Being Well Podcast: The Science of “Self” with Dr. Jud Brewer
March 14, 2022

One of the underlying threads that runs through many of our conversations on Being Well is our relationship with our “self”. On this episode, Forrest and I talk with mindfulness author and researcher Dr. Jud Brewer about the science of self, where we can find the “self” in the brain, and the benefits of relaxing our attachment to it.

Dr. Jud Brewer is the Director of Research and Innovation at the Mindfulness Center and associate professor in Behavioral and Social Sciences at the School of Public Health and Psychiatry at the School of Medicine at Brown University. He is the executive medical director of behavioral health at Sharecare, and a research affiliate at MIT. His bestselling books include Unwinding Anxiety and The Craving Mind.

Key Topics:

  • 0:00: Introduction
  • 1:45: What is a “self”?
  • 5:10: Distinguishing consciousness, person, and self
  • 7:25: Can there be a unified sense of self in an everchanging psychological process?
  • 11:50: Selfing and what triggers a sense of “me”
  • 15:20: Evolutionary speculations about the origins of selfing
  • 18:50: Predictive processing and personal associations
  • 21:55: How Jud responds to selfing
  • 28:10: The unicorn metaphor of self and relief in sensory experience
  • 34:45: The experience of addiction and anxiety
  • 39:50: Somatic markers and distinguishing healthy vs. unhealthy desires
  • 41:40: Letting go vs. straining to create a self
  • 45:40: Underlying neurological components of the self
  • 56:30: The fluidity of awareness without self
  • 58:30: When and how does the default mode network become functional?
  • 1:03:00: Neuro-psychedelic research and unlearning
  • 1:07:15: Having a self vs. taking ourselves personally
  • 1:11:00: Recap

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