The Origins of Violence

34:47 minutes

We’ve heard that human violence is on the rise, that it’s on the wane, that it’s hard-wired, and that it’s learned. But what do we really know about where violence comes from and how to stop it? Psychologist Steven Pinker, anthropologist Richard Wrangham, and crime writer Harold Schechter discuss the origins of mankind’s most troubling characteristic.


Segment Guests

Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker is author of The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined (Viking, 2011) and a psychology professor at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Richard Wrangham

Richard Wrangham is co-author of Demonic Males (Houghton Mifflin, 1996) and a biological anthropology professor at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Harold Schechter

Harold Schecter is author of Savage Pastimes: A Cultural History of Violent Entertainment (St. Martin’s Press, 2005) and an American literature professor at Queens College of the City University of New York in New York, New York.

Meet the Producer

About Annie Minoff

Annie Minoff is Science Friday’s SciArts producer. She’s visited Olympic ski jumps and a nuclear reactor, all in the name of science.