Andrew Huberman

Andrew Huberman

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1. The Science of Emotions & Relationships | Huberman Lab Podcast #13

1.1. 1. Defining Emotions

1.1.1. 00:07:40​ Emotions: Subjective Yet Tractable People experience emotions differently. Color Example. Now one thing that is absolutely true 08:12 is that everyone's perception of emotion 08:14 is slightly different. 08:16 Meaning, your idea of happy is very likely different 08:20 than my idea of what a state of happiness is. 08:23 And we know this also for color vision, for instance, 08:27 even though the cells in your eye and my eye 08:30 that perceive the color red are identical 08:33 right down to the genes that they express, 08:35 we can be certain based on experimental evidence, 08:39 and what are called psychophysical studies, 08:41 that your idea of the most intense red 08:45 is going to be very different 08:46 than my idea of the most intense red 08:48 if we were given a selection of 10 different reds 08:51 and asked which one is most intense, 08:52 which one looks most red, 08:54 and that seems crazy, 08:56 you would think that something as simple as color 08:58 would be universal, and yet it's not. 09:00 And so we need to agree at the outset 09:03 that emotions are complicated and yet they are tractable. No one unifying theory. So while there's no 10:14 one single universally true theory of emotion, 10:17 at the intersection of many of the existing theories, 10:20 there are really some ground truth.

1.1.2. 00:10:53​ To Understand Your Emotions: Look At Infancy & Puberty To understand what brain area does — address two questions. 1. Connections to other parts of the body 2. Developmental origin of the structure Not one area that create emotions. We can't say that's the area of the brain 12:38 that's responsible for emotions. 12:39 There is this so-called limbic system 12:41 that has been linked to emotions in various ways. 12:45 We're going to talk about that today. 12:47 But the limbic system is just one component 12:49 of the inputs to create emotions. 12:52 It's not the place for emotions. 12:55 You can't go in and lesion one location in the brain 12:57 and eliminate emotions entirely, just doesn't work that way. Specific circuits of the brain might not be the cause of emotions. So, first of all, we have to ask, 13:04 what are the circuits for emotion? 13:07 What are the brain areas for emotion? 13:08 And nowadays there's a lot of debate about this. 13:11 For years, it was thought that there might be circuits, 13:13 meaning connections in the brain 13:15 that generate the feeling of being happy 13:17 or circuits that generate 13:18 the feeling of being sad, et cetera. 13:20 That's been challenged. 13:22 In fact, Lisa Feldman Barrett 13:24 has been the person who's really challenged this head-on, 13:27 and has very good evidence 13:28 for the fact that such circuits probably don't exist. 13:31 And yet I think there's good evidence 13:33 for circuits in the brain, 13:35 such as limbic circuits and other circuits 13:37 that shift our overall states 13:40 or our overall level of alertness or calmness, 13:43 or whether they're not, 13:44 they bias us toward viewing the outside world 13:46 or paying more attention 13:47 to what's going on inside our bodies. Emotions do arise in the brain and body. But the important thing to understand 13:55 is that emotions do arise in the brain and body. 13:58 They arise because there are specific connections 14:01 between specific areas in the brain and body. 14:03 And if we want to understand how emotions work, 14:07 we have to look how emotions are built. Emotions are built during childhood. And they are built during infancy, adolescence, and puberty, 14:16 and then it continues into adulthood. 14:18 But the groundwork is laid down early in development 14:21 when we are small children. Two ways to interract with the world So let's think about 14:24 what happens to a baby that comes into the world. 14:26 A baby comes into the world. 14:28 You were born into this world 14:29 without really any understanding of the things around you. 14:33 Now, there are two ways that you can interact with the world 14:36 and you're always doing them more or less 14:38 to some degree at the same time. 14:41 Those are interoception, 14:43 paying attention what's going on inside you, 14:46 what you feel internally, 14:47 and exteroception, 14:48 paying attention to what's going on outside you. 14:51 Hold that in mind, please. 14:52 Because the fact that you're both interocepting 14:55 and exterocepting is true for your entire life, 14:58 and it sets the foundation for understanding emotions. 15:02 It's absolutely critical.

1.1.3. 00:15:21​ Your First Feeling Was Anxiety First feeling is anxiety 15:03 As an infant, 15:06 you didn't have any knowledge of what you needed. 15:09 You didn't understand hunger, 15:10 you didn't understand toys 15:12 when you first came into the world, 15:13 you didn't understand cold or heat or any of that. 15:15 When you needed something, you experienced that as anxiety. 15:20 You would feel an increase in alertness 15:23 if you had to use the bathroom. 15:25 you would feel an increase in alertness 15:27 if you were hungry, 15:28 and you would vocalize, 15:29 you would cry out, you would act agitated. 15:33 You might cue, you might do a number of different things, 15:35 but all you knew was what you were feeling internally. 15:39 And then your caregiver, 15:41 whoever that might've been would respond to that. 15:43 So you would feel some agitation, 15:44 a caregiver would come and make a decision, 15:47 Oh, you need food, and give you milk, 15:50 or change your diaper or wrap you in a blanket 15:53 if you were cold, 15:54 but they didn't know if you were cold, 15:56 they could just assume that you were cold. 15:58 So this is actually really important to understand 16:00 that a baby, when you were a baby, and when I was a baby, 16:04 we didn't have any sense of the outside world 16:06 except that it responded to our acts of anxiety essentially. Internal state influences external world we start to develop a relationship with the outside world 16:39 in which our internal states, 16:40 our shifts and anxiety start to drive requests, 16:44 and people come and respond to those requests, hopefully.

1.1.4. 00:17:36​ What Are “Healthy Emotions”? The role of emotions So the baby, you as a baby, 17:53 you're flopping around there in your crib, 17:56 you're getting care where you need it 17:59 and when you need it, presumably, 18:00 and this gets to the basis of what emotions are about, 18:06 which are emotions are really about forming bonds 18:09 and being able to predict things in the world. 18:12 That's really what emotions are about.

1.1.5. 00:19:03​ Digital Tool For Predicting Your Emotions: Mood Meter App You don't know how people feel inside really Whether or not the baby feels angry or happy or sad, 18:18 we don't know, we can guess, but we don't know. 18:20 In fact, most of the time we don't even know how we feel, 18:22 let alone how other people feel, 18:24 and that's true for adults. 18:25 So if I asked you how you feel right now, 18:27 I don't know that you could tell me 18:29 in any kind of rich language that I would say, 18:32 "Oh I really understand." 18:34 If you said you were very, very depressed 18:36 or very, very happy, 18:37 I'd have some sense because of how extreme that is, 18:39 but I don't know that I would really know, 18:41 and I don't think you know how I feel right now either. 18:43 I could be furious right now 18:44 or I could be very happy, 18:45 you don't have any idea. 18:46 And of course, we have these things called expressions, 18:48 our pupils dilate.

1.2. 2. Emotions Framework

1.2.1. Explanation Summary So these three things, 23:15 how alert or sleepy you are, that's one, 23:17 how good or bad you feel, that's two, 23:20 and then whether or not 23:21 most of your attention is directed outward, 23:23 or whether or not it's directed inward. 23:25 And much of what we call emotions 23:27 are made up by those three things. 23:30 And so let's return now to development, 23:33 but tuck that away and just kind of think about it, 23:35 alert versus asleep, good versus bad, 23:38 and focused internally or focused externally. 23:41 Because when I looked at 23:43 all the theories of emotion that were out there, 23:47 there were a lot of different components to them, 23:48 but they all seem to center back 23:50 to these same three features 23:52 in some way or to some degree or another. 23:54 And it can be very powerful to understand 23:56 and look at your emotions through that lens. Summary 2 And that's a useful framework in my opinion, 70:29 because it allows you to sort through all the data 70:32 and information that's out there about, 70:33 well, this area, the astria terminalis is active 70:36 or the basal lateral amygdala is active 70:37 or gray matter thickening 70:39 or this hormone or that hormone, 70:40 and return to a kind of kernel 70:43 of certainly not exhaustive truth, 70:45 it doesn't cover all aspects of emotionality, 70:48 but at least establishes some groundwork 70:51 from which you can start to evaluate 70:52 how different behaviors might or might not make sense, 70:56 how certain emotional responses 70:58 might or might not make sense, 71:00 regardless of the age of the person or the organism.

