Health, Wellness & Performance Coaching

Perception: How Our Bodies Shape Our Minds (Dr. Dennis Proffitt - Episode #178)

August 02, 2021 Catalyst Coaching Institute Season 3 Episode 31
Health, Wellness & Performance Coaching
Perception: How Our Bodies Shape Our Minds (Dr. Dennis Proffitt - Episode #178)
Show Notes Transcript

Seeing may be believing, but is the way we see the world accurate in the first place? In this intriguing interview with best-selling author and researcher Dr. Dennis Proffitt, we are talking about his book, Perception.  You learn why the things we DO influence what we KNOW. You'll understand how our bodies change the way we perceive the world, and what it means for us on a day-to-day basis.

Over decades of study, University of Virginia psychologist Dennis Proffitt has shown that we are each living our own personal version of Gulliver’s Travels, where the size and shape of the things we see are scaled to the size of our bodies, and our ability to interact with them. Written with journalist Drake Baer, Perception marries academic rigor with mainstream accessibility. The research presented and the personalities profiled will show what it means to not only have, but be, your unique human body.

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 Finally, if you enjoy the Catalyst Podcast, you might also enjoy the YouTube Coaching Channel, which provides a full library of freely available videos covering health, wellness & performance: https://www.youtube.com/c/CoachingChannel

Speaker 1:

Do you see the world the way it really is? If you answered yes, then you probably haven't tapped into the research from today's guest. The truth is none of us see the world. We see our world. We perceive the steepness of stairs based on our current weight, the size of baseballs based on our latest hitting the difficulty of Hills based on whether we're standing next to a close friend and so much more welcome to the latest episode of the catalyst, health, wellness, and performance coaching podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Bradford Cooper of the catalyst coaching Institute. And today's guest is Dr. Dennis prophet , a psychologist, professor emeritus, and co author of the best-selling book perception. It's a book, frankly. I kept trying to put down, I was reading several at once, but I simply could not. His insights will most definitely surprise you, but they'll also open some doors of opportunity in your life. If you miss the August, MBA , CBC approved coaching certification training, then your final opportunity this year for that price goes up is coming up in early October as usual. This one's going to fill early. So if it's something that's a priority for you to check out the details, catalyst coaching institute.com or reach out to us anytime we're happy to set up a call and talk through any questions. You've got all the details, et cetera, emails , [email protected] Now let's tune into how our body shapes our minds with Dr. Dennis profit on the latest episode of the catalyst, health, wellness, and performance coaching podcast. So good to have you here. Thank you. I loved your book. Those of us who are watching this on video, they can see it here. Would you

Speaker 2:

Like to cover?

Speaker 1:

I do. I do . I had to look at it about six times. Cause you can see her from both sides. It's like, she's looking from the side. Wow. The book's called perception. How about that?

Speaker 2:

Okay. There work.

Speaker 1:

It worked. You got me. You got me. So let's jump right in this idea that you have in the introduction about naive realism. What is that? Why does it matter so much to the way that we live our lives?

Speaker 2:

Well, naive realism is the every day view, a perception that we all have, which is the world is the way we see it. That when I looked both ways before I crossed the street and I see a bus and I don't cross the street, there's a bus coming and I better not cross the street right now. I mean, that's naive realism that the world, as we experience it is what it is. Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Which you go on to say not so much,

Speaker 2:

Right? So it's a good naive theory to have it's the basis for common sense, the basis for pretty much everything that we know and believe is grounded in a common sense, naive realism that the world is as we perceive it. And it works, works the works very well, but it's not accurate. It's not true. So that's the hook candidate is it works well. And biological systems survive because the way they deal with the world works well. Not because the way they deal with the world reveals to them the truth of the world, but rather what is biologically important for them, for, for their survival and the things that they want to do in the bodies that they have. So naive realism is common sense and it's , it's what we all believe, but no, it's not true.

Speaker 1:

And then you go on to give us examples of that. One of the other memorable concepts you , you carry throughout the book is this idea of Gulliver's travels. You say we're all living our own personal version of Golder's travels. It sparked for me, some folks may not remember that book. Can you back us up into that? Where that came from, how the analogy holds all those kinds of things.

Speaker 2:

Okay. Yes. And maybe that'll help us clarify nine perfect Gulliver proceeds himself and all of his mates to be normal size. What the little pollutions, the little tiny people that live on the island of low flutes , similarly perceive themselves to be normal size. And this is the size that people are. So when they come together, so golfer is a shipwreck sailor heat , and ends up on this island foot . And they're all of the people are tiny and he views the tiny people as tiny and he's normal. Whereas the tiny people who view themselves as normal view him to be a giant. So who's right.

