Ancient traits in modern life

How at odds is our neurobiology with our contemporary environment?

On the first day of the HowTheLightGetsIn festival, a riveting panel discussion unfolded between the Future of Humanity Institute's Anders Sandberg, Professor of Theoretical Epidemiology Sunetra Gupta, and philosopher of human nature, Subrena E. Smith. The key issue? How much our neurobiology is at odds with the contemporary environment we've crafted.


Evolution has seen us climb the ladder of survival. Our ascent significantly fuelled by our brain's complex development. However, these same neurobiological traits that once safeguarded us against the crude realities of the primitive world might now be our undoing in the face of our increasingly intricate and complex modern world.

The debate was in part inspired by the concept of an 'evolutionary mismatch’. A theory that posits that organisms evolve under specific conditions, and when these conditions are changed for extended periods, a discord occurs. As Glenn Geher, a professor of evoluti

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