Robert M. Sapolsky Quotes.
What does the frontal cortex do? Gratification postponement, executive function, long-term planning, and impulse control. Basically, it makes you do the harder thing.
The problem isn’t testosterone and aggression; it’s how often we reward aggression. And we do: We give medals to masters of the “right” kinds of aggression. We preferentially mate with them. We select them as our leaders.
Stress is not a state of mind… it’s measurable and dangerous, and humans can’t seem to find their off-switch.
If I had to define a major depression in a single sentence, I would describe it as a “genetic/neurochemical disorder requiring a strong environmental trigger whose characteristic manifestation is an inability to appreciate sunsets.
The purpose of science is not to cure us of our sense of mystery and wonder, but to constantly reinvent and reinvigorate it.
The less it is possible that something can be, the more it must be.
The frontal cortex doesn’t even fully develop until age 25, which is wild!
Until you appreciate something crucial – It is incredibly easy to manipulate us as to who counts as an Us, who as a Them.
We live well enough to have the luxury to get ourselves sick with purely social, psychological stress.
Essentially, we humans live well enough and long enough, and are smart enough, to generate all sorts of stressful events purely in our heads.
We are just another primate but a very confused, malleable one.
The most important point of [Susan] Fiske’s work is that it provides a taxonomy for our differing feelings about different Thems – sometimes fear, sometimes ridicule, sometimes contemptuous pity, sometimes savagery.
We all seek out stress. We hate the wrong kinds of stress but when it’s the right kind, we love it – we pay good money to be stressed by a scary movie, a roller coaster ride, a challenging puzzle.
On an incredibly simplistic level, you can think of depression as occurring when your cortex thinks an abstract thought and manages to convince the rest of the brain that this is as real as a physical stressor.
But if you get chronically, psychosocially stressed, you’re going to compromise your health. So, essentially, we’ve evolved to be smart enough to make ourselves sick.
Most people who do a lot of exercise, particularly in the form of competitive athletics, have unneurotic, extraverted, optimistic personalities to begin with. (Marathon runners are exceptions to this.)
I love science, and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awed by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and reinvigorate it.
Brains distinguish between an Us and a Them in a fraction of a second. Subliminal processing of a Them activates the amygdala and insular cortex, brain regions that are all about fear, anxiety, aggression, and disgust.
Digestion is quickly shut down during stressвЂ¦The parasympathetic nervous system, perfect for all that calm, vegetative physiology, normally mediates the actions of digestion. Along comes stress: turn off parasympathetic, turn on the sympathetic, and forget about digestion.