S3 Ep43: How Remixes Hijack Your Brain9m17s

S3 Ep43: How Remixes Hijack Your Brain

YouTube, as a platform for creative expression, has inspired a new form of modern creativity. In this video essay, I explore how the remix, a product of this participatory creativity, hijacks your brain. Why do we love watching things we've probably already seen be reproduced in new ways?

S3 Ep42: How to Think Like Einstein3m06s

S3 Ep42: How to Think Like Einstein

It seems like some people have so many great ideas –  like Albert Einstein, who as well as changing everything we know about the whole of space and time, also took a stab at fashion. Rest assured there are ways that the rest of us can be more creative, too. We explore some practical tips for boosting your creativity and generating ideas.

S3 Ep41: The Neuroscience of Creativity3m02s

S3 Ep41: The Neuroscience of Creativity

Creativity depends on the cooperation of two competing networks: one that generates spontaneous thoughts (the default mode network) and the executive control center of the brain that governs everything else. Our random, free-flowing thoughts that are worthy of further exploration pop into our consciousness when they're recruited by the executive control network.

S3 Ep40: The Surprising Similarities Between Twister and Int5m45s

S3 Ep40: The Surprising Similarities Between Twister and Int

Network Neuroscience offers a new way to look at our brains – where researchers organize our brain's connections as patterns and look at how those connections interact, change and stay the same when we perform different tasks. It turns out that the flexibility of those connections can indicate how quickly we can learn or multitask – and is a top predictor of intelligence.

This Test Show Us Whether We Have A Male Or A Female Brain3m52s

This Test Show Us Whether We Have A Male Or A Female Brain

Can we actually test the difference between the male and female brain? We are often told that there is a difference between male and female. Despite the most obvious reason of body parts and physique, does your gender really define you in other ways too? Is there such a thing as a male brain which can solve mathematical problems faster or a female brain that can be fluent in more languages? The fact of the matter is that it’s not that much about the gender, but rather about the size and form of the brain. Male brains are bigger in size due to men being bigger in size than women in real life but it also has a lot more holes inside while a female brain is smaller but it contains a lot more of the bundles of fiber that connect the right and left hemispheres of the brain. But when it comes to certain abilities, gender is not even remotely influencing the brain. In fact, the gender barrier is mainly imposed by society and isn’t real. Studies have shown that both men and women perform equally as good on test when gender isn’t mentioned, compared to other groups which have been asked to state their gender. So don’t let society’s norms keep you from doing what you want to do and trying new things. It’s literally only in your head.

Check Out This Amazing Story About Telepathy And Mind Reading 2m58s

Check Out This Amazing Story About Telepathy And Mind Reading

Do you believe in mind reading? So far, science denies its existence. At the same time, we still hear stories about telepathic experiences. Telepathy, direct transference of thought from one person (sender or agent) to another (receiver or percipient) without using the usual sensory channels of communication, hence a form of extrasensory perception (ESP). This is a great story that begins in California in the late 90’s where a group of scientist got a group of cats to watch a movie. The cats had electrodes attached to the visual area of their brains. The researchers saw how the cats experienced the outside world by hacking into and recording what their brain cells were communicating. With these bits of information, they rebuilt images from the movies- as seen by the cats. Understanding how our brains encode information and how we can crack the code- could make ”superpowers” like telepathy a reality. While it seems like science fiction, telepathy of mind reading has a scientific name- Brain to brain communication. Between the thoughts of us, humans (or cats) is a computer, a Brain-Computer Interface. It’s clunky compared to the elegant telepathy of Jedi knights. So the final answer to our question? Unfortunately, telepathy doesn’t exist, but advances in technology are bringing it closer to reality. We still need a computer interface between our brains- not as cool as Star Wars. If you could wear technology and communicate with a thought rather than speech what would you say?

