Andrew HubermanGood For You
- 9,001 views
- 2 Sep 2020
Dr. Andrew Huberman (Professor of Neuroscience & Lab Director, at Stanford) answers all Whitney’s questions about neuroscience. Follow @hubermanlab on Instagram.
Benton, Yeah, let's talk about your hydrated body, OK? How hydrated is your body? My web, my body.
I'll tell you somethin, hydrant is this powder that it's like an electrolyte powder that you mix directly in the water. I don't know if I'm going to lose a sponsor, but I'm pretty sure Khateeb and MacGinnis tell you has to be.
When I was hydrant, I love this product because I know that I'm drinking like healthy, refreshing water because I have to mix it with a little pack in my brain.
Like, this is cool and it's got sodium, potassium, magnesium and zinc. And here's the thing. I'm just going to you know me. I go off, copy. I'm authentic. I've heard I hate I hate the taste of water.
I never drink water. The only time I drink water, tell them if I'm lying. OK, ok, I'm ready. I take these little packets. They're called hydrant packets. I do the fruit punch.
Yeah, I like the sweet tea lemonade because I like the sound. I like the iced tea flavor. That's, you know, sweet tea is a full thing.
It's a great group and I put it in my water bottle and then just shake it up. Sorry. That was a very that's a water bottle. That was an unfortunate gesture that I just did if you're watching on YouTube.
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I know you love that. But do you want don't need to hear it. Why do you think we need to change our open song? Is it getting annoying? I don't know. I honestly forget. I forget. There is one really. You know, this is the guy I know. I mean, how rude. Benton is not a fan of the.
I forget it's there, but I just I did listen to one the other day and it was like I was like, this is noxious.
We might need to get a new set on brand twenty twenty one new open for Good for You podcast.
Should we take submissions for people like you want people to like send in their ukulele covers. Like we could just have like fan submissions for a new open.
Yeah. You know, I like that. OK, let's get on that. Are you musical dandy's.
I know nothing about all your friends. Like don't do music, don't let your thing.
OK, couple things. Today we have a very brilliant neuroscientist on the podcast. I'm so excited for you guys to hear this episode. It's truly three and a half hours, so we're going to have to make this open very short. We have a couple of announcements to make. It's an incredible episode just because this is what I want to do with the podcast.
I want to have these amazing scientists on and doctors to sort of give people good, hard science and free health care, free health care.
The government won't give you a health care, but good for you. Well, I we cover everything from, you know, how to get out of unhealthy relationships. You know why we're attracted to unhealthy people, which we still haven't figured out on this show.
We've been over it a lot and we're still working on how to get you out. Here's this episode.
I'm screwed. If anyone in this room actually listens to what Dr. Andrew Huberman has to say, I will be doing this podcast alone.
It is three and a half hours because we talk so much on this podcast about how do smart people talk slow, but what?
Smart people talk slower. What smart people talk or do, I don't know, say it again a different way, that's all I know how to say. They just like they speak slower and more precise and better and nicer than us.
I talked so fast. That was the meanest thing you've ever said.
So do I wasn't complimenting myself. Yes. No, he's very precise and meticulous and patient and elegant and eloquent. And he puts everything in sort of words that we can understand.
He's also a model. He does look like a scientist from a Marvel movie. So this is really practical advice on how to execute, how to have pause, how to what he calls have that gap between stimulus and response, how to not say that thing that you can never take back, how to not send that email. You can never understand how bad it's been with me when I've sent some text that I wish I hadn't sent.
So it's really about how how to not roll your eyes or say that cruel thing in an argument that's going to screw up your life.
So it's really just about how to have grace, how to how to be a good person.
Yeah. There you go. From a neuroscience person, how to be a good person. OK, I'm rambling announcements tour.
We're going on tour. We need some kind of like sound effect.
You just don't want to talk about your conversation with the doctor. Oh, what about it?
You don't want to discuss they're going to hear what that was like for him or scientist. Well, I do. But I mean, I bless his heart. I mean, the fact that in this entire podcast, you're grinning with this hair like the Cheshire cat. This man is like, did I fall down the rabbit hole? So you're like a circus clown talking to this man.
You're like a car and you're like, want to toss the rings? He's like, what the hell are we talking about?
I was like, I'm going to have a neuroscientist on them. I guess I didn't schedule the hair color at the right time. Like, I didn't really think like, oh, my God, I'm going to be talking to this neuroscientist looking like Elizabeth Beggs in The Hunger Games.
He's like, how he like Willy Wonka and the it at the same time, I do look like a Johnny Depp character.
I look like Tim Burton's nightmare. And I'm just like tied to this stand for nearside. Does it like that?
And you're like every pop pop star. I'm like the second year of their career.
I look like Cameron Diaz and something about Mary when you're talking to this brilliant scientist, he's like treated like a human.
If you're like a person. No, I'm like the Mad Hatter over here.
It's just like giving me all this amazing information. So if you're watching it on YouTube, it is a jarring visual. It's a it might be a tough loss.
I really do need to work on changing my hair for the next time we have a scientist on the show, I'm going to wig, get a wig.
I might show a small black bob. OK, so let's now see. I want them to get to the this interview, so we need to shut our mouths.
We're going on tour tours.
You've heard about them before. Well, you've heard about them.
You heard of them getting canceled. And I was very reluctant to book a tour. But it seems like people have finally figured out how to put on safe shows in the time of covid. So we are doing five shows in October.
You don't seem excited at all. I'm super excited about you. Did your hair. I know why you did that. And before you made a very serious announcement.
I do look sexual for my tour announcement. We are going on tour with Taylor Thomlinson. You guys know Taylor from. She is a special called Quarterlife Crisis on Netflix Millennial Icon. You know her from my Instagram because I've held her captive in my home for the past three months. She's we've become very codependent during this quarantine. So we're calling it the codependent tour. She's super funny.
We're very similar, don't you think, in a lot of ways. Like, yeah, I can see that Taylor Tomlinson is like my twin that I ate in utero.
She's we're very she's somehow survived her. I mean, she's shorter than me. So we're going to do five shows. We're getting a bus. We're going to do the whole thing. We're going to go to Escondido, California, on Friday, October 2nd, what you want to.
But that's the content people really want to see. I'm going to get on a bus for you people. I'm going to get on a God damn bus. Well, my face is going to be on the side, so that makes it a little less traumatizing.
We're going to be in it. We're going to be at the Westfield Mall. This is hard to read.
These are like a fair it's going to when the carnival starts in the mall parking lot. This is so depressing. Friday, October 2nd, the Westfield Mall parking lot. Wow.
Said let's do some comedy. I mean, it's look, here's these outdoor shows. They they seemed very depressing to me. I didn't want to do them either. But a lot of my friends, you know, Bird's been doing them, Nick. He's been doing them. A lot of my friends, they say that they're actually really fun. This one is a drive in. And Eskandar, this might be how comedy is done from now on, you guys.
I mean, comedy, we used to just walk into a dark. Room and just a waitress would hand us a drink with a straw that everyone had fingered and we put it in our mouths. I mean, in one day we'll be brave enough to do that again, hopefully.
So this and I think about it. I'm like, you know what? Maybe this is how bad it's gotten since I haven't been able to stand up in six months. I'm at the point where I'm like, you know what?
Maybe this is better. Remember back when you had to, like, drive to a venue and, like, get out of the car?
Like, close the door. There was a parking attendant screaming at you to lock it and, like, walk up to the front. I mean, it's like, why get out of the car? Waiting in line is what a rigamarole.
You know, I'd have to go and, like, sit down again and like, wait for, you know, so this way you just drive up, stay in your car. We yell comedy at you and you can go home.
The first show is in cars right now, but I'm dying.
Laughing sometimes in comedy shows like if people get sick or something, they'll get up and leave you for me puking on the side of their car so it doesn't leave the show earlier.
They're just like, excuse me, I got to get out. Also, who's monitoring the call? You're having a comedy club or someone monitoring what people are doing like that who can tell you what to do in your own car? I don't know. I don't know.
Just would be an experience. Everyone's going to be like furiously jerking off watching the comedy shows. I don't know. And as long as you do it to me and not Taylor, I'll feel OK.
Saturday, October 3rd, Denver, Colorado.
And this one is not in cars. It's outside your own little on your own lawn bug spray in your Lunchables.
We're having a company picnic. Bring your hiking boots, your flag flying a small tent thermos full of food and watch them yell at the L.A..
Have we told the Yellowjacket story is by. No, no. So Benton was going outside for something and we have a yellow Jaguar problem.
And what happened? Oh, no, no, you skipped the part. First of all, it's not been going outside. Benton was sitting beside Whitney and a dear friend of hers who came over to swim, which just casually walking to the pool and Whitney screams, Hey, hey, watch him yellowjackets in my yard.
And everyone was taken aback because we don't know one, what country icon possessed her body or what she was talking about.
You got to watch the media and you get you were so angry watching Yellowjackets Angle to again that you get stung. I'm taking you to hospital.
I swear to God, I love Virginia and West Virginia in my blood came out. You got to watch the game.
So when you come to the show in Denver, you got to watch The Yellowjackets and it will be socially dist.. It will also be emotionally distanced. Don't you worry. I'll make sure to keep both types. There's also going to be another run on the East Coast. We're going to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Thursday, October 15th to the Yarmouth Drive. And this is so depressing. We're going to make this fun. Come drive in dry hump. I don't care whatever you got to do to make this fun.
Friday, October 16th, we're going to be at Ridgefield, Connecticut, the playhouse ballfield.
The ballfield. Oh, that's triggering for God comedies. OK, I got kicked off my baseball team.
We need a vaccine. You come dressed as you and Taylor.
Let's be a fun one. And just like, just hang out that show a camel toe and high heeled wedge sneakers, pink wigs, pink wigs and just, you know, like Jimmy Kimmel hoodies.
Yeah. Great. Sunday, October ten.
Eighteen. Wait, what? I don't know. Sorry, ten is October 10 today. It's in six months. I'm very rusty with numbers.
The eighteenth of October will be at Oceanport, New Jersey, at concerts in the garden.
Well, that sounds boogy. That sounds very fun.
There's a garden involved. OK, so come to these shows. Whitney, Cummings, Dotcom, they're going to be very experimental. I have no idea what we're walking into, but we're going to make the best of it because we're at a pandemic.
I'm excited. Comedy in Cars, Comedy and Cars. Not all of them. Some of them, yeah. The first one's comedy, get out.
You sit in your cars, you bring a little whoopee cushion.
What's on your first idea of comedy on trains? I mean, the things that we've been experimenting with in terms of doing comedy have been really bleep what he was like.
Can we do it in a haunted house, in a hot air balloon and a shout down at you and everybody go by the balloon?
OK, we need to get to Dr. Andrew Huberman. Can I run a couple jokes first? How long have we gone? OK, I'm going to run a couple of jokes. OK, so on Friday. So if you're listening to this in a couple of days, I'm doing a show. I'm doing stand up for the first time in six months on ABC. I have not done standup at all. And I now have to do five minutes for with for Michelle Obama.
So this is a living nightmare. And it's it's Chappelle and Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish, yes, and who else is doing it? Wanda Sykes. Larry David's doing something. So it's like we're doing this thing to sort of raise awareness around voting because people love it when celebrities tell them how to live. And so I'm going to run my jokes for you because I have not been able to do stand up in front of anyone for six months.
Oh, for us right here. Yes.
I'm going to run for you guys. All right. Ready? Hi, everyone.
Whatever I say in the beginning, I don't know. I'm here tonight to tell you to vote because as we know from the Internet, people are dying to hear what a white woman without Malzahn have to say.
I like that.
The why don't you and I would say get in or what about this? I'm here tonight because there's nothing better for viral content than a white woman without a mask telling people what to do.
Like the first one more. OK, OK. Well, I have some work to do tonight on these shows.
So we're here tonight to talk about voting. Voting is a lot of work. It's there's so many logistics. You have to register. You've got to go to your polling place, which is like a high school gym or like a weird abandoned church. Just look at it this way. If your candidate doesn't win, at least now you know where the AA meetings are like that.
OK, check, check. OK, you guys, you have to vote.
You have to vote.
Supreme Court appointments right now are at stake, which means reproductive rights. Right. So when people say, like voting is such a hassle, you know, what else is a hassle? Driving your girlfriend 350 miles to plan your family?
I love that.
If you guys got that joke, you're silencing women to not vote.
Sorry to not vote in twenty twenty would be insane. The climate is changing at an alarming rate. Forest fires are increasing. I mean, do you really want all of Hollywood and Silicon Valley to burn down?
Don't answer that. We have to do something about the fact that sea levels are rising. I mean, do you really want Florida to just sink into the ocean and disappear? These are bad example. You guys have to vote. I love voting. And there's more than just the presidency at stake on the ballot. Lots of important things to weigh in on, like I voted in the last California state election. And now when I see a porn star wearing a condom, I'm like.
I did that, that's my voice being heard. That is democracy in action. The general election.
I love voting in the general election. For me, voting in the general election is like having an orgasm takes about three hours and it only happens every four years. And my options are usually two old white men.
They can hardly string a sentence together.
And I always end up with something stuck to my chest.
It's a sticker joke. It's an I voted sticker. It's a sticker joke. It's about stickers.
Hey, can I do that, too? Yeah. You should see. Is owned by Disney like I do not know. Oh I have one. I have some bad everything owned by Disney. Yeah. I think we're on my Disney. My hair was done by Mickey Mouse.
So let's see. Well because there's also people I'm like trying to come up with all the excuses that people you guys are like hearing comedians like this is the process of like writing jokes. Like another thing people complain about is like having to wait in line. I want to maybe do a joke about like, oh, wait, I forgot.
I love the idea of youth. And do you want all of Hollywood and Silicon Valley to burn down that you don't want us to move or you are like, yeah.
Oh, that's funny. Oh, that's funny. Well, then we'll come back. We'll come to you. Oh that's great. Well, not me but other people.
But there's also there's an excuse. A lot of people say, oh, look, my vote doesn't count. It's like, oh really? But your YouTube comment does like, you know, I mean, I won't make a difference. Like my vote will make a difference. Oh, really? But your Reddit comment. Well, and then when people complain about like, well, there's just like a line, just like you have to wait in line forever, you know, a line you're really going to hate the line waiting for your handmaids.
Cloke I don't know. I like that there's a little inside baseball for who people watch the show.
It's very popular.
But there is something amazing about how Americans like I was trying to write a joke about how Americans like Americans, like work very hard. We're very ambitious people, but we're also lazy about the weirdest things, like where Americans start cutting corners is always so funny to me. Like every contribution we've made to the culinary arts are is food that doesn't require utensils. It's like hamburgers. Hot dogs like are just like I just like we'll go to war, but we're not going to move a shelf of a lazy Susan.
I, like America, invented spray cheese like we're the people that we're like, you got to cut it and you got to put it on the thing.
Like Can someone just spray it in my mouth, like to say I don't have to move my arms to get the cheese in my gullet.
You know, it had to be cheese, just whatever it looks like, like neon fall. But it's just like it's just amazing to me. Like I do it, too, because people like I got to register to vote. I'm the person that will, like, go to a website. I'll put, like, nine things in my cart and then I'll go to the checkout. I'm like, oh, never mind.
You are 100 hundred percent the person who is like, oh, I have to do something to get the thing.
I want to spend an our like putting clothes in my cart at a shopping website. I'll get to the ad and it's like like code on the back of your credit card. And I'm like, fuck you.
Like I'll just log out my name like I can remember billing zip code, get the fuck out of here. Like I just it's so weird where we sort of at the finish line, you know, get lazy. And I was also thinking something about I'm about how ungrateful it is not to vote.
That would be like marrying a prince and then leaving the royal family. OK, don't get on Amargosa outside. I don't know whose side that's on the intel anymore. Who are you to say that would be like marrying the Prince of England and then moving back to America? And if you live at the castle, it would be like being royalty.
Yeah, I don't know. I can't really figure that joke out. That would be like Adele marrying a deaf person. I guess that's not really the Adele joke now that she's done those that hairstyle and that just set Twitter on fire.
Number one, trending number one for Niecy Nash, our queen.
Oh, there's something of like people say, like, I don't need to vote. It won't make a difference. All right.
Well, I put on makeup every day doesn't make a difference, but I do. I scribble eyeliner on every day just so that Kevin for nine two from Iowa can say, don't hate it. Yeah. And then I go to his profile that says proud father the fuck. Just so proud. Dad, you don't need that makeup.
I just said that a proud father can be like, you're so much prettier without makeup. You're so funny showing your boobs. OK, love you guys. Enjoy Dr. Andrew Huberman. Such a treat. DMAs, all the stuff that you learned. Like subscribe.
Oh, like subscribe comment. Also send in your make sure to how would they send us I guess text Whitney on her little number thing a little number three on everything you do.
One eight two three nine seven five to seven for tour updates, Mirch updates and direct birthday messages for me. Everyone gets a birthday message from me and sometimes Benton makes a cameo. But I want them to send you their new song ideas.
If they they're going to make a Boo Boo Boo Boo. If you guys want to set a new open song ideas, send them to my number eight one eight two three nine seven five to seven. I don't know how to use any differently that song.
You make your own song. Oh yeah. OK, well we'll do like a new open challenge type thing.
You can do a ballad.
I feel myself getting sued like I feel the lawsuit coming on for one, getting sued by whoever makes this song while they're sitting on their own free will.
You heard it here first, not how it works.
OK, it's called entrapment. A lawyer I love you guys are man.
I historically ask 50 times if we're ready. My childhood, everyone dropped the ball, so I have to ask many, many times, you sure is working. Sure it's working. It's just I'm like a broken record.
OK, so this is wild for me. This is a very big day for me. I don't get starstruck by celebrities. I don't care. I find most of them disappointing. Frankly, I do get starstruck by neuroscientists and neurology professors.
So you this this actually is a very big deal for me. Ask the producers I changed. Did I not wear a dress and then change into something else before you got here?
Well, I, I put a dress on and then I started sweating and panicking. So then I took it off and now I put a sweater on which is even dumber. So I'm fully flustered. I want to just say that out loud. I don't get flustered by celebrities. I get flustered by scientists. People that listen to this podcast know that I'm obsessed with neurology. In fact, I believe I know more than you do very well.
And if you disagree with anything I say, I'll just cut it out. Sounds good. So this is like a crazy honor for me to want to just introduce yourself so I don't screw it up.
Sure. Well, first of all, it's great to be here. Thanks for the invitation. My name is Andrew Huberman and I'm a professor of neuroscience and ophthalmology at Stanford School of Medicine. So neuroscience, unlike neurology, is not the clinical field. So I should just give a disclaimer right off the bat. So I'm not a medical doctor. That means I'm not an M.D., which means I don't prescribe anything amet. I'm a research scientist and a professor.
So I profess a lot of things.
And people that know me know that this podcast like this is fulfilling the promise of what I wanted to do with this podcast, which was get these brilliant minds in a room picking their brain. I want it to be like the Robin Hood of science in neurology and therapy and psychotherapy and psychology and stuff so that people could get this information because I'm lucky enough to be able to meet people like you. And I wanted to give them an opportunity to get inside your head for free.
So this is like my dream. I also just want to say real quick that Andrew was just on Rogen. It was a brilliant interview. I'm going to try to not cover a lot of the same things you guys talked about. This podcast is more through the lens of sex relationships, good relationships, bad relationships, family relationships, work situations, sort of how to edify yourself and all parts opposed to like athletic performance or something we don't care about working out over here.
Good for you. But so I'm going to keep guiding towards that. I recommend that everybody listen to the Rogan interview. It's unbelievably educational and elegant. It's very rare that you're able to get a scientist or doctor who is charismatic and able to convey what they know in a way that people that aren't scientists can understand. Thank you. You know, so like you make it simple enough for people like me to actually understand. And I'm going to show, you know, a lot of neuroscience we were talking about there, you know, a lot about science and science history.
I'm not just saying that, like, your knowledge is pretty good. I true.
I am obsessed. Spend time on it. I it's my heart. It's my number one passion is neurology. And let me tell you why. Just so we can frame this podcast in this conversation, because this is like this is such a big deal for me. And I'm I'm just so excited.
You know, I've spent a lot of my life and I'm not going to say it's just because I'm a woman. I think men get this, too. We're taught at a very young age that everything is our fault. And we're taught. You know, I think as as a woman, you hear a lot relax, calm down. You're psycho, you're crazy. You're too emotional, you're too sensitive. You know, I think for the longest time, I didn't really understand why I made the decisions I made.
I just thought I was bad in some way. And once I started learning about neurology, I actually think it's like a crime that we don't teach neurology in high schools to understand how your brain works and a lot of the decisions that are made for you instead of your conscious decisions. And now I think learning neurology helped me have so much more patience with myself and so much more love and respect for myself of going like, OK, you know, I'm really upset in this situation, but that's adrenaline and cortisol.
And, you know, this reaction is something that would have served me very well. And tribal times like my brain is very well evolved for a conflict a thousand years ago. But circumstances have changed and now this tool is obsolete and even maybe a liability at this point. So being able to look at your choices and your reactions and your emotions through the lens of understanding neurology to me is just like the key to being patient with yourself, the key to being hopeful, especially some of the work that you're doing around neuroplasticity.
The key to going like, you know, I can change myself. I don't I'm not doomed to turn into my mother. I'm not doomed to constantly recreate my childhood circumstances. Like I'm not doomed to be in bad relationships forever, you know? So to me, this is the key to feeling hope and patience and self respect and love. So this is just it's such a big deal for me. Well, it's the right topic if you're interested in.
Yourself or if people are interested in themselves or interested in other people, what makes them tick? I mean, the nervous system, which is the brain and all the connections with the body and back again essentially controls all our experience, mean everything, the immune system, digestion, heartbeat, gut microbiome, all that stuff is great and important, but it's actually all controlled by the nervous system in the brain.
And it's amazing how little we you know, it's just so shocking to me that when I do talk about, you know, I'm obsessed with weight and blankets and, you know, whether it's placebo or not.
But when my sympathetic nervous system is activated, I'm like, I need to get into my parasympathetic. And I was like, what does that mean? And I'm like, how is this not just part of our everyday conversation of how we talk to each other? Yeah.
So there are a couple of reasons why I think people don't know more about the brain for probably three reasons. One is that a lot of the best information is recent only really come out in the last 10 to 15 years. The second reason is that there aren't a lot of scientists who are leaving their laboratories and talking to the general public. Yes, they're busy.
And of the ones that do, they vary in terms of how narrowly focused they are or how much of the field they read about. And understand, I'm part of the reason I'm here and I've been doing podcasts is I really want to be an educator. I want to teach people about themselves and about the brain. And I think I'd like to also put out the call for more scientists to do similar sorts of things. And then the third reason is that the naming is terrible.