Speaker 1:

So powerful.

Speaker 2:

Right ? So that's a pro that's the problem with naive realism is that the naive realism that Gulliver has is that because he scales as we do everything to the size of our body, if somebody is really small relative to him, that person small, whereas that person views themselves as being normal and somebody who is a giant size is in fact a giant. So the idea here is, is that there are multiple ways of seeing the world in terms of how big you are. So to put this to a scale, that action actually is one that we experience . If I'm with a seven foot basketball player, then that person is a giant. Whereas that person looks at me as being certainly as a basketball player, pretty darn small. Uh, the basket for the seven footer is, is not that high. Whereas for me, it's something that I've dreamed about, dunking a basketball into all of my life, but I've never gotten close. So we scale the world in terms of the sizes of our bodies is, is the idea behind Gulliver's travel, but then returning to naive realism, we're not aware that we're doing, we assume that we are. And the way that we see things is the way things are. So if anybody is really a lot taller than I am, they're big. And if anybody is a lot shorter than I am, they're short and I've got it right. I've got it. Right. So another example that's like, this is, is accents. Okay . Speaking access . Okay. So everybody speaks with an accent, but nobody can hear their own. So you assume that if you come, if you meet somebody from England, let's say, or from Scotland, they're speaking with an accent. Well, of course they are, but they perceive you to be speaking with an accent. Everybody speaks with an accent, but we can't hear our own. That again is naive realism that we think that the way that we hear sounds of speech are the way everybody hears them. So we don't have an accent and nobody hears us as having an accent. It's just that everybody else has one,

Speaker 1:

Especially as the dad to a six foot seven, son-in-law I, this really, this is resonating. So good stuff. All right . Three cornerstones of your book doing, knowing belonging, let let's hit the highlights of each and maybe a few practical applications for each one. Uh, let's start, let's just go through the order doing what, what walk us through that. Maybe walk us through the tie in together and a couple of practical examples for that first one.

Speaker 2:

It's a big picture first. Okay. So the bodies that we have determined what we can do, what we can do, determines what we can know. And all of this occurs within a social context in which what we can do. And what we can know is developed in a context of other people and our need for other people and our dependence on other people and the social connections that we make and how important they are. So to begin with doing what I said was that the body that you have determines what you can do. So, you know, I can't fly , uh , because I don't have wings. Uh, but I am a very special kind of animal. I'm a bipedal animal among the mammalian world. This is very rare. Kangaroos and wallabies are the only other bipedal mammals on the planet. And being by Peatal really makes a huge difference. Okay. We would not be the brainy , uh , manipulators of our environment. If it wasn't that we evolve by Peterism first, it determined all sorts of things that followed. And so we are walkers, okay. This is something that we can do in, because we're bipedal. It turns out to be very advantageous for being endurance animals, which are the kinds of animals that we are. Um, we , we can outrun any other mammal on the planet. You're not in your head. Of course we can.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Well, I'm thinking of the studies on the like humans versus horses over 50 miles. You, you naturally think there's no possible way that I could beat a horse and you can't for a hundred meters, but you certainly can over 50 mile plus distance. And that just doesn't make sense logically, like I can't, I can't perceive that to be real, but I've read it so many times that I just know it's true.

Speaker 2:

And the advantage that we have is based on our bipedalism. So we're the fastest animal on the planet on a distance of over 20 miles on a hot sunny day on a hot sunny day care dogs can beat us in the snow when it's cold, but they can't stay cool on a hot sunny day. And so the hot sunny day part is important because this is why we have no forever . So if you look around at the other animals, they all have for , except for some exceptions, which like elephants that are really big and they can't have for cause they need to cool themselves off well for animals of our size, all the other mammals have for , but we don't. And the reason we don't just so that we can cool ourselves off. And so our body, our skin is covered with water reset glands that are unmatched by any other mammal of our size or smaller on the planet. My dog has sweat glands on its paws and nose. And that's it. It has sebaceous, sweat, clans, early sweat, clans on its in its skin, but they don't work very well for cooling. Uh , they basically create an oily substance in the hair mats. Now this is the problem with the horse horse. It starts to lather up. Okay. So, but because we've lost our fur , we have this great cooling system and that cooling system was necessarily in place before we could evolve big brains because the brain produces an enormous amount of heat. And so you need a cooling system ahead of time. So this thing gets us to doing is when you start describing what we do, we walk on two legs. You're describing the body because we walk on two legs. Our forelimbs are free and we've evolved the most dextrous hands on the planet because we have these hands. We can manipulate things. The hands that we have were present in homo erectus, even though his brain was only about 60%, the size of ours. And as we described in the book, we didn't evolve first, a big brain. And then he ends that could do what the brain wanted. Rather we had hands and then we developed a brain with the capacity to use the hands, make sense for all of the things that it could do. So we are the great manipulators of things in our world because we have hands and now the brain to control them. But we have hands because we're by Peatal and we're by Peter . I mean, it's all lights, it all relates to our bodies . So what kinds of things do we do? We walk, we grasp things. We hold things. And if you look then at, let's let , let's talk a little bit about babies. So if you look at babies, one of the things that they have to learn is that I'll just grab an object. If you have an object that appears this way from this orientation and this way from that orientation and this way from that orientation. So somehow the baby has to figure out that all of these different images correspond to the same thing and that it has a three-dimensional form. And this takes time for them to do, to figure this out. And they figure it out by doing exactly what I'm doing. They manipulate it and they watch what happens. They create their own knowledge. And so doing allows you to create knowledge. It's probably the case that you can't understand anything really that you can't create. And so babies create their knowledge by manipulating things. And one of the things that you'll discover is that they can't perceive the three-dimensional form of things until they're able to sit up on supported. Because if stuck to the ground, as, as, as a baby who can't sit up, then your hands aren't free to manipulate things. And if you can't manipulate things, you can't see how they change as you change them in your hands. And this is how they discover the three dimensionality of objects and how to perceive three-dimensional form. Okay. They discover it, they discover it by the things that they do in the things that they do depend upon what they can do, which derives from the body.

Speaker 1:

So then that leads into the knowing piece of

Speaker 2:

It . Exactly. So, yes. So you create knowledge by doing things

Speaker 1:

And can throw out another example, like , like with the baby there , their knowledge of the three-dimensional is a result of those things. Can you give us another one that might be in a teenager and adult, et cetera.

Speaker 2:

Okay. So let's take , um, hitting a baseball. Okay. All right . So if, if you've, if you've, if you've had a child, then you know that they can't hit a baseball, initially they can't catch a baseball . Uh , and the whole thing seems impossible to them. Um, but what they need to do is they need to watch the baseball. And if they watch the baseball, the consciously, that's all you have to do. That's that's it watch the baseball stupid. And if you watch the baseball and you start to swing at it, then certain optical properties that a ball has as it's about to pass you. And the timing at which you initiate your swing can be coupled. And they come to be coupled in such a way that if you watch the baseball, your body will initiate a swing without you having to think about it, because you don't have time to think about it. Right? Okay. So in major league baseball, the time that it takes a pitcher, throwing a ball, 90 miles an hour to cross the pig plate is 400 milliseconds. The time that it takes you to simply reaction, time moves something as quickly as you can add a cue . So you hear a buzzer in a psychology lab and you press a key, okay, press the key as quickly as you can, after you hear about that takes 200 milliseconds, just initiating the behavior. It takes 200 milliseconds. So this gives you 200 milliseconds left to get the bat where it belongs. Um , you can't think about that. You can't think, but if you watch the ball, your body will figure it out. And we have some, you know, some fairly good ideas about what it figures out. So your body knows how to do all sorts of things. Okay? The brain, the conscious part of the brain rather assumes that it's in control and it knows what it's doing. I know I hit a baseball , uh, but of course it doesn't, it doesn't know how to catch a baseball. It doesn't know how to drive a car. Doesn't know how to walk. It doesn't know how to walk through a door and decide whether the doors big enough to pass through or not. It's just going along for the ride, believing that it's in charge and telling stories about how skilled it is. Whereas there are other parts of the brain that are divorced from consciousness that are driving almost everything that you do in terms of motor behavior. And so in terms of doing and knowing, one of the things that's important for us to realize is that as we do things, we're training our body through practice, to do all sorts of amazing skillful things, without having any awareness of what it is that we're doing, we simply have to decide, this is what we want to do. Okay? So maybe you want to play the guitar. Well, you can, all you want about how to play a musical instrument. It's not going to help . You have to practice. And miraculously from day to day, you get better ever . You're not thinking any better. You just, you kept better. Your body learns these things. And so this comes back to an idea that we need to trust our bodies. They'll learn all sorts of amazing things, but we just have to put them into situations where we can create the knowledge that we want to acquire. And as somebody who you know , was a professor at UVA for 40 years , um, what you eventually figure out is that you can't give your students the knowledge that you want them to have. You have to help them create it for themselves.

Speaker 1:

And there are so many rabbit trails we could fall on this. Let's just start with the baseball for a parent that wants to help their child learn, hit this baseball, your eye , things like balance. Like let's learn to stand one legged, perfect balance in tandem with this, because you've got to shift your body position and your balance has to be key. And it has to be almost secondary. It not almost secondary, but secondary are things like that. The doing that will lead to greater knowing on something that is only very limited or, or are we saying, we stay with the baseball, Brad , just watch the ball, watch the ball, watch the ball, let your body respond to that.

Speaker 2:

So there's such a thing as coaching. Sure. Okay. And as we all know , um, there's also such a things as over coaching. Yes. Um, my sense, I used to coach youth soccer. So my sense is most parents are somewhat guilty of the overcoat .

Speaker 1:

No.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Um, so somebody that really knows what they're doing can provide coaching, but the kid really has to have fun. And if they're having fun, they're going to want to have more fun. And the more fun you get, you know , the more fun it is, the more you're going to keep practicing. And the more you practice, the better you're going to be. And then coaching comes in when somebody who is skilled notices, you know, this could be done a little bit better if you'd lower your shoulder a little bit, or, you know , bring your hand over the bat a little bit. Those sorts of things , um, really should be left to somebody that knows what they're doing.

Speaker 1:

Alright . I will not coach my grandkids cause I don't know baseball well enough. We'll just, we'll just cheer.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. The main thing though, is having fun. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, totally,

Speaker 2:

Totally. You know , games or play. And they're about having fun. And as so long as it's fun, the kid will want to practice and the body will learn through practice.

Speaker 1:

If people hear nothing else from this, that, that is such a great lesson. Yeah .

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I mean think about language. Nobody teaches their kids language. You just talk to the kid, like they're a human being and they start acquiring it. And it's, it's a mystery. It's just magical. They start doing it. They all do it the same way. Um, you know, they initially talk about concrete things that they can manipulate and they have short sentences, but they can understand so much more than they can produce. And it comes through living in an environment that has language. They'll pick it up. Now later, later on, there are English teachers that know how to take the language that they've acquired from home and from their friends and from their community and tune it a bit to , to make it sound the way they would like to have it sound, you know , for different purposes. Uh, but nobody teaches anybody language. Nobody teaches anybody how to hit a baseball and nobody teaches anybody how to walk and nobody teaches anybody, anything of real importance. We learn how to do it yourself through discovery, through doing,

Speaker 1:

Because you want to,

Speaker 2:

Because you want to, and these are things that your body can do.

Speaker 1:

And then that leads us into that belonging piece. I may want to, because I want to be part of this group. Is that part of this piece or am I taking that the wrong direction?

Speaker 2:

Okay. So you're not going to learn language if you're not in a community , um, you're not going to learn to love if you're not part of the community, you're not going to learn how to be altruistic if you're not in a community and you have not experienced it yourself. So things that we value, many of the things that we value, most of the things that we value , um, were acquired in a community, but they were acquired through doing and , but also for other people doing for us. So it's important to recognize that for biological reasons, people are, it has been argued. I think it's probably true. Certainly the most social mammal on the planet and perhaps the most social animal, you know, the competition comes from the social insects and you need to begin with why, why are we so not all animals are social pyres , get along to the spine . Why, why us? And you need to take that question seriously. I think as the psychologist to start looking at why are we social? And the reason is we couldn't survive otherwise. So if you look at, let's start with this, so human babies get born very early and they're quite immature. The argument until fairly recently was that the reason that they're born so early is because our heads are so big and they have to be born, but where they wouldn't pass through the birth canal, that turns out to be false. Um, the reason that they're born so early is because of bioenergetics. That is the mother can't support bioenergetic or calories enough calories for the developing baby. And for herself, if the baby cut in baker , she just can't do it. And so it's energy constraints and it's energy all the way down. And what I mean by that is a human couple hunter gathering, couple cannot hunt and cat or enough calories to support themselves and their babies. So we need to recognize that humans have babies at twice the rate of the other great apes. So in hunter gathering societies , um, mothers have babies about every two years, whereas chimpanzees gorillas, orangutans are six to eight years between babies. Um , our babies are terrifically expensive, they're helpless. They require lots of calories and the require them for very, very long time and very slow to mature. And so it really does take a community of people to raise a human child for purely biological bioenergetic reasons , not to mention the necessities for moral development and altruism and other things that make the kind of social structure that we have possible, but the , it needs to be made possible because we can't survive without being a social animal. We really do depend on other people. The rugged individualist who goes off into the wilderness and survives on their own is a myth. It doesn't have to discern it doesn't happen with couples that are reproducing.

