Ep. 16: Frans de Waal - Demystifying the Bi-Polar Ape

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Oct 10 2017 38 mins   1

On a daily basis we direct our attention, guide our instincts, and move from making micro to macro decisions feeling that we are fully in control of our inner machinery called the brain. While exploring the nature and development of Executive Function skills and its impact on learning and self-awareness, one can’t help but notice that many of us are unaware of ‘why we do what we do’. On the podcast, a world-renowned primatologist and celebrated author, Professor Fran de Waal, brings a perspective that we are not so different from the animals and the Interconnectedness between the good, the bad, and the ugly tendencies that form the true human nature are quite closely related to our animal counterparts.

About Frans de Waal, Ph.D.
Frans de Waal is a Dutch/American biologist, born in the Netherlands in 1948, having lived in the USA since 1981. His passion is primate behavior, and the comparison between primate and human behavior.  He pursues the first as a scientist and the second as a writer of popular books. For him, there is nothing more logical than to look at human society through the lens of animal behavior.

Frans has a Ph. D. in zoology and ethology (the study of animal behavior) from the University of Utrecht, and now teaches Psychology at Emory University, in Atlanta. He is also a Distinguished Professor at the University of Utrecht.

His first book, “Chimpanzee Politics,” compared the schmoozing and scheming of chimpanzees involved in power struggles with that of human politicians. The book even reached the reading list of the congress in Washington. Ever since, Frans has drawn parallels between primate and human behavior, from aggression to morality and culture.

Since childhood, he has been an animal lover, and in fact — even though his career has focused on primate behavior — he is very much interested in all sorts of animals, including fish and birds, but also elephants and dolphins.


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