So, as you pointed out, some sympathetic nervous system is like so stressed. It actually is the kind of more stress related aspect of the autonomic nervous system. And the autonomic nervous system, which means automatic isn't even automatic, it's not autonomic. And so the naming is terrible. So medical nomenclature and science nomenclature, it's it's designed so that everyone's on the same page. Who works on that particular thing? Right. And it almost seems as if it's designed to keep everybody else out of some secret club.
But it's not. It's just the naming is terrible. So for those of you out there that are listening to this and because you brought it up, the sympathetic nervous system is the aspect of our brain and its connections with the body that makes us feel more alert and makes our breathing speed up. That makes us kind of stressed. And the parasympathetic nervous system is the one that makes us more calm. The so-called rest in digest system is the one that triggers sexual arousal, incidentally.
So there now no one will forget it. And literally, these are two different you know, your sympathetic nervous system is just from here to your navel. It's the neurons that trigger all that activation and the release of adrenaline. So everything right here and the parasympathetic nervous system just means near simple means together. So it all happens at once.
That's why stress is like, boom, all of you have to know Latin in order to figure this out or Greek. It's too much. And then the person of that nervous system is the neck. It's the neurons that live along the spinal cord in the neck and in the pelvic area below the navel. And those control other things. Right. Many other things. And so like voice reproductive behavior. Defecation, urination, all these kinds of things, so but the naming is just dreadful.
And so one of the things that I'm trying to do and I'm rallying my colleagues to do is to try and come up with a nomenclature that can evolve to a place where more people can understand it. It's going to take some time because doctors need to speak, doctor speak and scientists need to speak science speak. But I think it is important today. I'll do my best to not use many and hopefully no acronyms. But we don't need more acronyms.
Yes, but if I do use them, I'll be careful to.
And you do a great job at saying, like the fear center of the brain, the reward center of the brain. I try you know, I did a movie about neurology and it took me I'm not even joking you a week to learn the word phenylethylamine.
I literally just walked around my house and I felt like it was like it's actually physically difficult.
It's a mouthful. And then, you know, people would, you know, will contact me and say, well, you know, you were lumping this in this together.
I think there's a way to have a conversation about science, neuroscience, neurology, immunology in a way that my hope is that it will be clear and also some elements will be actionable because I think information is great.
But there are great tools to extract from the field of neuroscience that people can implement regardless of financial status, et cetera. They can make their lives better and can help each other. And so I guess I'm basically saying I agree. I think that more people need to understand science. I'm heavily biased in that, in my belief in that.
But anyway but I just know I want people to like because people often look to me as some like mental health guru.
And how did you learn to love yourself and how did you learn to have high self-esteem and how did you learn to avoid conflict? And, you know, we say a lot on this show, like the only way to win is to not play. Don't get into the ring. Don't you know if someone asks you to dance just like all of sort of the ability to control your impulses, you know, is something the ability to have something that we call pause the ability say, you know what, I'm not going to engage in this fight.
You know, I'm not going to respond to this email right now to not be so reactive, because I think especially now with what's going on and we're all at like peak stress, peak aggravation, we're all very reactive. And, you know, to me, the key to my life having serenity and the key to me having integrity and pride is the ability to choose the actions that I take.
And before I learned about neurology, I don't feel like I had a big choice. I would respond to that text message before I thought I would answer the phone. Before I do, I really want to take this call like I didn't have the ability to control my behavior and my reactions and I would make decisions in with my head flooded with adrenaline are flooded with dopamine. You know, I look at a lot of, let's just say, bad relationships.
And I look back at them like I was just on drugs. Like I look back and some of the decisions that I made under the influence of oxytocin. And it helps me forgive myself. It helps me have more patience for the bad decisions I've made, but it helps me as an adult. You know what? I'm not going to respond to this email till tomorrow when I'm not so adrenalized and activated. And to me, understanding the basics of neurology is the crux of living a serene life that you can be proud of.
And that's wonderful. I mean, the culture around wellness has really grown a lot, which I think is great. The culture and conversation around mindfulness has grown tremendously. We hear that term all the time. For scientists, the term mindfulness is a little bit troubling because we always need to take the opposite. So mindfulness is a great word. It sounds great, but the opposite of mindfulness would be mindlessness or and I like to think about things. So philosophy and psychology tend to be more about nouns and adjectives.
When you think about biology and neurology, it's more about verbs. It's what you would do because everything in biology is a process.
So like, for instance, if you're just took me a second, I was like, yeah, like verbs. So. All right. So yeah. So if we were to say, like, you just gave a really nice example of how do you create that gap between stimulus and response. I mean, Victor Frankl talked about the gap between stimulus and response. The people who are into mindfulness talk about the gap between stimulus and response, like be responsive, not reactive.
So to a scientist or biologist, we hear that and we go, well, how how does that actually work? Like, how would one actually do that? Because it sounds wonderful. But then when you get a troubling text message, it's almost instantaneous and you find yourself actually in the behavior of responding. So how do you actually introduce the gap? So people have talked about, you know, transcendental meditation and all beautiful practices, but those take a very long time.
Yes. So I think what my translation of what you just said, if I may, is that when one understands a little bit about their inner workings and the chemicals in the systems in the body that cause reactivity, I believe just that understanding of that knowledge can introduce the so-called gap or prevent you from being so reactive.
You but everybody you included that from being so reactive without having to do anything except just understand that information that the feeling in your body that you want to move that kind of like.
Low levels of agitation or jitter or text, yes, or punch somebody or whatever it happens to be, that's adrenaline in action. Adrenalin's job was to move your body. So it means that any time that you feel like you want to do something, you may or may not be in the best position to do the right thing. So anytime that one feels the urgency to say something or do something, whether it's a text or to shout at somebody or to use if there were an addict or whatever it is, felt good, man.
Exactly. There's a there's a there's a component there that I think everybody could benefit from understanding. That's adrenaline released into the body from this set of neurons in the middle of the spinal cord. And that takes half a second. Wow. Five hundred milliseconds from when you finally get that information to where you feel like you're going to move. And so that tells you something. You're not going to put that genie back in the bottle. You what you need to do is learn how to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, the calming axis of this nervous system, and push back on that.
So my hope is that just even with some information, we can also talk about tools, if you like. But just even with information, people will really be able to access the so-called gap, the the boundary between stimulus and the ability to pause. Absolutely without. And if you have a meditation practice or people do that, that's wonderful.
And here's why I say I'm a fan of meditation. I don't think most people have time to meditate.
Well, and there's an additional problem with meditation, too. And I'm going to lose some friends by saying meditation turns into masturbation. But I wasn't going to say that.
I'm guessing sometimes it probably does.
But meditation also heightens one's awareness of their inner workings. And so the brain has two ways of functioning all the time, and it usually is doing both at the same time. One is called interception, which just basically means paying attention to your internal real estate. What's going on inside? In my breathing fast, where's my heart rate? How do I feel good. Am I happy if I said basically everything within the confines of your skin? OK, the other thing is called external perception, which is perception of everything outside.
You know, the nervous system is always measuring both to some degree or another. One might be more of our focus than the other. If we see something really dramatic, like if I go, I've seen one of your shows before I met you, I went, well, talk about that. Yeah, that's right. I was at your New Year's Eve show, I think it was in Portland a few years back. And so I was fully in the experience of I was in full exterior perception, but when I would laugh, I'd feel something.
So it's kind of going back and forth in terms of an extra reception.
Sounds exhausting. Now, it was actually a lot of fun. It was actually a lot of fun.
The and we're doing it all the time. Right, except when we're in sleep and then we're fully in our we're only in relation to what's going on inside us sort of night terrors like me.
It's still only in relation to what's going on inside you.
So you're only intercepting. But when people meditate, you're increasing that interceptive awareness. And for people that are anxious, have social anxiety to gain more awareness of how you're feeling inside might actually be going in the wrong direction. Because if somebody who has social anxiety goes to a party where they have speaking, public speaking anxiety, they don't want to be thinking about what they're feeling.
They want to be out of their head, out of their body a little bit. Now, you don't want to be so out of your body that you're not in touch with your body. That's right. So there's a balance there. And I think certain forms of meditation actually have led to some uncomfortable states for people where they can't get out of their head because they spend hours sitting there thinking about their own thoughts. So I think there is a place for a meditative practice.
I don't want the meditators to come after me, although I don't feel particularly threatened by a bunch of meditation that kind of like wobbling the lotus position with a bell. I understand there's a very powerful humans out there that is that could hurt me, that are meditators. And I do have an invitation to meditate.
So do I. I love it. I love that we're worried about getting canceled by the meditators. Here's the I just I believe that everyone's brain, everyone's childhood, everyone's ancestral trauma, everyone are different, you know? And I think for me, everyone meditating the same way at the same time with the same mantra, it's just a little silly. I think all our brains sort of need different things, have different capabilities, have different bandwidths. I tried to do meditation the way that all the famous people talked about it for so long.
It did not work for me. I got bored, I got antsy. I just was not at a place yet where I was writing to close my eyes for twenty minutes. If I did reach any kind of relaxation, I would fall asleep. Your brain sort of, I think kind of does what it needs to do. Or I was too uncomfortable because too much pain would come up or emotions would come up or I was too addicted to my phone, whatever it is.
But I did an attachment, a class that works on your attachment strategies with this guy George has. And I he gave me a mantra that I loved, which was, I forgive you, you forgive me, I forgive myself. It's a forgiveness meditation. It just worked for me. It helped me, like, release resentments. And I was able to kind of incorporate releasing resentments into my meditation. That's what works for me. I'm really inconsistent about it.
I'm really imperfect about it. Sometimes it's better for me to just, like, do a moving meditation, walking around the block, you know, like, I just think that I love what you're saying because a big part of 12 step programs is service is taking the focus off yourself because we're so self obsessed and we're such. Narcissist and me, me, me, me, me, me, and we say your brain is a dangerous place or your mind is a dangerous place, don't go in there alone.
So sometimes meditating is a way to just victimize yourself, obsess more about something, strengthen neural pathways that you should be weakening, frankly. And we should be doing service, which is like calling someone else and saying, how are you?
What's going on with you? Right. Because cooperation and productivity makes dopamine. So go do something else. Think about someone else. Take the focus off yourself for five minutes because we get so myopic when we just self obsess.
Yeah, too much of our focus is in this interception mode. It can be uncomfortable for people. And so and there are people who probably need to think about their thinking a little bit more and probably certain people that want to think about it or ought to think about it less. Yeah, I mean, my life has been very focused on respiration and breathing and not necessarily breath work. And I say sitting in a corner and huffing and puffing and breath holds and stuff, but really just using certain forms of respiration as a way to control the state of mind because it's immediate.
You don't have to do any training in order to do it.
And it's very powerful for people to be able to shift from a state of higher activation and stress to a state of lower activation stress in real time. You don't have to excuse yourself or take 20 minutes each morning with a timer. So respiration and breath work, I think, is a very powerful entry point to meditation.
Used to stress me. I don't have to go meditate. I have to go back and I'd like the stress that it's causing me to carve out. Time to meditate is probably canceling out the meditation at this point.
And there is a question as to whether or not a lot of the benefits of meditation are because of the slowed breathing and the breathing alone. I don't think we can explain all the positive effects of meditation through the changes in breathing that happen in meditation. But you mentioned walking meditation. Yeah. So walking meditation is a beautiful example of where you're intercepting your thinking about your experience, but that you have to have a certain amount of extra perception. All animals I know you have a deep appreciation for animals use self motion, what we call self generated optic flow, seeing things passed by their eyes as a way to calm the nervous system.
And that's because when the body is moving and there are images flowing by on the retinas or for blind people out there, auditory scenes, so to speak, are flowing by. It actually has a direct calming effect on the fear center of the brain, this threat detection center, the amygdala. This has now been demonstrated in imaging studies that and this is the basis of MDR, eye movement desensitization, reprocessing, where the eyes are moving from side to side.
That actually is the eye movement that is caused by forward ambulation, by walking or by biking or by running or even for someone in a wheelchair, if they're in a wheelchair, as long as it's self generated optic flow. So moving forward and seeing things pass by your eyes in space, you're quieting the fear centers of the mind. And so that's very different than sitting in the lotus position. I don't want to knock on meditation, but sometimes just getting into forward motion is one of the best remedies for stress.
And it's an ancient one that all animals use all animals with eyes anyway, and that can walk. They they know intuitively that when they're stressed, they do things like shake off that stress and there's a name for that. All escapes me at the moment and they walk self generated. So if anyone is feeling excessive stress, yes, you can meditate, but that will put you into more of an interceptive both thinking about what's going on inside you. There's great benefit to just going for a walk, not looking at your phone during that walk, because then you don't get the optic flow or a run or cycling so basic.
But it has a basis in neurology. It actually quiets these threat detection centers in the brain.
So steal someone's wheelchair is the main takeaway. Steal your game.
We'll do that in airports every once in a while. I see them. We'll have to pop up and then start walking out.
Does a drive do that, going for a drive or or motorcycle riders self motion helps. So when you're driving, you're not doing much generally except, you know, steering the wheel. So it would be best to do this through some sort of physical activity. It doesn't have to be very vigorous and could. But the key thing is self generated optic flow. So that means being in bodily motion with images passing by you on the retina. This is on the retina, which is just the seeing portion of the eye.
Excuse me. And this is what a treadmill in a gym won't interest.
And Pelton's in those kinds of things where you're looking at images of things passing by sort of mimic it.
But, you know, these are ancient forms of we're also looking at a screen, which is a light. Right. Right.
And you're you're focusing your eyes into a narrow channel which actually raises stress levels any time your eyes are focused in a small compartment of space. Right. Whether or not it's a phone or a tablet or or a smaller room as opposed to a big vista, you are increasing the level of alertness in your brainstem through a mechanism that links the eyes and the brainstem, which is the back of the brain. If you're looking at a horizon or a panorama, you're naturally disengaging that and you'll earn more towards calm.
And is the biological basis for that the idea of if you're seeing sort of in a panoramic way, you're able to look for threats, you're able to see everything around you like it makes sense, right? When you're hunched over looking at a small thing. Isn't the hunched over position part of the reason that being on the phone stresses us out so much as. When you hunch over that is a a defensive position that historically we would be hiding, we would be being attacked and our body sort of automatically.
Yes, in a firefight. I mean, please do. Someone's got to it's you're absolutely right. So there are these defensive postures that all animals, including humans, occupy. Typically, it's going to be spinal flexion. So, you know, sort of think ab crunch as opposed to spinal extension, which is more relaxed. Right. The there's a fundamental question in neuroscience that my lab and other labs are trying to resolve, which is to what extent is this stuff bidirectional?
So we know that it's bidirectional. It means it means we know the stress response controls certain behaviors. So let's say the stress response hit my pupils or your pupils will dilate, which makes us see the world in portrait mode. Right. Like like I'm purchaman phone.
One thing the thing that we're looking at, it's my favorite. You like Porgera? Yeah. Yeah. Everyone's a photographer with Qimonda Will in portrait mode.
Or when there's a certain amount of adrenaline in your system, the thing that you're looking at looks very clear and everything else looks kind of blurry.
Right, that everything else fades away and it's tunnel vision and tunnel vision, which I just want to like really dumb things down, not because people are dumb, because I'm dumb and I just like to really say things like five different ways are five different examples sometimes. But like if you're dating someone and they come at you, what the fuck was this text? The it feels like the only thing in the world.
Right. Just sort of like narrowing.
And it is the visual system. So the back your eye or these three layers of cells called the neural retina, they're actually a piece of your brain that was pushed out of your brain during development. They're not attached to your brain. Your eyes are actually pieces of your brain. They're the only piece of brain pushed out of the brain during development out of the skull excuse me, away from the rest of the brain. And when you stress the pupils dilate and you see whatever it is that's stressing you out, the text message, the person, whatever it is, in sharper, clearer focus than everything else.
Yeah. Another thing happens, which is your internal there's like a metronome that's counting time.
Metronome is there's those little thing that goes, yeah, it's like tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick. Subtitle Everything. So everything outside you will seem like it's moving more slowly when you're stressed. Yeah. Internal world will feel like it's going a million miles an hour. Yeah. So you have been in line at the airport and you're late and you're, it feels really stressful. The person in front of you, it feels like you're taking forever.
It looks it feels like things are in slow motion. You feel like you're in quicksand. Are like trying to walk through mud or something when you're stressed out. Right.
If you ever been to an appointment, you know, you need to leave for another appointment and you're trying to pay attention to minutes. Feels like two hours. Exactly. So the other thing that happens is this hunching posture. The other thing is a quickening of the breathing and the heart rate. So there are a bunch of things that happen in the stress response.
When I said there's a big question right now as to whether or not it's bidirectional, what I mean is it's unclear still whether or not changing the way that I view the world, changing my posture will calm me. Yeah. In general, the results point to an answer that is.
Yes, that indeed, if I'm stressed, let's say you say something that stresses me out. Yes. I'll get more narrow focus on you and the channel of information that's passing between us. But if I take my vision and I go into what's called panoramic vision, where I'm just looking at you, but now I'm seeing the ceiling in the floor and you and everything all at once that tends to calm me down, tends to calm people down.
It's not just me, right?
In general, when we release that spinal flexion and going more into spinal extension, which means just putting your shoulders back. That's right. Sitting up straight.
It does it has a calming effect, largely because it releases some of the musculature of the throat that allows you to speak more clearly. Right. Voice and intonation is a very, very powerful readout of the stress response.
And isn't this am I saying this strong, the vagus nerve vagal?
So the vagus nerve is a is a set of connections that originate in the brainstem, in neck area. The parasympathetic so originates here that extends almost everywhere through the body. The word vagus actually is related to the word vagabond. It means wandering. Wow. Because the anatomist saw just how extensive this connection is. And this is the connection to the body that stimulates the kind of relaxation, so-called Reston Digest response. The best way to trigger activation of the Vegas, unfortunately, is eating, because when the stomach is distended, it sends a signal that you have enough resources and it's time to relax.
But there's a why are we even more anxious?
Yes, this so the most ancient and well developed and still very present today. Form of stress relief is ingestion of foods that fill us up or that trigger the activation of serotonin. So carbohydrates, like carbohydrates, are the best known cortisol suppressor.
So this is why people drink alcohol, the carbohydrates, they fill their belly, they eat to calm themselves. But that response is actually very slow. The fastest way that I'm aware of to calm the nervous system when one is stressed is to use respiration, breathing. But to use a different connection that runs down the other side of the neck, which is called the phrenic nerve, are INEC unnecessarily complex, unnecessarily complicated.
But if you want to look it up and you're using an F, you're getting it wrong. That's why that's the only reason I spoke with an F like it. Just why it's a really interesting nerve connection, because, first of all, it's a very fast pathway. The Vegas is slow. Yeah. Vegas is like is like walking on the shoulder of the freeway. The the you have to get someplace that's going to be slow, whereas the phrenic nerve is a very fast pathway.
That's that's the fast lane and that's breathing.
And there's one pattern of breathing in particular that all animals use all reference animals as many times as I do for animal behavior as well, which is the physiological side.
So you you literally have a set of two hundred neurons and it's not a hundred and it's not a thousand two hundred neurons in your brainstem that control a particular pattern of breathing that you do any time oxygen in the environment is low or this thing called carbon dioxide, which makes us want to breathe and stresses us out.
Right. It's too high.
And that pattern of breathing is to inhales and but let me ask you something.
I'm really going to get granular on this. I've been told that I breathe wrong. I've been told I breathe from my chest and on my stomach. OK, where is the oxygen coming from exactly when you do those inhale.
OK, so let's talk we'll just discuss the neural circuits in Anatomy of Breathing for two minutes in a two minute thing, I have been told at 37 years old, I was told the other day by a trainer that I don't know how to run, that I run wrong.
And I was told that I breathe wrong. But it's a lot of it is performers. We have to hold our breath for a real long time and then we let it go so I can hold my breath for way too long. Right.
An opera singers are spectacular at the control in the system as well. So. All right. So the neuroanatomy in anatomy of breathing in two minutes or let's go.
You have two centers in your brain. One controls rhythm, rhythmic breathing, rhythmic means inhale follows, exhale follows, inhale, exhale. Just like day follows night.
This area, if you want to remember it, Chrebet singer complex. But the best way to remember it is it was named after a bottle of wine by a very prominent and important breathing researcher at UCLA named Jack Feldman. Any time you're breathing, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, you're using the what's called the the wine center of the brain, just the wine center.
The the other breathing center is it's called the peripheral nucleus. That doesn't matter.
But the reason it's called parrotfish is it's it's an area that controls breathing, that violates inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, allows you to inhale twice, exhale twice, three times. The reason you have this area in your brain and everyone has this area in their brain is because you need to coordinate breathing with speaking. So when you're on, the example you just gave is perfect. When you're on stage and you're you're about, I don't know, you're making a sprint towards a what would you call it?
A punch line in my wheelhouse is like, what is it when you're like our terms are way more simple than yours? Yeah. A joke instead of a joke.
What a joke is. I've heard of these.
You guys should take a hint from comedian. So there's a Latin name. No kidding. So the you have this brain center that controls non rhythmic breathing.
They both control a really important muscle in your belly called the diaphragm. And the important thing to understand about the diaphragm is its skeletal muscle. So just like a bicep or tricep or quadriceps. Yeah, this organ we call the diaphragm was designed to be moved voluntarily or involuntarily, which is very different than your heart or your spleen or your liver. It's we have no control. You have no direct control over. So there's a particular pattern of breathing, which is to inhale is followed by a longer exhale, maybe repeated two or three times.
That triggers activation of the phrenic nerve to diaphragm and it causes your lungs to bring in oxygen and it inflates these little sacs in the lungs called the aviary. And I'm running through this very fast. But what it does is it balances the ratio of carbon dioxide and oxygen in your bloodstream and lungs. And basically what it does is it makes you go from two anxious to calm. So if anyone wants to try this, it's two inhales and it's not the same as taking one deep breath or doing one long time in traffic.
I'm late for my flight. I just read a crazy piece of news that school's not coming back. And I just saw a speech from Foushee like I just saw someone in a mask or not in a mask or whatever, and I feel myself getting activated. I feel, you know, when you feel the tingly in your chest and start sweating or you feel that sort of bout of rage, it's starting to come over you. Right.
Or it can use to inhale through your nose once, then you inhale again at the top. But as my Isma is, we'll talk about that as well.
When you're talking about my chest supposed to go off the way it just did or my belly supposed to go out, I used to do all the inhale.
What do you mean you haven't exhaled? You know, it's too I don't exhale.
I never do. I get no oxygen in my body. The woman said to me, she goes, You are not using even ten percent of your life force. So these are OK. Well, I'm not going to counter someone else's.
So this is like a killer that like I paid by check. And so unless Whitney cracks a joke right in the middle, what you want to do is inhale through your nose, then inhale again at the top.
