Guests Who Have Been on the Brain Science Podcast

The Brain Science Podcast provides a unique opportunity for scientists and writers to discuss their work and ideas in depth. Here is a list of the guests who have been interviewed. This list is complete through June 13, 2008.
  • Michael Arbib, PhD: The role of mirror neurons in imitation and language; Episode 39.
  • Sandra Blakeslee: co-author of The Body Has a Mind of Its Own: How Body Maps in Your Brain Help You Do (Almost) Everything Better; Episode 23.
  • Louanne Brizendine MD: author of The Female Brain; Episode 20.
  • György Buzsáki, PhD: author of Rhythms of the Brain; Episode 31. (Interview Transcript)
  • Norman Doidge, MD: author of The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science; Episode 26.
  • Arthur Glenberg, PhD: Embodied cognition; Episode 36.
  • Elkhonon Goldberg, PhD: author of The Executive Brain: Frontal Lobes and the Civilized Mind and The Wisdom Paradox; Episode 18.
  • Jeff Hawkins: author of On Intelligence; Episode 38.
  • Rachel Herz, PhD: author of The Scent of Desire: Discovering our Enigmatic Sense of Smell; Episode 34.
  • Christof Koch, PhD: author of The Quest for Consciousness: A Neurobiological Approach; Episode 22. Interview transcript: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dg8sf6hf_33z9z29kfm
  • John Medina, PhD: author of Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School; Episode 37.
  • Read Montague, PhD: author of Why Choose This Book?: How We Make Decisions; Episode 15.
  • Rolf Pfiefer, PhD: author of How the Body Shapes the Way We Think: A New View of Intelligence ; Episode 25.
  • John J Ratey, MD: author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain; Episode 33.
  • Stuart Shanker, PhD: How the study of communication among bonobos provides clues about the role of emotional signaling in the evolution of language; Episode 7.
  • Edward Taub, PhD: revolutionary approach to stroke rehabilitation; Episode 28.
  • Maryanne Wolf, PhD: author of Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain; Episode 29.

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You can find all the books discussed on the Brain Science Podcast at the Brain Science Store.

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Interview with Elkhonon Goldberg, PhD (BSP 18)

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Episode 18 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Dr. Elkhonon Goldberg, PhD.

Show Notes:

  • I apologize for the uneven sound quality of this episode.  If any one out there has any suggestions, please drop me an email.
  • Dr. Goldberg shared a little bit about the breadth of his work as a neuropsychologist.
  • We talked about his rather unique perspective on the difference between the right and left brain hemispheres.  He explained why he feels that as we get older we move from reliance on the right hemisphere, which he feels is the novelty hemisphere, to a reliance on the left hemisphere, where our lifetime store of patterns enables us to use pattern recognition as a short cut in problem solving.
  • We talked about the importance of constant mental challenge, and Dr. Goldberg gives his advice about how we can keep our brains healthy through out our lives.

Links:

The following are two companies that Dr. Goldberg is working with to provide information to the public and also tools for cognitive enhancement:

  • SharpBrains:  This is a clearing house for information, and they evaluate many of the products currently being offered.
  • HeadStrong Cognitive Fitness:  This Australian company offers a net-based program for cognitive enhancement based on Dr. Goldberg's research.  I am hoping to test their products in the near future.

How to get this episode:

  • Premium Subscribers now have unlimited access to all old episodes and transcripts.
  • Buy mp3 for $1.
  • Buy Transcript for $1.
  • New episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are always FREE.  All episodes posted after January 1, 2013, are free.  See the individual show notes for links the audio files.

The Wisdom of the Aging Brain (BSP 17)

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This week we discuss another book by Elkonon Goldberg, Ph.D.  I highly recommend this book to everyone, because it is an excellent review of many of the topics we have discussed over the last several months including memory, emotion, and neuroplasticity.   In this episode, we continue our discussion of the role of the pre-frontal lobes in intelligence, as well as what happens to our brain as we age.

How to get this episode:

  • Premium Subscribers now have unlimited access to all old episodes and transcripts.
  • Buy mp3 for $1.
  • Buy Transcript for $1.
  • New episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are always FREE.  All episodes posted after January 1, 2013, are free.  See the individual show notes for links the audio files.

Show Notes

I want to thank Matthew Lofton for pointing out to me that there is evidence that elephants can recognize themselves in a mirror.  This means I was wrong when I said (in #16) that only humans and some primates can do this. He referred us to "I, Elephant," by Kaspar Mossmanin in the February 2007 issue of Scientific American Mind.  The original article was "Self-recognition in an Asian elephant," by:Plotnik, Joshua M.; de Waal, Frans B. M.; Reiss, Diana. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 11/7/2006, Vol. 103 Issue 45, p17053-17057.  He posted this information as a comment, but I wanted to bring this to everyone's attention.

Episodes that are referred to in this episode:

 

Note: You should have no problem listening to Episode #17 first, but I have provided these references for those who want to review or go back for more details.

Definitions used in this episode:

  • Attractor: a cognitive template that enables pattern recognition. An attractor is thought to be a concise set of neurons with strong interactions among themselves. A unique and important quality of attractors is that a broad range of inputs activate the same set of neurons. This is thought to be the mechanism of pattern recognition.
  • Cognitive competence: the ability to relate the old to the new so as to recognize the similarities between a new problem and one that has been previously solved.
  • Cognitive wisdom: an enhanced capacity for problem solving
  • Generic memory: memory for patterns

Brief list of topics discussed in this episode:

    • Review of important ideas about the prefrontal lobes from #16.
    • An hypothesis about the differing roles of the right and left hemispheres.
    • How the brain changes in normal aging.
    • Mechanisms that protect the brain from degenerative changes:
    •      Generic memory-why this type of memory is more robust.
    •      Pattern expansion-how parts of the cortex expand with use.
    •      Effortless experts-why familiar tasks are less demanding.
    •      Why vigorous mental activity is important throughout life.

    For more links related to Dr. Goldberg's work see the show notes for Episode 16.

      A review of "The Executive Brain" (BSP 16)

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      Brain Science Podcast #16 is a discussion of The Executive Brain: Frontal Lobes and the Civilized Mind (2002), by Elkhonon Goldberg.

      How to get this episode:

      • Premium Subscribers now have unlimited access to all old episodes and transcripts.
      • Buy mp3 for $1.
      • Buy Transcript for $1.
      • New episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are always FREE.  All episodes posted after January 1, 2013, are free.  See the individual show notes for links the audio files.

      Show Notes

      This episode is an introduction to the role of the pre-frontal lobes in decision-making, and the other "executive" functions of our brain.  The functions of the pre-frontal lobes are not only the keys to what makes us human, but also the keys to our individual personality.

      In this episode, using Dr. Goldberg's book, we discuss how the frontal lobes relate to the other structures of the brain.  We also, discuss some ideas about why the left and right sides of the brain differ, as well as several important ways in which the cortex, and especially the pre-frontal lobes differ from some of the older parts of the brain.

      We discuss briefly the vulnerability of the frontal lobes to damage and disease, and we consider the implications of frontal lobe dysfunction.  Questions are introduced that will be considered in more detail in future podcasts.

      Links: