Welcome to a special CYInterview segment. We are proud to bring you an important roundtable discussion entitled, “The State of the American Brain.”
Technology grows at a dizzying pace. People seem to be more sedentary than ever before. Life expectancy appears to be up but so do the number of people who are overweight and obese. We face violence in society, most apparently when maniacs attack innocent individuals going about their daily lives. Our entertainment is filled with violence.
Our media is a nonstop feeding frenzy intent on getting views, reads, listens and clicks but many wonder when the same level of energy will be focused on the big, important stories instead of the ones that are simply salacious and attention grabbing.
Legions of people seem to be walking around in some kind of trance, slavishly interacting with their cellphones and not much else.
Questions jump to mind. How does all of this affect the brain? Are technology, media and entertainment evolving in a way that is difficult for us to keep up with? Are we heading for better or worse times for mental health?
In order to get some answers to those questions and gain greater insight into the current state of mental health, we called upon a couple of esteemed, past CYInterview guests. Joining us for this panel was nationally renowned psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig, who appears frequently in the media. Also joining us was neurobiologist Dr. Kristen Willeumier, a rising star from the Amen Clinics in California, who specializes in brain chemistry among other things. And rounding out the panel was our own Chris Yandek, to add a journalist’s point of view to the discussion.
Topics discussed by the panel included:
Our attention span in the age of the social web, e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Has the Internet fundamentally changed the way in which our relationships are formed and developed?
Reality television, how does it affect us?
Is schadenfreude – taking pleasure in someone else’s misfortune – a built in part of the human experience? Is there something in the brain/psyche which causes us to gain joy from the troubles of others?
Questions about nature and nurture, genetics vs. environment, brain vs. mind, when it comes to our behavior. Additionally, some information about how psychotherapy and emerging information about brain chemistry might be blended in the pursuit of better mental functioning.
Below are a couple of highlights from our more than 50 minute CYInterview panel on the brain. The entire discussion makes for compelling listening. Read the highlights and listen to the entire discussion below:
Listen to the entire “State of the American Brain” CYInterview: