The Brain with David Eagleman ~

ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1118
edited September 2017 in Off Topic
The first two minutes may make you ask serious questions, and shake your most fundamental beliefs to the core.  This series of four programmes is an extremely interesting intriguing insight into how our brains create our perception of the world around us, is it really all an illusion ?

As musicians we learn, co-ordinate, listen, appreciate, and create, communicate and manipulate an emotional pallet.  An understanding of our brains and the processes underpinning every second of our lives can only help in reaching for our own personal fulfilment IMO.  So with no further ado...

On BBC iPlayer
(for 7 days from the original date of this post, and hopefully repeated again at some indeterminate point with the same web address)


1. What Is Reality?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06y8hyr/the-brain-with-david-eagleman-1-what-is-reality


"Series in which Dr David Eagleman takes viewers on an extraordinary journey that explores how the brain, locked in silence and darkness without direct access to the world, conjures up the rich and beautiful world we all take for granted.

This episode begins with the astonishing fact that this technicolour multi-sensory experience we are having is a convincing illusion conjured up for us by our brains.

In the outside world there is no colour, no sound, no smell. These are all constructions of the brain. Instead, there is electromagnetic radiation, air compression waves and aromatic molecules, all of which are interpreted by the brain as colour, sound and smell.

We meet a man who is blind despite the fact that he has eyes that can see. His story reveals that it's the brain that sees, not the eyes. A woman with schizophrenia, whose psychotic episodes were her reality, emphasises the fact that whatever our brains tell us is out there, we believe it.

Visual illusions are reminders that what's important to the brain is not being faithful to 'reality', but enabling us to perceive just enough so that we can navigate successfully through it. The brain leaves a lot out of its beautiful rendition of the physical world, a fact that Dr Eagleman reveals using experiments and street demonstrations.

Each one of our brains is different, and so is the reality it produces. What is reality? It's whatever your brain tells you it is."




Duration 56:44



https: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MSw2irv0-A

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Comments

  • underdogunderdog Frets: 6029
    Loving the sound of this, I will give it a watch later
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  • Does Plato live in that cave?
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  • ChalkyChalky Frets: 5932
    Don't think there is anything especially new in what he is saying.

    All our perceptions are individual to us, and we build an individual model of the world in our heads, supported by our own belief systems developed through the interaction of our perceptions versus our model. Our daily experiences that reinforce our model are found to be generally more acceptable than experiences that challenge our model, and even our 'real' raw perceptions find it hard to challenge the fundamental aspects of our individual model.
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  • underdogunderdog Frets: 6029
    Watched the first episode, the present lacked screen presence and as interesting as it was I couldn't keep interested and ended up falling asleep in the last 10 minutes
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  • Available until Monday at 8pm (on the current re-run), just in case anyone is sitting on the fence.

    Sorry you didn't gel with the program @underdog .  I actually found his presentation style quite engaging, so maybe give episode two a go ?

    Good summary @Chalky ;

    :)

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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1118
    edited September 2017

    "This episode explores the question of how the brain gives rise to our thoughts, emotions, memories and personality. We see how the process of becoming 'you' starts at birth. The brain of a newborn baby is not yet fully developed, instead it grows and shapes itself around life experience.

    Wiring up begins immediately, and rapidly, as the child's brain starts to adapt to whatever situation - culture, habitat, language - it's born into. This allows humans to flourish in any stimulating environment, but as the story of three Romanian orphans reveals, a lack of social contact and stimulation can result in permanent brain damage as the brain fails to make vital connections in those critical early years.

    Tracing the development of the brain - the 'making of you' - through a lifetime, Dr Eagleman tests the social stress levels of teenagers as their brains go through profound changes, meets London cabbies whose intense training to memorise street maps physically alters the shape of their hippocampus, and joins a group of elderly nuns who are defying the symptoms of Alzheimer's by keeping their brains active and building up 'cognitive reserve'.

    As we make new memories, learn new skills and have life experiences, the brain is constantly and dynamically rewiring itself. It never stops. Nor do we - the human brain is always changing, and therefore so are we. From cradle to grave, we are works in progress."



    Duration 56:48

    https: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5fA--4gjv8

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  • underdogunderdog Frets: 6029
    Available until Monday at 8pm (on the current re-run), just in case anyone is sitting on the fence.

    Sorry you didn't gel with the program @underdog .  I actually found his presentation style quite engaging, so maybe give episode two a go ?

