Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body. With the enormous growth in awareness and practice of mindfulness and meditation have come widespread claims of benefits. Best-selling author Daniel Goleman and neuroscientist Richard Davidson, both longtime meditators, examined the scientific research to find out what is true and what is not.
Humans are not alone in being creatures of habit, but can we do anything about it?
Brain science has learned a lot about habits over the last few years. On the one hand, that gives corporations new power with which to manipulate us, but it also gives us greater power over our own behavior.
What is a habit? Are habits positive – a sign of cultivation and industry, or negative, a sign of weakness and mindlessness? Or are they neutral, their value up to us?
Today’s guest, CHARLES DUHIGG an award-winning reporter for the New York Times, has written the best-selling THE POWER OF HABIT: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. He tells us that at its most basic level, a habit is a simple neurological loop: a cue (my mouth feels gross), a routine (I should brush my teeth), and a reward (ahhh, minty fresh!). Backing out of the driveway, replying to emails, running before work – many of our most basic daily actions are not, in fact, the products of well considered decision-making, but outgrowths of habits we often don’t even realize exist.
We’ll talk about what a habit is, how they are formed, and how we can put what we’ve learned about habits into practice, so that we are at least somewhat their masters rather than their slaves.
We will also discuss Duhigg’s investigative New York Times series on Apple, including their labor practices and why they don’t manufacture in the U.S.
I don’t have to tell you how many messages, interruptions and distractions you are inundated with every day. Add to that the stress placed on so many of us by the many roles we play everyday – parent, partner, friend, worker, citizen. The very critical skill or quality of attention is under siege.
DANIEL GOLEMAN, the psychologist, journalist, and best-selling author who wrote the book on Emotional Intelligence, has a new book, Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence. In it, he delves into new, surprising findings from neuroscience labs and explains why attention is a little-noticed mental asset that makes a huge difference in how well we find our way in our personal lives, our careers, and in virtually everything we do. Like a muscle, use attention poorly and it withers; work it in the right way and it strengthens. But Goleman doesn’t only consider the personal need for attention but also the way evolution has presented humans a challenge when it comes to dealing with long term threats like climate change.
Q&A w/ author, Carl Hart – HIGH PRICE: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery that Challenges Everything You Know about Drugs and SocietyWritten on June 18th, 2013
This week’s guest, neuroscientist CARL HART grew up in one of Miami’s toughest neighborhoods and, in his first book, HIGH PRICE, he explores how it is that he avoided becoming one of the crack addicts he now studies.
Columbia University’s first tenured African American professor in the sciences, Hart goes beyond disputing myths, falsehoods, and ignorance about drugs, drug users, and drug policy. He has been engaged in cutting edge research since the late 90s, testing individuals with actual drugs. His controversial work is redefining our understanding of addiction. He examines the relationships between drugs, pleasure, choice, and motivation, both in the brain and in society. Hart’s findings shed new light on issues of race, poverty, and drugs, and help explain perhaps more clearly than ever why current policies are doomed to fail.
LIVE FROM the LA TIMES FESTIVAL OF BOOKS at the UCLA CAMPUS with REZA ASLAN, author, NO GOD BUT GOD and
BEYOND FUNDAMENTALISM and TERRY McDERMOTT longtime LA Times reporter, author, PERFECT SOLDIERS: The 9/11 Hijackers, and his latest, 101 THEORY DRIVE: A Neuroscientist's Quest for Memory