Scroll to bottom of this post for the video presentation Filmed February 2004 at TED2004 … Dan Gilbert: The surprising science of happiness
Dan Gilbert, author of “Stumbling on Happiness,” challenges the idea that we’ll be miserable if we don’t get what we want. Our “psychological immune system” lets us feel truly happy even when things don’t go as planned.
He’s funny, he’s smart, he’s got data and it’s worth your time, here’s a transcript of the first minute of the talk.
00:11 When you have 21 minutes to speak, two million years seems like a really long time. But evolutionarily, two million years is nothing. And yet in two million years, the human brain has nearly tripled in mass, going from the one-and-a-quarter pound brain of our ancestor here, Habilis, to the almost three-pound meatloaf that everybody here has between their ears. What is it about a big brain that nature was so eager for every one of us to have one?
00:41 Well, it turns out when brains triple in size, they don’t just get three times bigger; they gain new structures. And one of the main reasons our brain got so big is because it got a new part, called the “frontal lobe.” Particularly, a part called the “pre-frontal cortex.” What does a pre-frontal cortex do for you that should justify the entire architectural overhaul of the human skull in the blink of evolutionary time?
01:06 It turns out the pre-frontal cortex does lots of things, but one of the most important things it does is an experience simulator. Pilots practice in flight simulators so that they don’t make real mistakes in planes. Human beings have this marvelous adaptation that they can actually have experiences in their heads before they try them out in real life. This is a trick that none of our ancestors could do, and that no other animal can do quite like we can. It’s a marvelous adaptation. It’s up there with opposable thumbs and standing upright and language as one of the things that got our species out of the trees and into the shopping mall.
( ☆* Be well & joyful
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Life is good ~ sharing the good in life makes it better.