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Think Forum: Robert Sapolsky (2017)

This is a resource guide for the Think Forum lecture by Robert Sapolsky.

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Resources & Media

Recent Reports about Sapolsky's Work

Other Sources featuring Dr. Sapolsky

"The Biology of our Best and Worst Selves" TED Talk (2017)


Dr. Sapolsky's interview on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (2017)

"3 Brain Systems That Control Your Behavior: Reptilian, Limbic, Neo Cortex", from Big Think (2017)

Stanford's "Sapolsky on Depression in the U.S." lecture (2009)

Selected Works

Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions

1. Think of an emotional moment you've had recently—can you describe how you behaved in that moment by "working backwards" from your neurophysiology (on the scale of seconds) to your hormonal state (on the order of minutes to days) to your temperament and personality (on the order of your entire life)? 

2. Do you agree with Dr. Sapolsky that there is no room for free will, based on his conception of human behavior? If not, where would it enter into the picture?

3. What aspects of human neurophysiology lead humans to behave badly? Which ones lead humans to behave well?

4. Based on our biology as Sapolsky discusses it, do you believe that humanity's trajectory will ultimately lead to its destruction, or are you optimistic about our species' future?

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