The social brain and its superpowers: Matthew Lieberman, Ph.D. at TEDxStLouis

Translator: Reiko Bovee
Reviewer: Freakbill Huang All right. I’ve been a neuroscientist
for the past 15 years. And based on what I learned,
I’d like to make a pretty bold claim. Now, this isn’t a late-night infomercial,
and there’s nothing for you to buy. But I’m going to give you the secret
by the end of my talk to be smarter, happier
and more productive. This secret depends on a couple
of superpowers that we all have and one “kryptonite”
that kind of gets in the way. Let’s start with Earl and Gloria. For more than half a century
they lived the American dream. They were high school sweethearts, and Earl volunteered
to be a World War II naval pilot, and Gloria went off
to the training camp with them. And when they returned,
he built his own house and a thriving business. where they worked together for years
while raising their family. But at the age of 67,
Earl died of prostate cancer. And Gloria was never the same
after Earl died. She became fixated on her past with him, and yet her memory was slipping away
more and more each day. And her personality changed too. She used to be charming and witty,
and now she became inattentive even mean. Her family and friends tried to understand
her dramatic transformation, doctors too. But they were never able
to identify a physical cause. For Gloria, the cause
of these changes was clear. She was dying
from the pain of a broken heart. And I know this because she told me
every chance she got. See, Gloria was my grandmother. So, was my grandmother right? Well, at the very least, it should lead us
to wonder about the painful experiences we’ve all had in our own lives. If I asked you to think
about your most painful memories, you’d probably list the death
of a loved one before a broken leg. But when you hear my grandmother’s story you’re probably thinking
that her “pain” is metaphorical. So, a broken leg that causes real pain, but social pain, the pain
that comes from loss of rejection, maybe not so much. About a decade ago, Naomi Eisenberger
and I set out to test whether social pain
is more than just a metaphor. We asked people to come in
and lay in MRI scanners where they believed that they were playing
this simple ball tossing game with two other people,
also laying in scanners. If you were in our study
you just hold this little hand at the bottom of the screen. And whenever the ball came to you
you’d decide who to throw it to next. Pretty boring stuff. But then something interesting happens. The other two people stop
throwing you the ball, forever. You never get the ball again. (Laughter) When we looked at the brains
of these individulas who had just been rejected
we saw two fascinating things. First the same brain regions that register
the distress of physical pain were also more active when people
were left out of the game compared to when they had been included. And second the more someone told us they felt bad about
being left out of the game the stronger the response
was in these regions. Now if this doesn’t persuade you
that social pain is real pain, consider the following. Tylenol makes these effects go away. The same pain killer that you take
for your headache can help with your heartache, too. Social pain is real pain. I don’t mean to suggest that a broken heart
is the same as a broken leg, any more than a stomachache
is the same as arthritis. But we distinguish various kinds of pain. And social pain ought
to be awarded a membership in a pain club. So, why would we be built this way? At first blush, the fact
that social pain is so distressing and can derail us
for days or weeks on end, seems like an evolutionary misstep. Why would we be built
with this vulnerability? Well, just like other kinds of pain. Social pain may not be pleasant
in a moment, but we would be lost without it. If I asked you what you think you need
to survive, most of you might say, food, water and shelter. A psychologist, Abraham Maslow
in his hierarchy of needs suggested that these physical needs
are the most basic, and other needs only become relevant
when these needs have been met. But Maslow had it wrong. See if you’re a mammal –
and I’m pretty sure all of you are – then what you need more than anything
to survive is social connection because mammals are born immature,
incapable of taking care of themselves. Each one of you only survived infancy because someone had such an urge
to connect with you that every time they were separated
from you or heard you cry, it caused them a pain that motivated them to come find you and help you
over and over again. And as infants each of you cried
when you were hungry, thirsty or cold. But you also cried
when you were simply separated from your caregiver because social separation
causes pain in infants. You might think that our tendency
to feel social pain is a kind of kryptonite. But our urge to connect and the pain we feel
