David Pogue's Brain Scan

  • Posted 09.20.12
  • NOVA scienceNOW

What could you learn just by looking at a brain? As it turns out, Dean Falk could probably tell you a lot. She is an anthropologist at Florida State University and at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico. And when she examines David Pogue's brain scan she correctly predicts that he is colorblind.

Running Time: 02:02


David Pogue's Brain Scan

Posted: September 20, 2012

Dean Falk (Anthropologist, SAR Santa Fe/FSU): So we're looking at the left side of your brain, from the inside, from the middle. So, you cut your brain down that way, we're looking at the inside of the left. Here's the frontal lobe. Very nicely convoluted.

David Pogue (Host, NOVA scienceNOW): Thank you.

Falk: As you go back—but wait, hold on—as you go to the back of the brain, this would be the occipital lobe here. But in your case, there's this, like, gap.

Pogue: I'm missing a chunk of brain?

Falk: Well, I don't know. But I think actually there's really a gap there, on your left, not the right. So, how's your color vision and visual perception?

Pogue: Are you kidding me? I'm colorblind.

Falk: Are you really?

Pogue: I'm severely red-green colorblind.

Falk: Are you really? Well, I can't believe…

Pogue: You think there's a corresponding chunk missing?

Falk: Maybe.

Pogue: That's crazy. I thought colorblindness is a lack of rods and cones in the eyes.

Falk: Well, well, isn't that interesting. I mean, I don't know, but I can tell you that this is a part of the association cortex for vision up here. It's called area 19. And, you know, you do your main seeing down here, and you have nice big gyri there. But there, on the left hemisphere, I see a gap.

Pogue: That is crazy that you could look at my brain shape, and predict the flaws…

Falk: Well. I don't know. That's only speculative. I don't want to be accused of practicing medicine without a license there. But I find it very interesting. And I did not know that you are colorblind. Ok. And see this little convolution hanging down here?

Pogue: Yes.

Falk: At the orbital edge.

Pogue: That's my propensity for making puns?

Falk: That's the punning area of the brain.

Pogue: What? That was a joke!

Falk: No, I'm joking, too.



Edited by
Anna Rothschild
Original Footage
© WGBH Educational Foundation 2012


(main image: Pogue and Falk)
© WGBH Educational Foundation

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