Stanford University recently hosted Steven Pinker speaking about his most recent book, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. He offers a very hopeful story of human history - that we are less violent and more compassionate in general. I think there are issues with some of his conjectures (he is an evolutionary psychologist at heart, and I find that model highly problematic), but he offers a LOT of statistics to support his premise.
It's a nice talk - even if the video is a little sketchy (his slides are rarely shown).
(June 29, 2012) Steven Pinker argues that, contrary to popular belief, violence has declined over long stretches of time and today we may be living in the most peaceable era in our species's existence.
The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) at Stanford University held its first annual Behavioral Science Summit on the theme of Social Meets Science, highlighting the latest developments in the field in a conversational and interactive format.