when this need is thwarted, is one of the seminal achievements
of our brain that motivates us
to live, work and play together. You can have the greatest idea
in the world, but if you can’t connect with other people
nothing will come of it. You can’t build a rocket ship by yourself. Rather than being a kind of kryptonite,
our capacity for social pain is one of our greatest superpowers. Let’s talk about another one. How many of you have played
“rock-paper-scissors” before? Two people each throw one
of three gestures to see who wins. So we know that “rock” beats “scissors”
“scissors” beats “paper,” and for some mysterious reason
“paper” beats “rock.” (Laughter) Now this seems like a reasonable way
to settle a minor dispute because neither side knows
what the other will throw. So, the outcome should be random, fair, except that it isn’t. See, rock-paper-scissor novices
have a variety of tendencies that can be exploited
by more experienced players. For instance, inexperienced male players have an increased likelihood
of starting with a throw of “rock,” because rocks are implicitly
associated with power. (Laughter) And this gives a smart opponent
the upper hand. Now in 2006 this guy, Bob Cooper emerged victorious
over 500 other competitors to be crowned
Rock-Paper-Scissors World Champion. (Laughter) And yes that’s the thing. Now Bob Cooper is the real deal, he even beat a math professor
who chose his sequence of throws based on the digits of Pi. Now after he won
he revealed his secret. He said, “It’s about predicting
what your opponent predicts your throw. It’s about manipulating
what they think you’ll throw, and then getting inside their heads to see
if you’ve successfully misdirected them.” He said he grew the beard
so that he looks like a tough guy who would throw rock a lot and said, “How ofter did you see me
throwing rock in the finals?” Cooper has this amazing talent
for reading minds, but so do each of you. Every one of us is a mind reader
countless times each day. Let me give you an example. Imagine I had come up on stage followed
by someone holding a gun to my head. I then proceeded to declare that Justin Bieber
is the greatest musical talent of this or any other generation. You would be easily moved
from the visible signs, the gun, my gender, my age to the invisible,
my thoughts and feelings, my fear of being shot
if I don’t do as I’ve been instructed. Now our mind reading abilities
aren’t perfect, far from it, but it is extraordinary
that we can do this at all, given that none of us have ever seen
a thought or feeling. The fact that we can peer
into the minds of those around us and imagine their responses
to nearly any situation gives us an unparalleled capacity
for cooperation and collaboration. This is unquestionably
a social superpower. Then you might think that this is just another application
of our general ability to think and reason analytically, use our big old prefrontal cortex
to solve nearly any problem we’re given. You might think this, but you’d be wrong. Our ability to think socially
is so essential to our survival that evolution gave us
a separate brain system just for this kind of thinking. So, the outer surface of your brain,
there’s this network that’s just for doing almost any kind
of analytical thinking you can imagine, logical reasoning down
to holding a phone number in mind while you hunt for your phone. And then there’s this other network,
more on the midline of the brain that’s just for social thinking
for mind reading. We know that this network
for social thinking tends to be quieted down
by other kinds of thinking. So, it’s as if these two networks
for social and analytical thinking are on two ends of a see-saw;
when one goes up, the other goes down. We also know that this network
for social thinking comes on like a reflex. Whenever you finish doing
any kind of analytical thinking whenever your brain
gets a chance to rest, to idle this network for mind-reading
pops up immediately. And if I were to ask you
in a minute from now – ok, to do some kind of mind reading task – then right now before I had asked you, the extent to which this network
spontaneously and preemptively pops up, the better you’ll do
on the mind reading task when I asked you to do it. Just like seeing this word [FACE]
primes you and get you ready to see this illusion as two faces
rather than as a vase, this network for social thinking
coming on preemptively before you walk
into the next situation of your life, gets you ready to see
the actions around you in terms of the minds behind them. Evolution has made a bet
that the best thing for your brain to do in any spare moment is to get ready
to see the world socially. And finally this network also comes on
when we’re taking in new information. My lab’s found that when you’re watching
a trailer for an upcoming movie, the more this network pops up,
the more likely you’ll be to go get on Facebook
and tell your friends about it. This network switches us
from being information consumers to information DJs, motivating us to share
what we learn with those around us. Something essential
to the success of mankind. So, if social pain keeps us close
to important others, and mind reading abilities
keep us living well with one another, well, what’s our kryptonite? Simple. Not appreciating the value
of our social superpowers is our kryptonite. We don’t realize the importance
of social in our lives. When we do we too easily forget again. Getting more social is the secret to making us a smarter, happier
and more productive. Let me take those in turn. In the classroom being social
is treated as the enemy of learning but it turns out that if you learn
in order to teach someone else you learn better than if you learn
in order to take a test. Research in my lab and another has shown that when you’re socially
motivated to learn, your social brain can do the learning, and it can do it better
than the analytical network that you typically activate
when you try to memorize. This idea of learning for teaching
was actually implemented as a national standard in France. After the French Revolution
there was a massive teacher shortage and children were recruited
to teach other children. And it was wildly successful,
but when France got back on its feet and forgot about social and went back
to the traditional classroom. Let’s talk about business. We know that great leaders
make teams more productive. But what makes for a great leader? According to a large recent survey, a leader who has
an analytically-minded focus and is focused on getting results
has relatively small chance of being seen as a great leader. But if that same leader also
has strong social skills, the chance of being seen
as a great leader skyrockets. Social, social skill are a multiplier, they allow us to leverage
the analytical abilities of those around us. If we really connected with one another
on a team, each of us will work to complement the strengths
and weaknesses of others on the team. And remember you can’t build
a rocket by yourself. So what percentage of leaders
do score high on being both results-focused
and having strong social skills? Less than one percent. Because we don’t recognize
the value of social, we’re promoting the wrong people
into leadership positions and not giving them the social skills
training they need once they get there. And as a side note, because of the social brain’s wiring
when you praise an employee’s performance you’re doing the same thing
to their brains reward system that giving them a raise would do
but at no cost to the company. Finally happiness. We know that social connection
is one of the best predictors of happiness and well-being. And in contrast, increasing wealth
is not a very good predictor of happiness and well-being. Nevertheless over the past 50 years
we have come to value the pursuit of wealth more and more, often
at the expense of our social well-being, spending more time at the office
and away from family and friends. Last month I received an outrageous offer for a huge sum of money to move to Russia for four months for each
of the next two years to help train neuroscientists. It was the kind of money
that an academic only dreams about. And frankly I became completely
obsessed witht the idea of going, so obsessed that I couldn’t sleep
for days on end. But ultimately I decided not to go. See my wife and son are the bedrock
of my social well-being, and they weren’t going to be going. My time with them can’t be replaced
by the money that I would make in Russia. My son will only be seven once, and no amount of money
could ever make him seven again and give me back those moments
that will be able to share with him. For those of you with full grown children
how much money would you spend to have a few more months with them
back when they were seven years old? Now if I needed to do this
to put food on the table, I would go in a heartbeat,
no question about it. But we have what we need,
we have enough money. This money would let us buy
nicer cars and maybe a bigger house. But if I went it would be at the risk
of sacrificing my own social well-being and my family’s too. These are the real roots of happiness
and even knowing that, even studying the social brain
like I do, This was one of the single
hardest decisions of my life. Not knowing in our guts
the value of social, the real literal value of social
is our greatest kryptonite. And if we want future generations
to be smarter, happier and more productive, we need to be teaching them
about their social superpowers from a very young age
and helping them train these abilities. You might not be able
to explain to your kids why they need to learn algebra. But there is no question that strengthening and understanding
these social superpowers will help our children
for their entire lives. Thank you. (Applause)

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100 Responses

  1. StoIenLogic says:

    I love the way he presses the button.

  2. theshiznojudge says:

    the clap at the end was pathetic compared to what he said

  3. Bagman451 says:

    He does seem to put a focus on being outgoing and inquisitive about social occurrences, and maybe this person did not consider introverts as much — as they tend to come out less happy anyways, it may supplement his point if he relates well-being and happiness — but his main focus was probably the influence of being social on our positive affectivity.

    Introverts are probably less forthcoming. Even I enjoy some social interactions, but tend to have developed misanthropic attitudes towards most.

  4. Rogue Scholar says:

    Im so tired of hearing this hipster inspired glorification on the virtue of being an introvert from people so wrapped up in polishing their chosen mask of the month that they can miss the point of such a profound talk entirely.

    Being intro/extraverted is a state of nurture, not nature. We are all equally endowed by evolution with the same "superpowers" and even introverted hipster "wallflowers" gravitate towards social situations whether or not they engage at the same level in them.

  5. mdlieber99 says:

    If you like the talk, check out the book its based on. "Social: Why our brains are wired to connect"

  6. rith5 says:

    I am just thinking about how I can incorporate this into sport.

  7. rith5 says:

    Also Matthew, this talk was brilliant, I hope this video gets millions of views.

  8. Peachyblackwhite says:

    I agree. What he argues is that "getting more social is the secret to making us smarter, happier and more productive" (12:46). Personally, I tend to value quality not quantity.

    Even though I do like quite a few ideas he points out and they seem to have positive applications, I see the reductionistic nature of his claims being way too open for interpretations. Such as ones made by extroverted people when they "peer into the minds" (9:12) of introverts and can see only "wallflowers" hipsters.

  9. rith5 says:

    Or rather you two have difficulty accepting the ideas because you've divided the world into two groups: introvert/extrovert. No person is just an extrovert or introvert, that terminology is going to become archaic as our understanding of the brain moves forward. Those words barely describe behaviour, and will block new neuroscience. Ironically you two are the reductionists. People are not so simple as 1/2 or somewhere in between, your model reeks of non-specificity, just like those terms.

  10. rith5 says:

    Omg the person talking about "the social brain" focused on inquisition and social occurrences? Is this the real life? Or just fantasy??

  11. Rogue Scholar says:

    That is like saying that nobody is truly ONLY right-handed. These classifications are meant to highlight predominance, not exclusivity. The point that everyone seems to be missing is that his argument is spotlighting the supreme significance that evolution has placed on engineering biological imperatives to be social, and the way that contemporary culture tends to pervert that design. Unless it is somehow the case that introverts dont feel social pain then all of that jive talkin is unnecessary

  12. Rogue Scholar says:

    As snarky as you are confused, how quaint. The point is that extra/introvert do not belong in this conversation period.

  13. mdlieber99 says:

    What I said in the talk applies equally to introverts and extraverts, IMO. We are all motived to connect whether its really closely with 2 people or loosely with 500. It takes different forms but the motivation is there for almost all. Also, mindreading is critical whether you try to get along with 2 people or 500. I do not think "more social = extraverted". I think "more social = more connected" and that connection could be with 1 or 2 people. Thanks for your interest!

  14. ItsameAlex says:

    I figured out that rock paper scissors trick by myself, i didn't need him to tell me.

  15. Bagman451 says:

    Amidst your sarcasm, you missed the point entirely; including the part where I politely — in a more conducive, pedagogical manner — elaborate upon the lessened focus on introvertive characteristics. Context matters.

    Also, "inquisition and social occurrences" and "inquisitive about social occurrences" relate to completely distinct things, the latter actually being more relevant to the video.

    Sadly, the internet is filled with people eager to incorrectly deduce some enthymeme. Ya know, fantasy

  16. Bagman451 says:

    Ah, didn't see this comment. Assumptions abound ("you two"), for I have not categorized the world into false dichotomies; more-so, I was entertaining her comment, attempting to provide a productive conversation.