Apparently There Is An Upside To Forgetting3m07s

Apparently There Is An Upside To Forgetting

It’s not often that we say this, but sometimes it seems that there are worse things to fear than death, and the act of forgetting sits somewhere on top of that list. Living your life with diminishing memories from day to day can feel worse than totally leaving this earth. Forgetfulness is a silent killer of spirit and it just gets worse with age, but where were we? There appears to be a positive side to forgetting after all, but in order to understand it. We need to understand how memories are lost. So we know that our brain decides to store past experiences in the form of memories in our mind, but think of it as a flash drive. It can only store so much. After a while our brain decides that memory is running short and it’s time to do a bit of clean up. There are actually two theories that explain the way memories are selected for removal. One of them is the decay theory which suggests that the brain deletes, so to say, old memories to make room for new, ant the interference theory suggests that whenever we experience a thing that is of similar value with a past memory, the new one is stacked on top of the old one, erasing the old memory in the process. In reality though, both of these theories are true. Our brain creates two proteins, Mushashi and Adducin, the first one breaking the bonds between synapses and stopping the flow of information between nerve cells and the latter repairing that bond. What this means is that we have a constant fight of these two in our brain and it is the sole reason some memories are lost in the process. The good side of forgetting comes with the fact that whenever we lose a memory, it leaves a lot open for a new one to be stored. So don’t fret too much and work hard on making memories that count!

How To Trick Your Body Into Feeling You Had A Good Night's Sleep3m09s

How To Trick Your Body Into Feeling You Had A Good Night's Sleep

If you were sleep deprived, could you just fake that you got more sleep the night before? Science has some interesting answers. Imagine you wake up thinking you had a wonderful night’s sleep, you feel fantastic and you are going to wake up immediately. However, no matter how much sleep you get there is always that niggling voice inside your head that you need more sleep and you are the thing about how tired you are. But, with simply thinking about how good sleep you had can improve your brain function. In a recent study, researchers told participants that those who spent more than 25% of their time asleep in REM sleep have better cognitive functioning. Simply believing that you had a good night’s sleep, even if you didn’t, it improves performance. But can you really fake sleep? Not really. But if you could stop thinking and talking about how tired you are, and plan a nap you could improve your sleeping. Researchers say that an afternoon nap is an ideal remedy for fatigue from sleep loss. But, that’s kind of unrealistic for us who have jobs and are not as brazen as George Constanza. One solution is active rest or progressive muscle relaxation. You focus on one muscle, make it tense and then release. This will really help. While it’s really hard to tell what the quality of our sleep was actually like, you should snooze less and nap more. Or active rest. It’s almost napping. So it seems the key to fake sleeping is actually… Fake sleep.

 If You Feel Very Drowsy In The Morning, This Might Explain Why2m31s

If You Feel Very Drowsy In The Morning, This Might Explain Why

Feel disoriented when you wake up? One in seven people suffers from this effect called 'Sleep Drunkenness'. It is the same for everybody: you wake up to the annoying sound of your alarm clock, telling you it is another day for you to get out of your bed and go about your day, but instead you talk to the phone, thinking someone is calling you and then ‘hang up’ to go back to your sleep. It is called ‘severe sleep inertia’, a state when you wake up suddenly from your slumber and you feel groggy and disoriented, thinking how confusing life is. According to research, one in seven people experience this phenomenon, with episodes typically lasting up to 15 minutes after you are so rudely woken up. During those episodes, it is quite normal to pour your morning cereal in the dishwasher. When we sleep, we cycle through three stages of light and deep sleep. The first and second stages are light, called non-REM 1 and non-REM 2 stages. During these stages, we can be woken up pretty easily. But when we hit non-REM 3, we enter deep sleep, followed by REM, which stands for Rapid Eye Movement. Yes, our eyes actually move back and forth and we are most likely to dream during this stage. Sleep drunkenness occurs when we are woken up from this REM stage, while our brains still contain a chemical called adenosine. It is a neurotransmitter that travels between nerve cells, promoting sleep and suppresses arousal. When you have your morning cup of joe, the caffeine fights the morning effects of adenosine and speeds up the rate our nerve cells communicate with each other. This is especially helpful if you reach for your hot, black beverage as soon as you wake up. So, next time you find yourself talking to your alarm in the morning, remember - there could be a sleep drunkenness anonymous group somewhere if we weren’t all so far apart.

