Certain warm-blooded social animals and birds appear to react selectively and specifically to the death of other members of their group. Humans seem to be very unusual in the quality and extent of our responses – and in our ability to translate these experiences into an understanding of our personal mortality. When during childhood do these levels of understanding emerge? What is the underlying neurobiological basis for fears of death and mortality? When during human evolution did these fears emerge, and how did our ancestors tolerate them without sinking into an evolutionary dead end of depression or hopelessness? Assuming we found a solution to this dilemma, why are we still the only mammals that commit suicide? What does the archaeological, historical and cross-cultural record tell us about these matters? And what are the consequences for our current human condition, ranging from self-esteem to social organization, to political leanings? This symposium brings together expert speakers from a wide range of different disciplines that are relevant to seeking answers to these questions. In the process, we will gain a better understanding of how increasing awareness of death and personal mortality shaped the origin of humans.
This fascinating CARTA symposium explores evidence bearing on the emergence of our genus. What forces caused the changes in diet and body form as our predecessors evolved toward Homo. Were there forces from within on the molecular scale? Or changes in environment and climate? How did an integrated suite of behaviors, collectively termed hunting and gathering, that emerged sometime between 3 and 2 million years ago affect changes that spurred evolution towards the characteristics which are all associated with our human lineage?
Watch as a diverse cadre of experts from around the world present their observations on the Origins of Genus Homo.
Browse all episodes in CARTA: Origins of Genus Homo
What can the changes that made cuddly pets from steely predators tell us about ourselves? What do differences such as pointy ears or floppy ears, a long snout or a short one, a protruding jaw or a child-like face, or the timing and pace of brain development tell us?
These are just a few of the characteristics that a convergence of views in the study of animal domestication may tell us about our own evolution as a species in the more distant past. Specifically, it has been suggested that a number of the unique anatomical, neural, developmental, social, cognitive and communicative traits that define our species may be attributable to selection for lack of aggression and to a process of self-domestication.
Join another fascinating exploration of ourselves as this symposium brings together researchers from a variety of research backgrounds to examine these concepts and to elucidate further the possible role of domestication in human evolution.
It’s been another fantastic year of enlightening content. Here’s a recap of UCTV’s most watched programs of 2013:
Mario D. Garrett, PhD discusses the scientific revolution currently happening in dementia studies, dementia errors that impact research, and the importance of social interaction for patients with dementia.
Clinical neuropsychologist Eric Freitag of Sport Concussion Program explains the risks and medical implications of concussions. Learn how to spot a concussion, when to see a doctor, and how treatment should progress.
Cognitive abilities often regarded as unique to humans include humor, morality, symbolism, creativity, and preoccupation with the minds of others. In these compelling talks, emphasis is placed on the functional uniqueness of these attributes, as opposed to the anatomical uniqueness.
UC San Diego neuroscientists Ralph Greenspan and Nicholas Spitzer join Kris Famm of GlaxoSmithKline and James Fallows of The Atlantic for a look into the future of brain research. This program is part of The Atlantic Meets the Pacific 2013 series presented by The Atlantic and UCSD.
Big Bang! is the annual UC Davis Business Plan Competition, hosted by the UC Davis Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and organized by MBA students of the Graduate School of Management. Find out the winners of this year’s competition.
Katherine Gundling, MD, Associate Clinical Professor of Allergy and Immunology at UCSF, and Practice Chief of the Allergy/Immunology clinic at Moffitt Hospital examines the essential purpose of the immune system and how living with a primary disorder of immunity can affect daily life.
Marc Onetto, senior vice president of worldwide operations and customer service at Amazon.com, shares Amazon’s secrets to success. Hosted by the UC Davis Graduate School of Management’s Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series.
Charles Kennel, Former Scripps Institution of Oceanography director and chair of the National Academy’s Space Science Board, reviews what NASA’s space program has accomplished, what it is doing now, and what the future holds for human space exploration.
Curtis Cramblett, PT, CFMT, CSCS has been an avid cyclist and racer for more than 20 years and has spent thousands of hours on his bike. He shares his expertise on proper bike fit including what a good bike fit feels like, your biomechanical needs, and adjusting your bike to your body.
Tracy DiNunzio, Founder and CEO of Tradesy a fashion resale website, talks about what it took to get her company off the ground. She is also the CEO and founder of Recycled Bride, the Web’s largest wedding resale marketplace, which launched in 2009.
Enjoy this unique opportunity to experience Kagura (sacred music and ritual dances) from Chichibu, in the first and only US performance of the shrine’s Kagura troupe. Chichibu Kagura, dating back to approximately the seventeenth century, with a repertory based on ancient myths, has been designated by the government as an Important Formless Folkloric Cultural Property.
