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Nobel Conference 2008- Robin I. M. Dunbar

What Makes Us Human? Imagination

I will argue that the key differences lie in the world of the imagination – our ability to live in a mental universe that parallels the conventional. I suggest that the archetypical examples of this are religion and story-telling. It is these that gives us our especially human characteristics, that define what it is to be human. By placing these questions into the framework of the social brain hypothesis, I shall try to show why these capacities evolved in the human lineage, and why they are unique to modern humans.

This video is a little heady. You need to be fluent in English and focused to really enjoy it. If you are trying to organize Thanksgiving at the same time, you have to replay sections and that kinda takes the fun out of it. (I researched this personally.) That said, there’s a particularly interesting section about music and language triggering endorphin release around 40:00 but I found it worth watching throughout.

Watch the video

Janine gave me this cat.