    Good summary @Chalky ;

    :)

    I'd had a few whiskeys, that could account for the sleeping, I'm going to watch the rest as the subject matter is really interesting
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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1118
    edited September 2017
    3.  Who is in Control ?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06zdnkm/the-brain-with-david-eagleman-3-who-is-in-control

    "This episode explores the great deception that greets us each morning when we wake up - it feels as though we are in conscious control of our lives, but in fact almost every action we take, every decision we make, every belief that we hold is driven by parts of the brain that we have no access to.

    Dr Eagleman reveals the electrical storm of unconscious neural activity that accompanies even the simplest of actions. We meet a patient who has lost the ability to walk without consciously controlling every movement. If he's distracted for even a moment he will fall.

    To demonstrate the proficiency of the unconscious brain, Dr Eagleman competes with a ten-year-old world champion in the sport of cup stacking. Wearing EEG caps to record their brain activity reveals that although the champion is performing at much greater speed and precision, his brain is almost at rest. When a skill sinks below the level of conscious, controlling this allows for much greater speed and efficiency.

    Dr Eagleman reveals that everything from who we find attractive to how we describe the relationship we have with our mother can be influenced by factors that we have no conscious control over. But the unconscious has a dark side, as the story of Ken Parks - who killed his mother-in-law in his sleep - demonstrates. Our consciousness is needed to arbitrate between competing systems in the brain that, left to their own devices, are liable to run amok.

    Dr Eagleman ends with a brief journey through free will, and the deep question of whether we have any conscious control over our lives. Although there is tantalising evidence that we can feel as though we are consciously in control when we are not, the experimental jury is still out on whether or not free will is an illusion. However, free will or no free will, the human brain's extraordinary complexity guarantees that life will never feel predictable."



    Duration 56:54


    https: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUV_OleoGr8

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  • notanonnotanon Frets: 307
    Part 1 finished on iPlayer but no sweat it is on YouTube
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  • Thank's for the head's up @notanon ,  it's usually just my luck that good old Auntie Beeb gets these things taken down, so it's good to know that it is still available to watch, cheers  :D 

    OP updated with the YT version now...

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  • Bit late to the party on this as I was on holiday but the first episode in particular interests me. My reading time whilst on holiday was split between Baudrillard and Catch 22 so I've been confusing myself quite spectacularly lately with notions of the real, simulation and all that jazz. Fascinating stuff. Thanks for sharing
    If there's anything good about me, I'm the only one who knows
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  • Getting into "the Zone" is a wonderful experience when it happens.  This section explains what is going on in the subconscious brain to drive extraordinary performance, when you can enter the "flow state".

    It is very true for us as musicians, and why we have to "eat, sleep, rave, repeat", all those movements, so very many times, to fine tune and co-ordinate our brains to perform and associate minutely controlled muscle activity, along with pitch, rhythm, and expression, etc, and open a conduit for emotional creativity.

    I do hope you all gain some extra understanding of the remarkable processes we all go through in striving to master out guitars, and that this understanding in some small way helps guide you on your individual journeys, whatever your goals are...



    3.  Who is in Control ?  (posted above)

    12:33 to 23:20 on the BBC iPlayer and YT versions of this programme

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  • 4.  How do I Decide ?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b07030n9/the-brain-with-david-eagleman-4-how-do-i-decide

    The human brain is the most complex object we've discovered in the universe, and every day much of its neural circuitry is taken up with the tens of thousands of decisions we need to make. This episode takes a journey through the unseen world of decisions, and how they get made. We start with a simple one - choosing a flavour of frozen yoghurt - and learn that every decision we make is born of a 'winner takes all' competition between rival neural networks.

    We meet a woman who is unable to make decisions because of damage to her orbito-frontal cortex - an area that is key to integrating the signals streaming in from the body - and discover that feedback from the body is vital to the decision-making process. Dr Eagleman reveals that something as simple as when you ate your last meal can even influence life-changing decisions, as a study of judges showed they were less likely to give parole when they were hungry.

    So many of our conscious life-defining decisions are actually steered by unconscious influences, whether it's deciding whom we find attractive or how to vote in the next election. Professor Read Montague reveals that he can be 95 per cent certain about which political party we will vote for based on our brain's response to disgusting imagery. The more disgusted a brain response is, the more likely that person is to vote Conservative.

    Finally, Dr Eagleman takes a look at how we can take better control of the decisions we make, and uses an exciting new technique called fMRI neurofeedback to retrain the brains of drug addicts who want to make better decisions, to say 'no'.