What opportunities are in the burgeoning craft brewing industry? In this Career Channel presentation, you’ll learn the answers from a panel of experts that includes Stone Brewing founder Greg Koch, Lost Abbey brewer Tomme Arthur, Ballast Point brewer and co-founder Yuseff Cherney, and the founder of White Labs Inc. Pure Yeast and Fermentation, Chris White.
Dr. Jay Levyan, an AIDS and cancer researcher at UCSF, discusses the discovery of HIV and its basic science. Then, Dr. C. Bradley Hare, Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine and Medical Director, UCSF HIV/AIDS Division at San Francisco General Hospital, explores HIV and its diseases through case presentations from the clinic.
Harry Kreisler welcomes Nobel Laureate Gary S. Becker for a discussion of his intellectual journey. Topics include: Milton Friedman, his early work on discrimination, the skills and temperament required for work in economics, applying economic analysis to social problems, the Chicago school of economics, creativity, rational choice theory, markets vs. government, the impact of ideas on policy, the communications revolution, and the lessons of the 2008 economic collapse.
Brylyne Chitsunge is an internationally acclaimed expert and facilitator of the Nigeria-South Africa Group on Agriculture and a tireless advocate for farmers in her native South Africa. Chitsunge counts herself among the 70 percent of farmers who are women in South Africa. Despite the challenges, she was able to buy her own land and works as a farmer and breeder of Kalahari Red goats, Nguni cattle, free range poultry, indigenous pigs and most recently Tilapia fish.
Opening Keynote by Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy ’09-’13 and Professor at Stanford University, titled Materials Science Innovations in Energy Efficiency and Generation. Conference hosted in May, 2013 by the UCSB Institute for Energy Efficiency.
Dr. Robert Lustig, UCSF Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, updates his very popular video Sugar: The Bitter Truth. He argues that sugar and processed foods are driving the obesity epidemic, which in turn affects our endocrine system. In UCTV’s documentary, The Skinny on Obesity, Dr. Lustig and his colleagues discuss the root causes of the obesity epidemic.
The Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA) brings together top researchers from around the world to explore and explain the origins of the human phenomenon. This fall at the Salk Institute, they gathered to discuss, Mind Reading: Human Origins and Theory of Mind.
The phrase “Theory of Mind” (ToM) has historically referred to the ability to impute mental states to oneself and others, but has been used in a variety of ways during the 35 years since the original Premack and Woodruff paper (1978). The analysis of ToM has been the subject of many papers in developmental psychology and in anthropogeny, the latter focusing on differences in mental performance between humans versus other mammals and birds. Because precise definition is necessary for rigorous scientific analysis, the first talk will focus on what ToM is. The rest of the talks will cover the Ontogeny of Human ToM, relevant information on other mammals and birds, and the neuronal correlates and mechanisms of human ToM performance.
Excerpt from CARTA
The symposium begins with the topic of human brain development: What is Theory of Mind?, Emergence of Theory of Mind in Human Babies, and The Social Brain in Adolescence. Ralph Adolphs, professor of psychology and neuroscience and professor of biology at Caltech, offers his working definition of Theory of Mind. Next, with a little help from a clip of cult classic The Princess Bride, Jessica Sommerville of the University of Washington delves into the topic of Emergence of Theory of Mind in Human Babies. Lastly, Sarah-Jayne Blakemore of University College London goes over the hilariously awkward topic of The Social Brain in Adolescence.
In the next hour the focus shifts to animals; “Mind Reading” in Chimpanzees, Comparing Apes and Dogs, and Reflections of Dolphin and Elephant Minds. Tetsuro Matsuzawa of Kyoto University shares his extensive research on chimpanzees, including videos and a live demonstration of their “language.” He is followed by Comparing Apes and Dogs with Juliane Kaminski of the UK University of Portsmouth. Diana Reiss of Hunter College, CUNY wraps up the talk on other species with Reflections of Dolphin and Elephant Minds.
The symposium concludes by taking a closer look into our brains with, What Makes Humans Different?, Brain Imaging Studies, and Mirror Neurons and More. Elizabeth Spelke, professor of psychology at Harvard University argues that human’s combinatorial minds make us different from other species. Followed by fellow Harvard professor, Jason Mitchell, and his research on Brain Imaging Studies. Michael Arbib of the University of Southern California ends the day on the notion that Mirror Neurons and More give us the ability to “put oneself in the other’s shoes.”
Airing on UCTV April 2014; CARTA will host Birth to Grandmotherhood: Childrearing in Human Evolution at UC San Diego.
Head to www.ucsd.tv/carta for a full list of CARTA programs.
Join the conversation @UCTelevision, @salkinstitute, #CARTA