Texans hand their kids footballs because the sport changes lives. Every year thousands of students enter college who otherwise might not have been able to afford school, or received the attention required to prepare them academically. Sports are a pipeline for higher-education, and once on campus these athletes exist in the highest of castes. Whether these athletes retain the opportunity to play professionally or not, their life is declared as overwhelmingly meaningful.

Gamers on the other hand are seen as rebels at a loss. That image has changed with the rise of he $1B+ e-sports industry, which now offers the same life-changing-opportunities as legacy sports. But are these kids athletes? Can their practices really instill the same discipline learned on fields, courts, and mats? Is this just a fad or something that will alter the lives of its participants? Today’s episode is with Austin Espinoza, President of Longhorn Gaming, UT Austin’s e-sports program, and his path to do exactly that for the next generation of college students.

Dr. Jarrod Lewis-Peacock is a professor of Psychology at the University of Texas Austin. His research focuses on memory, attention, neural decoding, and neurofeedback. Additionally, he is the Principal Investigator at the LewPea Lab, a cognitive neuroscience lab which explores how automatic and controlled processes contribute to goal-directed behavior. He is most famous for stating that forgetting is crucial to a resilience and identity. 

On the topic of resilience, mental health is frequently included in any discussion on resilience. How one defines mental health is murky. There are the obvious avenues: ensure you are getting enough sleep, socializing frequently, etc. Dr. Jarrod Lewis-Peacock’s work argues that memory and forgetfulness should be considered just as much as any of these other characteristics. 

Forgetfulness seems like an odd trait for resilience. Understandable in the aftermath of trauma, otherwise memory appears to be the triumphal trait. After speaking with Dr. Lewis-Peacock the best analogy that comes to mind is that eating is to memorizing as forgetting is to fasting. Both play an integral role in balancing our somatic and neurological processes. 

Our conversation delved into the topics of brains as microprocessors, the effects that patient H.M had to the field of neuroscience, and how novel technologies impact the human capacity to remember. 

It was an absolute pleasure to have Dr. Lewis-Peacock on Resilient Us. Any student of his is fortunate to have his influence over their research. You can reach Dr. Lewis-Peacock and his team via his lab’s webpage, here

As always, please send any show feedback or guest requests to me! 

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