A little bit more than ZL Dorado's of either one. So ideally its nose, nose, mouth, and then no longer breathe, longer exhale, eye contact makes me nervous. So it's making me more stressed out that you're looking at me.
OK, ok. OK, wait to inhale. Did I do so?
And then long exhale. That's interesting. OK, why is that what am I broken? No, sir, no, not at all. Tell me that pattern of breathing is what animals do right before they lie down for a nap. Feel dizzy. You do it. Do you really? I when I take a deep breath, I start. I feel high.
Do a shallow breath on the first one. Don't breathe in so deeply on the first one. So go inhale.
OK, I'll get ready and help.
Said Oh no, you're dragging me up through my nose.
Inhale through your nose, inhale again at the top and then but more like I have coffee.
Oh yeah. OK, ok. So I don't drown.
Just double inhale. Long exhale. Pattern of breathing is important because it's Mother Nature.
Perfect is Alabamas that when the moors it's much, it's similar to Limas but people who aren't pregnant or or and men who as far as I know still maybe there have been some I'm probably right that anyone can do this and it's it's nature's natural way. Nature's natural. It's nature's hardwired way of letting the nervous system, these neurons in the professional nucleus control the phrenic nerve, control the diaphragm, control the lungs, control oxygen to carbon dioxide ratios, which translates to calm the fuck down.
Exactly. So it's very important that people have this tool in my belief, because it doesn't require any breath, work or training. You don't have to take a class. It's available to you at all times, I suppose, unless you're under water or something like that. Now, it's not terribly covert, like we're in an argument. Suddenly I start hearing you inhale long. Exhales Right.
I know you do it. There's an additional tool that's so passive aggressive. If it's on your data starts a fight with the unions.
Right. It's a sigh. I mean, I guess I roll and you don't. I roll because that's fucking. That's right. I'm not aware that you're doing that thing or you do your breathing thing.
I mean, a number of important arguments have been won or lost on the basis of the inclusion of the eye roll. That's a non period, not about doing it.
It's about how you do it. You're not allowed to roll your eyes.
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Don't pay for those silly goose markups again. The other thing is this panoramic vision thing, so if somebody has an issue with public speaking or they're being they're trying to take in information, they're feeling stressed or whatever it is, whatever the cause of stress is, this panoramic vision thing is powerful because it releases the stress system to the point where you can see space more you see more of the environment that you're in. But what's really important is that to understand is that when one is in the stress response, remember that internal metronome starts going tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick.
And everything outside seems like it's going really slowly. When you go into panoramic vision, which is not looking around all over the place. It just means keeping your head nice still. But right now, I'm going to do it. I'm going to dial out my gaze so that I can still see you, but I can see the ceiling in the floor. I can see myself in the environment that I'm in.
Is it is that very calming is the opposite of sort of the idea of like being cornered. Yeah. Do you know what I'm saying? Like when if I attack, you know, what the fuck was that, let's say in your here, if you want panoramic vision, does that mean walking outside, leaving the room, changing your position in the room.
So ideally you would view a horizon outside. OK, when you go to the beach, you just naturally do this. When you see a vista you're hiking, you naturally go.
Part of the reason why sunsets and beaches are probably more relaxing. I'll be a big part of that.
But if you're indoors, you can also do this. We've tested this in a VR format, claustrophobia, et cetera. But I don't I won't go into the studies in detail. But you can do this in any environment, even on an airplane or in a car, if you're claustrophobic. If you combine this with the PSI, the inhale, exhale, it just then it's going to have even more of a positive effect in terms of calming. The other thing that's interesting about this panoramic vision is that animals that are very placid now, I know horses can be very aggressive, but I know you know a lot more about horses than I ever will.
But but grazing animals, cows, sheep, horses, they only see the world in Panorama. Right. And what's interesting is if if a member of one of their species is injured or hurt, you know, you see these gazelles win and get attacked by a lion. You see these things on YouTube or nature specials five minutes later. The rest of them are just like grazing around that. We would be traumatized if suddenly, you know, one of us was killed.
That location would forever hold a feeling of trauma and trouble. They are so placid all the time that they actually have a hard time staying in the stress right now. Horses might be different and we could talk about that because horses can actually move their eyes forward when they enter the stress response.
So the point here is that when you're in panoramic vision to dolling out your gaze, so to speak, you are not only calming yourself internally at the level of the brainstem, but you also start to measure time differently. You feel like you have more time. It's almost all reactive states are states in which we feel like we have to respond. And time is moving very quickly.
That internal medicine, that text you got that email got to respond. I got to respond.
Most incarcerations, bad decisions, things we wish we didn't say. The the impulsivity. Yes. Is caused by feeling that time pressured. Right. And space pressure being cornered is is I love that example because.
Yeah, I think I'm just trying to put it in terms we understand of. Like if I'm in a situation where, you know, I'm an altercation is possible, I want to be able to just have the tools to say, you know, and we talk about this a lot on the podcast is like what happens in that second between getting stimulated, getting activated and taking an action and how a lot of us are addicted to taking an action and being reactive and then sending one email can fuck up your whole month, sending one email before you already saying one thing that you shouldn't have fucking said.
Right. You know, I'm obsessed. You know, we say and in 12 step programs, don't just do something. Sit there. How do you just fucking sit there and do nothing as long as possible, you know?
And it's it's we sit around and talk about doing something, doing something, but doing nothing is way harder.
You know, one of my favorite quotes is sometimes the best battle strategy is a masterful retreat. But how do you do it and how do you get that self-control?
And this is what you're such a genius in your work about. But in a in an altercation or possible altercation, the tools are being saying of being saying that's nothing. That's Latin. You probably don't understand it so advanced for you. But being able to say to someone, you know what, I need to take a walk, I'm feeling cornered, you know, just being able to say that going for a walk, getting your panoramic vision activated, taking those deep breaths like that can truly change your life.
I mean, to me, that is the difference between, you know, fucking up a marriage, fucking up a relationship, you know, forever scarring a family member saying something you don't mean saying it mean whatever or nowadays, you know, saying the wrong thing on the street.
Someone triggers you. You say tweeting the wrong things are out and there goes your professional life. That's right. Because someone's recorded because you lost your shit and Trader Joe's because you couldn't take these three fucking deep breaths. Right.
There are exceptions to what I'm about to say. But what was taught to me a long time ago by my graduate advisor, who was a very thoughtful, extremely smart and very deliberate person, was you rarely get in trouble for what you don't say. And there are times when we need to speak up, obviously. But that ability so to introduce the gap between stimulus and response in. My belief and is a big motivation in my work, is that that shouldn't require a decade of meditative training, it shouldn't require no one has that kind of intensive, extensive training and will have written me up by that like I need.
I would like to figure out a way to give people tools right now of how to not take the bait. The next time your boyfriend calls you about your mom, rolls her eyes at you like what I like, how do you not take the bait all the way to put it?
Well, those two tools will help people calm quickly. The fastest tools that I'm aware of, they don't require a lot of training or anything. You were born with these neurons. Everyone has these neurons. Think of them like levers and buttons that were installed in you and you didn't know because you mainly do the sighing and sleep and claustrophobic do it in claustrophobic environments. But the important thing to understand is that other animals, more intuitive than us do this.
They know to do this, they do these sighs when they get stressed, they know to look at try and get into panoramic vision or into self generated optic flow to their amygdala. They don't know what the amygdala is. They don't care, but they know to do this stuff intuitively.
Humans are amazing because we have two things that make us special, which are a forebrain that allows us to make plans. Yeah. In light of what we know about the past and what we think might happen in the future, that's an amazing capacity. My dog might make plans, but if he does, he doesn't implement them, at least not over a long timescale.
Right. He's just I mean, he might have brilliant ideas, but he doesn't implement. It's very I think a big part of what I love so much about dogs is my dogs are always so psyched to see me, even though they saw me two minutes ago. Right now, I think they have no concept of time. Right. They're living in the moment, which is beautiful, but they also don't develop any technology, which is, you know, but we do.
And the other thing is neuroplasticity, which is the brain's ability to change in response to experience. But if you think about it, both that ability to make plans in light of what we know from the past and neuroplasticity, it's it truly is a double edged sword because on the one hand, we have amazing technologies, planes and iPhones and incredible things. Neuroplasticity can allow us to learn new things, unlearn things, develop new relationships to people, places and things.
But neuroplasticity is also the basis of trauma. And neuroplasticity is essentially for someone like myself who is still trying to understand that it basically is the conceit that the brain can change, it can evolve, you can make new neural pathways. That's right. There are a couple of ways that the brain can change itself. It can add new neurons that actually can happen. It's a little less common than the other forms of neuroplasticity. But you can lose connections, which sounds terrible.
But actually a lot of learning is the removal of connections and learning.
So a baby that's flopping around like a little potato bug or whatever, you can tell I don't have children, you know that. Then, you know, a year later, you go back and you see in this kid is walking and talking with the potato. But those things are just like curl up or like the Roly-Poly those. Is that what you call them? Yeah, I guess I'm a millipede. No, I think they're like, yeah, babies are kind of like, oh, is potato bug.
I mean, babies are wonderful, but they're kind of what are all a box with juice in it with a straw juice box really.
I call them a slip up. I love East Coast, West, so so soda or I say coke for everything, whether you say pop, you know, like Boston thing, that's a middle, you say coke about everything. Frasca, Sprite, diet. Right. Dr Pepper. A pepper. Dr. Pepper. OK, we talked to Dr Pepper. I'm from. Yeah.
Roly-Poly is one of the I think dividing factors in American linguistics. Potato bug versus a Roly-Poly, a juice box versus a zip up. Oh I've never heard of what do you call a thing that's like a little you draw with it as a kid and a bunch of colors. That's just good.
It's the thing that browns crowns we call them crowns around like a crown. Yeah. That's what we call it.
Real cement or cement.
I something different there doesn't seem.
Entercom, they get your view. Fine. I'm a biologist so we use a different word entirely.
I'm not going to go down. I'm not going to you make up the gap between you just saw it happen. You just saw a pause. That's right. You just saw nonreactive at.
I'm going to do is say, do you need to go look at a sunset?
Where was I? Everywhere. OK, so a baby doesn't do much.
Their motor patterns are really ordinated. They don't do much. Yeah.
In the course of the first year or two, they go to very deliberate motor control and behaviors. They start speaking, etc. That's mainly due to loss of connections, believe it or not, pruning away of connections. So I a lot of people think that neuroplasticity is all about new connections. It's also loss of connections. An addict who is absolutely compelled in every way to use cocaine, who gets clean and stays clean.
Yeah, likely removes as many neural connections that represent cocaine and its relationship to the dopamine pathway.
So can I just say real quick, part of the reason why when you hear rehabs are 30 days, right? 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, and they sort of feel arbitrary in some way, but isn't a twenty to 30 days to make a new normal pathway or sort of atrophy an old one is that the more intense an experience and unfortunately, the more negative experience is, the more quickly neuroplasticity is engaged.
There is something called one trial learning. You touch a hot stove once it hurts. I got it. You don't do it again. That's because Mother Nature wired us. The brain and nervous system are wired to keep us safe first before it allows us to be happy. Yes, actualised whatever the verbiage is.
Yeah, we're not sure to be living in bliss were designed to survive.
That's right. We have a natural fear of heights, for instance, of depth. Babies will develop that very early without any training. Most everything else has to be learned, most everything else.
I know you're very interested in this topic so we can go down.
But but just to kind of put a little bit of a bow, although we won't, since I don't know how to tie a proper bow represent anyway, I won't tell you. Well, we believe it kind of partially open. But the the point is that neuroplasticity is the ability for your nervous system and brain to change in response to experience. I say nervous system because I want people to really understand that it's not just what's going on in the skull.
It's also these eyes, the visual, the brain that's outside the skull as well as in the spinal cord. There's neuroplasticity all over the gut, brain plasticity.
There are two kinds of plasticity, generally maladaptive, like after a brain injury, an adaptive. If we talk about plasticity, we'll probably be talking about adaptive plasticity. And then there's child plasticity, which is everything up until about about age twenty five. Right. And that happens very quickly. Very easily.
And that's just learning. Right. Learning is that learning. But I feel like after twenty five it turns into plasticity. I'm an expert on this because it's, I, you know, kids learn, they absorb everything really easily. It's harder once you turn twenty five. Sure.
It's a little bit semantic but since you're interested in this and I'm guessing some of your audience is two guys, turns out it was guys, David Hubel, interesting rizzle who incidentally were my scientific Thorsten and Wiesel.
He's still alive. Ninety two years old, still runs miles a day. Wow. Sharp of mind and an incredible human wow. I am biased. They're my scientific great grandparents.
They won the Nobel Prize with a guy here at Caltech named Roger Sperry for their work, illustrating critical periods, which are periods from birth until about age twenty five in humans when the brain is very plastic. Right. So we do call that neuroplasticity, but we call it developmental plasticity.
Like, I feel like you don't get points for it. That's that's right. I'm going. Well, it's the basis of fire together. Wire together, which was if you ever heard fire together, why did you just do something again and again? And your brain is reshaped in according to that behaves like learning a language when you're 15 versus learning a lecture on your.
And since I'm a scientist, we have to properly credit people. A lot of people think that someone on Instagram or in the wellness space develop fire together, wire together. They did not fire together. Wire together is the words an important discovery of my colleague Carla Shatz, who's at Stanford, who is a remarkable scientist.
She was David, in toward Austin's graduate student, and she was the one who really made the key discoveries, showing that repeating a behavior or exposure to a particular environment during development makes the brain a map of that experience.
Now, for better or for worse, better or for worse, then starting at about age twenty five, you get what's called adult plasticity, which does not you're trying to undo all the shit from your childhood.
Well, neuroplasticity is kind of the great promise of neuroscience to undo traumas. That's right. And for a long time, people thought that adult plasticity wasn't possible. But a guy came along. His name is Mike Merzenich, and he really pushed this hard. He said, look, if something is intense enough or you focus on it enough or if you get the right combination of chemicals released in the brain, in particular dopamine and acetylcholine, and we can talk about these, if you like, in detail, then adult neuroplasticity is possible.
The experiments that he and his graduate students and postdocs did and how many hundreds of labs have done have essentially proven that adult plasticity is possible. You can learn new things as an adult. You can unlearn things. You can people can get sober. They can get over traumas. The ways to do this are many we can talk about, but they're all grounded in a certain set of principles.
You have to be alert for the learning.
You have to be focused on exactly what you're trying to learn, which is I think this is something that was so profound. Unfortunately, this was profound to me listening to you on Rogan, because it was like, I'll read through self-help books, I'll go to the gym, but I'm I am half assing it. We are all half kind of focused on our phone. We're kind of texting at the same time. It is very rare that I'm just doing one thing, one hundred percent, and then I'm annoyed I don't get the results I want.
But I do believe that we sort of it's kind of an epidemic how our attention is so divided. Yeah, absolutely. And we don't even realize it.
It's become the new normal.
We not only can we multitask, but we were designed to multitask. There's a we can do what's called covert attention, which is you can talk to me and pay attention to something that's going on in the corner of the room. At the same time, you can split your attention.
And then I might send an email to the wrong person by accident about the person.
Or you can bring both spheres of attention to one location. You can intercept you can pay attention to, for instance, to how quickly you might be breathing at this moment while paying attention to what I'm saying. Or you can bring one hundred percent of your attention to your breathing or 100 percent of attention to what I'm saying. Right. You can do this in a very dynamic way. What Merzenich and colleagues have shown is that if you want to trigger neuroplasticity, you want to learn something, you want to unlearn something.
You want to bring the maximum amount of mental focus to whatever it is that you're trying to change.
And that feels like take Adderall. That's well, that's actually what Adderall does.
It's a stimulant and it triggers the release of the neurochemical norepinephrine or in some cases epinephrine that trigger alertness. Acetylcholine is like a spotlight.
And then the key thing is that the actual plasticity, the actual rewiring of the connections does not occur during the learning. It occurs during sleep and deep roots.
So this is where knowing how to calm oneself down, not just to sleep better, although sleep is one component.
But can I just put it in layman's terms? Sure. Like I will if I'm trying to study jokes to memorize, like I'm trying to figure out a time when I can go out and do stand up. And I had to like literally go back and like re memorize the jokes I was doing before the pandemic. And I can't get in. I can't I'm trying to do it. And then I go to sleep and I wake up and I have it lock and step, totally memorize.
And that's because during sleep is when the connections between neurons are changing. So sometimes the best thing you can do if you're at an eight hour workday and you've been working on something or trying to memorize it, the best thing you can do is just go to sleep. That's right.
And if you're not going to sleep, go into a state of deep relaxation of some kind, just lie there. I'm a big fan of this process, yoga Neutra, which is what actually means yoga sleep. You can find scripts for this online. They involve Ambien. It could, but in general it involves just lying down and it walks you through some breathing and some focus on a body scan type stuff that brings the brain into a state that's very similar to sleep.
And it does seem to accelerate neuroplasticity. This is a practice that my lab studies. We take away all the naming and fancy kind of stuff and just focus on the physiology, the breathing in the brain states. But it's a very powerful tool for encouraging the nervous system to learn faster. And for people that have trouble sleeping, a lot of trouble and falling asleep is turning off your thoughts just turning off the thing that makes you able to focus. So you can see neuroplasticity is tricky.
It's it's a combination lock that says focus and then defocus. Yeah. And very few people learn how to master that.
But if you can learn how to master that, you we do not know if there are any upper bounds, any limits on plasticity.
There probably aren't. What we do know is that it's harder to learn as an adult than it is as a child. But if you think alertness and focus to trigger plasticity and then deep rest and relaxation to solidify, to create the plasticity, you just keep toggling back and forth between those, then you're well on your way to reshaping your nerve connections, your brain in the ways that you.
But I think even just like you said, having an awareness of it, like the person I when I was twenty five and, you know, the guy I'm dating gets a text from an ex at 2:00 in the morning or gets a nude. But whatever it is and I'm like I actually have I'm sure sorry know I'm putting it back on.
You're like, yes of course.
That you know or like you, the phone has changed your relationships tremendously and in a big way, good and bad. And we can we can sort of get into the phone and what that does to the brain at some point, because I'm, of course, fascinated by that. But I mean, I'm up, I'm screaming, I'm crying, I'm slamming the door. I'm just. Can you can we just talk through what happens to your brain and your judgment when you are scared?
I mean. Right. We're all in peak fear, obviously, with what's going on in the news, but in our interpersonal relationships or even for a lot of people, myself included, your man getting a text for a nude photo at 2:00 in the morning or some text from an ex or something can be the same as your dad going, oh, really? Oh, congrats. Like not being proud of you or your your mom saying or your sister saying something that's just like, you know, I know that my family members can devastate me with just like one little passive aggressive comment or backhanded.
You know what I would wear that little gap in your forcefield is right.
And I just want to just talk to you about what happens to your brain. Sure. When you're on those drugs. So the situations vary tremendously from person to person.
But what you just described really illustrates the fact that we have one stress response system one, and it's designed the same way, regardless of what the stressor is. And so the stress response is very generic. So whether or not it's the troubling text that you see, whether or not it's the lack of affection or whatever happens to be, that's the trigger. The important thing to understand is, is very fast. It goes from the mind. So you perceive that thing.
It's different from person to person, but you hear that thing or you don't hear that thing, you're triggered half a second, 500 milliseconds. The body is engaged. Also, the signal goes down to that center. The body react before your brain reacts first.
First, I mean, there are there exceptions to that, there are always exceptions where, you know, like a pain stimulus, you might have a defensive posture first, then conscious. But but these brain areas in the so-called limbic system, limbic just means edge because it's at the edge of the brain. You can think about it as like falling off of your edge when the limbic system being near the edge. Yeah, the limbic system gets activated, sends a signal to the body, then the body liberates adrenaline.
So now the body's engaged to see.
I want to start doing this in arguments. I'm going to be like my limbic system is activated. When you see people, I always think, well, everything I think is like through the lens of neuroscience. But it's like you must be a dream to fight with.
I well, I'm human, you know, I don't know. There are people out there that would say, well, we can get into this.
But projection is a very interesting thing that happens in arguments to people can actually throw their anger into other people's nervous systems, which is why.
Oh, yeah, well, I've never done it in a really powerful tool.
So the body's engaged the moment the body's engaged, the moment you feel agitation, it's because the generic chemicals are designed to move you. The stress response was designed to get you to either stay put, move away or move forward. So it's either stay put, retreat or fight. There's really no other fourth option. Right? So the moment anyone out there feels that agitation, they have to recognize that their body has been hijacked. We talk about the brain being hijacked.
Your body has a way to put it. So I always say it's hard to control the mind with the mind. You can do it in your calmer states, but it's very hard to control the mind with your mind when you've been activated. So the moment you feel agitation in your body, I recommend looking to behavior control your body to then get control of the mind, because there it's bidirectional brain controls body, body controls brain. That's why I suggest things like the physiological psi or panoramic vision, things like that, because the worst thing you can tell yourself for somebody who's stressed is calm down.
No, that's worse. Right. Or forget about it.
Not a fire or even take a deep breath, which is actually the we'll have the opposite effect on your nervous system. It'll tend to ramp your alertness up even more. Yeah.
And don't say to your girl, after listening to this, take two deep breaths. I do a physiological find a panel. If if he does that or if she does that, you are free to introduce the eye roll, that is, calm down.
So that's why I like panoramic vision. It's completely covered. So you can for people out there who want to learn how to remain calm in stressful situations, panoramic vision is very powerful.
And in addition to that, for which means going outside and looking at a horizon, we're doing it right now. Let's say I say something that triggers you. You can look at me, but you can see what's going on in the corner of the room. Look to the end your vision.
Just stop looking at you. Makes it look that look, I'm still in the picture. Delete but delete. Right. But it start to include the full room. See if you can see yourself in this environment, even though we're not outside.
Can you now do that and then can you narrow your focus? Wait, what's happened so you can contract or dilate your eye to eye contact makes me very nervous. So I'm not. So you should do it all. I just like, went offline because you're looking my eyes panic because, you know, I never.
Oh yeah. Your pupils. No, I'm fine. I knew I was. I mean that's early, but I was told this is a and and the fact that I have not gotten into nurture yet is really illustrates my respect and love for you because I want so badly to get into the nurture part of this conversation. Because isn't it the amount of eye contact you get in the first couple of years of your life? Like I just is so important in terms of your ability to make eye contact later in life.
I just struggled for eye contact to see I'm getting nervous.
I'm looking for the longest time. Eye contact makes me very uneasy. It's gotten better in the last couple of years. But when I first started, everybody said that I looked like at the side of their ear. When I talk to them, do you ever talk to people and that you think they're looking at your hairline or looking at what you're doing is a really good example of Xterra reception.
You're you're paying attention to what they're doing.
