The Brain

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Hear what Neil had to say at the conclusion of the episode "How Does the Brain Work?"

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"Our best hope today lie with neuroscientists."

Based on that assumption, digital audio storage engineers should automatically be the best music theoreticians, since they understand the components of sound far better than any musician. Actually, neuroscientists are our *worst* chance of understanding the mind.

"What are thoughts but electrical impulses among brain cells?"

What is fire but the combination of oxygen, fuel, and heat? What fire and mind have in common is that they are both classic examples of "The Whole" being *far* greater than the sum of its components. They are both "events", not "objects". As such, they can be manipulated through the interaction of their components, but they are still a separate entity from the components themselves.


Because of childhood trauma, I now have what are referred to "Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures" which cause my entire body to "seize up" completely, although I am conscience What I would like to know is what in my brain is starting them. They can occur while I am in therapy, I can illicit them or they can be completely spontaneous.

Any ideas?

I've pondered this a while now: what is it that makes us aware someone is staring at us? Are our eyes transmitters as well as receptors? What makes the "hairs at the back of our neck stand on end?" Even basic instincts have elements of cause and effect; or, could it be something more exotic, as in the behavior of photons as both waves and particles?

There are probably tens of thousands of other chemicals you could inject into a rat's brain after it learned to run a maze or whatever and it wouldn't be able to do it any more. What controls were used? Do these experimenters even know what the word "control" means?

This is crackpot science, Nova. Give us a break.


Awesome, as usual. Thank you Neil.

I just watched this program with my 4 year old son and a good friend of mine. We were all blown away by the show. The progress that science has made on understanding the brain in recent years is astounding and I truly believe we have barely gotten started. The wonderful thing is that our brains are only a small part of our overall make up. As long as we use our fantastic brains in combination with the technology we can produce with them for the purposes of good our future looks very bright.

Thank you sharing such riveting material.

There is love in you :)

I found this program to be quite interesting and wondered if neuroscientists who study TSM could artificially create synesthesia by stimulating adjacent areas of the brain for words and colors, as seems to be the case for synesthetes. Perhaps this would corroborate both of their efforts to unlock the mysteries of the brain.

Really enjoyed this program and look forward to more episodes on the brain!


My question relates to the segment about training the parrot.Years ago I was a salesman for General Mills . They hired an animal psychologist, Keller Breland, to train some animals for publicity. One act involved a rooster and hens. We helped our dealers with open house celebrations by putting on a show with these animals. On one occasion, the rooster would not perform his act; biting and fighting me. I occured to me that being in a cage by himself he had no way to release his sexual energy. I had my partner get a hen and I took the rooster to a back room. My partner put the hen on the floor and I released the rooster. He ejaculated as I released him and then "topped" the hen numerous times. Took him back to the show and he performed his act.

My point regarding the foregoing is that in the case of the parrot, was he denied his sexual drive for 30 years. I've seen many situations over the years of trained animals living solitary lives and wonder about this effect upon them. I've wondered about large animals suddenly turning on their trainers; is this a manifestation of sukppresed sexual frustation?