The academic year is winding down, and we're taking a few weeks off to plan for the year ahead! While we're on break, we hope you check out our archives. You can browse by topic or catch up on recent episodes. Have podcast or topic ideas for fall 2016 and beyond? Feel free to email Claire at email@example.com.
Twice a year, the St. Louis Science Center hosts a carnival - but you won't find a carousel or a performer doing magic tricks. Instead, at the Amazing Brain Carnival, kids of all ages get to learn about the real-life magic happening inside their own bodies. Graduate students Dov Lerman-Sinkoff and Tyler Schlichenmeyer walk us through the carnival and share why, as neuroscience researchers, they want to reach out and inspire more people to get excited about the brain.
Back when his kids were in elementary school, biology professor Erik Herzog remembers taking a human brain into their classroom and watching the kids' faces light up with curiosity. Yet somewhere along the way, he knew, many kids get discouraged from pursuing careers in science - and this can be especially true for students from underrepresented backgrounds. Herzog, a neuroscientist who studies circadian rhythms, now manages many efforts across Washington University to support and encourage younger neuroscience researchers, from elementary school all the way through doctoral programs. Here he shares some of the outreach efforts across campus and the inspiration behind them, including the recently launched St. Louis Neuroscience Pipeline.
According to the American Stroke Association, on average, someone in the United States experiences a stroke every 40 seconds. It's the leading cause of adult disability in the United States. Catherine Lang, director of the Neurorehabilitation Research Laboratory and professor of physical therapy, neurology, and occupational therapy at the School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis, wants to improve the ways that doctors and physical therapists help people recover from stroke. In this week's podcast, she shares some dramatic findings from one ongoing experiment.
When you look at a painting by Claude Monet or Pablo Picasso, what do you really see? Mark Rollins, a professor of philosophy and the director of the performing arts department at Washington University in St. Louis, shares his fascination with both cognitive science and visual art. As Rollins explains, art can be viewed as a game between two brains. Here, he gives us a glimpse of one of Monet's hidden strategies.
When you form a goal in your mind, and then manage to avoid distractions and carry out that goal, what's going on in your brain? Todd Braver, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Washington University in St. Louis, shares some of his past and upcoming research into cognitive control.
Through the groundbreaking Human Connectome Project, researchers like Deanna Barch have spent years mapping the complex wiring of the human brain. Barch, who chairs the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, provides a behind-the-scenes look into the project and helps us understand the links between brain connectivity and human behavior.
Imagine a scene in a movie in which two people are having a conversation. First you see one person talking, and then the other. You see a close-up of some detail, and then a far-away view of the whole room. These rapid shifts in perspective don't happen in real life, yet our eyes and brains seem to have no problem keeping up. How can this be true? Jeff Zacks, author of Flicker: Your Brain on Movies, again joins Hold That Thought to discuss how our brains react to film.
According to the National Institute on Aging, experts estimate that more than five million people in the United States have Alzheimer's disease, a condition that damages memory and cognitive function. Dr. David Holtzman - Professor and Chairman of the neurology department at the Washington University School of Medicine, and associate director of the Charles F. and Joanne Knight Alzheimer's Disease Research Center - explains what is happening in the brain of someone with Alzheimer's. He also describes his own laboratory's research into the disease and shares why he believes that it should be treatable.
A version of this podcast was first released in 2012 in our series on Memory.
Ever find yourself crying at a cheesy movie that you don't even like very much? Or catch yourself ducking and flinching during an action flick, even though you're perfectly safe in a movie theater, munching popcorn? Jeffrey Zacks, professor of psychological and brain sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, shares some of the reasons why. Zacks is author of Flicker: Your Brain on Movies.