As you know, there are people that seem does it look like I'm looking at you? Yeah. Your eyes are gorgeous. A lot of people are like, you don't know phenology speak. We'd say you're pervaded towards me. Oh, that's right.
But we're both so afraid of interrupting each other. I want to because on this podcast, we talk so much about nurture and something that they I've learned a lot of in addiction. Educating myself in addiction is something that we say a lot is genetics loads the gun, environment pulls the trigger. Does that fair to say or is that just sound good for many things?
I think that's true. Look, everybody knows that I am a gourmet chef. Mm, I, I'm just so updater Wikipedia now. I'm a whiz in the kitchen. I am a culinary artist. I am. Delusional. I am a magician, quite frankly, when it comes to, say, bread and then others say flour.
And I said, Fred, your magician is watch this, I'll deliver, I'll get it delivered. But I can't cook all day.
I want to and I can very well, quite frankly, intimidatingly. Well, but door dash.
I prefer daughter. She's my best friend. Well, I don't want to cook all the time because I don't wanna make anyone feel bad. You know, you live alone, right?
I don't want to make them so. No, I don't. I live with a couple imaginary friends and two ghosts. Door dash. I'm obsessed with Jordache.
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I ordered 18 wings and you only sent me seven.
Sometimes I want to talk and if you want to, because you're lonely, not me, but the people who are they will chat with you.
Remember you when they come back. There's one guy that has that. I met a Jordache guy and he met my dogs and I was like, do you have any dogs? And he was like, stop talking to me. You said, lady.
And he showed me his blue German shepherd.
He's a German shepherd.
That's grey, what we call it blue. And he lives here now and we're together. Jordache is actually dating up to three hundred thousand partners in the US, Puerto Rico, Canada and Australia.
You can support your local go tos, which is really important right now in the pandemic, support your local restaurants, choose from your favorite national restaurants as well, like Chipotle. I love it. Some of the best dates I've ever gone on were at Chipotle, Wendy's, Wendy's. Oh yeah.
Get them nuggets right to your door and OK, sorry, my dog is freaking out because I'm talking about Dorda. She knows that when I talk about Jordache, that means there's going to be some food on the way. The Cheesecake Factory.
Get yourselves, treat yourself. We're in a pandemic. Ordered cheesecake from door dash. That's called self care contact.
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Benton Whitney, I'm going to tell you something that you're not going to believe, no one's going to believe that people are going to accuse me of being a liar, that you go to therapy.
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I know it is tough to believe that you of all people, believe it or not, I sweat like a pig.
Well, you know what I mean.
And I did not wear deodorant for the longest time because it deodorant is chock full of chemicals, bad stuff like aluminum and talc, talcum bad, very bad.
And what is not the full name, not Talkalakh to go to your room because what it does is it aluminum clogs your pores and actually stops you from sweating and then sweat comes out other and then your body absorbs the aluminum into it.
But then it's like then you start sweating other places like your crevices gets swampy and it's like it's like you're sweating, becomes like whack.
You got other plans. Start putting your daughter in other places.
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Yeah. I don't like this whole thing. I don't wear deodorant because you know, my body or I can smell you hanging out.
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That's impressive. They love this. I know sometimes guys, when you're like making out with the guy and they like getting your armpit, you're like, oh no.
I'm like like what guys being under your armpit. I'm just saying, guys, sometimes like your response. I like what are you talking about. I'm just saying you trust me. Trust me. There's a deodorize. You know, one guy's crawl into your armpit for safety. Let's see.
I'm just telling you, I've had some bad experiences in the past with sketchy deodorants and guys mouths, and I've not had that problem with native.
What are you talking about? I just just mean you girls don't care about girls. You girls know when your boyfriend eats off all your deodorant, makes out with you freaks.
They're freaks, girls. I'm just telling you, it's just you. I don't know that native is edible. But anyways, switch to native today. Am I going to Native Dotcom's that Whitney or use promo code Whitney and check out and get twenty percent off your first order. That's Native Deodorizing Deora.
Yeah, that complex. Complex and use promo code.
Whitney I check out for twenty percent off your first order by the way the brain shows up in the world on day one assuming that baby went full term, you know, but a preemie baby is taken out of the incubator or whatever they use. And on day one there is a significant amount of what we would call hard wiring.
And that's a good thing. You want that baby's heart to be without having to learn how to do that, breathe, digestion, all those things. There are certain number of biases built into the nervous system based on genetics maybe. And this is still open questions. But for instance, startle reflex, how susceptible they are. Someone has to startle how calm they are. Some babies are just calm from day one. They're like the bulldogs of the world.
You can't shock them. But it does any of that have to do with what happened to the neurochemicals of the mother while they were in utero? Could be. But I think there's a significant amount of hard wiring. There are genetic programs that come from mom and dad that make sure that there's a nervous system that's a rough template or map of what that child might expect in life. Then you have neuroplasticity, which allows the brain to be customized according to experience.
And we know this because of twin studies, two identical twins in the same sac inside, which is important. They call it Monov chorionic, meaning in the same SAC or die chorionic. There's a little boundary between those two babies. They can actually have very different nervous systems compared to if they are in the same second. Yeah, even so, there's all this stuff about twin concordance. It's called. So there are biases.
And then that kid shows up in the world and it's interesting to think about the relationship between nature and nurture, because let's say that that kid has a genetic bias to be more calm and to explore her, his environment and more calm way. Well, then they're going to learn things differently and maybe become even more calm. So it it's it's what we call a Mobius strip. It's you can't separate it at any one point. Now, there is clearly a strong role for nurturing and experience, but the genetic component is something that, you know, a lot of people are uncomfortable with because we love this idea of a tabula rasa of a blank slate.
And you can just write your entire neurology yourself or depending on where you're raised. But there are these genetic biases. Some of them, like perfect pitch for some people, have perfect pitch that, yeah, they know when a notice is off or something. Other people seem to be tone deaf.
Something about the bones in your ear could be something that at the periphery, what we do know is every human, assuming there is in some developmental defect, comes into the world with the same sensors, the same sensors in the eye color blind person might be missing one, but the same sensors in the eye, the same touch sensors in the skin. Since you mentioned weight blankets, I'll just use this as an opportunity to try and answer your question. Even though it's off topic, it's irrelevant.
Tangent. There are sensors in all of our skin that respond to light touch.
There are sensors that respond to firm touch, believe it or not, little little things that fire different electric signals to the brain saying that's too tough, that's nice and gentle or that feels weird, or that handshake feels creepy or whatever it is that's been cortical or cold or pain.
All of those are in everybody. Right. And the the feeling of distributed weight across big surfaces of our body does connect to a neural pathway that promotes calm.
So it makes sense to me that a weight blanket would be used to calm. That would have a calming effect.
Like when I am stressed out, I put my Great Dane people on my chest and I'm sure it has something do with him. But it's also just like the weights. Well, let me feel someone holding a pillow.
Here is a common practice.
Well, the reason is that we have an abundance of the receptors that I'm referring to here on our chest.
So weighted blankets, work, weight, if you like. Pressure. Yeah, weighted blankets, work for a logical reason related to the sensors in our skin.
That's different than a hug hug as you get oxytocin from. Right.
That's different oxytocin. Is this right. The chemical hormone that's released that tells you you're safe. It tells you there's somebody there that would protect you, that there's somebody there that's that's on your side.
Unless the hug is a little too long, unless the.
And then there's then there's another molecule, which I'm guessing that, well, you probably know about it, but it's called Taqi Kynan. It's a peptide that's released when we don't get enough social or physical contact with other people. This is discovery of a guy named David Andersons Laboratory here at Caltech. Phenomenal researcher and tacky. Keenan is released in our bodies when we haven't had enough human contact, which we're probably all going through right now.
And it increases fear threshold to fear and aggression.
So it's that kind of aggression, not not the kind what's happening with all of us in quarantine and not being able to socialize a tacky kind in release, is that why cancel culture started Taqi Canine?
Do we have that to blame? And we could blame we everyone, just like we need to cancel tax everybody.
We do have to say, well, I get in trouble for canceling. I don't know who's who owns the patent on taking.
You know, everyone makes tacky kind of mice make it, dogs make it.
We are not designed to be solitary. We are designed to have a certain amount of eye contact today, a certain amount of physical touch a day. And we are also isolated now. Also just in general, like the solo, the departure from tribal villages to now just everyone living in apartments alone. And doesn't that tell us on a subconscious primordia level, like we've been ousted from the tribe or don't have protection from the tribe or something that these chemical systems earlier we're talking about adrenalin and norepinephrine and all these things that make us activated.
The other chemical system, which is the one that we're talking about now, I mean, there are several is serotonin, oxytocin. Those are the things that are released with thoughts of gratitude, social connection, physical touch.
Which is why just saying I mean, a big part of 12 step programs, I'm going to keep bringing this up because there's so much scientific proof of why a lot of this stuff kind of like works. Like one of the biggest tools is a gratitude list. If you're in a bad place, you just start right down, writing down things you're grateful for. And it seems corny and it seems annoying and it seems stupid and I hate doing it. But there is a neurological basis for why it works.
Absolutely. Gratitude is not complacency. And I do some work with people in Special Operations military. You'd be surprised how many like truly high performers in high risk, high consequence jobs, use gratitude practices to reset themselves to be able to lean back into high stress, high exertion type things. So the way to think about biology in neuroscience is that it uses very few ingredients to cook up everybody's experience. And so everyone we're all very attached to our own life.
Experion. Because it's unique, it's unique to us, our parents, our upbringing, where we're at, where we're going, what we want, what we want to avoid, but the chemicals are all the same. You use dopamine to feel a sense of elation and reward. And dopamine is really a molecule of desire, of wanting to pursue things. And you use serotonin and oxytocin. Any time you feel like you have enough, you're safe, whatever that comes from the weighted blanket dogs, close social connections, whatever that is.
I use the exact same chemicals, but I'm wired so that slightly different things release those chemicals, but a lot of the same things. All human beings were wired such that serotonin and oxytocin are released in response to to nurturing physical touch and connection. Yeah, and tacky. Kynan is released when we don't get enough of it. Right. That's a non-negotiable aspect of our biology. So I don't care how tough somebody is or how weak somebody is to use coarse language.
In the end, it's the same chemicals that are cooking these things up. And what's important to understand about the way these chemicals work is that they're controlled subjectively. Like it's not like you touch somebody and they kind of well, maybe they like dribble a little serotonin.
That's where like serotonin your butt. But it's all internal. Serotonin is released from this area called Arafeh Nucleus in the brainstem, like it's the acetylcholine is released from the nucleus besar. It's not like everyone does it differently. Everyone's doing this stuff the same way. It's like they're all kept in the same locations, on everybody's cooking shelf, in the kitchen. It's all I do a lot.
It's like baby's cooking. I'm not very domestic. I, I'm not doing that. I think that your brain it's like I'm just listening to you speak and like literally Latin. I think that just like your hippocampus is full of those words. So there's no space for basic things like a cabinet.
It's where I grew up in this. I got in this neuroscience thing really young and I sort of like, you don't know, basic words of like shelf and refrigerator.
But, you know, I've heard a curator, but but when I think refrigerator, you say that and I think of a lab for a chemical darkness that I like that you just don't know.
There are people that would agree. What would you call the distilled water bottle non-ionizing?
Oh, it just it just water. Sorry if I'm using too much.
No, no. The point is to keep the you know, we think to use an analogy like proteins, fats and carbohydrates, everyone's probably heard of those. Those are the macronutrients that make up all foods. Some foods have more than others of each of those, of course, different emotional states, different states of feeling good or afraid. Serotonin, oxytocin, acetylcholine, dopamine. Those are the macronutrients of our experiences.
Right, right. And I want to sort of talk about these these serotonin and dopamine, all these things that these neurochemicals that kind of drive our choices, that drive what feels good, what feels comfortable. And, you know, humans are so paradoxal and complicated in this area because I like to break down. Why is my friend staying in this bad relationship? Why is this guy dating this girl who he thinks is psycho and crazy and etc.? Right.
So a lot of times things that are ostensibly bad feel good, right? We tend to recreate our childhood circumstances if we don't intervene in some way and actively try to course correct it, we almost subconsciously try to find that warm hug of dysfunction that whatever neurochemical cocktail was emitted, you know, I'm very comfortable in a time of crisis and chaos, and it makes people in my life very confused. I am calm at a time of crisis. And when things are calm, I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop.
I get anxious when things aren't going wrong. I feel like there's a Damocles sword hanging and things are about to go wrong, you know, so that, I believe, is from my nurture.
Harville Hendrix talks about how we're attracted to people who have the negative qualities of our primary caretakers. And I'm just curious about the neurological perspective on that. Are we sort of subconsciously seeking whatever combination of adrenaline, cortisol, serotonin, dopamine that we got as kids? You know, are we kind of zombies to that? When you see people who can't stop dating crazy people, people that make them feel bad, people that make them feel jealous, are they just recreating that mixture of whatever their mom and dad created?
Yeah, those are great questions, so I'll approach them in sequence. The first one is this thing about you being calm in stressful situations. I think that could there's a neuroscience lens and interpretation on on that is that it could reflect the fact that internally you seem to be pretty high energy like that metronome tends to be more like tick, tick, tick, tick than like to. We know people that's like, come on, like you can't engage them, so when the world matches your internal processing speed and that match of what's going on inside and outside are both kind of high speed, it's going to feel aligned.
It's going to feel right now.
Otherwise, it might seem like the world is passing by a little too slowly for you, right. Because you're high functioning. This is what we call like high functioning. It's a reflection of having a really well developed forebrain, which is an asset. You can make plans. You can do creative work.
I mean, but then you end up overcommitting yourself and exhausting yourself and being less high functioning if you don't have some kind of moderation.
Right. It needs to be bound, but it's not I wouldn't see it as a detriment, but it means that too much placidity and calm is going to feel kind of stressful because there's a mismatch. And for people that are very low energy, not a vacation is a nightmare.
I've got my clipboard. I'm like, we're doing this. We're going to do well, we're going to do this.
And for some people that are really exhausted or burnt out, whatever that is, or they're kind of low energy, the world is going to seem like it's going by really fast.
That's kind of oppressive. Right.
And I think people are just wired differently. And the reason I bring up dogs is not just because you like dogs, I like dogs, but because you look at the different dog breeds and they are selected for this what we call autonomic baseline. This temperament, the straightforward way of saying is you meet my bulldog Costello, and it's like it takes a lot to activate the whole world must seem like it's going by a million miles an hour. They are bred to do different things.
That's right. Now, I'm really understanding this metaphor in a in a real way. Before I was pretending I understood it. Now I actually understand it because when people I do a lot of dog rescue and when people are like, oh my God, I want to get this husky, I'm like, if you get this Husky is bred to work and needs two hours a day of exercise, go crazy, not negotiate. Doesn't matter what kind of nurture it does, it does not matter.
This is just how this thing is wired. Australian shepherds. Everyone wants an Australian shepherd now and then they get the ones with no tail, their herding dogs. Yeah, right. And that's the only way they can experience the world is they get very anxious. If they can't organise things, they get very they get an Australian shepherd sitting right here would be very anxious about the layout of this podcast studio because everyone needs to get herded together. And the dog would constantly be going in circles trying to get us all in a group they heard.
And that's the only way that they can experience the world and apartment. Living with a couple someones in the bedroom, someone's in the living room, really stresses them out so and so.
A lot of dogs, their temperament is calm. Other breeds are bred for an alertness and an awareness of their environment. It was they were selected for that. So this is a I would say is probably the best example I can give for the nature nurture thing. Those dogs come in, bulldogs come into the world, kind of function a little bit slower than a whippet. Right? Right. Nothing against the Bulldogs. I own a bulldog. I love them, but they're bred for different things.
The Bulldogs know how intense dog people are. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You criticize the breed if you want to understand. I will say if you want to understand neuroscience and the relationship between nature, nurture, spend time with animals. Yes, because you'll see different temperaments and spend time with a lot of different species. Spend time with grazing animals.
But watch the eyes of a of a lion that lays around during the day. And then when it hunts its eyes, what the pupils dilate and literally eyes move forward in the head. You're looking at the brain, the eyes changing in response to level of alertness. That's us when we're in stress. So you see it in animals best. We are animals. But what you described, this alertness and this ability make plans and anticipate things and bring in a lot of memory.
That is the those are the the basic components of creative and great works. And I think it's no coincidence that you're a creative in addition to other things. That's your job is based on creating new novel things. That's what humans are good at, taking existing elements, reorganizing them and creating new things. That's what we do. And the forebrain is designed for that. And it feels like agitation or stress. But that's also what allowed us to become who we are.
Well, that's the thing. I we always joke that. I always say there's a war on on something. There's a war on stress and there's a war on anxiety. And I'm you know, for me, I think because I've spent so much of my life ignoring my intuition and ignoring my gut. And for me, sometimes fear and anxiety are synonymous with that of this. Like, I have a bad feeling about this person. I have a bad feeling about this situation.
But, you know, I'm going to do it anyway because I think a lot of especially, you know, women have been programmed to calm down, relax or oversensitive. You're overthinking it where guys have been programmed to your being a pussy man up, you know, so we have this sort of programming that has, I think in a big way, conditioned us to minimise and oftentimes ignore fear and anxiety. And so now when I see so much conversation about getting rid of fear and anxiety and I'm like, to me, those are my guardian angels.
And I now I'm very grateful for my ability to feel my fear and anxiety and I try to listen to it. But I think the hardest part is delineating what's rational, what's irrational, what's helpful fear and anxiety and what's paralyzing fear and anxiety. How do you know the difference? Well, it's same chemicals always going to be a double edged sword, remember, neuroplasticity is good, neuroplasticity is bad, it wires in traumas. It's what allows you to unwind traumas.
You asked about couples and destructive patterns or people who are in destructive patterns of relating, because I'm going to be I remember very vividly when my guy friends like I'm doing this, the fucking psycho.
I'm like, you love it, you love it. Oh, you love it because it's unpredictable and it's surprising. And you're getting all this dopamine from the fact that you never know where she is and she cheated on you or whatever. Right.
You know, their dopamine is wired for. Well, let me try and explain this from a slightly different perspective. So he's not the favorite of of most people, but I'm a big fan. So Freud had a word for what you describe. It's called the repetition compulsion. So Freud's assessment was that when we experience something traumatic early in childhood or any time in childhood, that we recreate patterns that will bring us back into that experience as a way to try and solve that, to to react to it differently.
Because, you know, it is true that, you know, a twenty five year old will react very differently to the same traumatic experience relived as a twenty five year old than a five year old. They just have a capacity that a five year old doesn't have. That was Freud's assessment. What's true neuro biologically, what we can say for sure, neuro biologically, is that the brain circuits the connections in the brain and the brain areas that are responsible for infant parent attachment are not discarded.
When we hit age twenty five, it's not like, oh, I don't need my mom and my dad anymore, so I'm going to just get rid of that brain area. Those brain areas are used for attachment in romantic relationships.
Now that gets a little eerie to people because I like very Oedipal Electra complex right now. What do you really think? You throw away real estate in the brain like? Oh, I don't need that anymore. That's not like the kid's toy room. Then you graduate to college and go off to a dorm. Doesn't work that way. That neural real estate is reused.
So so are we just trying to pattern recognition? Are we trying to recreate patterns or find comfortable patterns of like, you know, I used to do this joke about like every time we meet someone, we're like, mama, like I mean, just all the time.
Are you my mother when you're dating? Yeah, I think there are elements of that. I mean, some people react to their upbringing by looking for people that are the exact opposite.
Right. So. I'm going to use an example that at first might seem a little odd, and this is it, I want to be really clear, is not an attempt to bring things into a kind of salacious or more sexual discussion. But there I want to talk.
You're in the right place. Well, I want to talk about from the biological standpoint, trying to not get you fired. I'm trying to restrain myself. Well, I mean, I'm happy to talk about the biology as we understand it.
And I'm you know, I don't know everything. So I'm going to make mistakes as I as I talk.
I do hope I don't. I'll fill in any blanks that you don't know. Let's talk about some biological hardwiring as it relates to mate choice. Let's pick the most. Let's pick the one that everyone agrees on.
Can I can I can you quiz me?
Sure. Although I'm not sure you want me to presume this one, because what I'm about to most important thing, what's the most important thing in terms of mate choice? Is this a trick question? No smell. It's pretty good. You're impressed. Admit it, smell might play a role in it, but factory what's what's Mother Nature's punishment? Mother Nature punishes this behavior very severely.
Mother Nature punishes this behavior very severely.
Which is why when someone smells bad, it means you're related to them in some way. Right. So since you threw that out there, if you give one hundred mice, my friend is a researcher.
So if you give your gaff is unbelievable. So.
Well, I'm trying to I just want to make sure that I closed whatever hatches we open and but, you know.
So, yeah, I feel like I feel like a stunned response. I feel like I'm at my blowing your mind. All right. I'm starting to learn where you get your dopamine hits.
So incest is not good. Everyone everyone agrees that incest is bad and there's a biological penalty for incest that leads to offspring, but it leads to mutations that are less vigorous. Yes, mating with close of kin in any animal, but in particular in humans is very bad for the offspring. Right. So there's that means that that's the most hard wired example I can give of bad mate choice. Right. That literally means that there's a punishment for mating with close of kin.
You have to talk to them. Yes, I don't even know how to vote, so that means there's a genetic there's a genetic penalty, OK, if you give one hundred mice choice of sorry, you get one mouse, a choice of one hundred mice as a mate.
Uh huh, opposite sex, mate.
They will pick the one that has the immune composition that is furthest from their own without realizing why they do it.
Because from Smaltz, from smell, OK, it's through what are called pheromones.
So hormones are things that are secreted in our body and on other tissues in our body. Pheromones are things that are secreted by one member of a species act on other members of a species, or it can be across species, but generally.
So I pay attention to what someone smells like. Well, some of these studies have been controversial and this but there are some solid data that show that if women in particular, if they are given, say, 50 t shirts to smell. Yeah. And all of these have been washed in the same washer with soap and all that stuff, they can pick out their significant others shirt with a high degree of specificity, meaning much better than chance. OK, so that's pheromones in action, synchronisation of menstrual cycles amongst women that are group sounds like animals.
But you know what?
I think there are some data now that say that might not be a strong effect as as once was thought, but most women will tell you it's a pretty strong effect. Mm hmm. OK, things like that. So, mate, choice on the extreme is like incest is bad. All right, then you think, OK, well, what makes somebody pick somebody that's not good for them psychologically? Right. So then you have to look to something that's probably more rooted in developmental upbringing.
And the question is, are they template matching? Are they matching the oh, you know, I had a dad that raged.
And so I like men who are very aggressive and then they end up in an abusive relationship or because this just create it's just a comfortable sort of equilibrium of neurochemicals.
