Ever heard of a zebra with an ulcer? When it comes to stress, we could learn a lot from zebras.
Centre College Humana Visiting Professor Robert Sapolsky, professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University and MacArthur "Genius" fellow, will give a public lecture titled "Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: Stress, Disease and Coping - Stress and Where Stress-related Diseases Come From" on 7:30 p.m. Thursday at in Young Hall, room 101. This lecture is based on Dr. Sapolsky's book by the same title. It will be followed by a book signing.
According to Sapolsky, the only time that zebras get stressed out is when there is real danger around such as a hungry lion with lunch on its mind. Evolution has guaranteed zebras will respond appropriately to this real emergency.
Humans tend to worry about things such as meeting deadlines, the intricacies of personal relationships, taking exams, and stretching paychecks. However, they tend to cope by using the same short-term emergency responses designed to deal with threats like outrunning a hungry lion. Over time, this leads to severe health and performance problems. Sapolsky says, "We live well enough to have the luxury to get ourselves sick with purely social, psychological stress."