Biology and Human Behavior: The Neurological Origins of Individuality, 2nd Edition (The Great Courses)

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When are we responsible for our own actions, and when are we in the grip of biological forces beyond our control? This intriguing question is the scientific province of behavioral biology, a field that explores interactions among the brain, mind, body, and environment that have a surprising influence on how we behave—from the people we […]

Changing Body Composition through Diet and Exercise (The Great Courses)

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If we don’t like what we see in the mirror or if we’re struggling to walk down to the corner store, we tend to think, “Wow, I really need to lose some weight!” But the truth is you might not need to lose weight. Are you surprised? What you really need to do is lose […]

Understanding the Human Factor: Life and Its Impact (The Great Courses)

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The year is 8000 B.C. A man wanders across a field of prairie grasses in search of edible berries and roots and wild game to feed his family. As he walks, the tips of the grasses brush against him, releasing seeds. He collects a few of these seeds and brings them back to his camp. […]

Major Transitions in Evolution (The Great Courses)

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How and when did life on Earth get to be the way it is today? Imagine a world without bees, butterflies, and flowering plants. That was Earth 125 million years ago. Turn back the clock 400 million years, and there were no trees. At 450 million years in the past, even the earliest insects had […]

Darwinian Revolution (The Great Courses)

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Published 150 years ago, Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species—the text that introduced the world to natural selection—is among a handful of books that have changed the world. Born amid a ferment of speculation about evolutionary scenarios in the early 19th century; vilified and later pronounced dead at the turn of the 20th century; […]

Sensation, Perception, and the Aging Process (The Great Courses)

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Why is it that we react to the world the way we do, not only in similar ways—turning our heads in the direction of a tap on the shoulder or a sudden movement in our peripheral vision, for example—but often in dramatically different ways as well? What causes us to gasp in startled fear at […]

Rise of Humans: Great Scientific Debates (The Great Courses)

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Trying to understand our human origins has always been a fundamental part of who we are. One of the core things we want to know is how we came to be. Thousands of years ago, human civilizations developed elaborate stories to explain the origins of humans. But today, with the help of dramatic archaeological discoveries […]

Earth at the Crossroads: Understanding the Ecology of a Changing Planet (The Great Courses)

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Every plant, microorganism, and animal on Earth exists within an ecosystem: a complex network of interdependent relationships in which each individual strand is important and contributes to the success of the whole. Ecosystems, in turn, interact with one another to form the biosphere: the zone of life on our planet. But these systems, so important […]

Being Human: Life Lessons from the Frontiers of Science (The Great Courses)

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Understanding our humanity—the very essence of who we are and how we live our lives—is one of the deepest mysteries and biggest challenges in modern science. Why do we have bad moods? Why are we capable of having such strange and vivid dreams? How can metaphors and symbols in our language hold such a powerful […]

Science of Self (The Great Courses)

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Some of the most profound secrets about what it means to be human are now being revealed, thanks to the amazing tools of biotechnology. The Human Genome Project, completed in 2003, opened the book on the genetic instructions that go into making a human. Now other species are being studied at the same level of […]