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Making Sense of Sensory Information, With Dale Purves, Ph.D. [electronic resource]

Because seeing is so important to human functioning, efforts to understand how perceptions are generated have most often focused on vision. Based on research in cognitive neuroscience, this program explores the challenge of explaining visual perception. The video includes an overview of the human visual system, illustrated with animated graphics and live action footage, and describes, using a series of engaging optical demonstrations, the profound technical and philosophical challenges scientists face in attempting to explain perception. The program ends with a thought-provoking discussion of the essential role of human experience in determining what we perceive.

Discovering the Human Brain [electronic resource]: New Pathways to Neuroscience, With Susan Bookheimer, Ph.D.

Using the resources of the UCLA Brain Mapping Center, this program illustrates the development of neuroscience from its classical reliance on information from brain injuries and autopsies through current-day insights discovered with electronic microscopes, EEG equipment, PET scans, and MRI machines. Examples of research that utilizes these tools are presented, including a study on the role of mirror neurons in autism and the mapping of a woman's several language centers before surgery for a brain tumor. Animations and graphics review the gross anatomy of the brain and the actions of its neurons.

Human Brain Development [electronic resource]: Nature and Nurture, With Helen Neville, Ph.D.

The fascinating interplay of genetic predispositions and experience in the development of the brain after birth is demonstrated in this program filmed at the Brain Development Laboratory at the University of Oregon. Three profiles of plasticity are depicted with compelling footage of behavioral, MRI, and EEG research into the development of visual perception and language acquisition from infancy through old age. A congenitally Deaf young woman, university students with unimpaired hearing, and lively preschool children participate in controlled studies that illustrate both how neuroscience research is conducted and how all brains change over time and circumstance.

The Emotional Brain [electronic resource]: An Introduction to Affective Neuroscience, With Brian Knutson, Ph.D.

Emotions deeply color individual human existence and shape all aspects of our interpersonal and intellectual experiences. In this program, animations and fMRI images introduce students to the sub-cortical emotional circuits in the brain and chemical processes that produce emotional responses and contribute to decision making and mental health. Live action sequences, both in laboratory and real-world situations, illustrate research on risk taking and provide intriguing examples of the factors involved in the interplay of affect and reason in making choices.

Inside the Head [electronic resource]: New Dimensions in Brain Research

Perhaps the most intriguing field of medicine is the one that seeks to understand consciousness itself. This program provides a tour of the most advanced work in brain research and cognitive science, as well as the latest applications of these discoveries in treating patients with brain disorders. Using MRI and EEG to determine areas of brain activity, researchers explore the connection between memory and epilepsy. New treatments are presented for Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis, as well as experimental drugs based on the recently identified Alzheimer's gene.
2006; 2001

The Truth About Violence [electronic resource]

Hiding deep within the human mind-or perhaps closer to its surface than many would care to know-are forces that can cause one person to assault and kill another. This program studies the primal centers of the brain and the behaviors they control in order to gain an understanding of violence. Illustrating the role of brain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin as well as social conditioning that brings belligerence to the forefront, the film shows how violence is accepted, celebrated, or conveniently overlooked. Specific topics include sleep deprivation, the link between brain damage and domestic violence, the thought processes of convicted murderers, and a Bolivian village in which fist-fighting settles legal disputes.
2009; 2008

Why Do We Dream? [electronic resource]

With cutting-edge experiments and intriguing case studies, this program explores the science of dreams-revealing their impact on our memories, learning processes, and mental health. Contrasting REM-sleep dreams with those occurring in non-REM sleep, the film examines the roles of the amygdala and the parietal lobe and the ways in which depression and stroke affect, or are affected by, dream patterns. Links between dreams and real-life events are studied, as well as the significance of nightmares and bad dreams in our ability to cope with challenges. Finally, the program delves into the subject of lucid or self-directed dreaming and the development of a "dream database" for psychological research.
2009; 2008

The Brain [electronic resource]: Last Enigma

Are the brain and the mind one and the same? How big a role does environment play in cognitive development? Does consciousness have a physical location? This program explores these and other fundamental questions concerning the evolution and function of the human brain. Computer graphics and commentary from an array of leading international neuroscientists provide insights into the human brain's development and the nature/nurture debate. The program also examines how the study of syndromes and mental illness has furthered the understanding of the brain, particularly the creation of various brain maps, including Penfield's Motor Homunculus.
2009; 2002

The Hunt for Our Thoughts [electronic resource]

Who should have access to our thoughts, and to what degree? This program presents some of the current scientific research on the thought processes of the human brain, with special attention paid to its clinical applications and its ethical implications. German philosophers Thomas Metzinger and John-Dylan Haynes explain neuroethics, or the social, legal, and ethical repercussions of brain research. In addition, research scientists, such as Harvard professor Alvaro Pascual-Leone, demonstrate how their virtual reality programs, powered by computers and the human brain, can improve the lives of stroke patients and people with paraplegia.
2009; 2008