    The terms themselves are just helpful conduits for discussion; as far as I know, nobody claimed simplicity, certainty, nor specificity. You almost embody a backwards pluralistic ignorance, where the inner-thoughts, contexts, and motivations of others are taken as a norm. Hypervigliance?

  17. Rogue Scholar says:

    Is it possible that the inability to empathize, sympathize and connect socially with other people is a constant source of pain for socio/psychopaths and that a large part of their behavior could be motivated by a perverted reward system where victimizing other people is in fact a form of self medicating, i.e. stabbing X leads to endorphins rush= dulling of social pain? Is it possible that ur quantification of social pain is the "indescribable urge" that these people feel the need to quell?

  18. Rogue Scholar says:

    If it is possible to verify such a thing socio/psychopathy may be diagnosable through observing hyperactivity in the anterior cingulate cortex in the absence of external stimuli that would trigger a pain response. If it turns out that antisocial behavior is simply a response to a chronic social pain syndrome, it would be a great win for proponents of restorative justice. Im simply overwhelmed with all of the implications 4 mental illness, drug addiction, autism and other socially debilitating CI

  19. Sebastian Montoya says:

    One of the great talks I've heard in a while. I really wish I'd have thought about becoming a neuroscientist when I was younger. These people are so incredibly intelligent

  20. rith5 says:

    It's not an assumption, it's the text of your comments. They are not helpful conduits for discussion, they are the opposite, they are insulators that prevent a wider discussion and promote a minimalist view of the mind and human potential/interaction. The rest of your second paragraph is jibberish, it doesn't even qualify as rigmarole.

  21. mdlieber99 says:

    If you enjoy, follow me on twitter @social_brains or get the book "Social: Why our brains are wired to connect".

  22. Bagman451 says:

    It was an assumption, because it was never stated that I saw the world within that dichotomy which you explicitly state, "Or rather you two have difficult accepting the ideas because you've divided the world into two groups: introvert/extrovert". The initial claim is also an assumption, in the very least because I never made a statement not in acceptance of the video's material. In fact, it was quite interesting; hence my initial "like".

    The rest noted your aggressive conduct towards phantasms.

  23. Bagman451 says:

    Also, what distinguishes rather or not the language used was a conduit/insulator is dependent upon the context(Youtube;500-char limit), assumptions(following up with a personal message to have broader discussions, for example), and a self-fulfilling projection — If you already presume, like you state, that we view the world through a particular lens, then it follows we inhibit creative discourse.

    I hope you understand what I am getting at, because the derisive comments were uncalled for.

  24. rith5 says:

    Misanthropic indeed.

  25. venus john says:

    and this is the power that certain ancient and undeveloped and tribal like societies use..they ostracise you,until you toe the follow the evil and corrupt traditions of the culture…and some families use it too…

  26. Harry Key says:

    This is fascinating. But these 'Tylenol cures grief' stories make me worry people are going to start self medicating. Isn't Tylenol very dangerous and easy to overdose?

  27. mdlieber99 says:

    Yes! No one should be treating themselves with Tylenol. This study was done as a scientific demonstration that something we thought would only help phys pain similarly affects soc pain. High doses of Tylenol are incredibly toxic – deadly. When I get more than 18 min to speak I explain this.

  28. Bagman451 says:

    Well, that was a low-blow; in all honesty, my motivations were to correct some initial assumptions and help make the discussion less oppositional/diametric. My expectation of human nature may be less than satisfactory, but not my aspirations 😛

  29. rith5 says:

    You weren't speaking in all honesty before?

  30. Ben Dover says:

    i have another superpower… deez nuts

  31. Daniel Soll says:

    A lot of people satisfy their social needs at their job. There might even be a strong motivation for people who are not able or willing to win a friend or start a relationship based on equality to seek an environment of hierarchies in order to gain attractiveness by success – this might explain the findings about the weak correlation between social skills and leadership. Ultimately, any strive for money or success might be grounded in the need to be a member of a group of higher status.

