Using Play to Rewire & Improve Your Brain


Huberman Lab

In this episode, I discuss the transformative nature of play—how it changes our feelings, thoughts and actions and indeed, how it can rewire our brain to function better in all contexts. I explain the role of play in childhood, as well as adulthood in skill and social development and describe key characteristics of the mind and body during play. Additionally, I explore how play allows the brain to test contingencies in different roles/environments. Throughout, I discuss the underlying neurobiology of play. I also describe how low-stakes play, and tinkering can broaden and shape your future capabilities. Finally, I discuss how our childhood ‘personal play identity’ informs our adult personality. Throughout the episode, I use the science of play to outline recommendations for using play as a means to enhance neuroplasticity and explore novel situations, regardless of age.

For the full show notes, visit

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(00:00:00) The Power of Play

(00:02:23) Tool: Reading on Smart Phones, Sighing & Learning

(00:09:33) Sponsors: AG1, LMNT

(00:13:57) Homeostatic Regulation of Play

(00:23:53) Childhood Play & Mindsets

(00:29:21) Contingency Testing

(00:32:17) The (Power of) Playful Mindset

(00:36:13) Body Postures

(00:44:03) Rule Testing & Breaking

(00:48:24) Role Play

(00:50:39) Neurobiology of Low-stakes Play

(00:54:22) Expanding Capabilities through Tinkering

(01:00:03) Play Is THE Portal to Neuroplasticity

(01:04:44) Adulthood Play

(01:10:14) Fire Together, Wire Together

(01:18:03) Trauma & Play Deficits & Recovery

(01:23:25) Competition & Dynamic Movement

(01:27:36) Chess, Mental Roles, Novelty

(01:32:52) Personal Play Identity

(01:37:24) Play Transforms Your Future Self

(01:40:55) Recommendations for Play

(01:44:25) Zero-Cost Support, Spotify/Apple Reviews, YouTube, Sponsors, Instagram, Twitter, Supplements

Title Card Photo Credit: Mike Blabac


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