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Home » Dopamine: Driving Your Brain into the Future: Daniel Lieberman (Transcript)

Dopamine: Driving Your Brain into the Future: Daniel Lieberman (Transcript)

Daniel Z Lieberman at TEDxWilmingtonWomen

Here is the full text of paleoanthropologist Daniel Z. Lieberman’s talk titled “Dopamine: Driving Your Brain into the Future” at TEDxWilmingtonWomen conference.

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Your brain is a funny thing. Sometimes it does what you want it to do, such as composing email or find something to eat in the refrigerator.

Other times, it’s uncooperative and obstinate, refusing to get started on that important new project, or getting stuck and ruminating all day long on some negative thought that makes you feel unhappy.

Your brain is brilliant and rebellious; it can be your best friend and sometimes your worst enemy.

The first step in taming this beast and getting out of it all that you can is to understand it. And today I’m going to tell you an important secret about how the brain works.

And oddly enough, it starts with the seemingly simple distinction between up and down.

So just for a moment, let me ask you to look down and what do you see? You may see your hands, maybe a pen, cup of coffee, possibly a cellphone.

When you look down, you’re looking to what’s called the peri-personal space. That’s a space around you that’s within arm’s reach. Things that are within the peri-personal space are typically things you own and control. You use them, enjoy them, sometimes consume them.

When you look up, on the other hand, you’re looking out into the extra personal space. The world that’s outside your arm’s reach.

If you want or need something in the extra personal space, it’s going to take effort to get it. It could be a small amount of effort walking across the room to pick up a book off a table or it could be more. Walking to the store to buy a bag of peaches, or planning a trip around the world.

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