What can animals teach us about identity?

B. Natterson-Horowitz, MD

Some of mankind's most enduring questions are about who we are as individuals, how we can live successfully alongside others, & the tension between the two. What can we learn about identity from our furry, feathered and scaly friends?

Watch preview

Learn about this Garden Talk

Some of mankind's most enduring questions are centred on who we are as individuals, how we can live successfully alongside others, and the tension between the two. What can we learn about group dynamics and identity from our furry, feathered and scaly friends?

We may expect to be able to draw parallels between how humans behave in groups and the pack instincts of animals. It also probably seems like common sense that we can better understand the impact of loneliness on people by observing animals in isolation. But there are far more similarities between the behaviours and preoccupations of the human world and the animal one than you might expect, including gender identity, teamwork, sisterhood, xenophobia and appearance-based bullying.

B. Natterson-Horowitz's fascinating work at Harvard University and UCLA uses insight from the natural world to find new ways of approaching human health and development.

Studying a diverse range of animals in natural settings, B has uncovered adaptations with relevance to heart failure, sudden cardiac death, seizures, dementia, movement disorders, infertility and psychiatric conditions including anxiety, compulsive and eating disorders.

B joins us in The Garden to uncover the many ways in which the behaviours of humans in groups and alone can be illuminated by observing our animal cousins.

Talk outline

Duration

50 minutes

Collection

Anatomy & Identity

About the Fellow

B. Natterson-Horowitz, MD

In her work at Harvard University, B studies a diverse range of animals to better understand human health challenges, including heart failure, seizures, dementia, infertility, anxiety and eating disorders.

Thank you notes from Garden members

Anatomy & Identity Collection

How we think about who we are and how that intersect with our bodies, brains and biology is the subject of discussion today. But has this always been the case? Are there blurred lines between anatomy & identity we should be exploring?