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Your Behaviour Won't Be the Same


Dr. Andrew Huberman




Dr. Andrew Huberman explains that while the brain is highly plastic until around age 25, it becomes less plastic later in life. However, attention and the neuromodulator acetylcholine can enhance plasticity by making certain synapses more active. He discusses how positive associations, such as with a beloved song, and therapeutic techniques, like EMDR, can rewire the brain's connections, particularly in addressing traumatic experiences.


Everyone knows that the brain is very plastic early in life. So from birth until about age 25, you can learn so much later in life, you have a lot more control generally over your life circumstances, but the brain becomes less plastic. However, we know based on Nobel Prize winning work and recent work, in addition to that, that the neuromodulator acetylcholine is secreted. When we pay attention to something very specific, it acts as sort of a spotlight in the brain, making certain synapses, the connections between neurons more active and more likely to be active again than others. So when you hear that song that you love so much, and it moves you and you feel dopamine being pulsed in your body, that's a real thing, you're actually getting dopamine secretion, you've formed that deep association with that, and acetylcholine draws your attention to that. And that song is essentially wired in a very indelible way into your nervous system at multiple as you can probably even with certain songs, you can feel your body start to energize because of course, the brain through connections with your muscles controls your body. 

So for things that are traumatic or negative, what we're really talking about is neuroplasticity that's focused on unlearning. And most of the therapies for this, whether or not it's EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization reprocessing, or its traditional psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, or its somatic embodied release, big, you know, Kundalini breathing type, almost all of those are designed to do something, which is to bring the person or you bring yourself into a state of heightened alertness, right, you can't do this stuff, when you're sort of half asleep, heightened alertness, and then focusing your attention on the traumatic or negative event. This is the way that works.

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