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SOUL SEARCHING: TALI SHAROT

When I was seven ...

I was a bit of a tomboy. I didn't own any dresses and would spend most of my time running around outside. My mum made me cut my hair in a way that was fashionable with 1980s footballers.

The first time my heart was broken ...

It was my first boyfriend. I was spending the year in England and afterwards had to leave him behind. That seemed a huge tragedy at the time.

The wisest thing my grandmother told me ...

My grandmother was a medical doctor and great inspiration. She told me to go and study psychology as she thought I was better suited to that and would have a better life. It was good advice. It's exactly what I did and ended up being a psychologist/neuroscientist.

The biggest adversity I have overcome ...

Since my twenties I have been living outside my own country. I grew up in Israel and left there 12 or 13 years ago. Living without my family and school or college friends, on my own, in big cities was a huge challenge at first. I've since got used to it.

My motto for life ...

To take advantage of life. Live and explore. To try to make it worthwhile and meaningful.

My soul mate is ...

My partner Josh. He's a neuroscientist too. We are opposites, but that's what makes it work.

Not many people know that ...

The way they see the world is not actually the way the world is, but rather a reconstruction of what the brain puts together.

The most inspiring book I've read was ...

The Easter Parade by Richard Yates. It's about two sisters growing up on the east coast of the US, mainly in New York. They make very different choices in life: one chooses the traditional family, the other to have a career and not have children. They both end up lonely and sad, but it's unclear exactly how they ended up as they did. The message seems to be about being more aware about what we do, why we are doing it and try to direct our path.

If ever I feel lonely I ...

Put on music, usually something feel-good like soul or Motown.

What I look for in a friend is ...

Someone who is there for me. I don't like people who tend to think of themselves as "busy" – that's not the same as actually being busy. Insightful, interesting, caring and optimistic.

The first people I ring when I'm upset are ...

My partner, mum or one of my best friends.

I believe the secret to a strong relationship is ...

Mutual admiration and a sense of being a team. Shared goals – but also sharing the other person's goals.

Something I wish I'd done earlier ...

There isn't anything. I tend to do things quite late and I've never, so far, regretted that. Sometimes it's good to take your time.

My childhood hero was ...

Carl Lewis. Sport was important to me as a child and I was on the track and field team. I was obsessed with long-distance and middle-distance running. It was my dream to be an Olympic athlete.

The place I most like to call home ...

I've spent my adult years in three cities: London, Tel Aviv and New York. Those are the places that, when I get off a plane, feel comfortable and familiar.

Tali Sharot will be on Dara O'Briain's Science Club: Christmas special on BBC Two Scotland, Sunday, 8pm

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