talking to people who others can't see, etc.? Should there be a personality disorder that describes them? Why isn't there? Too much politics involved in the DSM type descriptions I think for objective science. And Sapolsky seems a bit timid about this too, censoring his online course and all.


I think its right that he is cautious about it - it's not as well grounded as the rest of the course content, but is definitely his right as a professor to forward his own contentions and positions during the course - it's actually quite an important element of higher education's goals - but is probably not so well suited for general public consumption as he doesn't need the controversy from angry ignoramuses.

However, i think there's something there - maybe not very comprehensively researched yet, but it gels with other elements of history, such as geniuses tending to be reclusive and to struggle with personal relationships, for like-minded people to form isolated cliques when confronted with social adversity, and for the occasional happenstance that someone says something at apparently just the right time and is lauded for it where she'd have been castigated for it a generation earlier, or in a different contemporary setting. I'd say there's as much there about human psychology in general, and this is just one discernible thread of some of the oddities of our social behavior.
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Re: Stanford: Introduction to Human Behavioral Biology

#17  Postby John Platko » Aug 20, 2015 6:19 pm

Spearthrower wrote:
John Platko wrote:
Yes. I think he's on thin ice when he starts using personality disorder descriptions like Schizotypal in scientific biological explanations because they are products of political systems and often incorporate the biases of the people who compile them.


I can't see how that would be a problem when there's an obvious long-running interface between biology and sociology. From a pure definition, it wouldn't even matter what the political or social circumstances were because a schizotypal personality would be in contradiction to their political or social circumstances.

As you continue....


John Platko wrote: And they are problematic to his own explanations. For example, Schizotypal describes a person who has trouble developing meaningful relationships,...


Regardless of the political or social circumstances, this definition would be unproblematic - it's just that 'meaningful' relationships would need to be clarified and consistent with the political and social circumstances.


John Platko wrote:yet as Dr. Sapolsky explains the Shaman Schizotypal person may in fact be pillars of their society.


Being a pillar of society doesn't necessarily entail having meaningful relationships. The 'pillar of society' is the political and social circumstance already discussed, and it would be easy to offer examples from kings and nobility to religious leaders who have no 'meaningful relationship' with the members of their society if we were to clarify what meaningful meant there as being 'normal' human relations.


John Platko wrote:As I try to relate his descriptions to the people that have been important in my life, people like: Jesus, St. Francis, St Bernadette, etc.. they all have the air of crazy magical thinking around them, but when we examine how this affected their relationships with others it's obvious that it depends on who they were relating to.


That's exactly consistent with what Sapolsky was saying, though. They had very close bonds with a select group of similar thinkers, but were at odds with much of society, or were segregated in some way from the rest of society. These people would be contemporarily a-typical.


John Platko wrote: Some liked them and related very well to them, others not so much.


Again, an elect - a close knit group of supporters who share similar attributes, while otherwise at odds with the established order of things.


It's my impression that Schizotypal is more specific than that and goes beyond: gets on well with some but not others. That sort of description can apply to just about everyone. George Washington got on well with his close knit group of supporters but not so much with the British establishment. And Thomas Jefferson appealed to God's plans to explain why he couldn't play nice with the British establishment. But neither one of them seem like they were Schizotypal to me. And that captures the problem I have with trying to assess relationship "issues" when assessing mental functioning.

And I find it hard to accept that followers of JC, or Joan of Arc, or St. Francis were " similar thinkers". Surely their followers liked and were attracted to them but to me the evidence suggest that their buds didn't really understand them very well at all.

Here's a typical description I get for Schizptypal:

From: http://psychcentral.com/disorders/schiz ... -symptoms/
Schizotypal personality disorder is characterized by someone who has great difficulty in establishing and maintaining close relationships with others. A person with schizotypal personality disorder may have extreme discomfort with such relationships, and therefore have less of a capacity for them. Someone with this disorder usually has cognitive or perceptual distortions as well as eccentricities in their everyday behavior.

