Recent quotes

Quotes in
Sorted by
2697 quotes     Show as list

E poi mi chiedono perché sono asociale. Ma l’avete vista bene la gente che c’è in giro?
I have nothing against God, it’s his fan club that scares me.
Economics, even capitalist economics, assumes that there are desiring beings, but it does not ask why these beings desire one thing rather than another. Economists say that they are interested not in the reasons for people’s preferences, but in revealed preferences, i.e. preferences that are enacted. Economics does not ask about the reasons for these preferences – why would a mass of people prefer to buy cocaine rather than books or cruise vacations...? – it takes into account and calculates the preferences expressed, i.e., the exchange that is acted out. Exchange is an act, not a belief, and it is a more or less risky exchange.
The more income inequality, the less likely people are to help someone (in an experimental setting) and the less generous and cooperative they are in economic games.
How’s this for a display of human kin selection: Subjects were given a scenario of a bus hurtling toward a human and a nondescript dog, and they could only save one. Whom would they pick? It depended on degree of relatedness, as one progressed from sibling (1 percent chose the dog over the sibling) to grandparent (2 percent) to distant cousin (16 percent) to foreigner (26 percent).
The frontal cortex makes you do the harder thing when it’s the right thing to do.
Success in everything from athletics to chess to the stock market boosts testosterone levels.
Oxytocin, the luv hormone, makes us more prosocial to Us and worse to everyone else. That’s not generic prosociality. That’s ethnocentrism and xenophobia.
We may learn everything about something, and we may learn something about everything, but we're never going to learn everything about everything.
Schizophrenics have a whole lot of trouble telling the level of abstraction of a story. They're always biased in the direction of interpreting things more concretely than is actually the case.
Physiologically, it doesn't come cheap being a bastard 24 hours a day.
If a rat is a good model for your emotional life, you're in big trouble.
The far-from-original point I will try to make now should seem obvious: There is an unsettling similarity between the rituals of the obsessive-compulsive and the rituals of the observantly religious.
I love science, and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means that you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awed by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and reinvigorate it.
...someone’s hand being poked with a needle, and subjects have an “isomorphic sensorimotor” response—hands tense in empathy. Among both whites and blacks, the response is blunted for other-race hands; the more the implicit racism, the more blunting. Similarly, among subjects of both races, there’s more activation of the (emotional) medial PFC when considering misfortune befalling a member of their own race than of another race.
If you have to boil this book down to a single phrase, it would be "it's complicated".
One study showed kids, ages five to thirteen, pairs of faces of candidates from obscure elections and asked them whom they’d prefer as captain on a hypothetical boat trip. And kids picked the winner 71 percent of the time.
Eventually it can seem hopeless that you can actually fix something, can make things better. But we have no choice but to try. And if you are reading this, you are probably ideally suited to do so. You’ve amply proven you have intellectual tenacity. You probably also have running water, a home, adequate calories, and low odds of festering with a bad parasitic disease. You probably don’t have to worry about Ebola virus, warlords, or being invisible in your world. And you’ve been educated. In other words, you’re one of the lucky humans. So try.
Lots of work has examined the genes involved, most broadly showing that variants that produce lowered dopamine signaling (less dopamine in the synapse, fewer dopamine receptors, or lower responsiveness of these receptors) are associated with sensation seeking, risk taking, attentional problems, and extroversion. Such individuals have to seek experiences of greater intensity to compensate for the blunted dopamine signaling.
Because it is the last to mature, by definition the frontal cortex is the brain region least constrained by genes and most sculpted by experience. This must be so, to be the supremely complex social species that we are. Ironically, it seems that the genetic program of human brain development has evolved to, as much as possible, free the frontal cortex from genes.
2697 quotes     Show as list