  32. Bagman451 says:

    I was speaking in all honesty beforehand, nothing states I was not. Your motivations, however, remain rather enigmatic to me. It could be trolling, self-handicapping, calumniation, or even a malevolent will; unsure, but it is not pleasant. I can't imagine it being pleasant to live with, either.

  33. Rogue Scholar says:

    WOW. For someone who seems to know more about the consequences of social rejection than anyone else on the planet you sure did ignore my question with reckless abandon! Here I was truly impressed to see an academic mosey down from the ivory tower to rub elbows with us common folk. I suppose it is possible that my question was dumb enough not to warrant a response, next time I'll comment on OTC disclaimers 4 tylenol!

    That'll teach me to show genuine interest in a truly fascinating subject.

  34. mdlieber99 says:

    It wasn't with reckless abandon, Adrian. I didn't have anything intelligent to say. The tylenol thing is important because people could die if they misinterpret our findings. I don't think the lack of empathy is causing psychopaths pain, but its not my area of study. I don't think I can respond to most of the comments on here, but the tylenol one needed a reply.

  35. Rogue Scholar says:

    The cutting edge of discovery slices both ways.When u announce a breakthrough,ur also announcing urself as the sole source of authority until further notice.Ur talk is amazing.I imagine it will generate much discussion & questions in the coming weeks.I get the cost/benefit evaluation 4 ur time,but dont discount the value of an interested public.Maybe fan the flame by consolidating ur efforts & announce a Q&A where u will address laymen like myself in the interest of fostering social connections.

  36. Rogue Scholar says:

    In the meantime, I have heeded your advice and bought the book. Perhaps the secret to slaying the Hydra of my questions is between the covers, but for some reason every bone in my body would prefer to have the immediacy of human interaction… it almost like I was built to prefer it… it would be so cool if there was someone I could talk to who could explain why that is…

  37. mdlieber99 says:

    Yeah, I would totally do a Q&A if I knew how to do that and thought it would generate interest. I have no idea how to do that or announce that. Anyway, thanks for your interest in the talk and the book.

  38. sasha black says:

    liked this

  39. rith5 says:

    I'm having fun, I hope you're not finding it pleasant to live with 😉

  40. Rogue Scholar says:

    Fair enough. Apologies for pulling you in to such an unproductive exchange(and for being an ass about it). Literally the exact opposite of my original intention. Best of luck with it all.

  41. Bagman451 says:

    Malevolence it is! Haha, it would be hypocritical to get irritated anyhow, since I have taken up my fair-share of the comment-section in my selfish-zealous to.. Well, I guess shape you in a way that isn't so disharmonious with others 😀

    I could have sent your a personal message, but figured the public arena is where you thrive. Who knows, could've been wrong.

  42. rith5 says:

    Oh yeah, arguments should be public. Publicly sanctioned arguments are just named debates.

  43. Dwight E Howell says:

    Your friends and family are your most valuable assets yet most Americans have few stable long term relationships.

  44. twerpbasher says:

    It's presumptuous to say that it is inherent in all humans, many breeds were not as domesticated as the europoids

  45. R.B. says:

    Isn't it presumptuous to use canine domestic metaphors to describe humans?

  46. Pòl Al says:

    It's good to hear someone exposing the weakness of Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs…

  47. Debra Pittam says:

    love this thank you

  48. Anna Gray says:

    I still saw a vase 🙂 I think that all these talks about being happy with less money is nothing but a propaganda to prevent the poor to come for the heads of the rich. Social and financial are two separate entries. I think you were wrong you didn't use the opportunity. Think about how many opportunities you would've created for other people whom you'd train. Your wife and son could've come with you. I always come with my husband.

  49. hi says:

    any thumbs down to this is lame and without any good reason. damn trolls

  50. andersspam says:

    He reminds me of Brad Pitt

  51. Deri Latimer says:

    Fantastic! Well described and passionately communicated! Thank you!