Watch This Video And Discover The Psychology Behind The Accents 3m51s

Watch This Video And Discover The Psychology Behind The Accents

American college students and Tamil speakers in India were given the same unusual task: to connect two meaningless words to two irregular shapes. The remarkable result was that more than 95% of people provided the same answer. The words in question were “buba” and “kiki” and the shapes were random drawings of closed lines, one of them round-edged and the other pointy. The people associated the round-shaped line with the word “buba” and the pointy one to “kiki”. The results of the experiment indicate that we can draw meaning from where there is none. Even when we are talking to someone in the same language, our body language, tone, pitch and accent convey information beyond what we tell. What about accents? We all have it, although no one seems to notice their own. Accents develop because people who live in close proximity share the way of speaking, and we have our own accent bias. Studies have shown that even one-year-old babies have a preference for the sounds of the language spoken at home. But why does the English speaking world have so many accents in the first place? After colonizing territories on all world continents the descendants of the English must have lost the English accent at some point and developed their local way of speaking. During the period of 200 years since the first settlement to the invention of sound records, accents have changed and even developed tendencies peculiar to a geographical area: the British non-rhetoric (inaudible) vs. the American rhetoric (hard) “r”. The way we talk conveys information about our level of education, ethnicity, socio-economic status, maybe not always accurate but it can affect people’s perceptions. Especially about credibility: people with accent are more likely to be disbelieved, and the heavier the accent the less believable they are perceived to be. Also, people are more likely to rate a suspect as guilty if they have a regional accent vs. a London accent. However, we all have a bias towards our own accent – we like it because it belongs to our social group.

Forcing Yourself To Smile Can Probably Make You Happier2m20s

Forcing Yourself To Smile Can Probably Make You Happier

They say people can always tell if you are faking a smile because your eyes are not mirroring your mouth. In reality, when you are tired or stressed, a fake facade is sometimes the only thing you can muster. But according to this explanation, even a fake smile can sometimes be better than none at all. In the mid 19th century, a French scientist by the name of Guillaume Duchenne studied emotional responses in humans by stimulating different areas on his subject’s faces with - you guessed it - good old electricity. This helped him isolate the muscles that we use to express fear, sadness and joy. But it also helped him distinguish which muscles on our faces create a fake smile, and which create a genuine smile. There are two muscles: one just under our eyes called orbicularis oculi, and another on the sides of our cheeks called zygomaticus major, that work together to give our expressions that real smile. It is also called a Duchenne smile. Charles Darwin was inspired by Duchenne and conducted his own research. In it, he suggests that our facial expressions actively influence our mood, calling it the facial feedback hypothesis. In a more recent study, subjects were given Botox shots for the corrugator muscles in their brows so they could not express sad or distressed emotions on their face. They reported that their positive mood was higher than the other participant who received different medications. The conclusion is pretty simple, although a bit controversial. If you bear through your periods of sadness and stress with a fake smile, the happiness you present will eventually catch up with you. You can always watch this dog smiling on cue, it always works for us.

Watch This Video And Discover Why We Feel Good When Learning New Things 3m19s

Watch This Video And Discover Why We Feel Good When Learning New Things

In Iceland if somebody is very wise you say that person is “vitur”. It means they have a lot of “vit” or “sense”. And the opposite of that, when someone is not wise at all they are “vitleysingur”. It means that person does not have any “vit”, essentially they are “witless”. A recent study showed that learning new words activates the same region that is active when you do pleasurable activities like eating cake or seeing your favorite band perform. We hope you find “vitleysingur” mind-blowing. In the study researchers gave participants two tasks: one was learning new words and the other was a gambling task. FMRI scan showed that the ventral stratum, the kay area involved in reward and motivation was active in both tasks. It sorts of makes sense because communicating with people gives us pleasure. Research shows that through human evolution we were motivated to acquire linguistic skills and learn new language because it is tied to this reward system. We describe things as mind-blowing all the time, but what does it actually mean? The emotional aspect to learning new languages is extremely important because we need emotion to engage our learning cycle. Research shows that we are learning best when we are in a state of relaxed awareness, not too aroused or totally disengaged. Learning comes best when you are in this mood and you experience awe and curiosity. When we learn new cool bits of information we activate that same reward region of our brain as when we learn new words. You feel good because you have learned something cool and you want to learn more. Curiosity is contagious and it is sort of addictive as well. Learning new words activates the reward area of our brain and, perhaps, learning surprising new bits, or “vits” of information does too.