BS 142 features the return of Dr. Michael Graziano, who first appeared on Brain Science in BSP 108. In this episode we talk about his new book, The Spaces Between Us: A Story of Neuroscience, Evolution, and Human Nature. This is an exploration of peripersonal neurons. We explore not just how they were discovered, but why they are so important in our daily lives, affecting everything from tool use to getting along with others.Read More
The first episode of the Brain Science Podcast appeared on December 5, 2006, which makes it one of the longest running shows in any genre, not just science or medicine. I am especially proud of the fact that we have reached listeners in 219 different countries. BSP 114 is our 8th annual review episode and as a part of our year-end celebration all previous annual review episodes have been added to the FREE feed that also includes our most recent 25 episodes.
The goal of our annual review episode is to highlight some of the key ideas that we have explored during the last years. For 2014 this included discussions of brain plasticity with Dr. Michael Merzenich, the integration of cognition and emotion with Dr. Luis Pessoa, the science of sleep with Dr. Penny Lewis, the hazards of neuromania, consciousness with Dr. Michael Graziano, exercise and the brain with Dr. John Ratey, neurobiology with Dr. Frank Amthor, and mirror neurons with Dr. Greg Hickok. We ended the year with highlights from the event "Neuroplasticity and Healing," which featured the Dalai Lama and three previous Brain Science Podcast guests.
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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.
BSP 105: interview with Michael Merzenich, author of Soft-Wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change Your Life
BSP 106: interview with Luiz Pessoa, author of The Cognitive-Emotional Brain: From Interactions to Integration
BSP 107: interview with Penelope Lewis, author of The Secret World of Sleep: The Surprising Science of the Mind at Rest
BSP 111: interview with John Ratey, author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
BSP 112: interview with Greg Hickok, author of The Myth of Mirror Neurons: The Real Neuroscience of Communication and Cognition
BSP 113: Highlights from "Neuroplasticity and Healing," featuring the Dalai Lama
Upcoming episodes of the Brain Science Podcast will feature Evan Thompson, Norman Doidge, and Edward Taub.
All Annual Review Episodes of the Brain Science Podcast are now free. Check the episode listing in your podcasting app to find the ones you may have missed.
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.
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Episode 39 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Dr. Michael Arbib from the University of Southern California. Dr. Arbib's work with functional brain imaging has established the presence of mirror neurons in the human brain. In our interview, we focused on the role of mirror neurons in imitation and language. In particular, I questioned Dr. Arbib about the Mirror System Hypothesis (MSH) of Language Evolution that he proposed in 1998 with Giacomo Rizzolatti. We also explored how this hypothesis diverges from the universal grammar proposed by Noam Chomsky. Dr. Arbib also shared his enthusiasm for future research and we talked about the special challenges caused by the interdisciplinary nature of modern neuroscience.
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- Brain Science Podcast #7: A discussion of bonobos with Stuart Shanker, PhD.
- Brain Science Podcast #30: a discussion of language evolution including my thoughts on Chomsky.
- Brain Science Podcast #35: a detailed discussion of Mirrors in the Brain, by Giacomo Rizzolatti.
Scientists mentioned in the interview:
- Giacomo Rizzolatti: His team discovered mirror neurons at the University of Parma, Italy. Other team members: Vittorio Gallese, Luciano Fadiga, and Leo Fogassi.
- Ursula Bellugi (Salk Institute): pioneered the neurobiology of sign language.
- Richard Byrne (University of St. Andrews): studies how gorillas learn in the wild.
- Michael Tomasello (Max Planck Institute for Comparative Anthropology): studies social behavior of primates, including how communicative gestures vary between groups.
- Noam Chomsky (MIT): famous linguist who has proposed an inborn universal grammar.
- DL Cheney and RM Seyfarth: research about primate vocal behavior, especially the use of calls in the wild.
- Cybernetics, by Norbert Wiener- this classic inspired Dr. Arbib's career in computational neuroscience.
- Action to Language via the Mirror Neuron System, (2006) edited by Michael Arbib.
- Mirrors in the Brain by Giacomo Rizzolatti and Corrado Sinigaglia, 2008. Discussed in Episode 37.
- Mirroring People by Marco Iacoboni, 2008. The author studies mirror neurons at UCLA.
- Rizzolatti G & Arbib MA Language within our grasp. Trends in Neuroscience 21(5): 188-194- the first paper describing the Mirror System Hypothesis, 1998.
- Iacoboni M, Molnar-Szakacs I, Gallese V, Buccino G, Mazziotta JC, et al. Grasping the intentions of others with one's own mirror neuron system. PLoS Biol 3 (3): e79, 2005.
- Arbib, M.A., "From Monkey-like Action Recognition to Human Language: An Evolutionary Framework for Neurolinguistics" (with commentaries and author’s response), Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 28:105-167. (Click here for supplemental commentaries and the author’s “electronic response.”) 2005.
- Arbib MA 2006 "Broca's Area in System Perspective: Language in the Context of Action-Oriented Perception" in Broca's Region, Oxford University Press, pp 153-168.
- Arbib MA 2008 "Invention and Community in the Emergence of Language: Insights from New Sign Languages," in Foundations in Evolutionary Cognitive Neuroscience, Cambridge University Press.
- Click here for more papers by Dr. Arbib. He has also written over 40 books.
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Art Glenberg, PhD
Episode 36 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Arthur Glenberg, PhD, about embodied cognition. Dr. Glenberg recently moved to Arizona State University, after over 30 years at the University of Wisconsin's Laboratory of Embodied Cognition. His research focuses on the relationship between embodiment and language. In this interview, we explore the experimental evidence for a theory of language that embraces the concept that our language abilities are actually rooted in our perceptual and motor abilities. Dr. Glenberg also explains how his work has practical implications in helping children learn how to read.
Since Dr. Glenberg has had a long career as a working research scientist, this interview also provided an opportunity to explore how scientific hypotheses are formed and how experiments are designed to test these hypothesis. I think this interview will give you a fascinating look into the real world of cognitive psychology.
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Links and References:
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Laboratory for Embodied Cognition.
- Havas, D.A., Glenberg, A.M., and Rink, M. (2007) Emotion simulation during language comprehension. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review14 (3), 436-441
- Numerous references available as PDF.
- Thinking With the Body: blog post of March 3, 2008.
Other scientists mentioned in the Episode:
- George Lakoff: pioneering linguist.
- James Gibson: known for his ideas about affordances.William Epstein-emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin.
- Joseph Campos: University of California (Berkelely).
- Amy Needham and Amanda Woodard-experiments with velcro mits and infant cognition.
- David A Havas: graduate student and co-author with Dr. Glenberg.
- Mike Kashak: Florida State University.
- Mike Rinck: German co-author-see paper under Glenberg (more papers).
- Vittorio Gallese, Dept of Neuroscience, University of Parma, Italy (where mirror neurons were discovered): extensive experimental with motor neurons in monkeys.
- Fritz Stack (Germany): experiments showing that facial experiments affect mood and cognition.
- Havas, D.A., Glenberg, A.M., and Rink, M. (2007) Emotion simulation during language comprehension. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review14 (3), 436-441.
- more publications by Arthur Glenberg.
- Sommerville, J.A., Woodard, A.L., and Needham, A., Action experience alters 3-month-old infants’ perception of others’ actions, Cognition 96 (2005) B1-B11..Strack, F., Martin, L. L., & Stepper, S. (1988). Inhibiting and facilitating conditions of the human smile: A nonobtrusive test of the facial feedback hypothesis. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 54, 768-777.
- Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things (1987), by George Lakoff.
- Recent essays by George Lakoff written for the Rockridge Institute
Brain Science Podcast #35 is a discussion of Mirrors in the Brain: How Our Minds Share Actions, Emotions, and Experience, by Giacomo Rizzolatti and Corrado Sinigaglia. Mirror neurons were discovered in Rizzolatti's lab in Parma, Italy, in the early 1990s, and his book is a detailed to discussion of the experimental evidence in both monkeys and humans. Direct single neuron recordings have been made in monkeys. The evidence in humans is indirect, since it is based on mainly on neuro-imaging studies like PET scans and fMRI scans. Even so, mirror neurons appear to be essential to our ability to understand both the actions and emotions of others.
In this episode, we also explore the evidence that there are other neurons in the motor areas of the brain that have sensory properties and that the areas of the brain traditionally thought to be devoted to sensory functions also contain neurons with motor properties. Another fascinating discovery is the fact that there are neurons that respond not only to somatosensory inputs (such as being touched) but also to visual or auditory inputs from objects within our peri-personal space. For background on these body maps, I recommend listening to Episode 21 and Episode 23. If you are new to the Brain Science Podcast, you may want to listen to those episodes first, because this week's episode is a little more technical than most.
I will be exploring the importance of these discoveries in future episodes.
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It is good to see that military physicians are beginning to apply some of the recent findings of neuroscience to helping injured vets, but you may also recall that when we talked with Dr. Edward Taub about stroke rehab, he reported the difficulty of getting new methods of head injury treatment into the VA clinics.
link to article about mirrors: http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/03/19/mirror.therapy/index.html