Robert Sapolsky: The Uniqueness Of Humans And Other Primates

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In his lecture, primatologist Robert Sapolsky explains the uniqueness of humans as well as our similarities to other primates. In doing so, he broke it down into six points of interest: aggression, theory of mind, the golden rule, empathy, pleasure in anticipation and gratification postponement, and lastly, culture. Professor Sapolsky approaches each point with interesting fact-based examples thus allowing me to gain insight on humans and other primates. Sapolsky’s knowledge of primates along with his scientific background allows him to make a clear argument that one cannot simply ignore.
Starting off his oration, he explained that other primates are capable of manifesting aggression on a level that is similar to humans. Specifically, he noted
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In this example, two primates were placed behind either a transparent or an opaque screen. Between these screens was a banana and I learned how a primate reacted when approached with the option if he should go for the banana when put against a dominant primate. I was impressed that they didn’t engage in a brawl over the banana, but instead used thought in regard to hierarchy. This to me, without doubt, proves once more that primates are able to produce complex behaviors that relate to humans. Thinking like this insinuates that primates as well as creatures other than humans have the ability of using…show more content…
As told by professor Sapolsky, when a chimpanzee for example has become a victim of a pummeling by a higher-ranking chimp, other chimps will empathize with him by grooming. An example that I think humans would partake in is feeling sorry for children in third world countries. We see televised images of children and for some people sympathy for is felt for them. Now, for others a greater level is felt known as empathy in which they may even volunteer to go those countries to make a difference. The ability to make the lives of someone better provides them with a sense of
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