Fascinating TED-Ed Lessons about the brain

A fantastic set of primers (with incredibly fun animations) all about what goes on in the brain.

  1. 4:29
    Anita Collins How playing an instrument benefits your brain

    When you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout. What's going on? Anita Collins explains the fireworks that go off in musicians' brains when they play, and examines some of the long-term positive effects of this mental workout. [Directed by Sharon Colman Graham, narrated by Addison Anderson, music by Peter Gosling].

  2. 5:52
    Helen M. Farrell What is bipolar disorder?

    The word bipolar means 'two extremes.' For the many millions experiencing bipolar disorder around the world, life is split between two different realities: elation and depression. So what causes this disorder? And can it be treated? Helen M. Farrell describes the root causes and treatments for bipolar disorder.

  3. 3:53
    Mikael Cho The science of stage fright (and how to overcome it)

    Heart racing, palms sweating, labored breathing? No, you're not having a heart attack — it's stage fright! If speaking in public makes you feel like you're fighting for your life, you're not alone. But the better you understand your body's reaction, the more likely you are to overcome it. Mikael Cho advises how to trick your brain and steal the show. [Directed by Robertino Zambrano, narrated by Mikael Cho, music by Adam Alexander & John Romeo].

  4. 4:48
    Nicole Avena How sugar affects the brain

    When you eat something loaded with sugar, your taste buds, your gut and your brain all take notice. This activation of your reward system is not unlike how bodies process addictive substances such as alcohol or nicotine — an overload of sugar spikes dopamine levels and leaves you craving more. Nicole Avena explains why sweets and treats should be enjoyed in moderation. [Directed by STK Films, narrated by Michelle Snow, music by Michael Dow].

  5. 4:54
    W. Keith Campbell The psychology of narcissism

    Narcissism isn't just a personality type that shows up in advice columns; it's actually a set of traits classified and studied by psychologists. But what causes it? And can narcissists improve on their negative traits? W. Keith Campbell describes the psychology behind the elevated and sometimes detrimental self-involvement of narcissists. [Directed by TOGETHER, narrated by Addison Anderson].