  52. lisaengelbrektson says:

    I saw the vase first…. (And had to try to see the faces. Note: I don't really use Facebook.)

  53. Silphet says:

    Does anybody out there think Dissonance creates pain the same way?
    Which may explain why we do so much dissonance reduction and can fall into cognitive dissonance?

  54. Ashley Awbrey says:

    This is a great lecture.

  55. Henry Sauca says:

    It is easy to isolate in modern society as a means of avoiding social pain, particularly if early social experiences have lead us to fear each other. This is a grave issue which we should address directly by consciously building social experiences in which our social needs can be met and our nature flourish.

  56. PO rancourt says:

    That was really inspiring! But the sad thing about that is that only a few amount of people think like that or understand that. He made the choice to put money 2nd and family first. Even for myself, i don't know a lot of people that would do that. Be humble in life, love what you do, have faith and be patient, everything else is secondary.

  57. SoundlessCinema says:

    Tai Lopez brought me here 

  58. Dallas McMillan says:

    The Social Brain and it's superpowers on TEDx

  59. Tiago Soares says:

    Great talk and great book 😉

  60. MannohneIceman says:

    Our biology teacher allways had us learn something and then teach it to others. It didn´t help at all

  61. pwnn00bzorz1 says:

    Thanks Matthew! This is an inspiring message.

  62. Grace22 says:

    excelent talk…. I'm surprised it got only 732 likes…. Thanks for the powerful sharing anyway!!

  63. Ray Unseitig says:

    Next time, off to Russia WITH wife and kids. Nice talk. Thanks.

  64. putheflamesou says:

    Social or money. How about no money. The Venus Project sounds better and better. Money root of all evil=finite, united effieciency=infinite.

  65. Joe Jowers says:

    to Citi L, I read about an experiment that suggested just the opposite: an infant deprived of human touch died despite being fed, quite quickly if I remember.

  66. Bhagwant Singh says:

    sir can i send u mcq which my students solve last days can u check them n tell me the marks they got thanku

  67. Andrew Rice says:

    I read his book Social, so I know that what he's saying is really significant, but the way he portrays it in this speech is not as effective as his writing. Read his book.


    So because his son will turn 7 while he's away so he decided no to take a very highly paid job for only 4 month?
    well, I can't understand why he had to give up Russia because he was probably around for other birthdays and when he gets the money they can have amazing times together. this my thoughts

  69. Simon Emanuelsson says:


  70. Torin Weatherbee says:

    I think the beginning where he talks about social pain and social thinking in the brain is interesting as fuck, I bet if you look into how logical and social thinking are regulated it's tied to the difficulty people on the autism spectrum have with socializing.

    At the same time though, he acts as though the social area of the brain spontaneously activates itself and that compels you to "mind read" or share information with other people, instead of having a motivation that activates that area. I would also guess that because socializing is generally a natural, internalized thought process you have to learn things much more comprehensively to teach a concept, as opposed to being tested on it. Its equivalent to sampling a signal at a rate that's "good enough" to get the gist of the information as opposed to getting an essentially continuous analog signal

    ALSO, I'm pretty sure the word face primes people to see a face because your visual association cortex literally connects words with an image or archetype (i.e. a face has certain features like lips, nose, chin, etc.), not because of how eager we are to interact with others.

    Also ALSO, having to choose between a lot of money and experiencing the 7th year in particular of your child's life is a poor ethos argument in assuming everyone would be weighing those specific priorities, but I still think he has a point, including discussing the importance of socialization with children. I don't have much interaction with school age children to say this with any certainty, but I like to think that replacing social interactions face-to-face with online social media has a detrimental impact on children's social intelligence/maturity/health/whatever.

    Overall I'd still say it's probably one of my favorite TED talks though xD 8/10

  71. Jenny Phillips says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  72. Aniko Amália says:

    Amazing! Thanks! ,,learning for teaching,, teach leaders the social skills,, teach kidsoh oh oh…,, <3

  73. Andrea Samadi says:

    Incredible!! Watching this while I'm watching my almost 7 year old at gymnastics. The sacrifice for your family vs wealth is a great lesson.

