We All Need To Be Behavioral Biologists

January 2012

in Foundation

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Understanding human behavior is valuable.

Robert Sapolsky strongly expresses this sentiment in the first class of his Human Behavioral Biology course, taught at Stanford University in 2010 (it is available for free online and I have begun to summarize it).

It is a sentiment I share.

In the very first class, Sapolsky takes the time to emphasize to his students the value and usefulness of behavioral biology applied to humans. It helps us with things like:

  1. Serving on a jury: “What was the cause of the behavior? Is this person morally responsible for what they did?”
  2. Voting (and politics in general): “Should we spend the money on that? Is it really a problem? Is it solvable?”
  3. Dealing with depression in the family: “What is causing it? What can he do about it? Is this her own fault? How do we deal with it?”

Understanding where human behavior comes from, how our behavior in our day-to-day lives happens, is useful info that everyone needs to know!

Thoughts? Is it worthwhile to spend the time to learn about human behavioral biology?