Speaker 1:

All right , you, you talk about, and this, this leads us to on a fun, fun path here you share, share the more tuned we are to our bodily states, the better decisions we'll make. Now the last half of the sentence you have in there. And I can't remember what page it is, but that's the one that got me. You said, whether it's purchasing stocks or taking care of your health, it seemed like when you hit the whole spectrum with that half of the sentence, can you walk us through that piece of bodily being attuned to our body affects our decisions in these seemingly unrelated areas.

Speaker 2:

Okay. So let's take a couple pieces of research. Let's take that . Let's start with the stocks and then remind me the other one is going down . I want to mention parole judges. So let's take stocks. The study that was done on the stock exchange of stock traders found that those stock traders who were more sensitive to their internal state actually did better, were higher producers in survived longer on the stock market, meaning they have longer, more productive careers. So what does it mean to be sensitive to your body? Well, perception is our awareness of the external world. Interoception is our perception of our internal bodily states. And so what about bodily states? It's heartbeat. Okay. And so the task is simply to ask people, count your heartbeats and they'll then start a stopwatch . And they'll time you for some duration, let's say 45 seconds and you count your heart, rate your heartbeats, and then you report a number. Well, some people are really good at that. Okay. And you can't touch yourself or do anything that would allow you to take your pulse. You just have to pay attention. Okay. Some people are really good at that. And some people are terrible at it. Good stock traders, ones that do well, have a large profit in their trades. And last on the, on the stock exchange for a long time, do really well and much better than those that do not perform as well, or do not last as long. Now, the paper that this derives from has in its title , gut feelings. Okay. And this is what people mean by gut feelings. Now, this is not to say that you should go with your gut feelings, but rather you should be aware of them. You should be aware of them. So there is a wisdom of those parts of the brain that control our internal environment that we need to pay attention to. Okay. We don't have much control over it. And it's a very old part of our brain that is sometimes referred to as the reptilian brain , uh , because our brain evolved on top of it that controls our internal organ and internal states and emotions, but it has a wisdom of its own and we should pay attention to it doesn't mean we'd follow it, but we should know what that state is. So let , let me take now another example, the other example is the parole judges. So this was a study that was done in Israel of parole judges. And the way that this study was run is you simply looked at the judgements that parole judges made for parole. Now, this, this was done in the morning , uh , a judge would see some number of cases and it would go throughout the morning until about noon. And then it would be over on average judges typically say, no, okay. They're their average response is strongly biased towards no, no parole for you. Uh, but if you look at the likelihood of them granting parole, it's actually greater than 50%, right. At the very beginning of the morning. And then it goes down sharply and then it spikes back up again and then it goes down and then it spikes back up again. And then it goes down. So what are those spikes? Well, in the morning, the judge takes two breaks, goes back to his office and has a snack. So if you've got the bioenergetic resources available to think about the case, you might decide, yeah, this person deserves parole. Whereas if you don't have those resources, then you default to what you normally do, which is no. Okay. So a lot of decisions are made that way when we are well rested and well-nourished , then we're willing to think deeply into the problems that are presented to us when we are tired and not well-nourished, we default to the most common behavior that we would exhibit in that situation. You need to worry if your doctor's tired . Yeah ,

Speaker 1:

Yeah, totally, totally. And that attorneys are in

Speaker 2:

Emergency room and this person has been working for over 20 hours and they haven't eaten for a long time. You should be worried. Right .

Speaker 1:

Right. And if you're going, going into trial, what's going on there. I mean, there's just so many applications to that.

Speaker 2:

Uh , then you bind that back with the first study, that person who is aware of how they're feeling has a better chance of saying, whoa, wait a minute. I need, I need to take break. I need a snack. I need to just stop for a minute. I need to snack . I need to recharge somebody who is not aware of their internal feelings is going to be less likely to do so.

Speaker 1:

Right. Okay. Um, rumination, you talk about that on page a hundred, 1,213 , that caught my attention. Cause I had something I do far too much, frankly. Uh, could you describe for our listeners, what is rumination and what Dr. Watkins from the university of Exiter discovered related to the abstract versus concrete observations and what that means for us.

Speaker 2:

Okay. So

Speaker 1:

We all ruminate. Yes, I do.

Speaker 2:

Um , some more than others. And of course it depends on the occasion, but it's, it's, it's when something has happened and you can't stop thinking about it. Okay. So let's say that sweetie has walked out of my life, has told me that she doesn't want to be with me anymore and I can't put it out of my mind. Time goes on and on. I just, every time I catch myself thinking about it, I can't stop. Why did she leave me? If I had done something different? What is it about me? And it's, it's, it's , it's a kind of worry where you just keep running the same reel over and over and over again about something typically that bad has happened to you. And you're wondering maybe, you know, what if, what if, what if the findings are, is that if you, if you start thinking about this in very abstract ways, you're likely to put all of the blame on yourself. Whereas if you can think a bit more concretely and you can say, well, yes, we did left me, but that doesn't mean it's me. No, I'm not a bad person. I I've had good relationships in the past. This isn't a character flaw on my part. Um, and you start thinking concretely about maybe, you know, there was, there was situations where, you know, people like me and the other day I went out to dinner with somebody and , and it went very well. They, they , they seemed to think I was a pleasant person. Um, so thinking about things in concrete ways, as opposed to thinking abstractly about the personality flaws that you have that are responsible for the things that happen to you can put an end or curtail to some degree, the rumination

Speaker 1:

And my natural followup on that is it seems like, it seems like we need a mix. We don't want to completely go, well , it's not me, it's her. No problem. And then I don't change. I don't adjust maybe with the future sweeties. Um, but by the same token, if we're too far in that extreme, you know what I'm saying? So is there a recommended middle ground there?

Speaker 2:

Well, it's, I don't want to say that as a middle ground, it's more cons thinking about things concrete. So you could say, yes, we need left me . But then the fact that I kept doing things that you told me, she didn't like me to do the fact that she said , uh , um, she really didn't like my smoking. Um, but I kept smoking that she wanted to visit with her friends, but I never wanted to go along and visit with her and start being a cop . What did I actually do? Not who am I right in terms of, why am I such a bad person that she's rejected me, but one of the things that I did that I could have done differently , uh, that, that, that made her leave. Got it. Okay . Thinking of , it's thinking about things in concrete ways and not, not, not too abstract, right. Going back to where we all started, all of this, you know, given that what we know is bargain is by doing, it's doing things concretely, the baby learns about what an object is by manipulating it. And we think best when we think about things in concrete terms. Okay. If we think about examples, concrete examples, what were the things that I did that she couldn't like, not what's wrong. You got it.

Speaker 1:

Okay. That makes sense. That makes sense. All right . Of everything you covered in the book and your research outside of that, where do you see the greatest opportunity? Let's try to bring it down and greatest is the wrong word. Where do you see a great opportunity for the typical person in this area, in their everyday life? Something we haven't talked about to this point,

Speaker 2:

I think that this is what diversity is all about. That there is much more to the world than the world that we as individuals perceive and to see the world through the eyes of other people that have different experiences and different bodies and backgrounds, ethnic, bringing up cultures allows you to see more of the wording. Um, again, going back to naive realism that you believe that the world is, as you see it, then what's he saying that your diversity, but if you realize that other people really do see things in a different way, that depends upon the sorts of bodies that they have experiences that they've had. The culture that they've lived in the world becomes a bigger place. Okay . The more give you an extreme example , um, why go for a walk with my dog? My dog makes it quite clear to me that I'm missing all of the smell and I haven't watched my dog and the dog is expression . First thing in the morning, the dogs out there, and, you know, a Fox went by here and I live in the country. Yeah. A bunch of deer here. A bunch of deer here happened over here and you know what? It's like to have a nose like a dog, what the world must be like. Um, but I get a little glimpse of that by watching my dog, when I'm with other people and they have different opinions, I want to know what is the world that they live in, that they have the opinions that they have. I want to see that world, not in all cases. Certainly there are opinions that people hold that I disagree with, but I want to understand them. Uh , but mostly people have wonderful ideas. You know, I, I, I don't do a lot of art other than music, but I'd love to see it. I love to see what other people see in the world. And I like to meet people. I mean , the wonderful thing again, about being an academic is the students that I have come from all over the world. And they've had different experiences that I've had and you know, they're 19, 20 years old. Um, they grew up in a different world and it's wonderful to just try to see the world through their eyes. And I think, again, that's what diversity is about is if you want to understand somebody from another ethnic culture , um, you can't read about it. You get something out of that. You need to see the world through their eyes. Can I give you a concrete example? So I'm at the university of Virginia and we're in Charlottesville, Virginia. And in 2000 seventeens , uh, there was a Neo Nazi March that everyone knows about that occurred in Charlottesville. It's it was devastating. And initially I put all of the blame on those people from other places that came to our town to create this March, but then through conversations , uh , particularly with , uh , African-American faculty, I realized no problem. Didn't come from outside. It's been here. It's always been here. So part of the , the troubles had to do with some statutes. We have a statue of Robert E. Lee, and one of Stonewall Jackson, and people wanted to take them down. They're still there, but they're coming down. Um, I lived here for almost four years and it never occurred to me that anyone would see the statues any differently than I do. And I would see those statues is kind of paradigmatic of what it looks like to be in a Southern town. You've got these statues , they're in court square. They're surrounded by lovely brick buildings. There's a Confederate soldier in front of the courthouse, a statue of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson. That's a Southern town. It's nice. I didn't realize what it might be like to be a black person and walk by these statues. It never occurred to me. It never, I mean, I'm confessing it now . It should have, right . But it never did. Now. I know that those statues were put up 50 years after the end of the civil war by segregationists , when they were put up, there was a parade of the KU Klux Klan, and the community came out and saying onward, Christian soldiers. These are there for a reason. They're segregated, segregationist reasons that I should have been aware of the university of Virginia. I walked through this beautiful campus. Um, every day I never thought where were the, where were the people that worked here? Where were the slaves? Where did they live? Where did they work? Where are they buried? Okay . Early on, there were more slaves here than there were students in faculty. Students came to the university, they brought their slaves with them. Professors had slides. I can know that. That's what diversity to me is about, is being able to see now I hope better, but still not perfectly sure the community in which I live through the eyes of all the people that live here and not just the eyes that I brought here from my background. Right?

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I liked that. That was a great one to mention few minutes ago. I just made a note here that you T you talked about, it depends on the sorts of bodies they have. This is not your example. You just went through this in reference something else. And it reminded me of the Hills. I think it was in San Francisco or someplace where the studies were done. People saw the Hills less steep, more steep based on if they were with a friend or what their fitness level was. Walk us through that. Because when I read that, I just thought what ,

Speaker 2:

Okay. So let me start with the beginning with the , at the beginning, with the end , which is what is the finding? The finding is that the parents steepness of Hills and similarly the apparent distance to a distant target , um, is affected by your body. So Hills looks steeper. If you're tired, if you're overweight, if you're in ill health, if you're aging, if you're wearing a backpack. In other words, the parent's steepness of the hill is being measured perceptually by the amount of effort that would be required to ascend the hill relative to how much you have available. So this, this is just the basic biology of survival. You need to husband energy. Okay. It turns out that about 70% of our energy intake that you get each day , um, gets expanded on basic metabolic processes and the activities of eating and digesting food. And you have absolutely no control over that. Cause that's called your basal metabolism. That's you have no control over that. So you've got about 30% left. Sure . That you have some volitional control over. This is what you get to spend for any of us who are not elite athletes in training. Approximately 80% of that goes into walking, okay? Taking our big, heavy bodies and carrying them around the environment is the most expensive thing that we do that we have choice over. Okay ? And we are endurance animals. We go long distances, chimpanzees don't do this. They almost never go more than two miles away from where they were born. Almost never. Okay. And they can lie around as they do all day long and not become obese or diabetic. We need to exercise because that's the kind of body that we have. And so we need to be really well attuned to this 20% or this 80% of energy that we're controlling by walking. And we see it in the world. Okay. We see it in the world because the world appears to us in terms of the way we fit in the world. So if I'm overweight and tired, the hill looks steeper than if I am an athlete and I'm fresh. Okay. We see ourselves in the room and this goes back to naive realism. You assume that what you're seeing in the world is the world as it is. But what you're seeing is as much about yourself, it is about the world. What you see is how you fit in the world in the biological sense of fitness. So what you need to do, if you're going to ascend the hill is you need to anticipate how fast you're going to walk up the hill. This, you have control over the way you actually move your limbs and so forth. That's that's like hitting a baseball. Your body knows how to do that, but it'll go as fast as you choose. If it can. That's what you get choice over. We don't have choice over much, but we got a choice over that. How fast am I going to go up that hill? And the rate at which you go up the hill determines the rate at which you expend energy over time. So it's going to take you the same number of calories to get up the hill. Whether you walk up very slowly or you run up the hill, but the rate at which you do it determines the rate at which calories are spent. And if you spend calories too quickly, you become exhausted. If you become exhausted, you become prey for any predator in the environment, okay ? You can't afford to become exhausted. It takes a long time for us to recover from exhaustion. And we can't do much when we're exhausted. And so we have to be very vigilant not to become exhausted. Now, the way that this gets done, and we are going to be protecting ourselves from having to think about any of this is the world just tells us to steep hill. This is how fast I walk up steep Hills. Okay. Now I've had experience. Okay. I've had a lot of practice walking up Hills, and I know how fast I can walk up a hill and not become exhausted while I come to a given hill and I'm low on energy. I haven't eaten. And I'm fatigued because I've been running. Uh, perhaps it looks steeper . I'm going to slow down a little more. I don't have to think, oh, well, here is this hill, but gee , today I didn't really have much for breakfast. And I've just finished a five mile run. You know, I didn't sleep all that well last night. So I wonder how fast I should go up this hill. It doesn't work that way. You see the hill and you do what you always do when you see a hill that looks that steep. So we're seeing how we fit in this guides, our behavior and the choices that we make.