That's just I, I think it boils down to. So we have to ask ourselves, what are the chemicals and hormones of of sexual attraction? And those tend to be dopamine and testosterone in men and dopamine and estrogen in women. People think that estrogen is the opposite of testosterone, but actually prolactin is the opposite of testosterone and estrogen in terms of its brain effects. So we can get into this. But so people are attracted to certain people because of this release of this neurochemical dopamine, which makes them excited.
It's it is that the molecule of desire, it's closely tethered to estrogen in women and to testosterone does then turn into dopamine.
Nobut adrenaline. So this is interesting. So for some people, high levels of adrenaline activate the dopamine and testosterone response. And testosterone in both men and women is responsible for libido and sort of attraction to someone that for some people, some of that causes you stress.
Right, could then give you dopamine. Absolutely. So let's just let's create a what Einstein would have called a good Duncan experiment was just in our minds. This is not a laboratory experiment. But in line with this hypothesis, somebody grows up in a household where there's a lot of aggressive behavior and they swear they're never getting involved with someone who has that, like, hair trigger kind of aggressive behavior. Then they find themselves and their friends find that person in a relationship with somebody who has that kind of behavior.
And they feel like it's a turn on that they're attracted to that person. It might not even be sexual excitement, but it's they're drawn to that person to drawn.
It could be that adrenaline.
The whole circuit for adrenaline has been wired to recruit things like dopamine and the sexual response. When they experience that kind of heightened level of activation, they're pretty good data showing that adrenaline can trigger testosterone as long as it's not too much. If there's too much adrenaline, then testosterone is is suppressed and makes cortisol. We make cortisol instead, rather. So you could imagine that people repeat these patterns, what Freud would have called the repetition compulsion on the basis some early template.
That was learned not as hard wired as incest, which is absolutely, categorically, without question, bad at a biological level. Right. I think almost everyone would agree that. Right. And the ones that wouldn't are the ones we got to be concerned about. Right.
Right. So then sorry. But so when people say they like crazy, like they go, oh, you know, he's crazy or they don't.
And people that are attracted to drama that are always in some kind of chaos, we all know those people. Right.
And maybe and that largely presumably reflects an internal chaos that they're trying to pattern match with or their life is dull and it's the one thing that takes them out of their life of dullness. I don't know. I'm not a psychologist, so I can't speculate on that. But the neurochemicals of attraction and desire are very simple. It's dopamine. We think of dopamine as the reward. People always say like sex triggers dopamine or money triggers dopamine. It's not it's not so much having sex or acquiring money.
It's the pursuit of sex or money. That's right. It's it's the gambler. It's the person who's going to get high. This is where these and now we're talking about it in a dark way. But I want to be clear. The dopamine system is one of the reasons why we evolved to leave the territories we were raised in and go find new territories to build businesses, to seek healthy relationships, to seek degrees or careers. I mean, it is the molecule of pursuit of anything that lies outside the boundaries of our skin.
Motivation, low dopamine, low motivation, low dopamine, a hiddenness sadness. Serotonin is the feel good with what you've got. And when you look at drugs of abuse, you start to see these in their extreme.
Somebody on cocaine is all about pursuit of something. Hmm, right. Especially cocaine and amphetamine. And if you see people who are cocaine and steroids, you're talking testosterone and dopamine. It's all pursuit, pursuit of cocaine addicts love me.
I don't know if it's a hair. I don't know what it is.
I don't know. I just don't have a scientific explanation for it. It's just going to say you have a strong data point is there's something about me that makes addicts love me.
They are associating you with the dopamine experiment, their mom, their drunk mom, the serotonin.
If you think about drugs like marijuana or the opioid system, those tend to make people pretty happy to just sit there and do nothing.
Yeah. Right now, I realize there are there are some people that because marijuana is legal in California, that the cannabis crude comes after me with pitchforks, although very slowly.
So what I want to say is, I mean, there I'm talking about extremes here. I'm talking about abuse of chemicals in all cases. But the serotonin system tends to make people pretty quiescent. And so and I know couples that are both both very placid and they seem so happy together, right?
They're not they're somehow they've created a bubble where the whole reward system is within that bubble.
They're they're secretly in an open relationship or and they're bringing to each other they're wearing horse masks or something.
I mean, you see this stuff all over social media, the means that you see or the pictures of couples together, the sun sets all that. You can think of those as very serotonin or very dopamine. The get after it Monday morning is for sharks or whenever I see this, that's all just these neurochemical different neurochemical systems. That's right. But when people get into a pattern of pursuing things that are detrimental to their goals, like they want to raise a healthy, safe family or they want to be in a relationship that feels nurturing and physically and emotionally safe, and they're making choices that are not in line with that.
I do think it's worth looking to developmental upbringing and say, well, maybe the reward system is attached to exactly the thing that is wrong for them. They need to start engaging their forebrain and acknowledge that it's going to take a while to keep sabotaging myself.
I'm trying to just put this in like self sabotage people. They're making poor, poor decisions and excitement and sexual arousal are closely linked. Sexual arousal and relationships, I last heard are are closely linked. I think that's a fair and safe assessment.
It's not the thing that brings together two members of a species to decide to invest resources.
Are these chemical systems, other systems as well? Plans and things.
But at its core, the glue is a chemical glue.
Because let me I'm going to just say something non-scientific like this might not land great, but like, you know, when you have a really good friend and they've dated a bunch of people and then the person they pick to be like their husband or wife, you're like, what, her or him? That's the one. This is not OK. Like there's something else going on here.
And usually the discussion is, well, maybe there's something we don't know.
Yeah, there's always like that. Like there's always the like maybe there's something we don't know. Right. Totally.
I sort of like what is she doing that I don't know about. Is this, is she doing Kigali's like what's happening when you're just like that's the person and you're like, oh, there's some other thing going on here.
Yeah, I think that it's perplexing. Yeah. You know, when we see these things, you know, there's another example that's maybe a little. Comfortable for people, but and I don't use these examples to make people uncomfortable, but when you look at non-random, biology is very uncomfortable. Biology is uncomfortable. Non-random is so the incest thing where there's a genetic penalty fetishise are an interesting topic.
Lovatt, why do so many guys want to fuck my feet? Oh, great question. Oh, my goodness.
So if you're disgusting, I mean, I don't have good feet, so they look like êtes fingers.
So I'm just saying I don't. But I made my training, did not prepare me for this.
Well, my my second toe is like it's slightly longer than my first time. I don't know why anyone would want to.
Isn't it supposed to be a sign of royalty? Yeah. Thank you. Yes. Actually that's me. Yeah. That's that's that's actually been scientists.
Well, so did you are you going to take me off track digit ratio. So I was part of a paper that was published in the year 2000 with a group out of Berkeley, was published in the journal Nature. Digit ratios are dictated in utero by hormone exposure. Whoa.
Yeah, we can talk about this because it had implications for heterosexual versus homosexual mate choice. This is a published paper. It's also true in animals. And I can give you that story if you want in a few minutes. But let me let's talk about Fetishised.
That's fucking my feet. So the interesting thing about fetishes is they're not random.
People don't develop fetishes to lampposts, very rare if they do write right. Or paper towels. Almost all the fetishes are to things that are infectious feet, feces, corpses. These are like there are fetishes that are outside those realm.
But is the feed from crawling around as a baby and seeing your mom's feet? I'm going to make a different argument, which is somewhat conjecture. But there's a there are circuits in our hypothalamus. So we've got this area right above the roof of our mouth that is called the hypothalamus. It is every bit as important as the amygdala and all the other the hippocampus and all the other stuff that you hear about because it controls things like temperature, regulation, sexual behavior.
It's extremely important.
The hypothalamus has neurons that control appetitive behaviors, meaning things we want to move toward the stuff, and then it also has neurons that live right next door to those neurons that control what we call aversive behaviors.
The the move away thing.
Right, is a Yiddish. Yeah. To say you guys have some heart just recoiling in retreat.
Yeah. Grossed out desire. Whatever the reason, I use those terms in case we want to go look up more and and just to make sure that, you know, I stay within the bounds of some of the work on this stuff.
So these these neurons control brain circuits that were designed to either move us towards things like food, sex, warmth, when we're cold, cool when we're warm, et cetera, or move us away from things that were dangerous to us.
So think about vomit, feces, feet, those corpses. Those things are not just gross. They're actually dangerous. They're dangerous from an infection standpoint. And it is no surprise that you have neurons that push you toward things, draw you, I should say, toward you, toward things that are good for you.
Right. Sugar, fat, reproduction. We are a species that needs to propagate. Right, right. Etc. But it needs to be context appropriate, age appropriate species appropriate, all that stuff. But you know what I mean, but also circuits that are aversive that cause us to recoil the the know like gross and discuss pathogen avoidance.
So it's kind of pathogen avoided. So it's kind of interesting to think that to reflect on the fact that many fetishes are rooted in a crossover between desire and these things that are dangerous to us. I mean, before antibiotics, which I everyone's anti antibiotic antibiotics have saved many lives, have cured many infections, there are with their appropriate use, those things were dangerous.
The reason we put bodies in the ground is because decaying bodies are infectious, so is uncomfortable.
And if people are feeling some discomfort, even just hearing these phrases, that's the that's those are the circuits I'm talking about in action right now. So things like incest or or corpses or things that the reason we recoil.
So they dolls robots like when people look at my robot, they get freaked out and weirded out. Non animated forms of naysay. Looks like something that would be sick or dead. That's right. Fuck this thing.
The hypothalamus could very well be thinking that what people get creeped out by dolls, by robots, by surrounds anything that looks human but is a little off. Right.
So those are circuits where and I'm not out here to demonize people's behavior. I'm not a psychologist. I'm not I'm not I'm not judging anyone's behavior or choices. But you can start to think of because you're asking the question, how is it that the thing that is worst for us is the thing that we desire? Why does this person go after it?
Well, it means at a core level, it means that there is neural circuitry that has been wired up so that the thing that is supposed to be aversive has become appetitive. It put into English. It means the thing that you're supposed to say that's disgusting.
Yeah. Is attractive to you. Yeah. And I'm not putting any kind of moral judgment here one way or the other. I'm talking about what is safe biologically and evolutionarily speaking and what is not what's advantageous for our species and historically what has been disadvantageous or maladaptive.
So there are people that like chaos and drama and it turns them on a variety of ways. Right. Mentally and physically and. Much of therapy, much of trauma relief work, much of work in the addiction community is centered around trying to do two things. One is to create new rewards that are associated with healthy behaviors. Right. I mean, 12 steps, a really good example where the community aspect is a big part of it, trying to create those bonds.
An attachment to new behaviors to try and pull that reward circuitry toward healthier things that less tacky, tacky, kind and less tacky, kind of tacky if you're just being tacky, bad.
So much of it is about fellowship and making emotional bonds and not isolated. So that's a really big part of what my 12 step works. Right.
And move us away from. I mean, for an addict. And now I'm lumping addiction to this, but for an addict whose life is going down, the tubes are spent, all their money has lost, their job is lost, their family and they continue to want to use. It's clear that the reward pathway has been linked to something that's maladaptive. Now, I realize, as I'm saying this, that and people some people are probably thinking this is just a lot of neuro speak for what we already know.
But there's an important operational or kind of verb element in this, not just naming things, but putting verb tenses on it, which is if you want to build new healthy reward circuitry in any domain of life relationships or related to drug behavior or avoiding drug behavior is what I'm referring to.
It's very important that there's a behavior involved in moving away and creating new forms of rewarding things. This is why it's not sufficient to just sit there and you need a you need a carrot and stick. You need to push off the destructive behavior and you need to create new intense rewards, maybe as intense rewards for taking the action. Right. So it can't be gratitude or cocaine. So it's got to be gratitude. As the competitor, cocaine addiction, but it's not just can be gratitude, because gratitude is never going to have that kind of intense dopamine release, it's going to have to be gratitude, community job, pursuit of new things that are exciting.
There has to be a mood of excitement attached to the thing that you want.
It can't just be passive for the good stuff and acts like one. It's like changing your brain is the same as going to the gym. You can't just want to change your body without going to the gym. You can't want to change your brain without actually having the reward.
Right. So it is an example, although not perfect, maybe. And when you get sober after 30 days, you get a chip and then you get a reward and then you get a cake.
And that's a big part of it. It's baked into the to those communities. I've spent some time in addiction treatment and treatment in these communities. Water, please go for it. What did I open then? I saw you wanting to we call a fixed action pattern involves the.
No, I'm just kidding. There's a subset of neurons in the room.
You're just taking a drink of water. Can we just keep it simple. Thirst isn't the. But yeah. So it's like with women when you date them.
I've never been in a fight with anybody but what is it. A nightmare. What's your main feedback.
You got the main like that. I get started.
It's got really personal like our girls. What. Just like. Oh so you don't fucking care. Oh, I feel like you get that, um, I think about that. Yeah, that's so smart. Can I think about that and go for a while and get back to you?
Or how about this? I hear you. I'm going to think about what you just said.
Oh my God. Never say I hear you never say I hear you. What's triggered? So there's a corner. There's a neurobiological rule, which is that whatever somebody says under these conditions will be the wrong thing. So I'm said nothing.
Well, I do know Harville Hendrix says that the way to communicate if you can't if what the person is saying, you're just not hearing. You're supposed to repeat what the other person says. Right. So I hear that you're uncomfortable and didn't it didn't land well with you that I came home at 2:00 in the morning, but I feel you know what I mean. Right. And you have to say, I feel like this is happening. Not you're doing this fucking thing if I feel like you're doing this fucking thing.
Right. I, I you really do not take the bait, you really well, I mean, I just I guess the reason I bring it up is because I think a lot of us are triggered by calmness. A lot of us are triggered by not getting an emotional reaction out of people because we equate it with not being loved or being emotionally abandoned or we project, like you said before. So if you're just, like, calmly listening to someone, it could be like, oh, you don't fucking care.
You know, I think it's just fascinating to and talking about reading faces a lot of us project on the faces. You know, you might be reading them wrong. You might be half the time. We don't even know what we think about ourselves and feel about ourselves.
How in the world are we expected to know what other people think? And, you know, the world is devoid of any language, is adequate at explaining our feelings that a really core level. I just don't think that, you know, songs are much better at conveying a sense of emotion than words are. And they're kind of written form, although there are some great poetry in books that will do that. But when someone wants to articulate how they feel and have the other person really understand, that's a that's a tough one.
So this is what I think animals are wonderful because we could if we can adjust, we can actually start to feel things at a more visceral level.
I forget where we were a moment ago, but I'll just use this opportunity to say that diaphragm thing that we were talking about before, I'm not circling all the way back without intention here. I've been spending some time with opera singers and talking to them. They actually can control their emotions.
Not just through voice, but through the reverberation frequency of their diaphragm, they talk about this, they can bring themselves to tears or to elation, and that's because the neurons that control that sighing, double inhale, exhale and the diaphragm are sitting cheek to jowl with the neurons that control laughing, coughing. There's a really interesting study of called locked in syndrome. These are people that have remember the diving bell and the butterfly as the theme of the movie. I haven't seen it, but that's, I think the movie that describes locked in as in like you're locked down.
Right? These people can't do anything except blink. They're paralyzed and they've looked at breathing in these people. And there's a famous and this is written in a in a scientific paper, a case study paper, but a scientific paper nonetheless. Somebody locked in syndrome and they're measuring their breathing and then their breathing suddenly changes. And then they ask the person, wait, what happened? And they said, oh, you made a joke.
I laughed. And so the breathing our breathing is also very connected to our emotional state.
So it's not just about calm alert. It's also about happy, sad. It's about funny. It's about I think I'm choking. That's also an alert signal. So the diaphragm is very important. You asked earlier and I want to make sure that I answer your question about breathing with the ribs, the chest breathing from the belly. Here's the deal. Mammals have a diaphragm so they can bring more oxygen into the lungs because they tend to have bigger brains than non mammals.
And reptiles will sit there. They only breathe with the muscles.
Yeah, yeah, we have both. We can breathe with our diaphragm or with our ribs. The whole concept that your belly has to extend when you breathe in and contract when you breathe out. Sorry, folks. Not true.
The whole system was wired so you could I can inhale and bring my belly in or I can do it this way either way.
And I don't have any kind of like weird yogic whatever control it was designed to work any which way. And there's now kind of a movement in the athletic performance and movement community of saying, oh, you know, belly breathing is bad, breathing is belly breathing isn't good. Sometimes you need to breathe with your ribs. When you run really hard, you can breathe through the ribs. And so there's a lot of kind of like garbage out there about you only use 10 percent of your brain.
It's like who came up with that one? And if you use your one percent of your brain, you'd be you have a it's called a seizure or we can't multitask. We can I would avoid any blanket statements like that.
But any breathing weight that scientists are pretty nerdy.
We like we like that. So breathing with your ribs is fine. But the more that you can engage the diaphragm, the more oxygen you can bring into your system. But you name it, I just want to make sure that we tied those up because I remember they come I allowed to go on another tangent.
You know, podcasts are just tangent after tandyn after dad. Don't keep your brain. You know what you are. You're now you're an Australian shepherd.
You keep wanting to her family's favourite for, you know, you want to keep things organized.
No, I spent some time on the beach this morning with my dog and the the there was an Aussie Shepherd out there. It would like go and turn around and look at us. Costello is my bulldog. He was looking at me like, yeah, animal like that's totally foreign.
And, you know, everybody listening. They know, like my love of my life sort of passion breed our pit bulls who have this reputation for being, you know, truculent and pugnacious. And so on the same token, I'll say that Huskies do need to run and they do have a certain amount of exercise they need to get. And they are very high energy. Obviously, they need a certain temperature because of their they've evolved to do a certain thing.
But there are so many stereotypes that are incorrect about these as well. On the same token, because so much of it is nurture in terms of aggression level and stuff. So it's like a pit bull. Yes. Is bred to do the maximum amount of damage if the nurture has been abuse. But it is not what they're inherently bred to do. They're actually nanny dogs. They're actually bred to watch great kids. Yeah, they're amazing with kids.
When they're nurture is negative, they can do the maximum amount of damage.
I lost an ear like I yeah, I might. It was bitten off. It was sewed back on. Wow. Yeah. By a pit bull. By a by a mix. Yeah. Oh yeah. So and there's no such thing as pit bull. It's like pit bull as I'm sure many. Yeah. So yeah. So I'm also nomenclature like in this area is so important because they're such a negative association of the word pit bull. Like to what you were saying before, certain words like can just trigger people's fear and amygdala so quickly.
So we say staffy, we say pety, stuff like that, trying to sort of change the association with it.
But I do want to go on a tangent on about some things that served us really well in the past as as humans. And we know they did because we are reward system is activated. We get serotonin or dopamine, things like one of the biggest fights I get in in relationships is that I want to pop zits. I'm popping all ears, popping all your zits. Yes, I'll use that. You've never had a girl do that. No, there are.
It seems to be a consistent theme. You're like, I hear you in relationships that and people have these picking things right.
I mean, there's some people there are every girl I know has to I have to tweezer your ingrown hairs. I have to tweeze your eyebrows and I have to populars.
That's it is actually like to me, it's it's we're primates. It's totally. But we get I was going to say something kind of dirty and I restrained myself for you, but I you know, it's something that now seems annoying and naggie and perfectionistic and nit picky. But in the past that's something that served us really, really well. Right. Well, I think it does still.
No, I think that it's about removing infection from the body. I think if you look at primate species, they groom each other and we can serotonin from it.
Right. I wouldn't be surprised. I'm not aware of any specific, but I suppose it it's it's like an orgasm for me.
So maybe this is like a foot fetish. Oh, my God.
I mean, there there's a substantial community online. Have you ever picked it? Ingrown hair of the tweezer. Nothing feels better. I don't think I don't think I own a tweezer. We have them in the lab, but I would never use those groomed.
Look, I have one of these. This is knows hair clippers. I have that looks like a taser.
Yeah. Manscape. We've got to get you some merch.
I think behaviors that remove infection from the body are adaptive behaviors. And I think there's with adaptive behaviors, there's always going to be two components. We already talked about the earlier one is a kind of a version for something like we got to get that out. We got to get away from it.
If I if I see that on someone that I'm dating or like a white hat or a pimple or a black hat or something, it's all I can think about.
I have to get it. So it's a strong evolutionary drive there. Makes sense to get out infection from the body. And then there's sounds like for you in particular, there's there's a reward you in your case, this case, a significant reward from the feeling that it is now ejected from the body.
I've even done it with Xs. You know, I'll be hanging out with an accent. I can I just got back like we're not together anymore.
This is where I don't know where the boundaries lie for that.
But have you had women do that? Do. Yes, OK, but you see how it's so uncontrollable, but it's even more benign, non-sexual, like a guy with porn. There's no getting between, you know, I have an older sister and a younger brother, and she would choose to say things like like, oh, I have to do this to your I have to pluck your eyebrows or you've got to do this thing. And I'm like, you don't do anything.
She's like, I want to show. It seemed like there was like a strong drive. No getting between me and a black cat.
It's an obsession, and then after I do it, I think about it, so I replay in my head and there are and I swear my spank, I don't watch these. But I you know, there's a YouTube is a very interesting portal into the human psyche. Right.
I mean, why is it that a movie of a shark attack gets, you know, 40 million views and a lecture from a world expert on the history of viruses?
Five years ago saying a pandemic was coming. No one cared. But right. I mean, you know, you look at the the more limbic something is, the more it engages the hypothalamus in these areas of the brain that are related to either appetitive or the things we want to pursue or aversive behaviors or both in the more people are going to want to engage in those behaviors.
And I think in something you're saying, I think explains a lot of what's going on when we're we're also confounded by Twitter. Mobs were confounded by cancer culture.
Sorry, on Twitter mob. I have a Twitter account, but I don't go on there much. I'm not I'm not active on Twitter. Instagram. Yes, I was on Twitter.
But what is a Twitter Twitter mob like when someone an old tweet resurfaces that was offensive or problematic and then Twitter jumps on, everyone sort of gets in there, self righteous indignation and superiority complexes and fuck this person, councillor's person.
There's a trending hashtag of so-and-so is over, party hashtag Whitney is over party. And to me it's a feeding frenzy. It's a Twitter mob where they're piling on one person, very primitive behavior. It's almost like the talent, what's evolved behavior because it's on the computer. But it's very the the underpinnings of it are very primitive, primitive.
And it isn't a basically I equate it to our modern day Rome Coliseum.
And it's we've always done this in some way.
I mean, what's kind of eerie is that so there was a paper published in a very high quality journal this last year and a cell press journal, which a very high quality journal house showing that beliefs are actually attached to the reward system, to the dopamine system. So when people see evidence of something they already believe it's it's like a dope.
It's like a drug hit for them. It's the confirmation bias goes way beyond just I see more of what I expect or I knew beliefs actually have their own intrinsic reward. And people out there saying, oh, well, of course, that makes of course it does. But no, this it actually means that you're reinforcing beliefs through a chemical system that leads you to see that your beliefs are actually more chemically powerful to you than other people's beliefs, even if it's not true.
