Clinical psychologist, private consultant and Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Dr. Hector Garcia, will speak at TEDxSan Antonio on Nov. 9.
Q: What is your main focus of study for psychology?
A: I am a clinical psychologist and a researcher. My empirical work has focused on treatment issues related to posttraumatic stress disorder in veterans, along with professional burnout among PTSD specialty care providers. I have also published two books examining the evolutionary psychology and biology behind religious violence and political partisanship: “Alpha God: The Psychology of Religious Violence and Oppression” and “Sex, Power, and Partisanship: How Evolutionary Science Makes Sense of Our Political Divide.”
Q: What geared you towards that focus?
A: We are often told to not discuss politics or religion in polite company. But often those things we’re told not to discuss require the most intensive scrutiny. Human behavior can be so perplexing and can seem so irrational, particularly religion and politics. What I love about the evolutionary sciences is that they go way beyond surface-level explanations. They provide incredibly clear insights into the evolved purpose, the ‘why’ of a particular behavior — our likes, dislikes, why we worship, what evolved function our political psychology serves and how half a nation can be repelled by the words of a president while the other half inspired.
Q: How did you become a speaker for TEDx?
A: I’m a big fan of TED, so I applied to speak and got chosen. I have a main stage TED talk prior to the current TEDx — the War and Peace series in NYC — called “We train soldiers for war. Let’s train them to come home, too.”
Q: What inspired you to want to speak for TEDx?
A: I am greatly inspired by TED’s mission to bring an understanding about so many topics related to creating a better world. TED accomplishes this with grace and spectacular focus.
Q: What has your experience been speaking for TEDx?
A: TEDx is full of dedicated, mission-oriented, curious, kind people. It’s been wonderful working with the team.
Q: What message do you plan on giving when you speak for TEDx?
A: The evolutionary psychology of war and how to rise above our ancestral past to create a more rational, peaceable world.
Q: What impact do you hope to make on college-age students who will listen to and watch your TEDx talk?
A: To think critically about the causes of warfare. To promote the evolutionary sciences. To organize, to become politically active and to join in my humble efforts to create a better future for the generations that come.