1.2.2. 00:21:08​ The Architecture Of A Feeling: (At Least) 3 Key Questions To Ask Yourself 1. Autonomic Arousal You need to ask yourself at any point, 21:28 you could do this right now if you like, 21:29 what's your level of autonomic arousal? 21:32 Autonomic arousal is just the continuum, 21:34 the range of alert to calm. 21:38 So if you're in a panic right now, 21:40 you are like 10 out of 10 on the arousal scale. 21:45 If you're asleep, 21:46 you're probably not comprehending what I'm saying, 21:49 although maybe a little bit. 21:51 But let's say you're very drowsy, 21:52 you might be at a one or a two. 21:54 So you always have to ask, 21:57 where are you on the arousal scale? 2. Valence And then there's this other axis, this other question, 22:03 which is what we call valence. 22:06 Now valence is a value. 22:07 Do you feel good or bad? 22:09 I would say I feel pretty good right now. 22:10 On a scale of one to 10, 22:11 I'm like, I dunno, I feel like a seven. 22:14 Got good night's sleep last night, 22:15 had a good walk with Costello this morning, 22:18 I'm fed, I'm hydrated. 22:20 I feel good, 22:21 So I'm like a seven. 22:22 So I'm alert and I feel pretty good. 3. Interoceptive-Exteroceptive And then there's a third thing, 22:26 which is how much we are interocepting 22:30 and how much we are exterocepting. 22:32 So how much our attention is focused internally 22:35 on what we're feeling and how much it's focused externally. 22:39 And this is always going to be in a dynamic balance. 22:42 So for instance, if you're really, really stressed, 22:46 oftentimes that puts you in a position 22:48 to be really in touch with what's going on in your body. 22:50 If you start having a lot of somatic, 22:52 a lot of bodily sensations, 22:53 like your heart is beating so fast that you can't ignore it, 22:56 then you're really strongly interoceptive. 22:59 But also sometimes you're really stressed 23:01 because someone's stressing you out 23:02 or somebody sends you a text message 23:03 or makes a comment about 23:05 a YouTube thing you posted or something, 23:07 and you're really triggered by it. 23:09 That never happens to me. 23:10 But if it does happen to you, then you're exterocepting.

1.2.3. Interoceptive-Exteroceptive Dynamic 00:36:34​ “Emotional Health”: Awareness of the Interoceptive-Exteroceptive Dynamic 36:33 And it's clear 36:35 from most all of the theories of emotional health, 36:38 that an ability to recognize 36:41 when your own internal state 36:43 is being driven primarily by external events, 36:46 as important for being able to emotionally regulate. 36:50 People who are constantly 36:52 being yanked around by the external happenings in the world, 36:55 you would say are emotionally labile, 36:57 they are not in control of their emotions, 37:00 even if they're calm all the time, 37:02 if that calmness only arrives 37:04 because they're in a placid environment 37:06 and then you put a cracker in that environment 37:08 and they freak out, well, then they're not really calm. 37:11 Their calm in so far 37:13 as there isn't something disturbing in the environment. 37:16 So how much the outside environment 37:18 disrupts your internal environment 37:19 has everything to do 37:20 with this balance of interoception and an exteroception. 37:23 And it very likely has roots 37:24 in whether or not you were secure attached 37:27 or insecure attached, 37:28 disorganized or ambivalent as a baby. 00:37:50​ An Exercise: Controlling Interoceptive-Exteroceptive Bias Getting out of your head Exercise Training Exteroceptance 00:42:19​ Getting Out Of Your Head: The Attentional Aperture

1.2.4. 01:35:18​ A Powerful Tool For Enhancing Range & Depth of Emotional Experience New framework of thinking about emotions 94:41 And once again, level of alertness or level of calmness 94:46 is impacting emotion, 94:47 that this axis of alertness and calmness 94:49 is one primary axis in emotion. 94:54 It's not the only one, 94:55 because there's also this valence component of good or bad. 94:58 Those two aren't the only ones, 95:00 because there's also this component 95:01 of interoceptive, exteroceptive 95:03 that we talked about earlier. 95:04 And there will be others too. 95:05 Again, it's not exhaustive. 95:07 But I find it fascinating, 95:08 and it really brings us back to where we started, 95:11 which is what are the core elements of emotion, 95:13 and what can you do about them? Output And starting to really think about emotions 96:10 in a structured way 96:11 cannot only allow you to understand 96:14 some of the pathology 96:15 of when you might feel depressed or anxious 96:18 or others are depressed and anxious, 96:19 but also to develop 96:20 a richer emotional experience to anything.

