What Do Mirror Neurons Really Do? (BSP 112)

Greg Hickok, PhD (Click on photo to hear his interview)

Greg Hickok, PhD (Click on photo to hear his interview)

Ever since their chance discovery back in 1992 mirror neurons have captured the imagination of both scientists and nonscientists, but their actual role remains mostly speculative. In The Myth of Mirror Neurons: The Real Neuroscience of Communication and Cognition Dr. Gregory Hickok (UC-Irvine) explains why the most popular theory is probably wrong. He also provides a fascinating account of how science is really done and the sobering lesson that scientists can fall prey to the same cognitive biases (and tendencies toward laziness) that plague all humans.

I first discussed the discovery of mirror neurons back in BSP 35 when I featured  Mirrors in the brain: How our minds share actions, emotions, and experience (2008) by Giacomo Rizzolatti and Corrado Sinigaglia. At that time what I found most fascinating was that since mirror neurons fire both when a subject (usually a monkey) performs an action and when a similar action is observed, this proves that single neurons are not necessarily purely motor or purely sensory. This surprising discovery seems to have been overshadowed in the rush to use mirror neurons to explain everything from autism to language evolution.

The latest Brain Science Podcast  (BSP 112) features an interview with Dr. Gregory Hickok. BSP 35 is also available for FREE via the Brain Science Podcast Mobile APP.


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References and Links

Related Episodes:

  • BSP 35: introduction to Mirror Neurons (free as an episode extra if you use the BSP mobile app)
  • BSP 39: Dr. Michael Arbib on the possible role of mirror neurons in language evolution (note this interview doesn't represent his current views)


  • Next month's episode will provide exclusive coverage of "Neuroplasticity and Healing" an event being hosted by the Dalai Lama at the UAB School of Medicine.

  • The most recent 25 episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are always FREE. Older episodes and episode transcripts are available for $1 each. Premium subscribers have unlimited access to all 100+ episodes and transcripts.

  • Reminder: The Brain Science Podcast mobile app is now FREE for iOS, Android and Windows Mobile.  Check newer episodes for extra free content!

  • Don't forget to check out my other podcast Books and Ideas.

  • Please share your feedback about this episode by sending email to brainsciencepodcast@gmail.com or going to the Brain Science Podcast Discussion Forum at http://brainscienceforum.com. You can also post to our fan pages on Facebook or Google+.

Sleep Science with Penny Lewis (BSP 107)

Penny Lewis (click image to play interview)

Penny Lewis (click image to play interview)

In The Secret World of Sleep: The Surprising Science of the Mind at Rest Dr. Penelope A. Lewis provides a highly readable account of the fascinating world of sleep research. Fascinating research is being carried out with animals as varied as fruit flies and rats, as well as with humans. I was surprised to learn that most people actually find it fairly easy to fall asleep in an fMRI scanner.

I have just posted an interview with Dr. Lewis (BSP 107) that includes a discussion of the role of sleep in memory as well as interesting findings about how synapses in the brain actually change during sleep. We still don't know exactly what sleep (and dreaming) are essential, but research in this field is growing. Dr. Lewis is excited about emerging research that suggests improving slow wave sleep may significantly improve learning and memory.

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Brain Plasticity with Michael Merzenich (BSP 105)

                              Michael Merzenich

                              Michael Merzenich

If you have read anything about brain plasticity you have seen the name Michael Merzenich. Dr. Merzenich is one of the pioneers in this field, having spent over 30 years documenting that the human brain (and that of other mammals) continues to change throughout life. I interviewed Dr. Merzenich several years ago (BSP 54), but the publication of his first book Soft-Wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change Your Life gave us another opportunity to talk about how we can apply these discoveries in our daily lives.

According to Dr. Merzenich, "No matter how much you've struggled, no matter where you've been in your life, you're in charge of your life going forward.  And you have the capacity; you have the resources to change things for the better—always have that capacity.  And that's what the book is trying to emphasize. “ (BSP 105)

I found Soft-wired very compelling because it combines a clear explanation of the science with many stories about real people facing a wide variety of cognitive challenges. The overall tone of the book is very optimistic even though it also considers the way bad choices can contribute to cognitive decline. 