Speaker 1:

I love that example. It's and it's so clear. Cut too . So the last, last question you bring your book to a close by quoting the Spanish poet, Antonio Macado . I don't know if I'm saying that right. Traveler. There is no path. The path is made by walking and then you follow it up with your own words. The path is our footprints. The body leads the way in choosing that. They say the first few sentences of the last few sentence of a book are the key in choosing that as your lasting lesson for the readers, what did you want to get across? What was the main aspect that you said, okay, this is my last shot to get them . And for us, it's our last shot to get them. Why do you want to leave with that reader slash listener ?

Speaker 2:

What you know, and what you experience is created by what you do. So the path isn't there until it's made and it's made by you walking that's that's yes . And so the poem, the , what we choose to do, determines what we know. So in that concluding chapter, there are lots of examples of how it is that we choose what we do. And as a result, know what we know. So an example in that chapter is I went to school before there were computers , uh, were readily available calculators. Um , and I do math in my head very easily. 'cause that's what you had to do. I have students who are some of the best in the country and have had a course in calculus, which is required to major in our department. And they can't multiply 17 by 13 in their head to save their life. They'd just do it. Right. Okay . Because they haven't done it because they don't have to do it. And so now, as we come into an age where artificial intelligence can replace many of the things that we do, and in principle, perhaps all of the things that we do, what will we choose to do? Because what we choose to do will determine what we know, what do we choose to know? And again, it's the idea of doing preceding knowledge. You can't just acquire knowledge like a sponge. We never good babies. Don't do it. Like the example that I started off with babies, create what they know. And we create what we know. I can't give my students what I want them to know. I have to help them create it for themselves. And so we now have real choices about what it is that we're going to know, but it depends upon what it is that we choose to do. And so that's where the real choice is coming in. What is it that you wanted to, what kind of life do you want to have? What kind of path do you want to create? Well, that's going to come from, you're doing the things that you need to do in order to discover the world, that part of the world that you want to discover.

Speaker 1:

Great way to finish again, the book, everybody, if you're on video here , perception Dr . Dennis profit . This was so good. Love this book. Thanks for joining us. Great insights.

Speaker 2:

Thank you. I enjoyed it very much. I appreciate the opportunity.

Speaker 1:

We don't see the world as it is. We see it as we are. Thanks again to Dr. Dennis profit for some great insights. Love that conversation. Thanks to you as always for tuning into the number one podcast for health and wellness coaching. Thank you for sharing it with others and a big thank you to all of you. Who've left positive views on apple, iTunes, and elsewhere. It really does make a difference. Next week's guest. Next week's guest is the best-selling author and former chief marketing officer for Martha Stewart. Living her name is Amy Stanton, and she'll be discussing the feminine revolution by the way, if you think, you know what that phrase means, you're in for a big surprise. Now it's time to be a catalyst , the chance to make a positive difference the world while simultaneously improving our own lives. Which of course, that's the essence of being a catalyst. Isn't it? This is Dr. Bradford Cooper of the catalyst coaching Institute. Make it a great rest of your week. And I'll speak with you soon on the next episode of the catalyst, health, wellness , and performance coaching podcast, or maybe over on the YouTube.