Human Instinct

Friday, 2nd May at 8.30pm

Have you ever stopped to wonder why we do the things we do? This fascinating BBC series gets to the root of the invisible forces that drive our desires and explains the hidden urges that make man wreak violent revenge, or as in the case of tonight’s episode, the reason winning feels so good and losing feels so bad. Every single human is a winner – descendants over hundreds of thousands of generations of grandparents that competed for survival in the tough terrain of our distant past. And their competing instincts live on in us all. Our bodies push us to compete out of all proportion to the prize on offer, by making winning feel wonderful and losing terrible. We compete with our mothers in the womb for nutrients, with our siblings, and to establish ourselves in hierarchies, without even being aware of it. The Will To Win reveals how competition starts early, even before birth, as new mother Ceri found out when she was experiencing very high blood pressure during her pregnancy. Her baby was resisting the mother’s normal slight drop in blood pressure which occurs when pregnancy is nearing term and nourishment can be reduced. The hungry baby was sending up mum’s blood pressure in its demand for food and in Ceri’s case it was causing her real harm. What do Ghandi, Darwin,Thomas Jefferson and Florence Nightingale have in common? – besides being radical thinkers they were all younger siblings A study at the University of Michigan explores how older and younger siblings compete for their parent’s attention and shows how younger siblings tend to challenge the rules to get what they want from a very early age.

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