Individuals with Schizotypal Personality Disorder often have ideas of reference (e.g., they have incorrect interpretations of casual incidents and external events as having a particular and unusual meaning specifically for the person). People with this disorder may be unusually superstitious or preoccupied with paranormal phenomena that are outside the norms of their subculture.


And just what does it mean to be "unusually superstitious"? Is there a normal level of being superstitious that we should strive for?

And if you look at the other aspects of Schizotypal disorder, what I would call the psychotic traits, they certainly apply to all of the people I've mentioned, JC, St. Francis, Joan of Arc, St. Bernadette - yet a good chunk of the planet reveres these people and considers them abnormal in a good way. i.e. a way we should all aspire to! And while what I'm saying is obvious, i.e. these people conform to most of the Schizotypal disorder characteristics, and if anyone of them showed up at the door of most mental health workers they would be diagnosed accordingly, the mental health organizations fail to point out the obvious. Why?






John Platko wrote:Using personality disorder type descriptions doesn't capture that dynamic for me. And what are we to make of people who are attracted to people who display magical thinking, i.e. talking to people who others can't see, etc.? Should there be a personality disorder that describes them? Why isn't there? Too much politics involved in the DSM type descriptions I think for objective science. And Sapolsky seems a bit timid about this too, censoring his online course and all.


I think its right that he is cautious about it - it's not as well grounded as the rest of the course content, but is definitely his right as a professor to forward his own contentions and positions during the course - it's actually quite an important element of higher education's goals - but is probably not so well suited for general public consumption as he doesn't need the controversy from angry ignoramuses.


ahhh. I think he should just grow some and tell it likes he sees it, explaining where he's crossing the boundary from solid science into the realm of hunches and his own bouts of, I think he called it, "tangential thinking".

And it's not like his opinions are not easily found on youtube anyway!



However, i think there's something there - maybe not very comprehensively researched yet, but it gels with other elements of history, such as geniuses tending to be reclusive and to struggle with personal relationships, for like-minded people to form isolated cliques when confronted with social adversity, and for the occasional happenstance that someone says something at apparently just the right time and is lauded for it where she'd have been castigated for it a generation earlier, or in a different contemporary setting. I'd say there's as much there about human psychology in general, and this is just one discernible thread of some of the oddities of our social behavior.


I agree that there's much there about human psychology in general. But to come up with a set of traits for "certain" people and pathologizing them doesn't paint an accurate picture of the dynamics in play. St. Francis was given the approval and blessing of the Pope! St. Joan of Arc was put in charge of an army by a king- an army that followed her! Millions go to Lourdes every year because St. Bernadette said it would help heal them. What about all that behavior, is that just "normal functioning" because the culture the person is from supports that behavior?

I think these sorts of issues need to be examined more objectively. If your culture says x and x is objectively irrational then normal functioning should be to say: that's irrational, not to go along to get along. And much of the progress in the world has been made by people who did just that- it's absurd to pathologize them simple because we are not really capable of understanding their behavior and mental functioning in the context they found themselves in.

And it's especially ironic when people who don't have the balls to face their own culture openly with ideas they teach their students to pathologize those who did.
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Re: Stanford: Introduction to Human Behavioral Biology

#18  Postby proudfootz » Nov 17, 2015 12:08 pm

Spearthrower wrote:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNnIGh9g6fA&index=1&list=PL150326949691B199

Just found this on YT, so I thought I'd share.


I find this to be fascinating!
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Re: Stanford: Introduction to Human Behavioral Biology

#19  Postby Animavore » Feb 05, 2016 2:25 pm

I forgot about this and started listening yesterday. Just finished lecture three. This is one of the best lectures I've ever watched.
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Re: Stanford: Introduction to Human Behavioral Biology

#20  Postby The_Piper » Feb 05, 2016 2:32 pm

I watched many of those a year or three ago, he's a great speaker and educator imo.
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