May 24, 2020 7:26 pm

Monday, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Neuroscientist Heather Berlin Talk COVID-19 and Mental Health

On this week’s episode of StarTalk Radio, we’re continuing our series of episodes exploring the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve done a couple episodes on the coronavirus pandemic, including one about coronavirus and climate change. For our latest entry, Neil deGrasse Tyson is exploring how the current pandemic is impacting mental health alongside comic co-host Chuck Nice and neuroscientist Heather Berlin, PhD.

Storyblock’s graphic of a brain full of many things.

Image Credit: Storyblocks.

It’s easily confirmed that our current situation has impacted our physical behavior but it has maybe impacted our mental behavior even more. How has the human condition been affected by the pandemic? Heather shares some background on why different personalities react to the pandemic in certain ways. You’ll learn why a subset of people who previously had OCD have gotten better during this situation. We explore why people are rebelling against government orders and societal norms. How much of it is cultural? We compare how a collective society functions compared to an individualistic society.

We also answer your fan-submitted Cosmic Queries. Find out if there are positive mental health outcomes during the pandemic. We investigate the increased role of mental health professionals. Neil wonders how many mental health professionals have training for a pandemic? Heather tells us why it’s about adapting to the situation and how the rules have changed slightly.

You’ll learn more about how your pre-existing personality impacts the way you respond during this time. We ponder whether social anxiety will stay heightened even after society fully opens up. We also ponder if there will be a rise in agoraphobia. Heather gives us tips on how to keep a healthy state of mind during the pandemic and you’ll hear about the importance of sunlight.

For our last segment, StarTalk Sports Edition co-host Gary O’Reilly joins the gang to explore how athletes are dealing with the quarantine. How do you retain you mental-processing speed if you’re not competing? Does training your mind make your body faster? As sports leagues start to play again, how will players react to playing in front of empty stadiums? All that, plus, how long could sports be sidelined before people start to lose interest altogether?

Please join us tomorrow for COVID-19 and Mental Health at 7pm ET right here on our website, as well as on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn. If you’re a StarTalk+ Patron or an All-Access subscriber, you can watch or listen to this episode ad-free at 3pm, too.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
– Ian Mullen



About the prints that flank Neil in this video:

“Black Swan” & “White Swan” limited edition serigraph prints by Coast Salish artist Jane Kwatleematt Marston. Please visit Inuit Gallery of Vancouver for more information about this artist and her work.



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