How to get this episode:

  • FREE: audio mp3 (click to stream, right click to download)
  • Buy Transcript for $1.
  • Premium Subscribers now have unlimited access to all old episodes and transcripts.
  • The most recent 25 episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are still FREE. See the individual show notes for links the audio files.

Related Episodes:

  • BSP 10: Introduction to Brain Plasticity.
  • BSP 17: Discussion of The Wisdom Paradox: How Your Mind Can Grow Stronger As Your Brain Grows Older by Elkhonon Goldberg.
  • BSP 28: Interview with Dr. Norman Doidge, author of The Brain That Changes Itself.
  • BSP 33: Interview with Dr. John Ratey, author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.
  • BSP 54: Interview with Dr. Michael Merzenich, author of Soft-wired.
  • BSP 87: Interview with Dr. Pam Greenwood, co-author of Nurturing the Older Brain and Mind.

Further Reading:

2013 Neuroscience Highlights (BSP 104)

Ginger Campbell with Rusty and Greta

Ginger Campbell with Rusty and Greta

Its time for the Brain Science Podcast's seventh annual review episode. In 2013 we had the chance to talk with ten scientists, including three returning guests. We also celebrated our 100th episode and passed 5 million downloads.

BSP 104 is a review of some of the key ideas we explored in 2013. I also announced the launch of a new Premium Subscription program. Beginning around December 30 the twenty-five most recent episodes will remain free while the rest of the 100+ podcasts and transcripts will be available either by subscription or for individual purchase. 

Click here to learn more about our new Premium Content.

How to get this episode:

  • FREE: audio mp3 (click to stream, right click to download)
  • Buy Transcript for $1.
  • Premium Subscribers now have unlimited access to all old episodes and transcripts.
  • The most recent 25 episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are still FREE. See the individual show notes for links the audio files.

2013 Episodes and Books


Send feedback to Dr. Campbell at brainsciencepodcast@gmail.com.

Brain Fitness with Alvaro Fernandez (BSP 100)

Alvaro Fernandez of SharpBrains

Alvaro Fernandez of SharpBrains

I have been using the SharpBrains website as a source of information and ideas since the early days of my Brain Science Podcast, so it seemed fitting to invite SharpBrains co-founder Alvaro Fernandez to be my guest for Episode 100.   We talked about the second edition of The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness: How to Optimize Brain Health and Performance at Any Age, which he co-authored with Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg (BSP 18). The goal of this book is to give people from all backgrounds a practical guide for evaluating the current science and establishing their own "brain fitness" regimen, much in the way that each of us must choose a physical fitness that meets our individual needs and lifestyle.

Brain Fitness should not just be a concern for older people, it should become a key component of a healthy lifestyle at any age. The SharpBrains Guide to Brain Fitness is a great first step.

How to get this episode:


  • FREE: audio mp3 (click to stream, right click to download)
  • Buy Transcript for $1.
  • Premium Subscribers now have unlimited access to all old episodes and transcripts.
  • The most recent 25 episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are still FREE. See the individual show notes for links the audio files.

Links and References: 

Celebrating BSP 100

To celebrate Episode 100 of the Brain Science Podcast I invited listeners to contribute audio to the show. I couldn't use everything, but I want to thank everyone who submitted content.  The following listeners are featured:  

  •  "I Got a Brain" Written and Performed by Dr. Jay Einhorn
  • Interview with Darryl Ferges
  • "Mindfire" (new theme music) by Tony Cotraccia
  • Audio comments:  Leon Mcgahee, MD., Eric Lindley, Julio Dantos, Hamish Kebb, and Adelia Moore, PhD
  • Email from Jana Johnson

Send Feedback to brainsciencepodcast@gmail.com. 

      "The Autistic Brain" by Temple Grandin (BSP 98)

       The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum  by Temple Grandin (with Richard Panek), is a tremendous gift, not just to patients and their families, but also to teachers, mentors, friends, and everyone who is interested in understanding how our brains make us who we are.

      I think that this is a book everyone should read because as we come to appreciate the fact that the strengths and challenges of autism occur across a broad spectrum, we may also realize that some of these issues actually affect people who aren't considered autistic.  It is not the label that matters.  What does matter is recognizing that each of us has his or her own strengths and weaknesses, but thanks to brain plasticity, we all have the potential to nurture our strengths and, when necessary, accommodate our weaknesses.


      How to get this episode:

      • FREE: audio mp3 (click to stream, right click to download)
      • Buy Transcript for $1.
      • Premium Subscribers now have unlimited access to all old episodes and transcripts.
      • The most recent 25 episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are still FREE. See the individual show notes for links the audio files.

      References and Related Episodes:


      • I am still trying to schedule an interview with Dr. Temple Grandin, but there is a possibility that the next episode of the Brain Science Podcast will not come out until August 2013.
      • The Deadline for listener submissions to Episode 100 is August 1, 2013.
      • Several products are not available directly on this website including the PDF version of Are You Sure? The Unconscious Origins of Certainty by Ginger Campbell, MD and a zip file contain BSP 1-10. Click here to learn more.
      • Be sure to sign up for the Brain Science Podcast Newsletter so that you can receive show notes automatically and NEVER miss a new episode. (But there was a glitch last month, so if you did not get the show notes for BSP 97, please click here.

      Neuroanthropolgy: What Is It and WHY Should You Care? (BSP 97)

      You may be tired of seeing the prefix "neuro" used to describe every new fad, but The Encultured Brain: An Introduction to Neuroanthropology [2012] edited by Daniel H. Lende and Greg Downey makes an impassioned argument for why neuroscience and anthropology should be working together to unravel the ongoing mystery of how our brains make us who we are.  The latest Brain Science Podcast  (BSP 97) is a thought-provoking conversation with Downey and Lende.  After explaining that anthropology can offer neuroscience field data about "brains in the wild," we explore two case studies that demonstrate the promise of this new partnership.

      How to get this episode:

      • FREE: audio mp3 (click to stream, right click to download)
      • Buy Transcript for $1.
      • Premium Subscribers now have unlimited access to all old episodes and transcripts.
      • The most recent 25 episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are still FREE. See the individual show notes for links the audio files

      Subscribe to the Brain Science Podcast or listen on the BSP Mobile app.

      References and Links:


      • he Brain Science Podcast is nearing episode 100! I want to include listener comments. Send your emails and mp3 files to brainsciencepodcast@gmail.com or click here to learn more.
      • The Brain Science Podcast Newsletter has moved to Mailchimp. Click here for the new sign-up form.
      • Please nominate the Brain Science Podcast as one of the best science podcasts on the web at http://www.thesciencestudio.org.
      • Keep an eye out for the latest BSP News!

      Review of "Self Comes to Mind" by Antonio Damasio (BSP 90)


      Episode 90 of the Brain Science Podcast is a discussion of Self Comes To Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain, by Antonio Damasio. Damasio's book focuses on the answer to two key questions: How does the brain generate the Mind? and, How does the Brain generate Consciousness? His approach is unusual because many scientists and writers treat the Mind and Consciousness as identical. In contrast, Damasio argues that Mind precedes Consciousness. Listen to this podcast to learn how the Mind becomes Conscious.

      ow to get this episode:


      Related Episodes of the Brain Science Podcast: 

      • BSP 21 and BSP 23 How the Brain Creates Maps of the Body
      • BSP 65: Jaak Panksepp talks about the subcortical origins of emotions
      • BSP 89: Evan Thompson talks about his book, Mind in Life


      • Next month's Brain Science Podcast will be a return interview with Jaak Panksepp to talk about his new book, The Archaeology of Mind: Neuroevolutionary Origins of Human Emotions.
      • Please check out my other podcast, Books and Ideas.
      • The earliest episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are no longer available from iTunes but you can get them here or by buying the Brain Science Podcast  app, which is available for iPhone, iPad, and Android.
      • Get my eBook, Are You Sure? The Unconscious Origins of Certainty, from Amazon.com for only $3.99.
      • Social Websites for the Brain Science Podcast: Discussion Forum on Goodreads, Facebook Fan Page, Google+ page.
      • Don't forget to get some high quality Brain Science Podcast Logo gear from Printfection.
      • Sign up for the Brain Science Podcast  Newsletter so you never miss a new episode.

      Send me feedback at brainsciencepodcast@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter (@docartemis).

      "Mind in Life" with Evan Thompson (BSP 89)


      Evan Thompson, PhD


      Embodied Cognition is a movement within cognitive science that argues that the mind is inseparable from the fact that the brain is embedded in a physical body. This means that everything that the brain does, from the simplest perception to complex decision-making, relies on the interaction of the body with its environment.  Evan Thompson's book, Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind, is an in-depth look at what he calls the "enactive" approach to embodied cognition. The enactive approach was pioneered by Thompson's mentor Francisco Varela, and it emphasizes the importance of the body's active engagement with its environment.

      In a recent interview (BSP 89) I talked with Thompson about some of the key ideas in Mind in Life. Unlike most episodes of the Brain Science Podcast, this is not really a stand-alone episode. It is part of my ongoing exploration of both embodied cognition and the controversial topic of emergence. It is also intended as a follow-up to my recent interview with Terrence Deacon.

      How to get this episode:



      Related Episodes: 

      • BSP 5: A bried introduction to philosphy of mind
      • BSP 25: Embodied Intelligence with Rolf Pfeifer
      • BSP 36: Art Glenberg on Embodied Cognition
      • BSP 53: Discussion of Did My Neurons Make Me Do It? (emergence and free will)
      • BSP 62: Warren Brown, co-author of Did My Neurons Make Me Do It?
      • BSP 73: Lawrence Shapiro, author of Embodied Cognition.
      • Books and Ideas #47: Terrence Deacon, author of Incomplete Nature.


      • Continuing education credit is now available for selected episodes of the Brain Science Podcast. Click here to learn more.
      • I will be in Philadelphia, PA October 16-21 to attend the annual meeting of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Please contact me if you would like to get together.
      • My eBook Are You Sure? The Unconscious Origins of Certainty is on sale for only $2.99. Please post your review.
      • Next month's Brain Science Podcast will be a discussion of Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain by Antonio Damasio. Self Comes to Mind is also available from our sponsor Audible.com.
      • Please visit the Brain Science Podcast on Facebook or Google+, or join the BSP  Discussion Forum at Goodreads.com.
      • Never miss an episode of the Brain Science Podcast!  Sign up for the Newsletter.
      • Send me (Dr. Campbell) email at brainsciencepodcast@gmail.com or follow me on Twitter (@docartemis).

      Brain Aging Research with Dr. Pamela Greenwood (BSP 87)


      Pamela Greenwood, PhD

      Nuturing the Older Brain and Mind, by Pamela M. Greenwood and Raja Parasuaman provides a comprehensive review of the current research in cognitive aging.  In the latest Brain Science Podcast (BSP 87)Dr. Greenwood explains that brain aging and cognitive aging are not the same thing; the typical brain changes that are associated with normal brain aging (such as shrinkage) are not reliable predictors of cognitive decline. Fortunately, even though normal brain aging is still not well understood, the discovery of brain plasticity is shifting the focus of research. Not only does brain plasticity offer new hope for people who suffer strokes and other brain injuries, it also suggests that life style choices influence cognitive function at all ages.

      Nurturing the Older Brain and Mind is intended for an academic audience but it is accessible to everyone. This month's interview with Dr. Greenwood (BSP 87) focuses on dispelling the most stubborn myths about brain aging. We also talk about the practical steps we can all take to help maintain our cognitive performance.

      How to get this episode:

      Related Episodes:

      • BSP 10: Introduction to Brain Plasticity.
      • BSP 26: Norman Doidge, author of The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science.
      • BSP 28: Edward Taub: applying brain plasticity to stroke rehabilitation.
      • BSP 68: Peter Whitehouse on dementia versus normal brain aging.


      • Nurturing the Older Brain and Mind, by Pamela M. Greenwood and Raja Parasuraman (2012).
      • The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science, by Norman Doidge.
      • Greenwood, P. M. (2007) Functional Plasticity in Cognitive Aging: Review and Hypothesis. Neuropsychology  21(6) 657–673.
      • Greenwood, P. M., and Parashauraman, R. (2010) Neuronal and cognitive plasticity: A neurocognitive framework for ameliorating cognitive aging. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 2: 150.
      • Gould, E. and Gross, C.G. (2002) Neurogenesis in adult mammals: Some progress and problems. Journal of Neuroscience 22 (3): 619-623.
      • Taub, E., Uswatte, G., and Elbert, T. (2002) New treatments in neurorehabilitation founded on basic research. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 3 (3): 228-236.
      • Grady, C. L., McIntosh, A.R., and Craik, F.I. (2003) Age-related differences in the functional connectivity of the hippocampus during memory encoding. Hippocampus 13 (5): 572-586.
      • Colcombe, S.J., A.F. Kramer, K.I. Erickson, P. Scalf, E. McAuley, N.J. Cohen, A. Webb, et al.,
      • Cardiovascular fitness, cortical plasticity, and aging. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 2004. 101(9): p. 3316-21.
      • Hertzog, C., Kramer, A. F., Wilson, R. S. and Lindenberger, U. (2009) Enrichment effects on adult cognitive development: Can the functional capacity of older adults be preserved and enhanced? Psychological Science in the Public Interest 9 (1): 1-65.
      • Kramer, A.F., Larish, J. F.,  and Strayer, D. L. (1995) Training for attentional control in dual tasking settings: A comparison of young and older adults. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied 1: 50-76.
      • Nagamatsu, L.S., Handy, T. C., et. al. 2012. Resistance Training Promotes Cognitive and Functional Brain Plasticity in Seniors With Probable Mild Cognitive Impairment.Archives of Internal Medicine 172 (8) 666-668.
      • Liu-Ambrosea, T.,  Nagamatsua, L.S., Vosse, M.W.,  Khanc, K.M., and. Handy, T. C. (2012) Resistance training and functional plasticity of the aging brain: a 12-month randomized controlled trial. Neurobiology of Aging 33: 1690 –1698.
      • Willis, S.L. et. al (2006) Long-term effects of cognitive training on everyday functional outcomes in older adults. Journal of the American Medical Association 296 (23): 2805-2814.
      • For more references: see Nurturing the Older Brain and Mind and the free transcript of BSP 87.


      "Are You Sure?" Hits Kindle today!

      I have just published my first eBook: Are You Sure? The Unconscious Origins of Certainty.  It is available for the Kindle now, and will be out for iBooks and Nook shortly.  This is based on two of my favorite episodes of the Brain Science Podcast.

      A free PDF version is available to anyone who sends me a copy of their Amazon receipt.

      This is Volume 1 of a new series called Brain Talk: Conversations with Neuroscientists, which I hope will bring the content of the Brain Science Podcast to a broader audience.

      I have also started a newsletter for people who only want news about my writing, but who don't want to get podcast announcements.

      "Mind and Brain" with William Uttal (BSP 83)


      William Uttal, PhD

      There is nothing more exciting than the mind/brain problem" according to Dr. William Uttal, author of Mind and Brain: A Critical Appraisal of Cognitive Neuroscience.  In the latest episode of the Brain Science Podcast  (BSP 83) I talked with Dr. Uttal about why he feels that brain imaging can not solve this mystery.

      First, there is the problem that brain imaging represents the wrong level of analysis because every spot you see on a brain scan actaully represents thousands of neurons.  This means that the activity and interaction between individual neurons has been lost. Then there is the problem of reproducibility, with divergent results between studies.

      The evidence is accumulating that "much of the brain responds to any stimulus, and every area of the brain participates in multiple functions."  This means that asking where a given function occurs may be the wrong question.

      BSP 83 represents an on-going discussion of these issues, so I have included links to related episodes in the show notes. 

      How to get this episode:


      Related Podcasts:  


      Send me feedback at gincampbell at mac dot.com.

