TED Radio Hour asks the question: Why are some people violent while others aren’t?

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Photo: Sascha Burkard/iStockphoto.

Are people born violent, or is violence something learned? And what can be done to keep human beings from harming one another? These are questions on our minds as Congress debates gun control measures. Today’s episode of TED Radio dives into this dark end of human nature.

In this episode – the fifth in season two —  psychologist Philip Zimbardo tells us the story of his classic Stanford Prison Experiment and how easy it is for people to turn violent. Neuroscientist Jim Fallon uncovers the wiring of a psychopathic killer. Writer Leslie Morgan Steiner tells her personal story of being in an abusive relationship and shares why victims of domestic violence don’t leave. And finally, linguist Steven Pinker charts the whole of human history and says that, believe it or not, we are living in the most peaceful time in our species’ existence.

Check out your local NPR schedule to find out when the show airs today, or listen to it via NPR’s website »

Or head to iTunes, where the podcast is available now »