So if I believe the earth is flat and I go on Facebook and I see someone saying the earth is flat, I get ahead of dopamine, what is the biological basis for that? Like, why would we have needed that in the past?
Well, I mean, ah, you know, I'm not an expert in human evolutionary behavior at the level of culture where I know a thing. First of all, no one really understands evolutionary biology. All you evolutionary biologists out there and neuroscientists hate to tell you there is no fossil record of neural circuits, their skulls, but those cells are empty.
So this is one of the big challenges of understanding our own evolution is that there's no fossil record of neurology, although skulls sit empty.
So we have to look at body form and skull shape and infer what the underlying neural circuitry was. So when someone tells me, oh, you know, evolutionarily this makes sense, I'm on board because there's a logic there. But when they tell me, oh, the the circuits were once like this and then there's no fossil record because it all decays and you just get the skull and the skeleton, the body. Now that can tell you a lot, but we could.
Imagine or hypothesize that we needed to exist in groups to develop tools that were beyond physical capacity of any one person to develop cultures, a lot of our brain structure is socio biological.
And when people agree in groups, there's great strength to that.
Great if they're wrong.
Well, and when you when you're a dissenter, you are actually taking yourself out of the resource.
Yes. You're ostracized. You're less likely to protect.
And it's at a core level its resources. Right. It's the you know, we are not everything is being is driven to reproduce. Some people include myself, don't have kids, et cetera, but.
Evolution is about the offspring, it is not about the parents like it doesn't care. Evolution doesn't have a mind. It doesn't care about us.
It cares about the next generation, the next generation, the next generation. It's where we're wired to propagate mostly and to secure the safety and well-being of the offspring. Not an excuse if you've cheated. No. If you've been told me we're wired to propagate, I'm definitely not. I definitely don't want to meddle in anyone's relationships or or behaviors.
Right. I mean, today, it's just the neuroscience lens on these things.
And that's what we do all day. We're kind of just playing whack a mole with our reptilian brains and our primordial instincts.
And the threshold for typing something out online is much lower than the threshold for actually having to go and have a conversation with somebody face to face, be confrontational. Yeah. So I didn't know about these Twitter mobs.
Do they exist on other social platforms are like have you like have you heard of people that got canceled. Yeah, no, it makes sense. But do they, is it only on Twitter or do they exist not only on Twitter.
I mean, face it, sort of like it's a pile on. It's basically people. And to me it's so clearly feels like addictive behavior, like the struggle and dopamine head of we're all going to like pile on this person. And, you know, I think there's this subconscious. Tell me if I'm wrong from a scientific perspective of like of like the same way when you see a car wreck or something like you have this need to look and see what happens, because it's our way of figuring out, you know, at least in terms of, you know, what's in the zeitgeist and what's problematic and what's not of like it's our way of studying what's appropriate and what's not and where the boundaries are and what we're allowed to say and not allowed to say.
And it's our way of going. That person's guilty. We must be safe.
Right. And the threshold keeps getting higher. If you see a horror movie that's really, really extreme movies that you've seen previously that were really thrilling to you won't seem as thrilling it. Yeah, right. So unless you're a real Hitchcock fan, you're really into kind of the the slow burn of a Hitchcock movie. If you see something that's really intense visual horror, the Hitchcock thing isn't going to seem scary. Yeah, it's just the way that our dopamine system is wired is it wants to go for higher and higher thresholds.
There's a name for it, which is dopamine reward prediction, or you can look it up if you want. But basically you anticipates the intense pleasure that is has an element of surprise and novelty. So I think also people are seeking novelty. It's very easy to find online. I think most people are familiar with the experience of waking up, looking at their Instagram feed or other thing on on a screen. Doesn't matter if it's Instagram or not.
And not even knowing why you're there. Are you are you seeking reward? Are you seeking to punish someone? And I think the short answer is most people are not there for any specific reason. It's that it's tapping into a great number of these neurochemical systems. And we've now passed it from learned to reflexive, which is what the nervous system wants to do.
And is that part of building up a tolerance is that suddenly we're seeking more dopamine where we don't even know what we're seeking. Yeah, but we're not mindless. That's right. It's mindless. It's mind. This is mental chewing gum. And that has there's no nutritional value at the end point. Now, there are elements of social media. I teach neuroscience on social media.
So I'm there. There are happening. How bad is it?
My teaching on social media? I don't know yet. You have to ask somebody else. They're not going to read it. Well, there used to be teaching evaluations out there and do that anymore. They do.
There is rate my professor faggot for professor. Yeah. And those are out there. I think that's not as popular anymore. That was a few years back.
No. I mean, like how bad. Like what's the bottom line? Because I hear rehabs are opening for social media and phones.
Sorry. Oh that. How bad is it to search online and offline. Like how bad is our addiction to social media? How bad is this for our brains. I know that's that.
I think I think people ought to consider why they're there. And I do think that the amount of time spent on the phone and searching other people's content is inversely related to our own creativity. And productivity doesn't mean I don't use these things I do. But great creative works have not come from scrolling feeds. However, ideas, interactions, getting to know people in different communities. There's some wonderful things about social media. We just have to be very, very deliberate and very, very conscious of how we're using.
And I think that in something, the way that you define addiction, I believe, is a narrowing of things that bring you pleasure.
I define addiction is through the lens of neuroscience. I define addiction as a progressive narrowing of the things that bring you pleasure. And dare I say, I define enlightenment as a progressive expansion of the things that bring you pleasure. I don't know what it means to be enlightened, but I know that the more things that can bring me pleasure, the happier and more enlightened I feel, whatever that means. And that's purely subjective. And no, that's not a double blind, peer reviewed, controlled study in my laboratory.
That's my experience. The addiction thing is definitely rooted in a lot of neurobiological studies which show that as people get addicted, the source of dopamine starts a narrower and narrower narrow to just the exact thing. And in certain with certain drugs like. Cocaine and amphetamine in particular, they chemically are almost identical to dopamine, not identical, but they're similar enough. So now they're literally ingesting the molecule that you're used to use behaviors to release in your mind?
Well, I do think it's people who wonder, like, am I addicted to my phone? Am I addicted to social media? I think a lot of people ask me, I'm not an expert. Like, I can't tell if I'm an addict or not. I can't tell if this is a healthy amount or I think the I love saying these definitions because it will help you understand, like, if there's a problem and no one, you know what to do with it, which is another definition that I love is to continue to do something despite negative consequences.
Like every day you're going, oh, fuck, I just wasted another six hours on social media. The next day you find yourself, oh, my screen time, six hours again. You keep doing this.
How did I do this? Why did I do this? I'll try a different definition. One that I think of is, look, can I be addicted to water? Sure. But it takes a lot of water drinking before the baseline of my life starts to go down. Yeah. So I think of all behaviors as the either baseline neutral meaning my job, my social connections, my finances, et cetera, are neutral, doesn't change them. There are behaviors that improve my social connections, my occupational goals, my everything, and then their behaviors that will drive the baseline on your life down very fast.
Like heroin is a good example. Yeah. Massive opioid release and dopamine release in the brain. People's lives fall apart almost every single time quickly.
Yeah, it's going to happen so everyone can agree. Heroin is very addictive. Water is not very addictive. What do we mean by that? Well, there are people that I know that have to drink a lot of water and they have to drink a certain kind of water and et cetera. Well, if they're doing that and the sounds really nice.
Yeah, well, those those those they're not super abundant in today's society, but.
There are a lot of behaviors that are annoying, invasive, high maintenance, et cetera. You hear this kind of language, but the baseline on their life hasn't changed. They're still good parents. They're still good. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Because they're still happy inside. So I think if you're asking the question, am I addicted to my phone or phone behavior, the question is, well, is your job suffering? How much are your social interactions suffering?
I would say, you know, used to be that when people come out of surgery, they would reach out first for their genitalia. This is a well described phenomenon in the surgical world. Right? I'm not a surgeon, but friends are a surgeon.
Like, it's totally true. People come out of anesthesia and the first thing they do not the name of the surgeon leaves.
I'm not a surgeon, but I'm going to assume no patient, a patient like kind of reaches for these their reproductive organs, like safety.
It's like if they're by now, they reach for their phone. They're. Yeah. So is that a lowering of the baseline in their life? Probably not. Does it interfere with it. But it speaks to the like really deep and kind of primal level that these devices are starting to occupy. I mean, I don't want to demonize the phone, but I will say that I think we also equate them with safety.
That's the other thing, that when people slam phones and your addicted your phone, it's also like but I also carry this around when I leave the house and I feel safer knowing I can make a phone call, you know what I mean? It's sort of like the fact that you leave the house without phones is so wild to me. And that's the time where I'm like, I'm not going to over pathologies this.
Like, it makes me feel safe. Right. There are elements within the phone and even just the physical architecture of the phone because we're not in panoramic vision. We're looking into this little box that are increasing stress. But I also understand that being away from the phone is very stressful. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So, you know, it's weird.
I mean, it's also it's so funny because I was, you know, thinking about this the other day of the phone, I'm thinking about getting a camera because I realized so much of my phone is the camera. Like, I'm not really addicted to texting and emailing, like I hate that shit. But to me, it's when I go somewhere, I have an addiction to documenting things. And like, I need to get a photo of this. You know, it's almost like I'm addicted to taking photos of things which might be more my fear of missing out or my fear of forgetting something or my fear of not having proof of something, or you just like photos.
I just like photo. Let me overthink this. There are so many things that I'm we have not gotten to. So I'm going to jump around like crazy because something we didn't mention around the fear and anxiety thing and me being attracted to people that caused us ostensible stress or, you know, I think there's been you know, I think this is why words are just so important. I think that. Fear and anxiety have been romanticized a lot in movies, whatever books, in relationships, where when you meet someone and you feel butterflies or you feel we've been taught to conflate fear or anxiety with passion, you know, like what from your perspective, what are butterflies when you meet someone?
Is that your body telling you to turn the fuck around or is that your body telling you like this is your soul mate? Because sometimes I think our bodies send us signals and we've changed what they mean because of like romance novels and songs and whatever.
Well, broadly speaking, and I want to just be clear that this is I know him using kind of a broad contour. I'm not getting down in the weeds.
This alertness and what we call autonomic arousal or just kind of arousal and alertness, which is adrenaline on its own, is generally negative.
It's designed to get us to move away.
If you feel butterflies, is that a pit in your stomach telling you this person's dangerous all then the adrenaline and arousal plus dopamine is desire. Physiologically, they're almost identical at the level of the body, except one has this additional chemical of desire shit.
The butterflies are in part, but largely the activation of that phrenic nerve to diaphragm connection, that reverberation.
This is what opera singers are exceptionally good at bringing into their into their voice so that you feel what they're saying. If you listen, I'm not a big opera fan, but I've been listening to more of it lately because I've been interacting with these opera singers and there are elements to their vocalizations where you feel something that's I have no idea what their sound speak Italian, but it sounds amazing and you can see it. And if you look at their faces or not, it can change things.
But so that reverberation, the butterflies is it's a feeling. And I think that we should probably all learn we could all afford to better understand what these reverberations mean, that those butterflies could be arousal that's meant to say get out of there like this is because remember, arousal, adrenaline changes your nervous system, which changes your musculature to make you want to move. Right. Serotonin changes your nervous system, changes your musculature in a way that makes you want to relax.
OK, so but remember, you throw dopamine into the mix and all of a sudden there's intense desire for this thing that's really exciting. Some people love roller coasters for take two people hate them. You know, some people want you to have a good friend who's spent 20 plus years in the SEAL teams. It was like a commanding officer in the SEAL teams who hates roller coasters. His wife loves them.
OK, so same experience, same visceral experience. The addition of one molecule dopamine changes. She likes it. He does it. He'll do it because he's a team guy and he's not going to not do it.
I bet he's going to do it. It doesn't. It doesn't terrifying. He just doesn't enjoy it. It's unpleasant for him that he loves. That's what it's like for me. I'm just like, when is this going to be over? When it is over.
But so I think that most people should have some sort of practice either maybe through well guided therapy or maybe just through a sense of intuition, of learning to read these signals.
As we talked about in an earlier conversation, offline animals are exceptionally good at understanding what these signals from their body, from humans are still speculating about it. And I don't have all the answers. There's great books like The Body Keeps the Score. Yeah, bondable. I can pronounce the name the Dutch goodness. Tough name. The body keeps score. Great book. Forgive me for butchering the name, but there are body signals that are positive, right?
There are body signals that are negative and learning to distinguish those and including the mind. It's not body only a lot of people kind of taking this. The body keeps the score to mean that it's the only source of information for the nervous system. That's as stupid as saying the brain is the only thing that matters. Right, brain and body. And so I think that people learning to how these things connect for them is going to be important. Some people are more embodied.
They're more in touch with the brain body connection than others. And some people are really out of their body and could benefit from somatic type therapies. Some people are really in their bodies. And then you talk to them. A lot of extreme creatives are like this where you talk to them and they're kind of all over their place. It's like they're non-linear all the time. Yeah, I won't name names because I don't know these people and I actually really love their art music.
But I hear some interviews with some creative musicians. I'm like, it's like two plus two equals nine for them.
And it's cool because it allows them to reorganize elements in ways that are creative, that are new and different. Whereas you talk to somebody who's an engineer or as a math background or a science background, and they're always striving for linearity. You always said, you know, I'm like that, whatever that. Yeah, you say, because I don't like the always trying to create structure.
So these are two different aspects of the mind and I think. There's nothing wrong with butterflies, but you have to ask yourself, are these butterflies of attraction or butterflies of like this person makes me fearful. And for the people that say this person makes me fearful and I like it. Yeah, you should do a little bit of therapy before you but or do therapy together.
Like, again, I'm not a psychologist, but I think that the questions that you're asking, what I love about them is they're getting to the core elements of this. Push-Pull in biology, vomit, chocolate chip cookies.
Right. Feces, clean, crisp water when you're thirsty. Yeah. The reason I'm using these kind of extreme examples is these are hard wired circuits. And then you think about relationship with somebody that's destructive for us versus relationship with somebody that's really nurturing. But wait, why are people getting pulled this way?
Well, clearly, there hasn't been enough introspection and linking of the mind body connection to figure out maybe their physical arousal is tied to something that cognitively is unhealthy for my 20s.
Yes, you do know how to bite your tongue to learn that through a lot of failures, a lot of lobotomies. I only have one Leba swear I don't have any lobotomist.
OK, so I'm going to ask you a bunch of quick questions because I have so many more she's asking me to be sassing. I'm literally.
No, I'm not no, not I'm not going to let you go until I'm I don't let people know. I'm happy to talk about neuroscience. What are you going to do? Do you even apply?
If I give you the go, I'm happy to talk to you until you tap out. I want to. Why does it feel so fucking good when I organized it?
That is a primordial instinct. I'm just trying to do pathologies, a lot of behaviors that drive people crazy and relationships. Get your fucking wet towel off the bed like I can't handle a wet towel on the bed. Well, you just nature or nurture.
Will you just answer the question I was about to ask, which was not because you said I love organizing stuff. And then I was going to ask, how much does it bother you when things are disorganized? And I think you answered it with the tag.
Just idea in two things happen. Number one, I get you know, I grew up without money, so I have a scarcity complex and I and I really respect things. I'm not materialistic, but I respect things. I value them. I cherish them because I didn't get a lot of things growing up. So I'm sure there's a little bit of nurture involved in like I bought this thing are fucking Benton drives me nuts because he'll walk in with wet feet on the wooden floor.
There's certain things that drive me absolutely nuts, but I'm also a horse girl and I'm fine being covered in dirt and shit and I'll pick up dog like I don't I'm very I'm not precious about that kind of stuff. I'm fine with bugs and spider, but like, disrespecting things really bothers me. And the fact that I just said I need organization in this desk looks like a fucking yard sale. It's going to make me seem like I'm a pathological liar, but.
I can't I can't tell if it's I feel disrespected or I need the organization, I just like I'm more calm when things are organized and if I'm stressed out, organization is the number one thing that calms me down. Not a massage, not a you know, just if I can just go organize the bookshelf, I'll be OK. Maybe it's productivity and cooperation. Make dopamine and I'm just all sense of control. I'll ask you a question and I think it'll answer your question.
Your answer will answer the question. You have a lot of experience working with animals to do animals organize their space. Yes, there you go. It's adaptive. Maybe that's not the answer you want. I don't organize my do you want me? Well, they make a mess. That would be wonderful. Yeah, you know, they do it to varying degrees. But again, it gets back to this acne popping, zip popping thing. Organization is predictability.
Yes. And it frees up brain space for other operations. So perhaps I should have mentioned this at the beginning.
But in addition to doing interception, extra reception inside, outside analysis of real estate and all that stuff, the brain wants to learn things and then pass it off to reflexive behaviors so that it can learn more things.
Horses are really good at what horses do. Diving birds are really good at diving, birds do animals are specialists. The human animal has a nervous system and brain that is really good at learning things and loves to learn things, some people more than others. But when we learn, we're analyzing three things duration, how long something's going to take path, what path should take outcome when you write your comedy routines. Mm hmm. You think those up your thinking duration path and outcome.
It's a very creative, iterative process, very particular to you. But once you learn how to do something, you pass it off to reflexive behavior. You don't have to think about how to walk down the hall because you learn that when you are this big.
Yeah. So organizing things frees up mental space so that you can be devoted to duration, path and outcome analysis of the things that are important to you. Now we all know people that can tolerate a mess. My postdoc advisor, I know I've been talking about him recently to you offline and Ben Barris was incredible.
Mind just brilliant.
Mind his office literally piles of papers. My graduate advisor, brilliant mind, incredible human being.
Her office was a sty. I sometimes would walk in there. I couldn't see her. Now, these are two highly accomplished neurology neurologists, MDs, PhDs. One was and the other was just a she. But she's members of the National Academy of Sciences. One had a family, was very functional in the family life. The other was a pure scientist. But I mean, I'm talking high, high functioning people. But they had one thing in common.
They didn't see mess. They literally I'd say I'd walk in there. I'm like, Ben, how can you work like this? And he was just like, don't touch anything because I won't be able to find it.
It's like this mess. Like, how can you find anything? I can't even find you. You know, he's behind this wall of papers. So his mind was very narrowly tuned to just a couple of things in life. He had tremendous concern for a couple narrow bands of attention, and he was a little different.
He was a little bit on the kind of he was not autistic or Asperger's. He had a lot of sensitivity, actually, and interpersonal sensitivity. But he couldn't recognize faces. He had a face to face recognition deficit. He you know, he was different. He didn't see the mess. If you see them as like you would you wouldn't have been able to go in their offices.
You would have just been like people that just don't see me. I don't see it. But if you do, it's hard to do anything else until that's in its place. So I would say it's adaptive if it gets to the point where the baseline in your life is going down. Right. People who are cleaning and cleaning and cleaning all the time, just like hoarding, is terrible for the baseline on life cleaning constantly say if it's making your life unmanageable, right.
If your job is running twenty minutes, that's forming great relation. What would otherwise be my relationship might have I might have blown up a couple of relationships because of a pair of shoes that were left like one was slightly single for me.
I saw scuff on the shoe and that was it.
Yeah. So so I would say it's adaptive because we see you're starting to get a glimpse into the way I think about things, because we see evidence of it in other species that we share neurology with. Humans are different. We have brain areas that are different, but all animals have brain areas that control our breathing. All animals are brynner's to control our heartbeat. All brain areas have brain areas that control wanting to get infection out. Monkeys look and pick up humans.
LACAMP And when you say adaptive, like to me a synonym is like, I got this. Honestly, I'm not crazy. I'm not a psycho. I've been brilliantly I have evolved to do this thing. And it's why our species proliferated. This is what it's like to fight with me. I go, this is how I'm wired. It's not my fault. There's like like the train left the station a very long time ago.
But in terms of this and it would be very uncomfortable for you to try and rewire this, and it doesn't sound like the baseline on your life is going down onto your home is very orderly and it's very beautiful. And like that's something to be proud of. I think. Remember, the one of Jordan Peterson thing was like clean your room or something like that. And one of his like Twelve Rules to Life and as a beautiful one, because it's so simple, but it's like put your house in impeccable order.
I think that's what he said to me. It's a little bit like if when your house is a mess, you're a mass. It's like the reflection of I always I always know what's going on with me based on what my car looks like. If I've got a bunch of cans and bottles and shit in it, it's like I'm probably need I have emails to respond to. I have apologies to make like it mean it's just represents everything.
And there's a whole element that's related to kind of performance and being in pursuit of goals. I mean, there's a famous online lecture from Adnan. Even former Navy SEAL about make your bed first thing in the morning, and it's always been told, make your bed, because then you know that at least your bed is made when that night, no matter how bad things go, I think that's a minor effect for most people. The major effect of military life and having a first step that involves something actionable in the world is also one could imagine what you're not doing.
You're not lying in bed thinking about all the things that are tormenting you. Being in forward action also means you're not back on your heels quite as much that you're not going to wavering. So actions and behaviors sends signals back to the nervous system. Hunched posture, yes, but also forward action of any kind. Send signals back to your nervous system that you are in control of your environment.
So in organizing animals want that the reason your dog or horse can relax is because it feels like it's in enough control is in the environment. It's sort of the whole pack leader concept with dogs. If you don't lead, they will. That's right. Because it makes them anxious. If you don't, people think, oh, they're just really dominant. It's like, no, you're actually not you. But I'm referring to the passive person you're just to subordinate.
They we all seek is a Maslow's hierarchy of needs. We all seek these basic levels of autonomic comfort.
Once we have that, we can think about what's outside our immediate experience and be in pursuit of those goals.
It makes people very confused when people ask me about dog training all the time and I don't want to be mean and I don't it's like, you know, that's your shit, that's your codependent shit. You're projecting some other like work that out in therapy or whatever. But, you know, the more clear and stern and dominant you can be with your with your animal, this doesn't mean abusive. That's doesn't mean hurting them or even touching them. But the more clear you are, the safer they actually feel, the less anxiety, because as you said, like they know you're in charge.
Like if you're Riegle, if you're clear, if you're direct and if you say what you mean and mean what you say, they feel better because they know you're going to handle shit. Right.
I used to work with some at risk kids and some non at risk kids, and it was incredible. They were adolescents and young teenagers and it was amazing. If we had rules, they would resist.
But these creative sides and more compatible sides like, you know, with each other would come out if we didn't have rules. They would start doing incredible risk taking behavior. And we catch kids doing things that were just downright dangerous. So in the same way, the animals are craving structure like structure makes us feel safe. I mean, it can be taken too far, right. Then maybe the shoe like a little bit off center when I was a little much, but I have very high heel.
That's why I'm very proud of having a lab operations manager that is so meticulous, like our safety. He hits hundreds on our safety inspections.