1.3. 3. Childhood

1.3.1. 1. Baby 00:24:00​ You Are An Infant: Bonds & Predictions Interoceptance Balance between interoceptance and exeroceptance Brain Theories Common denominator 00:27:57​ Attachment Style Hinges On How You Handle Disappointment Experiment Description Baby Types 00:32:40​ “Glue Points” Of Emotional Bonds: Gaze, Voice, Affect, Touch, (& Written) What defines a good bond Area responsible for processing of faces — Fusiform Face Area

1.3.2. 2. Puberty 00:46:59​ Puberty: Biology & Emotions On Deliberate Overdrive Definition When it occurs 00:47:58​ Bodyfat & Puberty: The Leptin Connection Triggers of puberty Growth in general 00:50:34​ Pheromones: Mates, Timing Puberty, Spontaneous Miscarriage bottom line: pheromone effects exist to some extent 00:54:37​ Kisspeptin: Robust Trigger Of Puberty & Performance Enhancing Agent 00:58:26​ Neuroplasticity Of Emotions: Becoming Specialists & Testing Emotional Bonds And that's because 59:19 of the relationship to puberty and neuroplasticity, 59:22 this ability to change the brain in response to experience 59:25 is starting to taper off such that by our early 20s, 59:28 it's harder to achieve. 59:30 Now, the transition from generalist to specialist 59:34 is one aspect of adolescence and puberty, 59:36 but the other is the formation 59:39 of social and emotional bonds. 59:40 And most of what consumes the minds 59:43 and waking hours of adolescents 59:47 and children who have gone through puberty 59:48 and going through puberty 59:50 is questions about how they relate to social structures, 59:54 who they can rely on, 59:56 and how they can make reliable predictions in the world, 59:59 now that they have more urgency 60:00 that they are physically changed. 60:02 In fact, you could argue 60:04 that puberty is the fastest rate of maturation 60:07 that you'll go through at any point in your life. 60:09 It's the largest change that you'll go through 60:11 at any point in your life in terms of who you are, 60:14 because your biology has fundamentally changed 60:16 at the level of your brain and your bodily organs, 60:20 all your organs from the skin inward. 60:22 So I want to visit a little bit of the research h 01:00:25​ Testing Driving Brain Circuits For Emotion: Dispersal Children wanting to leave from primary caregivers Puberty 01:07:48​ Science-Based Recommendations for Adolescents and Teens: The Autonomy Buffet

1.4. 4. Biology

1.4.1. 1. Left vs Right Brain 01:11:05​ “Right-Brain Versus Left-Brain People”: Facts Versus Lies Formation of strong bonds Left and right brain idea is false 01:14:18​ Left Brain = Language, Right Brain = Spatial Awareness Left Brain — Language Right Brain 01:16:15​ How To Recognize “Right Brain Activity” In Speech: Prosody Summary

1.4.2. 2. Oxytocin 01:18:32​ Oxytocin: The Molecule of Synchronizing States Functions How it does that 01:20:09​ Mirror Neurons: Are Not For “Empathy”, Maybe For Predicting Behavior Introduction Controversy Prediction computation neurons 01:23:00​ Promoting Trust & Monogamy Couples bonding effect Greater intimacy during sex Autistic children Modulates distance between males and females Monogomy 01:27:00​ Ways To Increase Oxytocin Intro Melatonin

1.4.3. 3. Vasopressin 01:28:34​ Vasopressin: Aphrodisiac, Non-Monogamy and Anti-Bed-Wetting Qualities Suppresses urination Effect on the brain Monogomy

1.4.4. 4. Vagus Nerve 01:30:43​ Bonding Bodies, Not Just Minds: Vagus Nerve, Depression Relief Via the Body Explanation Myth Conclusion