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Our guest today, Dr. Ginger Campbell has been running her Brain Science Podcast[i] since 2006, and anyone who studies the topic of Neuroscience would have come across her work, as a pioneer, where she launched her podcast all those years ago because she believes that “understanding how our brain really works is essential for being a good citizen in the 21st Century.”[ii]
Watch this interview on YouTube here https://youtu.be/W6QeFM6-9lI
On this episode we will learn:
✔ Podcast Hall of Fame, 2022, Dr. Ginger Campbell, host of the Brain Science Podcast: Why an MD began podcasting.
✔ Why Dr. Ginger believes that understanding our brain, is essential for being a good citizen in the 21st Century.
✔ Top lessons she has learned from hosting the Brain Science Podcast since 2006.
✔ What is that feeling of certainty?
✔ Where does intuition come in, and can we trust it?
✔ Is interoception (listening to what we feel in our body) reliable?
✔ What about solving our problems in our dreams? Is this reliable?
✔ What about premonitions? Can we trust them?
✔ Why do emotions make our memories stick?
✔ Things to consider with our thinking? We think, therefore we are wrong?
✔ How to distinguish neuroscience from pseudoscience?
✔ Dr. Ginger's thoughts on neuroscience in the field of education.
Welcome back to The Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast, where we cover the science-based evidence behind social and emotional learning (for schools) and emotional intelligence training (in the workplace) with tools, ideas and strategies that we can all use for immediate results, with our brain in mind.
I’m Andrea Samadi, an author, and educator with a passion for learning specifically on the topics of health, wellbeing and productivity, and launched this podcast to share how important an understanding of our brain is to our everyday life and results using the most current brain research.
On today’s episode #243, we will be speaking with Dr. Virginia “Ginger” Campbell, MD, who is a physician, author and science communicator who was just inducted into the 2022 Podcast Hall of Fame. She also runs the podcast Books and Ideas, that includes more diverse guests including science fiction writers.
Dr. Campbell spent over 20 years as an emergency physician in rural Alabama, and in 2014 she went back to the University of Alabama in Birmingham where she completed a Fellowship in Palliative Medicine which is an approach aimed at optimizing quality of life and mitigating suffering among people with serious, complex and often terminal illnesses. She now practices Palliative Medicine in Birmingham, Alabama and enjoys sharing her passion for science—especially neuroscience.
When I was referred to Dr. Campbell for this interview, I almost jumped out of my chair and wrote back quickly, knowing how timely our conversation would be as I was editing our recent interview with physician and neurologist, Dr. Douyon. I know that Dr. Ginger will open our eyes even further to help us ALL to connect the dots with our brain, as it relates to our health and wellbeing.
Let’s welcome Dr. Ginger Campbell, and get right into her thoughts about Brain Science, and see what we will learn from her deep and vast experience to help us to all take our understanding of the brain, and our health, to new heights.
Welcome Dr. Ginger! Thank you for joining me today.
INTRO: So, Dr. Ginger, from my email to you, I’m sure you know that I’m a follower of your work as a pioneer not only in the podcasting world, but as someone who has successfully been helping people to understand how their brain works (which is why we launched this podcast. Can you tell us where your career began, what need did you see, and how did you find your way to podcasting in those early days when I’m sure you needed to understand how to create your own code and website?
Q1: Dr. Ginger, now that we have an understanding of your background, I wanted to begin our questions today by telling you how honored I am to have the leader in the field of Neuroscience Podcasts, who was recently inducted into the Podcast Hall of Fame, on our show, but then I listened to your recent episode with Batja Mesquita, on “How Cultures Create Emotions” and now I’m aware of this thing that I do, where I always open up by highlighting the talents of my guests in the back story, showing how “special” they are, or maybe what I’ve learned from their work, but now I know that in some cultures, this might make some guests uncomfortable to hear all this praise about themselves.
I had never thought about our emotions and how they are culturally connected.
What are some top AHA moments of learning for you, as the host of the Brain Science Podcast, and why do you think “understanding how our brains work is essential for being a good citizen in the 21st Century?”
If someone wants to gain access to your newsletter, where you share all the show notes for your recent episodes is the best way to text brainscience (all one word) to 55444? That’s how I signed up for your newsletter.
Q2: So, what is that “feeling of knowing” that we have? Where does it come from when we are certain of something (an answer on a test) or when we have those AHA moments when everything clicks? What is certainty? What is that feeling? Is it an emotion?
In your book Are You Sure?[iii] you look at the unconscious origins of certainty, and if PART 1, you dive into Richard Burton’s work on Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not[iv] which reminds me of an interview we did with Howard Rankin[v], on his book How Not to Think and that it’s always important to look at something with a different perspective, since our thinking can be wrong. What should we know about our thoughts, how we create thoughts in our brain and what should we be careful of with our thinking process?
