Daniel Levitin: How to stay calm when you know you'll be stressed
Daniel Levitin - Neuroscientist
Daniel Levitin incorporates findings from neuroscience into everyday life. Full bio
I broke into my own house.
in the dead of Montreal winter,
Jeff, across town,
read minus 40 degrees --
if that's Celsius or Fahrenheit,
fumbling in my pockets,
through the window,
where I had left them.
and tried all the other doors and windows,
at least I had my cellphone,
for a locksmith to show up,
Jeff's house for the night
to Europe the next morning,
my passport and my suitcase.
through the basement window,
and taped it up over the opening,
on the way to the airport,
and ask him to fix it.
than a middle-of-the-night locksmith,
I was coming out even.
about how the brain performs under stress.
that raises your heart rate,
that I had to call my contractor,
the cortisol in my brain,
because my thinking was cloudy.
to the airport check-in counter,
and ice, 40 minutes,
raced back to the airport,
my seat to someone else,
next to the bathrooms,
on an eight-hour flight.
during those eight hours and no sleep.
are there things that I can do,
of it being a total catastrophe.
until about a month later.
Danny Kahneman, the Nobel Prize winner,
about having broken my window,
something called prospective hindsight.
from the psychologist Gary Klein,
a few years before,
to figure out what went wrong, right?
all the things that could go wrong,
what you can do
or to minimize the damage.
in the form of a pre-mortem.
some of them are not so obvious.
for things that are easily lost.
like common sense, and it is,
to back this up,
called the hippocampus,
of thousands of years,
of important things --
where fish can be found,
that allows squirrels to find their nuts.
somebody actually did the experiment
the olfactory sense of the squirrels,
they were using the hippocampus,
in the brain for finding things.
that don't move around much,
and reading glasses and passports.
designate a spot for your keys --
maybe a decorative bowl.
a particular table.
and you're scrupulous about it,
when you look for them.
of your credit cards,
you can facilitate replacement.
the brain releases cortisol.
and it causes cloudy thinking.
you're not going to be at your best,
no more stressful a situation
with a medical decision to make.
are going to be in that position,
a very important decision
or that of a loved one,
a very particular medical condition.
of medical decision-making,
and social decision-making --
assessment of the facts.
and the doctor says,
your cholesterol's a little high."
of cardiovascular disease,
isn't the best thing,
"You know, I'd like to give you a drug
lower your cholesterol, a statin."
the most widely prescribed drugs
people who take them.
"Yeah! Give me the statin."
you should ask at this point,
don't like talking about,
like talking about even less.
that need to take a drug
or any medical procedure
what kind of crazy statistic is that?
something to me
doesn't work that way.
it's the fault of scientists like me.
the underlying mechanisms well enough.
in only 30 to 50 percent of the people.
for the most widely prescribed statin,
before one person is helped?
Jerome Groopman and Pamela Hartzband,
take the drug for a year
or other adverse event is prevented.
of lowering my cholesterol.
the prescription anyway."
for another statistic,
about the side effects." Right?
in five percent of the patients.
gastrointestinal distress --
it's going to happen to me,
you're not thinking clearly.
to work through this ahead of time,
the chain of reasoning on the spot.
One person's helped,
have side effects,
to be harmed by the drug
should take the statin or not.
this conversation with your doctor.
of informed consent.
to this kind of information
you want to take the risks or not.
out of the air for shock value,
this number needed to treat.
on men over the age of 50,
for every one person who's helped.
occur in 50 percent of the patients.
of the 50 percent who has these,
is to think ahead of time
that you might be able to ask
all of this on the spot.
about things like quality of life.
a great deal of pain towards the end?
and think about now,
in the heat of the moment,
with this kind of thinking.
that happens at that moment
you don't need your digestive system,
metabolism on those things
and then none of those things matter.
during those times of stress
and his colleagues have shown.
to think ahead
is recognizing that all of us are flawed.
to what those failures might be,
that will help minimize the damage,
from happening in the first place.
snowy night in Montreal,
a combination lock next to the door,
an easy to remember combination.
that haven't been sorted,
that I haven't gone through.
as a gradual process,
About the speaker:Daniel Levitin - Neuroscientist
Daniel Levitin incorporates findings from neuroscience into everyday life.
Why you should listen
Dr. Daniel Levitin is a neuroscientist at McGill University in Montreal, dean at Minerva Schools in San Francisco and a musician. His research focuses on pattern processing in the brain.
His three books This Is Your Brain on Music, The World in Six Songs, and the recent The Organized Mind are all bestsellers. A polymath at heart, he has performed with top musicians and holds a few gold and platinum records.
Levitin earned his B.A. in Cognitive Psychology and Cognitive Science at Stanford University, and went on to earn his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Oregon, researching complex auditory patterns and pattern processing in expert and non-expert populations. He completed post-doctoral training at Stanford University Medical School (in Neuroimaging) and at UC Berkeley (in Cognitive Psychology). He has consulted on audio sound source separation for the U.S. Navy, and on audio quality for several rock bands and record labels (including the Grateful Dead and Steely Dan), and served as one of the “Golden Ears” expert listeners in the original Dolby AC3 compression tests. He worked for two years at the Silicon Valley think tank Interval Research Corporation.
He taught at Stanford University in the Department of Computer Science, the Program in Human-Computer Interaction, and the Departments of Psychology, Anthropology, Computer Music, and History of Science.
Daniel Levitin | Speaker | TED.com