TEDx Talk with Joe Dispenza – The Three Brains that Allow us to go from Thinking to Doing to Being

Yesterday, Helen and I came across this video on TED Talks and were enthralled not only with what Joe Dispenza was discussing, but with the fabulous images he shared of a neuron creating new connections. We hope that you find it as fascinating as we did. Included below are our notes made while watching the video.


[Helen (www.insightfulnutrition.ca) and I watched this video last week, but today it has been removed from YouTube. There are several other videos available from Joe Dispenza, and we encourage you to learn from him: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMN_Sd9qdIE]

1.Neo-Cortex – newest, most evolved part of brain; highly specialized

2.Limbic – also known as the mammalian brain – internal chemical brain which regulates internal chemical orders

3.Cerebellum – reptilian brain – seat of subconscious mind – oldest part of brain

  • Each of these brains has their own anatomy and circuitry, own individual biocomputer, own physiology and chemistry, own history, own sense of time and space
  • In the brain, neurons store and communicate information between and among each other
  • Neo-cortex – seat of conscious awareness, loves to gather information
  • Learning > new information leads directly to new connections – actual physical change to the brain
  • New information is biologically wired into cerebral architecture
  • Remembering > maintaining the connections – the more you communicate the more bonded you become – start to form neuro networks which are fired and wired together to create a neuro community
  • Mind is the brain in action – experience enriches your brain neurologically (more connections); then it produces a chemical that is called a feeling or emotion; this chemical is released by the limbic brain; this allows you to remember this experience
  • Routine lulls the brain to sleep – stress can cause you to make immediate connections (eg, memories of 9-11)
  • Your body is your unconscious mind, it does not know the difference between the actual experience in reality that produces the emotion and the emotion that you fabricate by thought alone
  • Limbic brain produces neurochemicals
  • Stress response – when you can’t turn it off, you’re heading for disease
  • Pay attention to how you are feeling – called metacognition > observe who we are being (like observing yourself from outside yourself)
  • Metacognition allows us the ability to modify our behaviours and change how we react/do a better job
  • Frontal lobe – seat of our awareness – home of the you and the me
  • As you think of who you want to be, the frontal lobe acts like a volume control and begins to lower the volume on the circuits in the brain that are connected to the old self
  • It begins to silence the old circuits – this allows you to observe and no longer participate
  • Next step is to biologically break down the old connections so no longer biologically connected to the old self
  • Changes to neural connections can be made with persistence and amplitude
  • BDNF – growth factor – goes from the neuron back across the synaptic cleft – can actually steel from neighbouring, weaker connections
  • Allows old memories to lose their strength – so you can actually prune away old memories / old self
  • Can happen in moments!
  • Knowledge > happens in the mind – Experience > happens in the body
  • Limbic mind makes a new batch of chemicals – instructing the body chemically
  • Repeated exposure to a new thought makes it become real – to point where you no longer have to think about it
  • In the example, neurochemically conditioned the body to memorize compassion as well as the conscious mind
  • Mind and body activate the cerebellum – the seat of the subconscious mind – so that compassion becomes a habit, then a state of being!

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4 Responses so far.

  1. Very good article. I’m going through many of these issues as well..
    massagetherapycolleges.net recently posted..massagetherapycolleges.netMy Profile

  2. Teri Morris says:

    Does anyone know why the video was removed?? We posted it on our blog too and lots of people went to see it only to ask where it went. I did searches and see the same happened to many blogs. Looks like it was popular. I wonder why it was removed and I can’t find a trace of it anywhere. Teri

    • Andy says:

      The video was removed as it was pseudoscience. If you google Triune Brain Theory you will easily see Mr Dispenza’s errors.

  3. Phlegyas says:

    Hi Terri, Mr Dispenza’s Tedx talk was removed as the science presented was of low quality and contained many factual errors. The basic premise of the talk is that we can change our affective neurophysiology by approaching the things the produce our anxieties from a different angle. This is not unlike Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. The problem for Ted is that his explanation for the mechanisms of change is purely speculative and contains basic errors.
    His thesis is based tying together of two neuro-psychological hypotheses 1) Paul Maclean’s Triune Brain and 2) Donald Hebb’s Spike Timing Dependent Plasticity. The errors begin in Dispenza’s misunderstanding of the Triune Brain. In the original work Maclean’s idea was to explain the evolutionary connection between brain and behavior based on a three layered model of the vertebrate forebrain those layers being i) The Reptilian Complex (Basal Ganglia), The Paleo-Mammalian brain (Upper Limbic System) and the Neo-Mammalian Brain (neocortex.
    Dispenza’s error is to identify the cerebellum as the Reptilian Complex. In Maclean’s view the R-Complex controls non-conditioned responses to stimuli both external in internal. The Limbic System (as defined by Maclean, but now outdated) is the location of learned or conditioned responses and the Neo-Mammalian brain is the location of mammalian cognitive abilities that enable us to regulate the lower parts. The basic idea is that the r-complex is all genetic and ancient memory and the mammalian parts allow for learning and epigenetic memory. So no amount of conscious effort will alter the lower affective areas of the brain. It is clear that Dispenza is confused with regard to implicit memory which may involve the cerebellum, conditioning (Classical and Operant) and those non-conditioned automatic responses and affects that are part of the R-Complex. And, of course, he made a grave mistake in asserting that the cerebellum is the seat of the subconscious mind; a conclusion that he cannot possibly draw from his premises.

    If you are interested in well researched science of the emotional basis of behavior you may like the work of Jaak Panksepp. Here’s a link to his TedX Talk.


    It’s sad to see that this only has a fraction of the views of Dispenza’s speculative folk psychology.

    Here’s the point of view from TED:

    “Avoid pseudoscience. TED and TEDx are platforms for showcasing and explaining genuine advances in science, and it’s important we retain the respect of the scientific community. Speakers should avoid the misuse of scientific language to make unsubstantiated claims. “

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