    Duration 56:49


    https: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2ETQ74gt_Q

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  • 5.  Why do I Need You ?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b070ss9x/the-brain-with-david-eagleman-5-why-do-i-need-you


    This episode explores how the human brain relies on other brains to thrive and survive. Dr Eagleman demonstrates how, from as young as ten months old, babies can discern who is trustworthy and who isn't.

    Our fundamentally social brain draws us together into groups. An experiment with a simple game of catch reveals that the pain we feel when we are excluded from the group is the same kind of pain as when we hurt ourselves. The powerful testimony of Sarah Shourd, who was imprisoned in Iran for over a year and was kept in solitary confinement - and others like her - demonstrates the absolute need the human brain has for others. She describes the slow disappearance of her 'self'.

    In groups, humans have accomplished great things - but there's a darker side. For every 'in group' there is always an 'out group'. Dr Eagleman reveals the results of an experiment he carried out in his lab showing that people who witness a hand getting stabbed with a needle feel less empathy at a deep neural level if that hand is labelled with a religion to which they do not belong.

    He journeys to modern-day Bosnia to hear from an eyewitness about what happened in 1995 when genocide returned to Europe. What could have allowed for such horrific group-on-group violence? Dr Eagleman believes that neuroscience offers important answers. Dr Lasana Harris at Leiden University has discovered that there are certain circumstances under which the human brain stops perceiving others as human and it becomes easier to suspend the moral and social rules we normally live by.

    Finally, Dr Eaglemen explores what can be done to prevent these neural effects, and reveals that our fundamentally social nature holds the key.





    Duration 56:42

    https: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wa6S2uOEDWA

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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1118
    6.  Who Will We Be ?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b071gx2k/the-brain-with-david-eagleman-6-who-will-we-be

    In this episode, Dr Eagleman journeys into the future, and asks what's next for the human brain and for our species. Mother Nature has evolved a brain that is able to rewire itself according to its environment. We meet Cameron Mott, who had half her brain removed at the age of four, but was able to develop normally as her brain rewired itself to take over the functions of the missing half. This extraordinary plasticity of the brain opens up all sorts of possibilities for enhancing our reality with new technology.

    Dr Eagleman shows us ways in which we'll be able to plug new sensory inputs into our brains and demonstrates his lab's new invention - a vibratory vest which turns sound into patterns of vibration that the brain can learn to interpret. Technology can also allow the brain to control new outputs such as artificial limbs. We meet a disabled patient who can't move her body from the neck down. Electrodes eavesdropping on her motor cortex pick up on electrical signals there and transmit them to an arm across the room.

    We may have evolved two arms and two legs, but there is nothing to stop us from extending - and enhancing - our physical selves in the future. These kinds of technological advances are poised to change us - as individuals and as a society - but the biggest game changer as a species would be if we found a way to upload our brains into digital space. Dr Eagleman explores what it would take to do so. We would need powerful computers, and a complete map of the brain's connections, as well as the activity that runs on top.

    Dr Eagleman visits the Blue Brain Projects in Lausanne, where scientists are attempting to model a simulation of a working human brain. The chance of success is still many years away, but the possibility leads us to the biggest question in neuroscience - could a simulation of a human brain ever be conscious? Could 'you' exist digitally? And if so, how do we know we are not already living in a simulation?





    Duration 55:30


    https: //www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ha7NOXA1O1Q

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  • ChrisMusicChrisMusic Frets: 1118
    Another extraordinary program on the BBC exploring how we learn, particularly appropriate to any of us on here who want to gain a better understanding of the processes we all go through as musicians, and as humans.  We no doubt share this amazing path with our animal cousins too.  This episode on learning has, I believe, a proper place in this thread, as well as the linked thread on the human body which contains all three current episodes.  I will put a YT version here if and when I discover it to be available.  Feel free to post it here if you discover it first, cheers...


    https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0990vnr/the-human-body-secrets-of-your-life-revealed-series-1-3-learn

    "This programme explores the way our experiences shape our minds and bodies as we make the journey from the most helpless to the most sophisticated organism on earth. Dr Chris and Dr Xand van Tullekan uncover how we develop new skills - whether riding a bike or learning to walk.

    They reveal the unexpected link between our heartbeat and our ability to talk. And they show, for the very first time, how memories are formed in our brains, and how our experiences continue to change our bodies and even our genes themselves throughout our lives."



    Link to thread of the full series:  The Human Body ~ Secrets of Your Life Revealed

    http://thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/115929/the-human-body-secrets-of-your-life-revealed#latest

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