David Eagleman, Ted Talk, David discussed on Untangle



Thanks, Patricia. Hello, I'm Ariel, and I'll be your guide as we go inside the head of some of the world's most extraordinary brain scientists, psychologists, meditators, those who are skilled in the mental arts. And we're going to learn both from their cutting edge work and their own human experience, how our brains work, how to optimize them, and how to manage the crazy in all of our minds. Today we're going to get inside the head of David eagleman an incredibly prolific neuroscientist, particularly a perception neuroscientist. You might know him from his TED Talk where he interprets the stock market through sensory vest, his PBS special on the brain, or any of The New York Times best sellers that he's written. He's also a buddy, a fellow startup entrepreneur, and an incredible guy. Today we are going to get inside David's head. Welcome, David. Thanks. It's awesome to be here. So David, to start off on one of your fascinating topics, you've written a lot about memory and how who we think we are is defined by our memories. But in fact, those memories are quite changeable. Can you talk a bit about that? Yeah. Memory is a myth making machine. And we're constantly reinventing our past to keep it consistent with who we think we are. And so it's this weird thing. I mean, I hate that we use the word memory and that computer scientists use the word memory because they're so such entirely different concepts. Yeah, one is fixed and the other is so labile movable. Exactly right. And the amount of data that we take in from any scene from any event, we're just taking in key frames and things that are important, but actually even that's not a good analogy to call it keyframes because that would imply that we're actually capturing the real data. But even our memories are a big part of who we are. In other words, if I'm a certain kind of person and I experience something outside, then maybe I'll think, oh, that guy who came up to me on the street, that guy was really funny. And if I'm an anxious person, I'll think, oh, that guy was really threatening. And my whole memory of the event is determined by what's going on inside of me. And yes, and then on top of that is the fact that we just don't remember most of what happens in our life. Our memories are like sieves and yet we always have the illusion that we remember it well, which is something that I've never quite figured out and it's an interesting mystery to me when I think back on some dinner at a restaurant, I might think like, oh yeah, I remember it. I remember who was there. But if I start asking questions, like, okay, what exactly was he wearing? What was she wearing? Who were the other diners in the restaurant? What was the person sitting right behind that person who would have been sitting on my retina the whole time, but you know, do I actually remember what were the chairs like, what was the tablecloth? All these things, if I really had a memory of the restaurant as I feel like I do, I feel like, oh yeah, it's just a cinematographic picture of what happened there. Then I should be able to answer all those questions, but in fact, I can't. Okay, so you and I can actually play a little game with this because we have some shared memories. Oh, great. So do you remember when we were at a conference and both of us were speaking at this conference? And there was a jazz concert. Oh boy. We're at the Biltmore hotel. Which city was this? I can't remember what city is in. Built more hotel that was really, really hot. Okay. You know what? I remember, I remember sitting with you and talking and there was another guy from your company there and we were talking about something and we were talking we were talking about views and what was going on with that. That's my entire memory of it. Do you remember we were sitting at a concert and I was pregnant and you put your hand on my stomach and felt the baby move? Oh yeah. Yeah, that I do remember actually, but I wouldn't have remembered that had you not reminded me. Yeah. Yeah. As I was thinking about this, I started to have access to the memories of that conference. And the things that I could remember that were most relevant was I wanted to go swimming. Yeah. I tried to get you to go swimming as well. I don't know if you remember that. And the other thing I remembered was how good the food was, because again, I was pregnant, so I had a really selective filter on that event. The food tasted really good..

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