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Playlist: How does my brain work?

9 talks · 2h 20m · Curated by TED

How does my brain work? (9 talks)

How exactly does the brain — a 3-pound snarl of nervous tissue — create inspired inventions, the feeling of hunger, the experience of beauty, the sense of self? Researchers at the edge of science explain …

  • 1.
    19:59
    Now playing
    Neuroscientist Daniel Wolpert starts from a surprising premise: the brain evolved, not to think or feel, but to control movement. In this entertaining, data-rich talk he gives us a glimpse into how the brain creates the grace and agility of human motion.
  • 2.
    18:42
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    Every morning we wake up and regain consciousness — that is a marvelous fact — but what exactly is it that we regain? Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio uses this simple question to give us a glimpse into how our brains create our sense of self.
  • 3.
    16:17
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    Why do we like an original painting better than a forgery? Psychologist Paul Bloom argues that human beings are essentialists — that our beliefs about the history of an object change how we experience it, not simply as an illusion, but as a deep feature of what pleasure (and pain) is.
  • 4.
    14:26
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    Why do teenagers seem so much more impulsive, so much less self-aware than grown-ups? Cognitive neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore compares the prefrontal cortex in adolescents to that of adults, to show us how typically “teenage” behavior is caused by the growing and developing brain.
  • 5.
    18:23
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    Pawan Sinha details his groundbreaking research into how the brain's visual system develops. Sinha and his team provide free vision-restoring treatment to children born blind, and then study how their brains learn to interpret visual data. The work offers insights into neuroscience, engineering and even autism.
  • 6.
    15:21
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    How can we begin to understand the way the brain works? The same way we begin to understand a city: by making a map. In this visually stunning talk, Allan Jones shows how his team is mapping which genes are turned on in each tiny region, and how it all connects up.
  • 7.
    4:02
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    Neuroscientist and inventor Christopher deCharms demonstrates a new way to use fMRI to show brain activity — thoughts, emotions, pain — while it is happening. In other words, you can actually see how you feel.
  • 8.
    23:07
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    Neuroscientist Michael Merzenich looks at one of the secrets of the brain's incredible power: its ability to actively re-wire itself. He's researching ways to harness the brain's plasticity to enhance our skills and recover lost function.
  • 9.
    10:26
    Now playing
    As an expert on cutting-edge digital displays, Mary Lou Jepsen studies how to show our most creative ideas on screens. And as a brain surgery patient herself, she is driven to know more about the neural activity that underlies invention, creativity, thought. She meshes these two passions in a rather mind-blowing talk on two cutting-edge brain studies that might point to a new frontier in understanding how (and what) we think.