Robert Sapolsky

Neuroscientist, primatologist, writer
Robert Sapolsky is one of the leading neuroscientists in the world, studying stress in primates (including humans).

Why you should listen

We all have some measure of stress, and Robert Sapolsky explores its causes as well as its effects on our bodies (his lab was among the first to document the damage that stress can do to our hippocampus). In his research, he follows a population of wild baboons in Kenya, who experience stress very similarly to the way humans do. By measuring hormone levels and stress-related diseases in each primate, he determines their relative stress, looking for patterns in personality and social behavior that might contribute. These exercises have given Sapolsky amazing insight into all primate social behavior, including our own.

He has been called "one of the best scientist-writers of our time" by Oliver Sacks. Sapolsky has produced, in addition to numerous scientific papers, books for broader audiences, including A Primate’s Memoir: A Neuroscientist’s Unconventional Life Among the Baboons, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: Stress Disease and Coping, and The Trouble with Testosterone.

What others say

“If a rat is a good model for your emotional life, you're in big trouble.” — Robert Sapolsky

Robert Sapolsky’s TED talk

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