  74. Nigist Nigist says:

    how Lovely!!!

  75. Nathan Horn says:

    This guy is a great speaker

  76. David Shipley says:

    Is he an atheist or theist ?

  77. Jean Letourneau says:

    Briiliant! Thank you! Why so few organizations understand this?

  78. A. Sz. says:

    . thanks for these mind opening words.
    i would also like to point out that this lecture have persuaded me even more that infant circumcsion , when not done for immediate/necessary medical reasons , is (basically social) wrong performed on infants..,, since it isolates them (brutally) out of the first social support (=their motherly/parental continuous uninterrupted tender loving nurturing), they will ever get , in their most vulnerable/100%dependent stage of life, and when they dont even have verbal capacity .,

  79. Rob Kee says:

    "Family, the real roots of happiness." Nicely done Dr. Lieberman.
    God bless you,
    Rob Kee

  80. seagecko says:

    This talk hit me on so many levels. Fascinating. And the presentation is excellent.

  81. Mara T Yirka says:

    I do not want to build a rocket ship

  82. Dejavaux says:

    Great, now i gotta go buy social skills.

  83. novlettemasellia says:

    What about autistic people
    They don't have a social brain at all, or almost at all, and can't read minds
    The pain must be absolutely unbearable for them

  84. Reb Dalmas says:

    You really have just said that the social world, is controlled by survival, which is what causes a separation from common sense, as that basic physical understanding. This means that the social constructs, economically, are limiting in themselves. We are ruled/word driven by fear instead of being really creative. Being creative means problem solving in practical means. This is much more stable in developing real practical steps that actually get things done, and the words are probably a part of the vocabulary to match. Connection means effective communication. Our social well being is thus determined by our vocabulary development, because it allows us to get the things we need to be a well rounded effectively in the limiting economic construct we allow socially on this earth. Thus our words, when they call out the pain, is our fear of loss in a system that limits through being a construct of survival before life.

  85. Ammar Aljaban says:

    I would call the Social mind as Interpretation mind (patternalization of the received neurosignal – saving the pattern with help of cerebellum – saving the outcome from other different minds in response to such a pattern)
    then the analytical mind can get access to these data and make expectation to the end (outcome) of each possible pattern around it. Sociality or experience (collecting the maximal of pattern-outcome coupling) plays a big role in developing the Interpretation mind. Though the social mind (superego or conscious/G) is the memory-mind that saves the full data needed for expectation and judging according to the original repetitive saved groups of Pattern-Outcome chains from the interpretation mind. which i think can be in the limbic system.

  86. Jukka Nikki says:

    Great speech. Thanks.

  87. Dainius Macionis says:

    I think when Matthew is talking about social learning he has in mind the experiential learning, or letting the subconscious take the lead instead of the analytical mind.

  88. Didier Khwartz says:

    Gorgeous! Very Thanks For Sharing and For The Work Done! 🙂

  89. Amanda Marie Vincent says:

    Then what about the monks?

  90. Ross Meldrum says:

    If your a rocket scientist you can build a rocket by yourself it just takes longer.

  91. Fuck all governments says:

    Не успею прочитывать субтитры, не буду смотреть жаль что не переводите.

  92. boson96 says:

    11:21 I saw a vase and not two faces. I guess I am a sociopath.

  93. Jason Kim says:

    He would make a great grandfather. such a gifted storyteller 🙂 Just kidding. His students are fortunate.

  94. anders björkman says:

    This is great!

  95. Btech321 says:

    Evolution made this lecture very boring . And evolution made me write this bsssss

  96. Ammara Batool says:

    I loved the talk, thanks for the awesome research you just shared

  97. Johnny Rutz says:

    Sociology is beautiful.

  98. Alex Furley says:

    Read his book, Social. 5x better than the talk

  99. Kim Ethan Dan Sung says:


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