What about some questions that I know science has yet to prove?
Q3: Where does intuition come in? Can we trust it, or is it also unreliable lie our thoughts and memories?
Q4: What about interoception (Antonio Damasio) and is this signal that we feel from within our body reliable?
Q5: I’m looking to explore this thing called certainty? What about our dreams? I can get some incredible answers to things I want to know this way, and I know you’ve mentioned that our dreams are one way that we can consolidate new ideas but what do you think about the validity of finding answers to our problems in our dreams? Or even flashes of insight we might see in those times before we fall asleep? (organic chemistry example—was that August Kekule, whose dream revealed the structure of benzene?
Q5B: Have you ever heard of people who say they “saw” something, before it occurred almost like a premonition? Can brain science explain that?
Q6: Last April, I took a stab at creating an episode on “How Our Emotions Impact Learning, Memory and the Brain”[vi] and in this episode, I wanted to explain how our emotions help memories to stick and I used the example of how most of us can tell you detail by detail of where we were on Sept. 11th, 2001. But if you were to ask me what I did on Sept. 10th, what I ate for breakfast that day, or anything about that day, it’s completely blank unless I just made stuff up backtracking from what I remember about Sept. 11th. Would you say my memories of Sept. 11th are accurate, or even when emotion is added, are our memories still unreliable?
Q7: What should we take away about our thinking? We think, therefore we are wrong?
Q8: What about neuroscience vs pseudoscience? Is there a quick and easy way to check to be sure we have the most current research (like finding a study on Pubmed) so we stick to the research, and stay clear of neuromyths?
Q9: What you have seen with neuroscience in the field of education?
Q10: Is there anything important that I’ve missed that you would like to share?
Dr. Ginger, I want to thank you very much for the work that you have done to pave the way for people like me who came to the podcasting field later, but still very passionate about learning and sharing new ideas and research, showing us that we can ALL learn something that can help us to be a better citizen, employee, parent, or even human. If someone wants to gain access to your newsletter, where you share all your upcoming episodes and the notes for each episode, a reminder for people to text brainscience (all one word) to 55444.
I’ll put the links for people to follow you in the show notes, and thank you again.
I’m now motivated more than ever to keep learning, exploring and sharing ideas about science with the world. Thank you very much for role modeling the way, and WHI hope that you don’t mind me pointing out your talents…that I saw go well beyond brain science and into technology, code, automation…but that’s a whole new interview!
Thank you Dr. Ginger.
To close out this episode, I do hope that if you are as interested in neuroscience as I am, that you do take a look at Dr. Ginger’s podcast and website. She does have a section for educators that’s easy to find, with many resources. Today we learned quite a few lessons together, but my biggest take-away is that we all perceive the world in a slightly different manner, and when we don’t see eye to eye with someone else (in our work environment, or our personal relationships) to remember this is our brain at work, and if we can be more tolerant of the differences we have with others, we would have less conflict in our lives. Thinking with our brain in mind really can be life-altering.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode, and taken away something to help you to create more success in your work or personal life, and I’ll see you in a few days.
FOLLOW DR. GINGER
RESOURCES FOR EDUCATORS: https://brainsciencepodcast.com/for-educators
On Intelligence: How a New Understanding of the Brain Will Lead to the Creation of Truly Intelligent Machines by Jeff Hawkins, August 1, 2005 https://www.amazon.com/Intelligence-Understanding-Creation-Intelligent-Machines/dp/0805078533
Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not Robert Alan Burton Feb. 5, 2008 https://www.amazon.com/Being-Certain-Believing-Right-Youre-ebook/dp/B003J5UJHW/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman Published October 21, 2011 https://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Fast-Slow-Daniel-Kahneman-ebook/dp/B00555X8OA/ref=sr_1_1?crid=FZ8EXQMZMLN7&keywords=thinking+fast+and+slow&qid=1661907469&s=books&sprefix=thinking+fast+%2Cstripbooks%2C143&sr=1-1
[iv] Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not Robert Alan Burton Feb. 5, 2008 https://www.amazon.com/Being-Certain-Believing-Right-Youre-ebook/dp/B003J5UJHW/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
[v]Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #146 https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/expert-in-psychology-cognitive-neuroscience-and-neurotechnology-howard-rankin-phd-on-how-not-to-think/
[vi]Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast EPISODE #127 “How Emotional Impact Learning, Memory and the Brain” https://andreasamadi.podbean.com/e/brain-fact-friday-how-emotions-impact-learning-memory-and-the-brain/