Ever wonder how we went from small insignificant primates to modern civilisation?
Why are rates of mental illness in the UK twice that in Germany?
How does the society we live in influence which areas of our brain get activated? Why do some societies stimulate logical, linear and limited ‘left-brain’ thinking, while others result in creative, expansive and more holistic ‘right-brain’ thinking and behaviour?
The answer to all of these questions’ hinges on the fascinating interplay between psychology and human culture.
In this series of talks, you’ll learn:
These unique insights will help you deepen your understanding of human nature and the world we live in.
The most basic aspects of our psychology were shaped by the “social leap” our distant ancestors made from the rainforest to the savannah. In their struggle to survive on the open grassland, our ancestors prioritized cooperation and teamwork over physical prowess, creating a new form of social intelligence that set the stage for our rise to the top of the food chain. In this talk I trace our evolutionary history over the last six million years to show how events in our distant past guide our lives today.
William von Hippel is an evolutionary psychologist and the author of the bestselling book: ‘The Social Leap’. He grew up in Alaska, got his B.A. at Yale and his PhD at the University of Michigan, and then taught for a dozen years at Ohio State University before finding his way to Australia, where he is a professor of psychology at the University of Queensland. He has published more than a hundred articles, chapters, and edited books, and his research has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, The Economist, the BBC, Le Monde, El Mundo, Der Spiegel, and The Australian. He lives with his wife and two children in Brisbane, Australia.
All in Nature is interconnected: all processes are interactive. The brain and the world (which it exists to bring into being for us) are no exceptions to this. Our brains mould the world and the world moulds our brains. Given the capacity for each hemisphere to attend to the world differently, and therefore make some aspects of the world stand forward at the expense of others, different cultures may come to emphasise different ‘takes’ on the world. I will consider some ways in which this has worked itself out historically in the West, and whether seeing this can help us get a new perspective on what we see happening around us in the world today.
Dr Iain McGilchrist is a Psychiatrist and Writer, who lives on the Isle of Skye, off the coast of North West Scotland. He is committed to the idea that the mind and brain can be understood only by seeing them in the broadest possible context, that of the whole of our physical and spiritual existence, and of the wider human culture in which they arise – the culture which helps to mould, and in turn is moulded by, our minds and brains. He was formerly a Consultant Psychiatrist of the Bethlem Royal and Maudsley NHS Trust in London, where he was Clinical Director of their southern sector Acute Mental Health Services.
Dr McGilchrist has published original research and contributed chapters to books on a wide range of subjects, as well as original articles in papers and journals, including the British Journal of Psychiatry, American Journal of Psychiatry, The Wall Street Journal, The Sunday Telegraph and The Sunday Times. He has taken part in many radio and TV programmes, documentaries, and numerous podcasts, and interviews on YouTube, among them dialogues with Jordan Peterson, David Fuller of Rebel Wisdom, and philosopher Tim Freke. His books include Against Criticism, The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World, The Divided Brain and the Search for Meaning, and Ways of Attending. He published his latest book: The Matter With Things, a book of epistemology and metaphysics. You can keep up to date with his work at https://channelmcgilchrist.com
Why is the incidence of mental illness in the UK twice that in Germany? Why are Americans three times more likely than the Dutch to develop gambling problems? Why is child well-being so much worse in New Zealand than Japan? The answer to all of these questions, hinges on inequality.
This talk will explore how inequality affects us individually, how it alters how we think, feel and behave. You’ll learn about the overwhelming evidence showing that material inequalities have powerful psychological effects: when the gap between rich and poor increases, so does the tendency to define and value ourselves and others in terms of superiority and inferiority. The speakers will then go on to demonstrate that societies based on fundamental equalities, sharing and reciprocity generate much higher levels of well-being, and lay out a path towards making them a reality.
Kate Pickett is Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York and leads the Public Health and Society research group. She is the co-author of The Spirit Level and The Inner Level, with Richard Wilkinson, and her work addresses the social determinants of health and well-being. She was a National Institute for Health Research Career Scientist from 2007-2012, is a Fellow of the RSA and a Fellow of the UK Faculty of Public Health.
Richard Wilkinson is a British social epidemiologist, author, advocate, and political activist. He is Professor Emeritus of Social Epidemiology at the University of Nottingham, having retired in 2008. He is also Honorary Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London and Visiting Professor at University of York. In 2009, Richard co-founded The Equality Trust and was awarded the Charles Cully Memorial Medal in 2014 by the Irish Cancer Society.
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