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Voices of Discovery

Harrington Distinguished Visiting Professor Lecture

Survival of the Friendliest with Dr. Brian Hare

Brian Hare

The only way to understand what it is to be human is to know what it is like to be not human.

Come on a journey with me from the forests of the Congo Basin to the steppes of Siberia to explore the minds of our closest relatives, bonobos and chimpanzees, and dogs – our closest friends. Find out how the secret inner lives of these animals help us understand what makes us unique and how our minds came to be.

We will arrive at the conclusion that it was friendliness that powerfully shaped the bodies and minds of the animals we meet along the way. This conclusion also leads to the realization that our species evolved for friendliness.

Comparing our friendly nature to other animals then solves the paradox of human kindness and cruelty and points to the need for cross-group friendships to encourage a friendlier future.

Event is free and open to the public.
Entrance tickets required.


About Dr. Brian Hare

Dr. Brian Hare is a professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University in North Carolina and a core member of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University, founded the Hominoid Psychology Research Group while at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, and subsequently created the Duke Canine Cognition Center when arriving at Duke University.

He has co-authored four books and published over 100 scientific papers, including in Science, Nature and PNAS. His research on dozens of different animal species has taken him everywhere from Siberia to the Congo Basin. This work has revealed surprising but practical solutions for everything from increasing the supply of explosive detection dogs to reinforcing democratic institutions.

Hare’s research has consistently received national and international media coverage, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, National Geographic, Time, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and more. His work has been featured on television programs including 60 minutes, NOVA and Nature as well as the series "Is your dog a genius" that he hosted for National Geographic Wild.

His books "The Genius of Dogs" (New York Times Bestseller) and "Survival of the Friendliest" (International Bestseller) were written with his wife, Vanessa Woods. Their newest book "The Puppy Kindergarten" is due out from Random House this August 2024.

About the Harrington Visiting Professor Lecture Series

The Harrington Visiting Professor Lecture Series offers annual presentations by national and international experts. Past speakers have included Drs. Philip Zimbardo, Albert Bandura, Elizabeth Loftus, Walter Mischel, Anthony Marsella (BW alumnus), Robert Sternberg, David Buss, Daniel Schacter, Robert Sapolsky, Carol Tavris and Roy Baumeister, among others.

Recent topics have included:

  • Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People
  • Addiction: A Problem of Motivation, Free Will, or Self-Destructive Behavior?
  • Talking Up, Talking Down: The Power of Positive Speaking
  • How Mind and Brain Enable Self-Control

About the Voices of Discovery Lecture Series

Baldwin Wallace University is pleased to offer another "Voices" speaker series during the 2023-24 academic year, including a campus-wide Path of Totality Solar Eclipse event on Monday, April 8, 2024. All events are free, and some may have limited seating or require tickets. Guests may park in any BW lot. Please do not park on city streets.

Full Series Schedule

The BW "VOICES" Tradition

With the support of generous donors and underwriters, BW annually brings to campus top speakers and performers, often around a theme, to challenge and inspire students.

In recent years, "Voices" lineups have featured award-winning actor Sterling K. Brown, CNN medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, "Shark Tank" entrepreneur Daymond John and others.