Neurons from rat brain tissue stained green with antibody to ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase L1 (UCH-L1) which highlights the cell body strongly and the cell processes more weakly.
Neurons from rat brain tissue stained green with antibody to ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase L1 (UCH-L1) which highlights the cell body strongly and the cell processes more weakly.

Mind Over Matter with Dan Harris and Heather Berlin

GerryShaw, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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About This Episode

What is the science behind meditation? On this episode, Neil deGrasse Tyson and comic co-host Marcia Belsky discuss mental health, meditation, and the theory of consciousness with former national news anchor, Dan Harris and neuroscientist Heather Berlin, PhD. 

What do you do when your brain thinks you’re dying? Dan recounts what it’s like to have a panic attack on national television and his mental health journey. How do you meditate? We discuss meditation practices, anxiety, and how it can improve your life and make you at least a little bit happier. 

Next, Heather Berlin breaks down the neuroscience behind meditation and its impacts on the brain. Is there an inclination in psychiatry to just prescribe a pill? Find out how psychiatry is in some ways an art. We debate: Is there such a thing as a normal brain? Could it just be that we are waiting for a neuroscience breakthrough in mental health treatment that’ll fix all our problems? Could there ever be standardized treatment for depression? Learn about the different theories of consciousness, subjective experience, and where we are with neural implants. 

How does a meditator’s brain look different? We explore stress responses in the amygdala, how trauma affects brian chemistry, and our different capacities to feel empathy.  How does the brain regulate itself? All that, plus, does matter give us consciousness or do we give matter consciousness?

Thanks to our Patrons Mikaël Boisvert, James Cleghorn’lee, Chris Lee, Jason Sanders, Ozzzy, Ryukote, Denese Washam, Autumn McCuen, Bill Kervaski, and Keoni for supporting us this week.

NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free.

In This Episode

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