A great human biology course

If you like your science spiced with drama, Robert Sapolsky is the professor for you. In his Stanford University course Human Behavioral Biology (iTunes), he serves up nature in all its gory glory, and narrates the tale of scientific breakthroughs as a series of fights between feuding scientists who call each other nasty names while trashing each other’s ideas. It’s what you would expect from Sapolsky, the guy who gave us The best health lecture on the Internet, and Neurobiology of sex: the birds, the bees, baboons and us.

In the first lecture, he declares that his goal is to make this course accessible to anyone, regardless of scientific background. To that end, the course is split into two sections. In the first half, he gives a whirlwind introduction to the scientific disciplines of sociobiology, genetics, ethology, neuroscience and endocrinology. Once the students have this background, in the second half of the course he explains what these disciplines have to say about a whole range of human behavior, including aggression, sexual behavior, religious belief and schizophrenia.

Give it a listen. I promise you’ll learn a lot, and will think about human behavior in a whole new way.

Update: Alert reader Deepak points out that the course is also available on Youtube at http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=848F2368C90DDC3D.

Here is the first lecture:

This entry was posted in Academic podcasts, Biology, Courses, Five-star professors, Health, iTunesU, Science, YouTube courses and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to A great human biology course

  1. And yes, thank you so much for pointing to such a nice course by one of the most amazing teacher in the world.

    Your efforts in posting about good free educational resources is really appreciable. Keep up the good work.

  2. Chris M. says:

    I absolutely love Dr. Sapolsky!
    Anyone know what the syllabus and reading material is for this course?

    • Dara says:

      In the first lecture he talks about required reading. There is a lot in a course reader. In addition he requires 2 books: his own book, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, and Chaos by James Gleick.

      • Chris says:

        Where’s the “course reader”? :-)

        I will check the 1st lecture again. Watched a lot of it already. Don’t recall him mentioning reading materials. Maybe it’s towards the end.

  3. zeynep says:

    Can anybody name the readings from the reader? The references maybe?

  4. Tim says:

    Also be real interested in syllabus, suggested extra readings/reader.

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