244: Scott Grafton | Neuroscientist And Brain Imaging Center Director On Mind/Body Connection In “Physical Intelligence”

Our first guest of 2020 is Dr. Scott Grafton, Bedrosian Coyne Presidential Chair in Neuroscience at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is author of the book Physical Intelligence: The Science of How the Body and the Mind Guide Each Other Through Life.

It was great to talk with Dr. Grafton because his book connected with some concepts from some authors/researchers in past episodes, and described a way of thinking about the physical element of intelligence, and how our motor function is connected with our layers of brain processing. I also went to UCSB, and that is a nice point of similarity.

Dr. Grafton is director of the UCSB Brain Imaging Center and codirector of the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies. He received BA’s in Mathematics and Psychobiology from the University of California at Santa Cruz and his MD degree from the University of Southern California.

Show notes:

  • brain scans and positron emission tomography (PET) for understanding of brain function
  • Dr. Grafton’s career, and what led him to brain and motor function research
  • running the brain imaging center, and how imaging has developed in recent years
  • where all the action in the brain is located
  • visual perception, and how the percentage of vision someone gives to an object relates to its importance in a broad perspective
  • how it is difficult to maneuver over rocks, and to create robots that would walk across rough rocks
  • body schema, as it compares with attention schema theory, for physical sensation
  • the way that practicing something in your mind connects with ability to do the motor action
  • how the brain creates synergies of muscle movements
  • how babies have plasticity, and take risks in order to understand their physical environment from scratch
  • how nature serves as a medicine to people and their well-being
  • the way that entropy is key to a healthy life, and how one does not benefit from distancing from entropic conditions

You can check out Dr. Grafton’s faculty page, or check out Physical Intelligence on Amazon.