You walk into our lab, you please don't eat off the floor in my lab. But you could it's like he's that meticulous and it makes everyone feel great because you feel safe because we work with a lot of dangerous stuff, chemicals and things like that. So it's safety. It's just basic safe.
And it's the thing that and I know that I, I probably overthink, you know, I love adages. I love aphorisms. I love generalizations. They make me feel safe, you know, just to be able to throw a blanket on something every now and then, even though I know it's it's not always helpful or scientifically accurate, but something like the way you do anything is the way you do everything. You know, I tend to go there like if I'm in a relationship or a friendship or something.
And it's like if you do this one thing, like if we're leaving Starbucks and you leave the coffee cup on the top of the car and we pull out in the coffee spills, it's like, well, what else are you sloppy about? Like, what else are you mindless and thoughtless about? You know, it's it's hard it's hard for me to isolate one incident and not sort of broadly paint my brush of the person's character because my brain goes and maybe this is just a primordial thing or my biology, but it's sort of like, OK, well, so how are you going to parent a child if you can't figure out how to carry a fucking coffee cup?
Like I go, I jump that far, you know, and I hope people don't do that with me. So I try to not do it too much with other people. But I, I find it difficult to, you know, not go there. But also, there's a famous story about Green Day in their rider for when they did concerts, they would ask for Green. Eminem's like this is sort of kind of a legend in entertainment. And if there were green Eminem set the show, they knew everything else was right.
It means they checked the speakers.
And it's like superstition. Yes. It's like one little thing because it's if you went out of your way to get these green, Eminem is the way you do anything is the way you do everything. Now, I can trust all the other things, you know. So if I walk in in the front part of your lab is clean. We now know the beakers are clean. Now, I'm meticulous. That's right. I know that everything is fine.
Yeah, that's how you do. One thing is how you do everything I think is admirable. It's a little bit I mean, if I'm extreme, well, you know, my job requires that I do a few specific things very, very well. In order to continue to progress, I have to raise money for my lab. I have to mentor people. I have to oversee the science and build good experiments and make sure that we're meticulous about our analysis, et cetera, conclusions.
So but if I attended to every little detail with the level of attention that I do to those things. I would truly never get anything right, so people like my postdoc advisor in my graduate advisor were extremely successful, particularly my postdoc advisor, most because he didn't attend anything else. His home was filled with papers. It was a disaster. He didn't attend to his nutrition, etc.. So there are these kind of more lopsided ways of approaching things.
But I admire people that have the how you do anything is how you do everything. I admire punctual people. Yeah, I you know, we're all reaching to do better. That's the I hope I would hope people understand the relationship between how these things reflect a general state of being in the world, that if you're sloppy about one thing, it's likely that it might carry over.
I mean, yeah, I don't know if it's fair or not necessarily. Maybe it's my fear. You know, you is your do you ever get depressed that you know so much about all this? Like does it ever take the magic out of, like, the whimsical.
I know life's amazing. Like I love life. I just like you. Are you. I have lows like anyone else are days I wake up and I'm like like I've got too many things coming out. I don't, you know, do it.
But I don't walk around putting a neurobiological lens. So, you know that I made a movie about a neurologist who like wouldn't surrender to being in love because she just like, reduced it all to neurochemicals. Yeah.
Those neurochemicals feel so good. But do you ever like like is it hard to be in a relationship because you're just like, oh, this is just me trying to not commit incest and you smell the right way and this is me just trying to propagate and you're producing oxytocin. And I don't think about does it ever take. Well, I think, mate, choice is a really interesting one, right?
I mean, I think that what's the what's what's what is your definition of love? I ask most of the guests this.
It would not be a neurobiological one. So there is a I have a different mode. I'm not in that mode in this moment where I switch my brain to just how things feel. I'm fascinated by I think Robert Greene has written about this by a kind of a seed of something in childhood that drew us to something like I grew up. I have this absolute affinity at a visceral level to birds like tropical birds, how animals and how they move. I mean, when I was a kid, I used to get dropped off at the pet store and I would just like take notes on all the birds.
So, you know, I was like, I'm fascinated by animals and how they move. I'm fascinated by the natural world. And so for me in that mode, it's all visceral. There's no analysis of it whatsoever. And I can tell you that the the elephant has a pupil that allows you to visualize the tip of its trunk better than other things in the environment. You know, the underlying biology, that's actually a few elephant as it is elephants that were already deceased from natural causes, mind you.
But I don't walk around in an analytic mode unless I'm thinking about my work or how it might or things I see in the world. Definitely I look at some of those through a neuroscientific lens, but in general, when I'm in an experience, it's just I want to be as purely with that experience and not intellectualizing it at all. But I will say an intellectual, the word intellectual is badly misunderstood and intellectual. You're an intellectual.
I just feel like fighting with you in such a way, so intellectual. You're like, well, you're actually using that.
Not an intellectual is somebody that can appreciate something and knows a lot about it at multiple levels of granularity, like from a very top conter all the way down to the tiny details. Your understanding of comedy, I mean, about Joe, like his understanding of martial arts is it's amazing, right? Like, it's it's vast, but he's not going to talk about it to me the same way. He's going to talk about it to another fighter because he understands it multiple levels of granularity.
I'm going to talk differently among scientists, as I do the general public. So we tend to demonize the word intellectual.
But part of being having an intellectual orientation in life is knowing when to turn off the analytic side and just being in the experience, if you want a real and accurate data assessment of how I am in relationship, because that's what you've asked me several times.
Now, I can give you some I can give you some references and you can get there and know it's not you can you can get their assessment. I have been told I like phone number. Yeah. I mean, I want here's what I won't do under any circumstances in any relationship of any kind.
I won't be recruited into somebody else's emotional state simply to validate that state. And because you talked about this the other day, is that I called emotional contagion.
Yeah. Emotional contagion or projection. Like there are people that when they feel something they don't like, they have to do what's called evaluative projection, that they're angry, they're agitated. So they are not going to jump on the Titanic with you. They scream at you. And guess what? Let's say I do that now. Let's just use me as the bad example, OK? All right. So someone in the room says something or you say something mean I'm angry.
Yeah. All right. So then I get all stirred up and you're calm and it's upsetting me even more. Yell I start laughing. Right. So so. So my internal. So my internal metronome is going faster and faster and yours is going slower, and it's making me even more angry. The difference between us is the delta for the nerds out there is getting greater and greater. So not consciously, but through some sort of learning in childhood.
I now scream at you or I say something really cruel where I bring up some.
I'm not going to do that. Now you're triggered. And guess what? I feel calmer. I feel like I got one over on you.
I feel. Why? Because now we're matched in terms of our level of autonomic arousal screen. Right now, if you're angry at me and you're screaming at me, let's put you in the bad position.
And I'm like, I hear you. Exactly.
Exactly. So why is that so awful? You have to move to Aldate's. What did I do that you're like, I hear you. All right. Well, so it's going to be really angry and frustrated you because I'm not getting.
Sounds like you're mocking. I'm not. I know you because, you know, at an intuitive level, I'm not really I might be hearing you with my ears, but I'm not really understanding. I'm not matching you. And humans create, crave, crave. The humans crave. This matching of engineering or something, yeah, they crave a matching of autonomic arousal, which is really just to say a level of alertness. You know, they they we feel comfortable when people are in sync with us and some of this online.
I'm saying this and I'm realizing now and think about this for the last few minutes, like some of this online behavior could reflect the fact that people are really frustrated, pissed off, and they want other people to be pissed off, frustrated, and it's they don't even know they're doing it. I think a lot of times this isn't conscious. Look, I'm speculating, speculating a lot, but projection is a real thing, so borderline personalities we have splitting, there's projection.
You know, evaluative expression is is very destructive. It's the kind of thing that it's an attempt to recruit other people. I'm very disappointed with the statement. No one can make us feel anything that's ridiculous. We can make other people feel things.
The idea that you're going to be completely sad that people say that no one can make you feel, no one can make you feel anything is ridiculous. Those are the nervous system. Integrates what's on the outside.
Says that Alex. Who are you hanging out at? Who's that? Oh, so I don't know. Sorry, you. I don't know. It's an alien. I'm sorry. No, I'm sorry.
This is the opposite of a red flag. We talk a lot about red flags on the show. No, Alex Jones is like a very. All right. Like fake name.
OK, I don't get into I have political opinions. I just don't voice. Yeah, no, neither do I. But it's that to me is such a fake bullshit, fake self help. Like no one can make you feel anything like. Oh yeah. No one can hurt you without your consent. Like that's just like fake. Yeah. It's not grounded in, it's not grounded in any reality that you might be a psychopath.
But that's I'll put that with flutters. Yeah. That was not true.
Right. But I think it gives people a false sense of empowerment for like ephemeral empowerment, like yeah. No one can make me feel anything but then you just are going to feel ashamed and disappointed in yourself when it not ends up being false.
I mean, their entire online platforms and people whose entire careers are based on how badly they've been triggered. And I'm not talking traumatized because I have real sensitivity for people that have been legitimately traumatized, but it's all about being triggered and triggering other people as a form of emotional contagion and recruitment. The more autonomic aroused people are, the easier it is to recruit them into happiness, enjoy the great concert or into rallying in anger. I mean, this is the these mechanisms, because they're so embedded in our deep neurology, have been around for tens of thousands of years and people are still using them now.
They're just using them in slightly more sophisticated ways.
So the Internet screaming at you and so what? So either way, you're screwed. If you say I hear you, there's probably going to go.
Well, you gave a good example of a of an adaptive response, adaptive meaning good for both people, which was OK, I hear you saying that you're really angry about blank, blank and blank. Like, no, that wasn't articulate exactly the way that I'm thinking. OK, well, you know, that kind of thing. Yeah, I think I think you can say go for a walk. Yeah. Although some people this is interesting because I've observed this in trauma release community.
Sometimes when two people are confronting a traumatic thing and someone says, I need a walk, yeah, they're leaving triggers, the other person is abandoned. And so this is a whole there's a whole world of very talented.
And I have to say, if there's a community that I've been exposed to that has just tremendous good intentions and and, you know, putting their efforts in the right place, it's this trauma release community.
I'm talking about skilled, qualified, certified people doing trauma release, trying to bring people to a better relationship with the things that have hurt them and the people that have hurt them. It's an incredible community of people making that effort. And humans are just now twenty twenty trying to figure out how all this works and where neuroscience might play a role.
Hamdard changed my life, MDR, breathing.
There's just so much happening right now that's really exciting.
I it's interesting because I have on my list of things to ask you about, like the sort of neurology of schadenfreude, like why we get some kind of sick enjoyment out of other people's embarrassment. You know, is that the German word for like, you know? And is that our way of the same way that we get serotonin from gossiping? Because it helps us, you know, collect information on social mores and how we say, you know, it's kind of the same.
When I see somebody not performing well, I feel like really embarrassed. I do I do not feel I get.
No, but why do we think it's like probably more instead of like if ice skater falls, it's the worst thing I say. Can't handle it. I can hardly even watch gymnastics because if someone falls it's just like it's, it's too upsetting for me. But when someone slips on a banana, it's if someone falls and doesn't get hurt, there's also another thing funnier. Yeah.
Humor is an interesting one. There's a little bit of neuroscience and and quality cognitive psychology on humor and humor is often just the unexpected. Yes. Or where I feel like the comedian is leading me down a path and I'm thinking, oh, no, they're not really going to go there. So it's raising my level of kind of autonomic arousal like, oh, goodness. And then they might pivot or whatever. I haven't spent a lot of time. Well, now I've spent some time.
You know, Joe's podcast now with you. I think comedians are really interesting because they have a they know how to construct linear things. They can build things that are linear, but they also know how to. To put these these tweaks, they look at the world differently, to be creative, you got to look at the world differently. So I can't really comment too much on what's known because I don't think there's a lot known. But it is a beautiful example of the creative process of taking existing elements.
I mean, you have the English language for you and you can organize it in ways that are trivial and boring, disappointing or hilarious based on just the associations with those words. It's really an amazing thing when you think about it and it speaks to just how powerful the relationship between language and emotions is. A close friend of mine is the chair of neurosurgery at UCSF and he Chinese world expert in speech and language. And he told me about a discovery.
I think it's from his lab or maybe a neighboring lab. It's kind of interesting that our representation of our hands and hand motion is actually right next to the representation in the brain of speech and language. And this is because humans speak some people more than others. The Italians in particular use their hands to speak. We enunciate and we accentuate with our hands. And so these are primitive forms of expression that have been lumped together. And so I think comedians are somehow the physical comedy, although I think it's a vast space.
I wish there was more neuroscience on this, but it was kind of fun to take a little bit. Perhaps what we've talked about today just kind of cast that lens on comedy, maybe a discussion for another time.
And I think it's important, important for people stop trying to wrap this up for people to look at. This is going to feel like a weird curveball, but like acting, they say great actors. You can tell what they're thinking with the sound off, you know. So when I think about myself communicating with somebody, if if you took words out of the equation, how would I be coming off to the person? You know, because sometimes what we say and how we say it contradict each other.
And we're like, I don't understand why you think I'm yelling at you. You know, like, I'm totally fine. What you're saying and how you're saying it are contradictory and we're always going to default to how you're saying it, not what you're actually saying. You know, it's just so much communication being nonverbal. I just feel like there's so much distrust caused by that lack of congruence between what we're saying and how we're saying it and the confusion that it causes.
And kids seeing my mom saying she's fine, but she seems really stressed out and I'm doubting my own reality. And now I can't trust women and now I'm confused. And, you know, so for me, because I grew up in with very indirect communication all the time, it took me a really long time to understand, to be able to trust what somebody says.
We are very tuned in to other people's level of autonomic sort of alertness or calmness and timbre of voice is one of the most powerful ways that we communicate. So it member the the neurons in the brain that control size are right next to the ones that control laughing and crying, an animal crying in pain.
Sorry to bring up such intense examples are crying. Yeah. Is exactly that. You just, you just don't want to say prove wrong because I'm not here to prove points. But you know that response embodies the point I'm trying to make, which is that an animal crying or wailing in pain, a human wailing in pain, recruit's an emotional state in us. And in the same way you grew up in a home where you heard certain kinds of vocalizations that were anger.
I should give an example. I was at this trauma release thing. I was observing and trying to think about how we might export some tools from my lab to that community and vice versa. And a woman said she said, look, I enjoyed our interactions and I'm really glad you're here. But like, I'm really afraid of you because your voice reminds me of my dad. And I was like, sorry? And she said, but it has nothing to do with the way your actual voice.
It's just something about the the resonant frequency of your voice just freaks me out. And it was and I was like, well, there's nothing I can do about that much.
Right. But, you know, opera singers, again, they tell me because, again, been spending time with them, that their goal is to get the audience sometimes the experience, once their goal is to get the audience feeling in their diaphragm what they feel. So establishing a resonant frequency, literally a frequency, a vibration, so that the person in the audience feels the sadness or anticipation or the elation that they feel, not by what they're hearing with their ears alone by actually vibrating.
Now, it sounds very like woo, but the phrenic nerve firing and the diaphragm vibrating at the same frequency. We are on the same frequency and that's going to be done through sound waves. Now, animals do this so fish have a lateral line that senses electricity. They can sense electric fields in the water. Right. The platypus senses electric fields with its built. They can sense where things are, but also the energies of those things. Right.
Am I being pursued by a predator? Am I next to other fish that are a fish like me? The fish that wants a mate or a fish that wants to fight is a fish that wants to bump me out of the way to mate with the fish. Next me. This is what animals do, but they feel it in their body. Humans, we. Tend to overemphasize the content of speech, and this is why online, the visceral part in the intention is completely lost.
It's like stripped down. So anyway, we can since we're talking about relationships earlier, I think that giving me your definition of love.
All right. I'll do that right now to you where the average resonant frequency is similar.
You know, I'm sort of half kidding because there are couples that when you're around them, I have one friend in particular and his wife, they just have a new newborn son who's about one now. And they're delightful people. Their son is delightful. He's just such a cool little kid. And when they're together, it's almost like everything just gets better for them and everyone around them. It's like you just feel good. And it's not about what they're saying.
It's not about how they touch each other or do anything like who knows what they do behind closed doors. None of my business I don't want to know, but it just feels good to be around them because you can tell they just feel great as a unit. And I kind of hold them, in my mind, is kind of the best example of like not because they have a kid. It's not what it's about, but like love, it's just sort of they bring out the best.
We hear these phrases and definition and they seem to do better. They seem to do very well when they're together or apart. I see a lot of people that are like they have to be like this. Yeah. Or they have to be like this. And I think it's different for, like, interdependent.
But yeah, it is a case by case thing.
I think so. And I think their temperaments are just very well matched, you know, and I look at people more or less as different species of animals, individuals, you know, and their whatever species match they are is just a good.
Are you? Because I find myself sometimes the more I learn about this, the more I start going, like, OK, of course I have a crush on this person. I'm releasing oxytocin and dopamine and. Oh, God, if we have sex, then I'll have to then I'll be attached to the person like I find myself trying to check off their shoes or like hack my own brain.
You know, sometimes one of the one of the greatest and worst features of the human brain is that it can think about itself. Yeah. Yeah. So that third person is great and can be very adaptive or it can interfere with just feeling in the feeling what we're feeling. And I'm not I'm not criticizing your response to that situation, but welcome. And I don't think we're just a bag of chemicals. I think that we all should learn something about the chemicals, but we should also learn to recognize the states in our mind and body that we like and that we dislike.
And we should ask ourselves in a very direct way, do I like it for good reasons, adaptive reasons, good? Or do I like it for maladaptive reasons?
Are we supposed to go to sleep and wake up with the sun was not necessarily sunrise and sunset, but one of the most powerful things one can do for their mental and physical health is to view the sun with the eyes sunglasses off. Unless you have a retinal degenerative condition for two to ten minutes first thing in the morning, you don't have to watch the sunrise. But while what's called low solar angle on the sun isn't overhead yet, so sometime before 10 a.m. or so noon, if you slept in, just do it anyway.
It triggers the cortisol and melatonin pathways in the brain and body to be in the right rhythms. And then we definitely want to avoid really bright lights of any color from the hours of about 11:00 p.m. to four a.m..
Wow. Blue light glasses. We talk about a lot of the pot. I've convinced everyone to buy them. Did they? Always the funny.
I think it's a good idea for people to avoid bright lights in the evening and night. And blue blue blockers are one way to filter out bright light by where you can still see you can still function safely. You can't really drive with sunglasses at night, but you could wear blue blockers. Yeah, I think I don't know. I don't I personally don't wear them. I just dim the lights in my home at night.
But what about on your phone? We've texted you at odd hours of the night. Yeah.
So you want to dim the screen on your phone as much as possible and you also want the lights low in your physical environment, literally not overhead, because the neurons in the eye that look that send signals to the brain to wake up or locate in the lower portion of the eye, which means they look up in the visual field. So I, I always say the single best thing anyone can do for their mental and physical health is get some bright sunlight in their eyes in the morning.
If there's cloud cover, you're still getting a lot more light than you'd ever get from an artificial light. And if you're in the depths of winter in Scandinavia, you might want to get an artificial light to do that. But for the most part, sunlight, I'll do it. And then at night, you want to avoid bright lights from about 11:00 p.m. to four a.m. of all colors. Wear blue Blocher's. If that's in your practice. Some people get headaches and migraines.
We could talk. I know you talked about migraine, the same cells in the eye that set our circadian clocks and tell us when to wake up and when to sleep. Have a connection from the eye to an area of the brain that's in the thalamus called the interior thalamus, the entire nucleus of the thalamus, the projects to the meninges, which are the it's like the thick tissue that the brain is housed in. You take off the skull and you look at a brain, you think it's just brain there.
There's actually some stuff that looks like saran wrap. Yeah. Yeah. But to get through that saran wrap, this stuff is tough. This stuff is like you have to like really get there. I've got to cut through a lot of this stuff in my lifetime and it's really thick fibrous tissue. This area, the brain projects there and it can cause photophobia and headache.
So a lot of bright lights. Yes. And the blue blockers might be good for you because you can't wear sunglasses indoors. So you want to get a lot of bright light in your eyes during the day. You obviously never want to look at any light that so bright that it hurts can damage your retina. You don't want I'm not talking about, like, stare at the sun, you know, that would damage your eye, but through a window it's fifty fold weaker.
So try and get outside to do this even briefly. And then at night avoid bright lights or wear the blue blockers migraine.
Yeah, I've, I've finally am at a point in my life where I'm not debilitated by migraines every couple of months. But I remember going to the E.R. at Cedars like when I was like twenty two and I got migraines my whole life. Like when I was a kid I was the one that ruined every field trip. I was the one that, you know, ruined the Disneyland trip. I was the one that got the migraine and everybody had to deal with me and drive me home.
And I couldn't be in light and I'd be puking and I couldn't see. And the left side of my body would go numb and. Well, like extreme, like super, super intense. And there's a lot of things that I have done. I have to a list of of like a list that I sent people when they say they have migraines, I wrote all about it and I have a whole chapter on it in my book. But the first thing I always say is just wear sunglasses outside all the time and get your vision checked, because that's like one of the main triggers for migraines is like squinting, triggering some blue light glasses I wear all the time, grinding at night.
It's a big one, like the lactic acid you produce from grinding at night in your muscles. And a couple of things that I've heard. Migrant doctors tell me over the years is that the migraine brain likes routine, it wants the same neurochemicals every day at the same time, every day, all the time.
So it doesn't matter really what you eat if you are allergic to sugar or gluten or what. I'm sure dairy, that's not super helpful. But whatever you eat or drink, eat at the same time every day, basically.
Yeah. So the three ways that so every cell in our body has a clock, runs out 24 hours, which is not coincidentally in sync with the 24 hour spin of the Earth. Once a cycle is not kind of like biologies, like every cell has a genetic program to have a 24 hour clock needs to be synchronized. All those clocks need to be synchronized. The only way we can synchronize those clocks is with light information delivered to the eyes, not light on the skin.
That's a whole nother business, but that's why the eyes are outside your head, outside your skull. That's why these two pieces of brain are outside your skull to inform the rest of your body. And when it's night and when it's daytime, we have lungs because we need all our cells need oxygen. So we bring air into our lungs and then it goes to the bloodstream and distributes. We need light information for all the cells in our body. We do that by bringing them in through these things we call eyes and then it's distributed to all the cells of the body.
The light doesn't permeate. It's sent through electrical signals and neurons and chemicals. So getting that sunlight early in the morning is absolutely key. The next way you do it is with feeding time and exercise activity rhythms. So if you travel to Japan, let's say, and you're totally jet lagged, takes a few days to catch up to the local pattern. But if you eat on the local schedule, you switch faster. If you exercise when people are active and you sleep when people are sleeping, you know, try and sleep when people are sleeping, you'll shift much, much quicker.
