233: Richard Wrangham | Domestication, Aggression, And Human Evolution In “The Goodness Paradox”

Humans have evolved to become more domesticated, and there are multiple variables at work causing this shift. It wasn’t always this way, and human species have had a two-sided relationship with virtue and violence a long period of time. Dr. Richard Wrangham, author of The Goodness Paradox, joins on episode 233 to discuss this shift and relationship.

Professor Wrangham (PhD, Cambridge University, 1975) is Ruth B. Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology at Harvard University and founded the Kibale Chimpanzee Project in 1987. He has conducted extensive research on primate ecology, nutrition, and social behavior. He is best known for his work on the evolution of human warfare, described in the book Demonic Males, and on the role of cooking in human evolution, described in the book Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human. Together with Elizabeth Ross, he co-founded the Kasiisi Project in 1997, and serves as a patron of the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP).

It was neat to talk with Professor Wrangham about the ways that evolution has impacted humans as they have progressed. We also included some material on his understanding of cooking and its impacts.

Show notes:

  • how proactive and reactive aggression differ, and why that is important
  • some of the ways that Professor Wrangham has done research on chimpanzees to understand more about humans
  • where humans stand on the threshold of reactive and proactive aggression
  • the elements that separated Homo sapiens from the other species of humans
  • how intra and inter group cooperation without expectation of future returns works in principle but struggles in person
  • the impact of capital punishment as a way to reduce societal reactive aggression via conformity
  • the window of socialization that exists early in life
  • how the leaders of alpha males of a group impact the rest of the group, and what happens when they die off or are vanquished

Glad to have Dr. Wrangham on the show~ You can check out The Goodness Paradox on Amazon, look at his faculty page, or check out his chimpanzee project website.

212: Doruk Gundogan | From Lawyer To Actor, Observation, Questioning Everything, And Life Shifts

You might know of Doruk Gundogan from his lawyering (word I just made up) after studying law at Cambridge, or you may know of him currently as an actor in the United States. Doruk joins us on episode 212 of the show to let us know about his story and perspective, and how an observational style gives a sense of self.

Show notes:

  • why observation is a big basis for how you understand others and develop your own style in response
  • how the small details of a person’s actions and behaviors can say a lot about who they are in a short period of time
  • how not being too concerned with your success in a category gives you a big advantage in the category
  • what kind of risk it is to change up your living situation or profession in a world where these things are commonly fixed in place
  • how the visceral response to the uncomfortable leads to the expression of our internal humanity that was there the whole time
  • why it is very valuable to question all that is around you
  • how Doruk had a long-term plan to shift to his current acting role that felt more appropriate as a thing
  • battle between me and Doruk inspired by no one else who was there

Glad to have Doruk on the show~

201: Dr. Daniel Z. Lieberman | Dopamine, Creativity, Love, And Progression In “The Molecule of More”

Dr. Daniel Z. Lieberman, co-author of The Molecule of More: How a Single Chemical in Your Brain Drives Love, Sex, and Creativity–And Will Determine the Fate of the Human Race, joins on episode 201 of the show~.

He divides his time between teaching, writing, and patient care. He is a clinical psychiatrist who received his medical degree from New York University School of Medicine, after undergraduate work at St John’s College. He is Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at George Washington University, and is also Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • Dr. Lieberman’s career, and the steps he took to be where he is at
  • some of the nice features of the Great Books program at St. John’s College
  • the details of his co-written book that focuses on dopamine
  • anticipatory effects and the connection to the unexpected
  • how drugs give hits of dopamine, and the pull to return to them
  • percentages of rewards needed to keep people playing games or using social media
  • desire dopamine versus control dopamine, and how dopaminergic individuals can flourish
  • agentic and affiliative relationships, and the people who prefer each type
  • control dopamine’s importance inhibiting aggression driven by passion
  • 7R variant of the D4 receptor gene for dopamine and its link to migration
  • conservative and liberal perspective, and their connection to a dopamine or H&N(here-and-now) based set of neurotransmitters
  • liability of dopaminergic individuals, and their elements of most success
  • how to take into account one’s state for balance purposes
  • and more

You can check out his website here, or take a look at his book The Molecule of More on Amazon. It was voted on Forbes as one of the Must-Read Brain Books of 2018.

Glad to have Dr. Lieberman on the show.