In this episode of Bulletproof Radio, my guest is Samuel Veissière, Ph.D., who examines social and evolutionary dimensions of cognition, mental health, and human well-being through a variety of projects.
He caught my attention with his recent article in Psychology Today: The Coronavirus Is Much Worse Than You Think: How COVID-19 is infecting our minds, not our lungs.
He’s an assistant professor of Psychiatry, co-director of the Culture, Mind, and Brain Program, and an associate member of the department of Anthropology at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
We’re going to take a look at the coronavirus, formally named COVID-19, from a decidedly different perspective. One that’s worth thinking about.
“The human mind is really, really, really bad at estimating the statistical probabilities of anything,” Dr. Veissière says. “And human minds have evolved to specific cravings for different kinds of information, in particular, anything that conveys information about potential threats or danger.”
Visit my blog to learn more about how your brain processes this type of information and the steps you can take to keep panic at bay.
Dr. Veissière’s work as an anthropologist and cognitive scientist includes placebo effects and hypnosis, hyper-sociality in smartphone addiction, social polarization, gender and mental health, and the theoretical study of cultural evolution. He has worked with such varied populations as street children and sex workers in Northeast Brazil, indigenous peoples in the Arctic and the Amazon, children with neurodevelopmental disorders, people who intentionally conjure friendly auditory hallucinations, and Tibetan Buddhist monks in the Indian Himalayas.
He’s published broadly on novel theories and experimental findings on the social nature of attention, cognition, mental health, and healing, and on the impact of the internet and new technologies on human sociality and well-being.
Enjoy the show! … And get more resources at Dave.Asprey/podcasts.
Follow Along with the Transcript
- Coronavirus is infecting our minds not our bodies – 4:45
- What is a moral panic? – 6:11
- How did pathogens changed and caused human morality – 7:12
- Difference between tight and loose cultures – 13:11
- What happens when you eliminate all the dangers? 15:54
- Most people who will get coronavirus will not know it or will have mild symptoms. – 18:48
- We live in very individualistic societies. – 20:36
- Government and businesses respond to what people want. – 23:12
- We have this whole big machine around making us feel freer. – 25:50
- An amulet probably has a higher placebo power than a face mask. – 27:45
- To what extend to you play to peoples irrationality? – 33:03
- One of the most important lessons that people could learn out of 700 episodes of Bulletproof radio. – 35:13
- You said ‘ We are suffering from a corona cognitive epidemic…’ – 37:20
- Corona is a really intelligent virus. – 39:11
- There is a big loneliness epidemic in America and Japan – 45:55
- Things that Dave actually does to not get sick from airplane travel. – 49:59
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