PBS_Braincraft

S3 Ep47: The Upside of Being Awkward5m39s

S3 Ep47: The Upside of Being Awkward

We can all be pretty awkward. Right? Here we cover the psychology of awkwardness. But it's not all bad news. It’s a good thing that we’re aware of ourselves and care about how others perceive us. Feeling awkward can push us to sharpen our social skills.

S3 Ep46: The Power of Curiosity5m21s

S3 Ep46: The Power of Curiosity

All forms of curiosity, even silly hypotheticals, are important – they can lead to practical ideas as well. And two groups are great at it: kids and smart adults. But the average person forgets to be curious. Here we explore the power of curiosity, and in the words of Joe Hanson – Stay Curious! Don’t shy away from asking questions, however pointless they may seem.

S3 Ep45: How Halfalogues Manipulate Your –3m16s

S3 Ep45: How Halfalogues Manipulate Your –

A halfalogue is that distracting half-of-a-conversation that you overhear. And you absolutely must know the other half. Because you're a curious human and your brain circuitry rewards you for finding out. Here's the lowdown.

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?

You Don't Have To Be Einstein To Spark Creative Thinking3m06s

You Don't Have To Be Einstein To Spark Creative Thinking

It seems like some people have so many great ideas - like Albert Einstein, who apart from changing everything we know about the whole of space and time, he 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. Why do some people have so many great ideas? And how can the rest of us be more creative? Creativity is the result of large brain networks that interact with each other to generate random thoughts, change them and merge them and this happens through three mental skills: bending, breaking and blending. Bending is when we imagine things in new ways, breaking is when we take an idea and break it into pieces and blending is when we mix few things together. In 2017 study, researchers found those who score high on creativity tests have more connections between brain hemispheres and stronger communication between brain networks, and the people who come up with many original answers to a question possess a skill called divergent thinking. Remember that you are not stuck with the brain you have, your brain networks are flexible and you can practice creativity. So read more, pay more attention, visit a museum, and travel to feed your imagination. Keep generating ideas and come back to the ground with fresh eyes and hopefully fresh ideas. Don’t forget to surround yourself with interesting people. We need humans and our society for creativity to flourish.

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.