Junk Food Monkeys

Being Human: Life Lessons from The Frontiers of Science.By Robert Sopolsky.

I found this book on Great Courses Audio series on my library reader. It was an easy listen, each lecture was 30 minutes. Great Courses Series can be found for free on the Hoopla website or app with a library card.

Lecture 1: What makes us so special? You can take a neurotransmitter out of a rodent brain and put it in a human brain to get the same effect.

Lecture 2: Junk Food Monkeys. Apes will quickly adapt to a Western diet and sedentary lifestyle if given the opportunity.

Lecture 3: The burden of being burden free. What is stressing you out? Some people seemingly stress free have high amounts of stress hormones in their bodies.

Lecture 4: The herpes virus can detect stress hormones in the body which leads to a suppressed immune system and that is when it can break out. There are stranger things in this lesson. Some viruses can change the behavior of the host in order to get transmitted. For example when a dog is rabid it is more aggressive and more likely to bite something or someone.

Lecture 5: Poverty’s Remains. Poor people’s bodies were more likely to end up in a medical school being dissected and the consequences through the years.

Lecture 6: Why are Dreams Dreamlike? Fruit flies and earthworms need to sleep. Predators sleep more than prey animals. Birds sleep with half their brains while flying. Oh yeah, lots on the mechanics of what happens in your brain while sleeping.

Lecture 7: The Pleasures and Pains of “Maybe”. Baboons and unrequited love. Dopamine isn’t the response to the reward, it’s about the anticipation of the reward. That fuels addiction.

Lecture 8: How the Other Half Heals. Want healthier outcomes? Try not being born poor. Get more comfort and love.

Lecture 9: Why We Want the Bodies Back. Why do we want to see the bodies after they die? 9/11 and other disasters. Why will we risk our lives for it? Weddings for dead people.

Lecture 10: Anatomy of a Bad Mood. What happens when there is a bear in the room with you? Fake it till you make it!

Lecture 11: This is Your Brain on Metaphors. It’s a Chutes and Ladders type life. The garden of children. (Kindergarten) The end of human exceptionalism. Empathy explained.

Lecture 12: Sushi and Middle Age. Familiarity breeds familiarity. Closing windows on novelty.

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