So but light is the quickest way to set these rhythms. Without question. A lot of people are jet lagged at home, especially now they're indoors. So they're like, I feel miserable, disarmed prest. I'm anxious. Well, you're jet lagged, except your jet lag in yourself, in your apartment or home.
I have so many more questions for you. I can do a more rapid fire if you want. No, we're going to do I'm going to make you do this again. I'm going to either publicly attack you if you don't, OK? The last last, last, last last thing I'm asking, I swear, is about ancestral trauma. And there's something called Family Constellation, which I know is thought of is like complete like Fwy. But there is something to me too.
And I don't know if it's nature or nurture. Family consolation is when you sort of learn about the trauma of your ancestors and learn what fears and phobias you've perhaps inherited. Heights is something that I my guess is universal. Some are more afraid than others. There was that study where mice you might have actually done this study where mice got electrocuted every time they smelled cherry blossoms and their offspring when they smelled cherry blossoms would recoil. Babies are afraid of pictures of spiders, even though they don't consciously know what a spider is.
You know, these things that were sort of wired to be afraid of and how it's kind of specific to people. My ancestry goes back to West Virginia, to coal mines and, you know, whether this is just family law legend or whatever, like we're all kind of claustrophobic and big banging sounds and sort of we all have misophonia and sort of which our theory is that has to do with our ancestors being in coal mines and mine explosions and stuff like that.
I just I'm curious if there's any science to the family constellation.
Well, there's some emerging evidence that learning can be inherited. And, you know, the original experiments were done in these little flatworms. There is like really boring species. But I guess if you like flatworms, they're really interesting. But where they would shock them and then their offspring would respond to shock, like they would learn to kind of Pavlovian responses to things, even though the babies had never been exposed to that sort of transgenerational trauma in terms of all things.
And then there's some recent studies in mice led the Cherry Blossom study that some of this could be inherited in mice. Here's what we know for sure, we inherit genes from mom and dad, however, those genes are subject to what we call epigenetic regulation. So some of that epigenetic regulation can be in utero. So if our mom was really stressed, right, it can cause release of, for instance, the the adrenals. The adrenal glands can release testosterone, too.
It can like can masculinised fetuses if it's really extreme, but under kind of more normal conditions, if, like Mom is really stressed, the baby might come out more aggressive because it has more testosterone exposure during development, things like that.
There's there is also some really interesting stuff on what's called genomic imprinting. We love the idea that we get half our genes from mom and half from dad. And, you know, parents always say, oh, that's exactly like you and that's exactly like you are. That's like being exactly like my dad or exactly like my mom. Turns out there's a woman at Harvard named Catherine Dulac and she had a postdoc named Chris Greg, who's now at the University of Utah.
And there are others who have done beautiful studies showing that in the brain there are some cells that are genetically identical to mom and mom only or dad and dad only. So there are parts of your brain that very likely are genetically identical to one parent or the other. So the idea that we're just a mix of both parents, first of all, that's falling away, I think the modern genetics tells us that's probably not true.
What's hardwired and what's learned, that seems to be kind of general theme running through everything today. And it's a it's a it's a wonderful theme because it's the most interesting theme in all of neuroscience, really, because it embodies everything. But. Here's what we know for sure if. A series of grandparents and parents and children are stressed in a particular way, the hormones in the neurochemicals that are secreted could have a very profound influence on those offspring. We know that there is, for instance, influenza in the first trimester.
If the mom gets a flu, can predispose the offspring to certain kinds of neurologic issues later. Now, does that mean that every woman that gets flu during her first trimester is going to have a child that somehow messed up? No, of course not. But it shifts the bias towards more probability that there will be these neurologic syndromes.
So immune infection, immune compromise or infection, trauma? It's all translated into chemical responses in the body. And so I do think that offspring can inherit some of this stuff. I, I meant to raise this earlier, so I'll just kind of add to this topic something that's very related. I think it's useful for people if they're thinking about their brain and their nervous system to think about what's non-negotiable and what's negotiable, what's unique to the individual and what's inherited.
And I think vision provides a beautiful example. So the biologist taunts and weasel and David Hubel, they discovered this periods of critical period plasticity won the Nobel Prize for that. They also won the Nobel Prize for showing that the cells, the neurons in the eye respond to little circles. That's the only thing they see. The world is a bunch of little circles to the eye. That information is then passed to the brain where those little circles are aligned into little lines.
So everyone kind of constructs a kind of outline of everything they look at. All animals do this. Humans are very dependent on facial expressions, so all humans have a face area. Some people, like my postdoc advisor, were terrible at recognizing faces. Some people are phenomenal and now looking at face masks, none of it matters.
That's right. But everyone has neurons that respond to these little dots, these little lines and faces some people better than others. That's all true. That's all non-negotiable across our species. But then it starts to get into some really interesting nuance. There was a study that was published in Nature a few years ago asking a kind of classic question in neuroscience that relates directly to what you're asking, which is do we have what are called grandmother cells? Do we have neurons in our brain that represent my grandmother for me and your grandmother for you in particular, not all grandmothers, but your grandmother?
And it's amazing because it turns out that people have these cells. I have a neuron in my brain that when it fires, I think of my grandmother or I see an image of her in my mind's eye. OK, when I look at a picture of her, that neuron fires.
There's a sort of funny but not so but really important aspect to the study, which was that they brought in a subject. They were showing them lots of different faces. And they're this subject, unlike all the other subjects, had a neuron that only responded to the face of Jennifer Aniston.
Neuroscientists know about these about this discovery was published in the journal Nature, which is our kind of Super Bowl of publishing very, very stringent journal, very high quality journal, maybe the most high quality and stringent journal. So this particular subject, I don't recall if the subject was male or female, has a neuron in their head, assuming the subject is still out there walking around out there. And when they think about Jennifer Aniston, that neuron and only that neuron and maybe a few other neurons around it is electrically active.
When that neuron is electrically active, they think of Jennifer Aniston. They see her in their mind's eye. So does that mean that everyone has a cell that represents Jennifer Aniston? No. In fact, if I'm talking about someone right now named Jennifer Aniston and you don't know who that is, which is seems like it seems like a pretty low probability event. But if there's somebody out there is like, who is he talking about? They don't have such a cell.
So what this means is that everybody's brain has certain things that are common to all of us. And everybody's brain has real estate and neurons that are tuned specifically to their unique experience.
OK, so I have a Jennifer Aniston sound, right? Because you know who she is.
If you close your eyes, you can imagine who she is and what she looks like. OK, probably even see it. As I'm saying this, that means for sure that you have a representation of Jennifer Aniston in your head as the firing of neurons in a particular sequence.
Yes, but is it one little cell? It's probably a collection of cells and it doesn't spell Jennifer Aniston.
I'm fascinated by like, you know, when you think of someone like one visual comes up of them like that. That's right.
You know, and the reason for that is really interesting. The reason for that is that these cells in our visual cortex, as it's called, this face area, have direct connections to the areas of the brain that we call the limbic system. They're involved in emotion. So let's say someone was really awful to you.
Yeah. You have neurons that are strongly connected to the neurons that convey a sense of awfulness and you will never forget their face or their voice or their anything. Yes, people that are kind of neutral.
You walk past people all the time on the street. You see people online all the time. You will. Never need to know them, and your brain just throws out that that's our reptilian brain's way of saying, remember this person, they're dangerous, they're scary. Right?
So what people seem to overlook in the discussion of neuroscience is that typically overlook in the discussion of neuroscience is that these lizard brain areas and these higher areas, they are intimately connected. There are direct what we call mono synaptic direct connections. It's not like you have to go through three or four different stations. Right. It's like New York to L.A. flight. It's direct. The primitive areas of our brain are linked to the more sophisticated areas of our brain.
They're not so separate. And so it shouldn't come as a surprise that when you think about something kind of neutral or somebody you know, it's like you see somebody who's really triggering or that you like very much. And it's instantaneous. It captures a whole bunch of your neural circuitry and maybe even a response in your body. I want to ask you if you know, the Jennifer Aniston, for example, captures the response in your body or not. But, Larry, you just smile.
So there you go. So it's linked to something. It's linked to something. And so I raise this example, A, because there's experimental evidence in a very rigorous laboratory study. But what it means is really important. It means that, yes, we have a map of our own unique experience in our minds. We're each showing up to the table with a different tool kit, with a different filter in a different way of looking at things. But there are a lot of things, the chemicals and the deeper circuits in particular of the limbic system in the hypothalamus that are universal.
And that's why putrid things smell so gross and why we avoid them.
And, you know, unless we have some weird proclivity for them, how do you have so much energy and you get tired?
I thought was a scientific question. It always takes me a second. Sure. I sleep very well. I definitely I do that you're going to do a thing. Usually I think you're seeing a lot of energy because I love this topic. I love I mean, Jennifer Aniston's great, too.
But but I mean, when I think about, you know, I think neuroscience in general, I just I feel so blessed. I feel like I'm a brain explorer. That's what I do. I spend a lot of time in looking around in physical brains, recording from physical brains and talking and thinking about the brain and nervous system.
And for me, it was like it was just, you know, I teach anatomy.
I see it beautiful. You know, I look at a brain like, oh, my God, it's amazing. Like the olfactory bulbs and that, you know, or whatever.
So to me, it's it's thrilling. But I think I don't know, it's probably how you feel when you do comedy. It's like, you know, I think I'm I've got infinite energy for who knows. There are other topics that just put me to sleep right away. Do you like doing podcasts? I've enjoyed this one.
Yeah. And I've laughed a lot, which is in a lot of questions for me. Loads of questions.
But do you have any questions for me about neurology? Ask me any question. Let's see if I could answer it. Really.
Yeah, like ten questions and let's just like test my knowledge of oh goodness.
OK, what does amygdala mean.
Like what does the fear center of the brain that not what is it do.
What does it mean. Why is it called amygdala. The amygdala means. Scared Arment. Oh, that's right. Shit like I didn't know that. All right, let's try another one fucking man. I'm used to giving exams.
I did know that. What is that in my I need to have been traumatized when I learned that for it to have while eating on.
Yeah. OK. What is hippocampus mean. Think about the shape. I'll give you a hint. Looks like a hippo seahorse, but close, but not quite so, OK, let's think of another one.
This is like the etymology of neurology terms. Let's see. Oh, goodness, where do I get a moment to think and of course, is a podcast, so it's like it's the Times.
Yeah, no, please, people stick with us. They're loyal. Right, you're trying to think of a question for a stupid person. Yeah, no, I just I'm trying to. OK. Oh, what what type of animal is a platypus like? Is it a mammal? Is it what is it? It falls into a specific category and there's only one other animal in. It's this category.
This is kind of arcane knowledge is annoying, I can tell you what horses and goats and all that, but those are ungulates. So this is like, yeah, it's like you've got Carnivore herbivore.
It's like, what is it starts with an M. It's not a mammal. It's a weird one. This feels all right. It's a feel like it's a monotreme. Yeah, no, I mean, OK. And the kid knows the only other one. All right. And then we'll do one more color. You want me to ask you questions?
Too nerdy even for me. All right. Last one. OK, I've got this.
All right. But that zoology. Neurology, OK.
I made a movie about this, I might know some, but I think I know more than I do. What's that neurological condition called?
Hmm, what do do you know, a little history of neuroscience? I mean, no, I'm sure I'm trying to ask you a question.
I think I can name the female neurologists that you named during this August. Oh, cool. Nancy and Carla.
Wow. So that's impressive. I have been able to do that for knowledge I didn't have. Oh, really? That's right. Yeah. Nancy Kanwisher College. That's that's great. I remember the last names. That's that's really good. Anyway, we don't have to quiz me.
What's that. What are the spaces in the brain. Like the holes. Like the ones that have fluid in them that are meant to be there.
You know, those like things are I know the benzodiazepines make holes in your brain. Do you need a new hour? I feel like you can do it on your brain that they're called ventricles anyway. No, I know the word, but this is getting really nerdy. But like I teach a neuroanatomy course. I teach neuroscience. I'll be happy to teach you whatever neuroscience you want to know.
You can ask me questions about comedy. I'm not to know. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Ask me three of those. I don't. OK, be gentle. I try to think of one that are as difficult as the ones you just asked me.
Those would be like, what was the name of Steve Martin's first special or something?
I don't even know that that would be arcane. Who is a yeah. This is hard.
You're right. Why it's so hard. I think it's because, like rote memory for like what is what is not actually how your brain works. And it's also not how my brain works. I'm good at memorizing things, but more what we really try to emphasise is like processes thinking about like logic and how things fit together. And that's actually much more useful than memorizing a long list of names or names of things. It's actually to know that a platypus is a monotreme is totally useless.
Your hippocampus is smart and just not dead yet.
Can you remember your childhood phone number to go to?
Well, I don't want to give this out yet. No, I'll do this at my mom's was after my parents got divorced, which is a traumatic event, which might have been why I remembered it better. It was two or two, six two five seven two three eight.
Totally useless. Unless the numbers still exist. I can do it from two to two three seven, seven, eight, four to like I could do it if you gave it to me. I could do by muscle memory.
So that's incredible. Right, because how long ago was that. No active. Yes, 30 years, but you passed numbers every day that you so I mean, that's stored in your brain, it's occupying real estate. So knowing some names of things in neuroscience and what they mean, amygdalas, it's just it's useless by teaching or anatomy. It's useful for me. It's useless.
So so you get an A for adaptable adaptability of knowledge. You got, you know, for sort of rote memory.
But rote memory is is useless in many cases. Is there anything to say? Jay-Z says if you want to memorize something, you have to say it 18 times. Is there any did he say.
Well, he said he said something about like, I remember this guy. I interviewed him and was like, how do you memorize your lyrics? Are your songs? Whatever you said, you just say 18 times. And I think there was supposedly some kind of logic to that.
I think the more attention you can bring to something, the fewer repetitions it requires.
Yeah, why? Why do I know all the songs from Alanis Morissette song that I haven't heard in 20 years?
Because they they get they grabbed some emotional state in you or the rhythm is easily encoded so that there was a calling turn on in your brain at the time of encoding. It was because they had a acetylcholine is like a highlighter.
It was like this is important and you don't have to tell your brains. Like, you know, people will never forget that there's a guy named Foushee who has something to do with this covid communication thing ever. His name is forever embedded in your brain, like him or hate him. His brain is his name is forever embedded in your brain. You cannot expunge that unless you get brain damage and you damage repercussions because of how much it's easy to call in we're producing right now.
It was weird in times of stress.
It was coupled to a time when we were paying attention. That's how the brain works. I could do this all day, and I frankly might I'm tempted. This is my dream. So what do you want from people? Like follow on Instagram. Oh, I think in general, you can ask me a lot of personal questions, are you tried? What do I want? Can really bob and weave. His Instagram is amazing. He does these videos just on little things here, and they're going to make you get on the community app and give out your phone number to everybody so you can start targeting videos and setting things out to people more specifically.
But your Instagram is amazing.
Thank you. Yeah, I've really enjoyed teaching neuroscience on Instagram. So it's Kuperman Lab and I do some descriptions of neuroscience and psychology and biology. A lot of the kinds of things I was talking about today, but also a lot of actionable tools as they relate to stress management and sleep and light. And I host people on there, like experts in sleep and circadian rhythm, shift work, autism and Alzheimer's. And people like that are going to be coming on.
People in my community.
I'll do it. Perfect time. Perfect. So, yeah, that's where people can find me. And I'm pretty easily my email and stuff is pretty easily found on the web. What it's just it's just the way academics exist in the world, you know.
Finally, why don't you tell everyone, since we mentioned at the beginning, but then ignored it of our how we met or how we are passed. Right.
So this is the second time we've met with with a gap in between of three years. We always have a microphone in front of me. Three years ago on New Year's, I was in Portland visiting friends and I went to go see you do standup that night. It was New Year's Eve. And who I am a woman who I thought was your twin sister, not because you looked exactly alike, but because you told everybody she was your twin sister, jumped up out of the audience and got on stage with you.
And that was kind of the closing act. But anyway, the act was super funny and it wasn't a closing act.
It was a surprise to me, too. I had no idea she was going to be. I thought know I never met her before. I thought it was all right.
I'm totally confused. No, this is wild. Women are confusing. I know it's a nightmare. I went to Portland, was performing on New Year's Eve. I think I was running a special this must be my HBO special or something. I think I was dating someone in Portland at the time. We all make mistakes.
And it was a mistake because of who they were, because they were in Portland. I haven't I been in defense of Portland.
I love Portland. I'm in there recently. I know it's a city struggling with a lot of issues right now, but, well, it's not that big of a thing.
Apparently the news is kind of blowing. I have to assume those cameras don't extend across all the blocks.
And yeah, it feels like it's a little click baity at this point. But no, I love Portland very deeply. And so and the crowds are just so fucking smart and great. So I think I went there because I was trying to run my special right before I shot it, because Portland's always just a great judge, like they're smart, they're incisive, but they still like to have fun and party and they don't take themselves too seriously. So it's a great place to run a special I was doing New Year's shows are tough, like it's a lot of pressure.
Yeah, people want the crescendo into their year and you have to like save marriages. And that show like this is like like you can tell there's so much pressure on you to be a great, you know, performance for a date. You know, like it's just like they paid money. It's their New Year's, you know, so it's like always just like a little bit stressful to do New Year's shows.
And I show up to the venue and I'm like, I'm a little bit like dressed up because it's a New York show. And I walk in and the bouncer looks at me and it's like, what are you doing? And I was like, What? You mean, what are you doing? Like, what are you talking about? He's like, What are you doing here? And I was like, What? You mean, what am I doing here?
It's my show. What do you talk about? And he was so weirded out and he was so aggressive with me and I didn't know what was going on. And then I go upstairs in the second Meltzer's like, how did why are you in this room? And I was like, what is happening?
Like, it was the other I was I was so like, why is everyone asking me what I'm doing and where I'm going? And people look like they had seen a ghost when they saw me walk in. And then what? I go on stage and you just never go particularly well. So I'm not convinced it was a really good show. I didn't know that we were going to interact later. Three years later.
How were you close to the front?
I was right up front. Really? Yeah. And I didn't make fun of you know, I didn't talk to you at all.
I was no, I was prepared for you to do that because I've been to one or two other comedy shows and the shock was right there.
Yeah. You maybe you're in panoramic vision. Wow.
Maybe. Yeah. No, I would have said because I would have been like, what are you doing? You've been in like a neurologist and I would've been like, oh my God.
You're like are like we would have had this discussion we had when you were shot down because you look like a Marvel scientist. You look like a like a neurologist. Yes, a neurologist. Like in a Marvel movie. You know what I mean? That's just what you look like. So I'm sure I would have not believed that you were religious. But so I get on stage and I know what's happening. I'm like going to get a drink of water or something.
And then a girl just yells out, she's like, our friend, looks exactly like you. And I was like, OK. And for some reason, maybe it's because it was New Year's Eve and, you know, the vibe was good. And I was like, right, fine. Just have her come up here. You know, when people tell me that I look like that one always ends up hurting my feelings. But I was just like, come up, come on.
And she came up and truly, you look similar.
I wouldn't say you were identical twins. Maybe you were di chorionic, not mono chorionic. Remember? Yes, I do remember that. No, no, I wasn't producing, as you recall and I don't remember, but and she came up and it was such a I mean, the audience went crazy. I had never seen her before. I had and the bouncers had seen her walk in and then seen me walk in five minutes later. Also that night, her hair was done similar to yours and like it was denied.
Make her get on stage and get on the microphone. You guys took a picture together and I was convinced that she was actually your twin sister because you said so. No, you're like, it's my twin. And then I was like, oh, I guess they're twins. And then the person that I was maybe I had met her before. I think she came to my book, a book signing, like a couple of years prior.
So maybe by the time you saw I had met her before and then two days later or something, we were talking about it, the person I went to the show with and then like you guys were like and that's with me.
But now the person I went with person here, just pretty.
I know. All right.
Well, so I I'm a nascent fan, but I just said I didn't know you were before that.
No, I'm sorry. I didn't know. I didn't know I'm a scientist. I didn't know. I knew very like I knew who Lenny Bruce was. The campus is like. Yes, like Eddie Murphy.
Like, I've been in a lab a lot of years, but the person that I was with at the time was like really excited about your work. And so I got tickets. Yeah, it was. So that was the first. Yeah. I mean, people have to come to the table sooner or later.
Yeah. Yeah. No, I get a lot of guys that meet me for the first time because they're girl like drag's them to come see. I mean it's like you have to come see Whitney and they're like I didn't want to, I really did not want to see a female comic.
And then the show was great. I became a fan. I thought that was your twin sister until two days later, the person I was there with revealed to me that, oh, no, that wasn't actually her sister. That was just a spontaneous thing. And it took me a couple of minutes to really adjust because I had to reframe all the stuff that happened. It's weird. I mean I mean, it wasn't like hugely impactful in my life, but I touched on it all.
You think I detached enough? I did touch enough to it that it kind of threw me for a loop.
So I it was a really funny show. And then and then three years later, I think it was after the Rogan podcast and you asked a question and we started talking about neuroscience and well, actually we met because my therapist who hates everyone told me about you.
You realize that that probably means that she hates me, is that, you know, she loves you. OK, plot twist the way the way you she thinks everyone is full of shit.
She's like, don't read that self-help book. That one's not true. That's not real science. That's not attachment strategy. Like she's constantly, like, debunking a lot of the things that I, you know, I'm exploring. And she's like, don't read that. Don't do that. That doesn't work. That doesn't exist. There's some crazy stuff out. There's some crazy shit out there. And I certainly don't have all the answers. I just happen to put a scientific lens on.
No, but she loves you and she told me to start following you on Instagram.
OK, well, whoever she is, thank you. And I'm glad that you did, because I don't think that I don't think she wants people to publicly now. She's my therapist. Probably would be. Yeah. I work with Whitney Cummings.
That makes you that makes you the litmus test of whether or not she does depending on how well you're doing or not. That's for me to be her life front interest. I don't think she wants me to be the example of her work. That's a lot of pressure on me, too, because if you don't, something happens. So.
Yeah, yeah, I'm not going to say, but so follow him. Watch the Rogan podcast if if you have not already. It is so informative, so clear. You're so good at doing this. I hope you'll still. How many videos a week are you doing.
I try and do two or three weeks. Some are longer and they take longer to digest. Yeah there's some you know it's impossible to have a really good discussion about science without including the names of some brain areas and things like that. And I believe there's a famous scientist, Max Tilbrook, that said Assume zero knowledge and infinite intelligence. I'm not sure I completely agree with that. But in teaching, I just assume people don't know anything about the topic so they can show up without any prior knowledge, but that if they're delivered the information in a way that's reasonable and thoughtful, that hopefully they'll take away some kernels of production.
Such a fan monitary eye on these very awkwardly. Well, I'm a fan as well. Thank you.
OK, thank you everybody. Don't ride elephants. Love you. Bye.