Oprah’s Soul Series on XM -Radio

I’m getting a lot of requests for more information about the experience of being interviewed by Oprah yesterday evening for her Soul Series on XM-Radio. We did it out of the studios of WGMU in the Johnson Center here at Mason, but with the ISDN line it really felt as if the two of us were just having a friendly conversation in the same studio.

The first thing I need to say is that Oprah is an extremely personable interviewer. She put me pretty much instantly at ease with her combination of humor and warmness, and then we pretty much jumped into a discussion of just what modern neuroscience can offer us as to insight into the human mind, using Joel Achenbach’s article in the Washington Post as a starting point.

We talked about the difference between human intelligence and animal intelligence (we both came to the consensus that our dogs don’t spend a lot of time reflecting on either their soul or their place in the universe). I spent some time talking about what non-invasive brain imaging has gotten us….and what it hasn’t (i.e. we can’t read off the neural code).

Talking about meditation, I think she was surprised to learn that the Dalai Lama had been the star plenary guest at a recent Society for Neuroscience meeting held in Washington. Neuroscience certainly is interested in altered mental states.

The interview then turned to the “Decade of the Mind” project itself. My strong sense is that she understood why we belief that this proposed investment is necessary and supported it.

We also talked about my favorite brain structure, the hippocampus–how it is not only beautiful from a structural standpoint, but also what the clues from patients who have lesions to their hippocampi say about the laying down of episodic memories.

She asked me if it’s just a neuroscientist “thing” to find the hippocampus beautiful or would any person agree. Of course you can guess how I answered.

Finally I got to spend some time talking about the role of intuition in the life of an experimental science–how intuition at the laboratory bench can lead to that “Ah Ha” moment of discovery.


2 thoughts on “Oprah’s Soul Series on XM -Radio

  1. I read “My Stroke of Insight” in one sitting – I couldn’t put it down. I laughed. I cried. It was a fantastic book (I heard it’s a NYTimes Bestseller and I can see why!), but I also think it will be the start of a new, transformative Movement! No one wants to have a stroke as Jill Bolte Taylor did, but her experience can teach us all how to live better lives. Her TED.com speech was one of the most incredibly moving, stimulating, wonderful videos I’ve ever seen. Her Oprah Soul Series interviews were fascinating. They should make a movie of her life so everyone sees it. This is the Real Deal and gives me hope for humanity.


  2. Oprah’s 4 interviews with Jill Bolte Taylor were the first that Oprah did after Eckhart Tolle and they take everything Tolle talks about to another level. Oprah’s copy of Jill’s book, MY STROKE OF INSIGHT, was dog-eared and all marked up and kept reading from it the way she read from A New Earth and recommended it highly.Oprah’s recommendation was enough for me. I read My Stroke of Insight and I loved it too. This story is as inspiring as The Last Lecture or Tuesdays with Morrie – and even better, it has a Happy Ending! I bought the book on Amazon because they have it for 40% off retail and they also had an amazing interview with Dr Taylor that I haven’t seen anywhere else – Here is the < HREF="http://www.amazon.com/My-Stroke-Insight-Scientists-Personal/dp/0670020745/ref=pd_bbs_sr_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1210709205&sr=8-4" REL="nofollow" TITLE="My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor">Amazon<> link: http://www.amazon.com/My-Stroke-Insight-Scientists-Personal/dp/0670020745/ref=pd_bbs_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1211471755&sr=1-2


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