Robert Sapolsky Quotes

Who is Robert Sapolsky?

Robert Morris Sapolsky is an American neuroendocrinologist and author of the books 'Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst' and 'Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers'.

Born April 06, 1957

Books by Robert Sapolsky

Best 26 Quotes by Robert Sapolsky

“Being healthy consists of having the same disease as everyone else.”

“Dopamine is not about the happiness of reward. It's about the happiness of pursuit of reward that has a decent chance of occurring.”

“I had never planned to become a savanna baboon when I grew up; instead, I had always assumed I would become a mountain gorilla.”

“If a rat is a good model for your emotional life, you're in big trouble.”

“If we were designed by engineers, as we consumed more, we'd desire less. But our frequent human tragedy is that the more we consume, the hungrier we get. More and faster and stronger. What was an unexpected pleasure yesterday is what we feel entitled to today, and what won't be enough tomorrow.”

“Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and reinvigorate it.”

“We are constantly being shaped by seemingly irrelevant stimuli, subliminal information, and internal forces we don't know a thing about.”

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“Willpower is more than just a metaphor; self-control is a finite resource.”

A Primate's Memoir Quotes

“We live well enough to have the luxury to get ourselves sick with purely social, psychological stress.”

A Primate's Memoir

Behave Quotes

“If you (or any other mammal) bite into rancid food, the insular cortex lights up, causing you to spit it out, gag, feel nauseated, make a revolted facial expression—the insular cortex processes gustatory disgust. Ditto for disgusting smells.”


“If you’re stressed like a normal mammal in an acute physical crisis, the stress response is lifesaving. But if instead you chronically activate the stress response for reasons of psychological stress, your health suffers.”


“It is easier to learn fear and harder to unlearn it.”


“Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike.”


“Social conservatives tend toward lower thresholds for disgust than liberals.”


Products by Robert Sapolsky

“Testosterone makes people cocky, egocentric, and narcissistic.”


“The childhood capacity for empathy progresses from feeling someone’s pain because you are them, to feeling for the other person, to feeling as them.”


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“Because traumatized people often have trouble sensing what is going on in their bodies, they lack a nuanced response to frustration. They either react to stress by becoming 'spaced out' or with excessive anger. Whatever their response, they often can’t tell what is upsetting them.”

The Body Keeps the Score

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“The default state is to trust, and what the amygdala does is learn vigilance and distrust.”


“The more categories of adversities a child suffers, the dimmer his or her chances of a happy, functional adulthood.”


“We love stress that is mild and transient and occurs in a benevolent context.”


“You don’t have to choose between being scientific and being compassionate.”


Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers Quotes

“A large percentage of what we think of when we talk about stress-related diseases are disorders of excessive stress-responses.”

Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers

“Genes are rarely about inevitability, especially when it comes to humans, the brain, or behavior. They're about vulnerability, propensities, tendencies.”

Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers

“If I had to define a major depression in a single sentence, I would describe it as a 'genetic/neurochemical disorder requiring a strong environmental trigger whose characteristic manifestation is an inability to appreciate sunsets'.”

Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers

“It takes surprisingly little in terms of uncontrollable unpleasantness to make humans give up and become helpless in a generalized way.”

Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers

“Medicine is a social science, and politics nothing but medicine on a large scale.”

Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers

“Most people who do a lot of exercise, particularly in the form of competitive athletics, have unneurotic, extraverted, optimistic personalities to begin with. Marathon runners are exceptions to this.”

Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers

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