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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’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.

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.

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.”

His 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. 

Dr. Veissière has 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. 

As a special bonus in this episode, you’ll find out my best hacks to stay healthy while traveling.

 Enjoy the show! … And get more resources at Dave.Asprey/podcasts

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