      Patricia Churchland on Neuroscience and Morality (BSP 81)

      PATCHURCHLAND -320.jpg

      Patricia Churchland (photo by Nines Minquez)


      BSP 81 marks the return of philosopher Patricia Churchland, who I first interviewed back in Episode 55.  Our recent conversation focuses on her latest book, Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality.  We discuss the historical background and contrast Churchland's approach to that of Sam Harris in The Moral Landscape.  Then Professor Churchland discusses how recent discoveries in neuroscience are shedding light on the evolutionary origins of morality.

      It's a fascinating conversation that you won't want to miss. 




      How to get this episode:




      Miguel Nicolelis, MD, PhD (BSP 79)


      Dr. Miguel Nicolelis

      iguel Nicolelis at Duke University is pioneering brain-machine interfaces.  In his book, Beyond Boundaries: The New Neuroscience of Connecting Brains with Machines---and How It Will Change Our Lives, he puts his groundbreaking work into an historical context.  I discussed his book briefly in BSP 78, but I have now posted an in-depth interview.  The focus of our conversation is on why his work challenges longstanding assumptions about the primacy of the single neuron in brain function.

      How to get this episode:



      Neurobiology of Placebos with Fabrizio Benedetti (BSP 77)


      Fabrizio Benedetti, MD 

      r. Fabrizio Benedetti is one of the world's leading researchers of the neurobiology of placebos.  In a recent interview (BSP 77) he explained to me that he believes that "today we are in a very good position to describe, from a biological and from an evolutionary approach, the doctor-patient relationship, and the placebo effect, itself."

      To appreciate Dr. Benedetti's work, one must first realize that his approach differs from that of the typical clinical trial.  As he observed, "To the clinical trialist, a placebo effect means any improvement which may take place after placebo administration.  To the neurobiologist, a placebo response, or placebo effect means only something active in the brain happening after placebo administration: learning, anxiety reduction, activation of reward mechanisms."

      In contrast, he explains, "The real placebo response, the real placebo effect is a psychobiological phenomenon.  It is something active happening in the brain after placebo administration: like learning, like anxiety reduction, and such like." Brain Science Podcast #77 provides an introduction to this complex, but fascinating topic

      How to get this episode:


      • Benedetti F, Mayberg HS, Wager TD, Stohler CS, Jon-Kar Zubieta J (2005) Neurobiological Mechanisms of the Placebo Effect. The Journal of Neuroscience, 25,10390-10402. (Full article)
      • Benedetti F (2009) Placebo Effects: Understanding the mechanisms in health and disease. Oxford University Press.
      • Benedetti F (2011) The Patient's Brain: The neuroscience behind the doctor-patient relationship. Oxford University Press.
      • Levine JD, Gordon NC and Fields, HL (1978) The mechanisms of placebo analgesia. Lancet, 2, 654-7. (Abstract)
      • Levine JD, Gordon NC and Fields, HL (1978) “The mechanisms of placebo analgesia.” Lancet, 2, 654-7. (Abstract). See also a follow-up paper: Levine JD, Gordon NC, Bornstein JC, and H L Fields HL (1979) “Role of pain in placebo analgesia.” Proc Natl Acad Sci76(7): 3528–3531. (full text)
      • Volkow, ND, Wang JG, Ma Y, Fowler JS, Zhu W, Maynard L et al. (2003) Expectation enhances the regional brain metabolic and the reinforcing effects of stimulants in cocaine abusers. Journal of Neuroscience, 23, 11261–8. (Full text)
      • de la Fuente-Fernández R, et al. (2001) Expectation and Dopamine Release: Mechanism of the Placebo Effect in Parkinson's Disease. Science293, 1164. (Abstract)
      • Benedetti F, Colloca L, Torre E et al. (2004) Placebo-responsive Parkinson patients show decreased activity in single neurons of the subthalamic nucleus. Nature Neuroscience, 7, 587-88. (Abstract)
      • Herrnstein RJ, (1962) Placebo Effect in the Rat. Science138, 677-678.
      • Linde K, Witt CM, Streng A et al. (2007) The impact of patient expectation in four randomized control trials of acupuncture in patients with chronic pain. Pain, 128, 264-71. (Abstract)
      • See Episode Transcript for additional references.



