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Physical Intelligence: The Science of the Body and the Mind with Dr. Scott Grafton

June 1, 2023

In this episode, Derek Berkey and Natalie Garland speak with Dr. Scott Grafton, Distinguished Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He directs the Action Lab, which focuses on the neuroscience of goal-directed movement. Professor Grafton is also the author of Physical Intelligence: The Science of How the Body and Mind Guide Each Other Through Life.

Dr. Grafton shares how ‘physical intelligence’ works, how it functions in combination with your brain and nervous systems, what you can do to improve it, and why it’s so important for all of us, especially as we age. Grafton explains how the brain connects with the body during physical activity to achieve and maintain ‘allostasis’ and shines a light on the understanding of these links effects on perception, activity, and brain health.

The Invigor Medical podcast aims to provide personalized medical care through scientifically backed education and wellness solutions. Natalie Garland and Derek Berkey co-host the show.


  • 00:49 – Dr. Grafton’s intro and background
  • 04:54 – Motivation and learning
  • 07:30 – Sympathetic vs. parasympathetic nervous system
  • 12:50 – Physical Intelligence
  • 22:05 – Neuro-connection formation in children
  • 24:04 – Synaptic plasticity
  • 29:10 – Physical health and aging
  • 33:30 – Mountaineering, your 6th sense, and proprioception
  • 38:00 – Activities to improve your body awareness
  • 42:15 – Overcoming injuries, re-routing nerve signals
  • 51:20 – Myths and misconceptions
  • 54:30 – Building better physical health and body movement – get outside in nature
  • 56:30 – Why is physical intelligence so important?
  • 58:30 – Stimulating thought by engaging in physical activity
  • 1:03:30 – Mental health and physical intelligence
  • 1:06:45 – Dopamine and endogenous cannabinoids, or endocannabinoids
  • 1:09:40 – Allostasis – ‘just enough, just in time’

Podcast Guests

Dr. Scott Grafton


Podcast Hosts

Natalie Garland


Derek Berkey


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