Notes on Interview with Neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Huberman

Rich Roll Podcast: Interview with Dr. Andrew Hubermann

This is (at least for me) a super-interesting interview. I can recommend the watch, even though I had to split it over several days, since it is more than 2 hours and packed with information.

This is just me keeping some notes, so I can pick up on this again…

  • If you want to change something or learn something, you need focus
  • Acetylcholine - important neurotransmitter that marks neurons involved in a certain behavior for change, which is subsequently acted upon during sleep.
  • What's the brain interested in?
    • Duration - How long will it take
    • Path - WHat is the way through?
    • Outcome - What is ultimately gonna happen?
  • Urgency is required, a state of alertness! Chemically this is Norepinephrine, Adrenaline
  • Alertness and Focus towards a thought, action pattern, behavior - This gives you plasticity
  • Desire or love or fear - either works to give you altertness and focus :)
  • Dopamine "puts us on the right path". It is given, when we are on the right path. It is not just about the outcome, it is also about the path!
    • Norepinephrine is also the "substrate" for quitting, dopamine counteracts that and gives you...the second air :)
    • So, dopamine can give you more room to do duration, path, outcome work.
    • However, dopamine also tightens our focus, this can lead to addiction


  • a progressive narrowing of the things that give you pleasure.
  • There is some more on addiction at 1h39min - this focusing, narrowing down, also stops you from seeing other possiblities. They see no other choice.
  • Treating addiction, bringing on change - need to see other possibilities, and this needs reduction of myopic states of mind (dopamine-induced!).
  • "Dilate the perception"

You need all the three components for new behaviors / neuroplasticity: Acetylcholine, Norepinephrine, Dopamine

  • Don't suppress thoughts, Introduce new thoughts!
  • Do you manage to reward yourself, step by step?
  • Do you understand that Adrenaline was always meant to move you?
  • sensation, perception, feeling, thought and behavior <- but really! you can run this backwards, too!
  • Basically, move and the rest will follow
  • David Goggins

Get the adrenaline flowing!

  • Cold bath!
  • 25-30 deep breaths in a minute, nose in, mouth out!
  • The eyes dilate and help you to focus on one thing, and your mental focus will follow

bring the autonomic nervous system down, if you get lost in too many tasks

  • physiological sigh - 2 inhales, followed by one exhale
  • diaphragm control - fast or slow

focus, de-focus

  • increase focus packs more events / time
  • decrease focus - panoramic vision - see the horizon. It helps you to reset your focus. Looking at a phone won't help! Instagram also requires focus of your eyes. (Save the Norepinephrine for when you need it)
  • let go - also in meditation :)
  • Yoga Nidra / Hypnosis for recovering
  • Michael Sealey for hypnosis scripts
  • trouble falling asleep (1h32min),
    • Control your perception window
    • brain state of no duration, path and outcome analysis
    • walking while letting your mind go - moving
  • EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) (in relation to managing trauma)
    • Note: reminds me of the Eye movement in REM?
  • Lateral eye movements calm the Amygdala
  • Expand and Contract your sense of time is powerful.

About our communication breakdown

  • Hearing & listening is only possible if you are calm
  • Experiments im the 60s showed that people like frustration and mild anger
  • confirmation bias taps into the dopamine system - I see and hear things differently.
  • "My ability to recruit you into stress is much more powerful than my ability to recruit you into empathy"
  • We have the capacity to control our emotions
  • We are the only species that have neuroplasticity throughout their lifespan

Own thoughts

What if the constant focus grabbing of our smartphones make us more myopic and hence make us fail to see the broader picture and make us fail to see the other side?

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Frank Quednau 2022