      •  32:48 only NON-members are eligible to get a free audiobook download from our sponsor at http://audiblepodcast.com/brainscience.
      • Dr. Benedetti’s first book is called Placebo Effects, not Placebo “responses”.
      • Special Thanks to Lori Wolfson for finding these mistakes and correcting them in the episode transcript.

      Send me feedback at gincampbell at brainsciencepodcast@gmail.com

      David Eagleman on The Secret Lives of the Brain (BSP 75)


      David Eagleman, PhD

      In his new book, Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brainneuroscientist, David Eagleman, describes consciousness as "the smallest player in the operations of the brain" (page 5) because most of what the brain does is outside conscious awareness (and control).  In a recent interview (BSP 75), Dr. Eagleman reviews some of the evidence for this startling position, as well as the implications both for the average person and for social policy.

      How to get this episode:


      Related Episodes of BSP:

      • BSP 13: Our first discussion of unconscious decisions.
      • BSP 15: Interview with Read Montague, PhD, author of Why Choose This Book?: How We Make Decisions.
      • BSP 19: Review of Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious, by Gerd Gigerenzer.
      • BSP 42: Review of On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not, by Robert Burton.
      • BSP 43: Interview with Robert Burton, MD.

      Send me feedback at brainsciencepodcast@gmail.com.

      Brain Networks with Olaf Sporns (BSP 74)


      Olaf Sporns, PhD

      Networks of the Brain by Olaf Sporns is an excellent comprehensive introduction to the use of Network Theory to study both the brain and the nervous systems of invertebrates.

      In Episode 74 of the Brain Science Podcast, I interviewed Dr. Sporns (Indiana University) about some of the key ideas in his book.  Network Theory is becoming increasingly important as a tool for dealing with the massive amounts of data being generated by current techniques, such as brain imaging.  It is also a valuable tool for dealing with the fact that nervous systems consist of multiple scales (from the molecular level up to billions of neurons), which can not be reduced to a single scale.

      While Networks of the Brain will be of greatest interest to those working in neuroscience and to those with a background in fields like engineering, mathematics, and computer science, this interview provides an introduction for listeners of all backgrounds.





      How to get this episode:




      • BSP 31: Interview with György Buzsáki, author of Rhythms of the Brain.
      • BSP 46: Discussion of Brain Imaging, including Diffusion Imaging.
      • BSP 56: Interview with Dr. Eve Marder about the use of circuit theory in neuroscience.
      • BSP 61: Mapping the Brain (and generating huge amounts of data).


      • The Brain Science Podcast will be returning to a monthly schedule on July 1, 2011.
      • Please join the new Brain Science Podcast Discussion Forum at GoodReads.com.
      • Get show notes automatically via our Newsletter.
      • Dr. Campbell gave a talk in London last month entitled "Why Neuroscience Matters." (Available here.)
      • Dr. Campbell will be a speaker at The Amazing Meeting 9, July 14-17,2011 in Las Vegas, NV.
      • Don't forget to check out the Books and Ideas podcast and SCIENCEPODCASTERS.ORG.
      • The Brain Science Podcast app is available for iPhone, Android, and iPad. If you have purchased the iPhone version, it will now work on your iPad (no additional purchase needed). The iPad is the perfect device for reading episode transcripts, especially if you want to read along as you listen.
      • Send Dr. Campbell email at brainsciencepodcast@gmail.com.

      Embodied Cognition with Lawrence Shapiro (BSP 73)


      Lawrence Shapiro

      n his new book, Embodied Cognition, Dr. Lawrence Shapiro provides a balanced introduction to embodied cognition's attempts to challenge standard cognitive science.  His interview in Episode 73 of the Brain Science Podcast is a discussion of a few of his book's key ideas. It also continues our ongoing exploration of the role of embodiment. 




      How to get this episode:

      Related Episodes:

      • BSP 25: Embodied Artificial Intelligence with Dr. Rolf Pfeifer.
      • BSP 36: Introduction to Embodied Cognition with Dr. Art Glenberg.
      • BSP 58: "Extended Mind" with philosopher Alva Noë.
      • BSP 66: Computational cognitive science with Dr. Randy Gallistel.

      Some scientists mentioned in this episode:



      Send feed back to Dr. Campbell at brainsciencepodcast@gmail.com