Rays of Hope for the Brain [electronic resource]

How well do we understand the neurology of learning? Why does the brain's ability to learn diminish as we age? Can science find a way to extend brain "fitness," even for the very old? This program addresses those questions as it describes important medical experiments and studies. Topics include the central role of nerve cell connections in learning and cognitive development; cerebral plasticity, or the breakdown of unused connections; and growing evidence that plaque, diet, and poor blood circulation all "age" the brain. Tests at Germany's Max Planck Institute and the University of Zurich highlight comparisons between healthy and Alzheimer-afflicted brains while assessing the potential for an Alzheimer's vaccine.
2009; 2005

Animal Minds [electronic resource]

The question of animal intelligence has been debated for centuries. In recent years, science has come closer to proving that animals think and feel-perhaps not at the level of humans, but in ways that are nevertheless authentic. This classic program brings viewers into the midst of eye-opening zoological, neurological, and psychological research, revealing what many scientists believe to be cognitive abilities in animals. These include communication, creativity, cooperation, deception, and even self-awareness. The result is an exciting teaching tool that challenges traditionally held beliefs about animal minds.
2010; 1994

Sleepwalking (Parasomnia) [electronic resource]

Some people wander, get dressed, even eat in their sleep. Others lash out in violent ways. Is it possible that people can commit complex crimes-even murder-while walking in their sleep? With only a dead victim and a seemingly disoriented suspect at the scene of the crime, it's hard to know for sure. This program explores the question, following extensive sleep tests performed on accused murderers in a quest for truth and scientific clarity. But even if science bolsters the sleepwalking defense, could it actually work in a courtroom? More frighteningly, could sleepwalking become a legitimized pretense for murder?
2010; 2006

Mysteries of the Mind [electronic resource]

Although it's smaller than some varieties of grapefruit, the human brain remains a vast, unexplored territory-and a marvel of design and function. This classic program evokes lingering questions about the brain's structure, how it works, the roles that experience and genetic history play in its development, the biology behind emotion and memory, and what happens when things go wrong inside the brain. Can physiology identify the mind of a killer, of a saint? What distinguishes a genius from a cretin, brain-wise? And perhaps the most fascinating question of all: Is there any way to steer brain development away from its natural course?
2010; 1980

Science of Men [electronic resource]

Testosterone-it affects a man's strength, sex drive, desire for status, and parenting skills. It even affects how long he will live. This program explores the science behind masculinity and the central role testosterone plays in male development. At Texas A&M, Dr. Gerianne Alexander tracks the eye movements of infants and the gender-based preferences they reveal. Further links between testosterone and behavior emerge at the University of Texas, where researchers correlate higher basal levels of the hormone with a preference for achieving status over earning money. In Jamaica, a revealing study analyzes the testosterone levels of men with varying degrees of fatherly commitment.
2010; 2007

The Kindness of Strangers [electronic resource]: Altruism and Human Nature

Dissecting the phenomenon of altruism-as well as its mirror image, the instinct of self-preservation-is perhaps best accomplished with real-world case studies. This program does so as it documents the aftermath of the 2004 Asian tsunami. Following four independent relief workers in the hardest-hit areas of Sri Lanka, the film captures scene after scene in which the most idealistic and pragmatic of aims are vividly juxtaposed. Meanwhile, experts in evolutionary biology, evolutionary psychology, and behavioral science-including Dr. Richard Dawkins, author of The Selfish Gene-illuminate the genetic, psychological, and socioeconomic concepts behind human cooperation and human survival.
2010; 2006

Heartbreak Science [electronic resource]

Is the heart more than just a muscular pump? Does it have a neurological importance, or perhaps even a mental or emotional capacity, overlooked by modern science? This program examines controversial theories about the heart emerging from diverse perspectives. Dr. Rollin McCraty of central California's Institute of HeartMath outlines basic ideas of cardiac-related emotional intelligence; Dr. Gary Schwartz, director of the VERITAS Research Program at the University of Arizona, explains his notions of recurrent feedback and cellular memory and their basis in heart transplant cases; while Dr. Harry Burns, Scotland's Chief Medical Officer, offers a more mainstream medical view. Contains graphic footage of heart surgery. A Prospero Production for BBC.
2010; 2009

Finding My Mind [electronic resource]

Is it possible to gain a complete picture of one's own consciousness? Or will the mind always remain an unsolved jigsaw puzzle? In this program, University of Oxford professor Dr. Marcus du Sautoy takes part in fascinating experiments that probe the complexities of the brain and awareness. After an overview of the mirror-recognition test, du Sautoy undergoes an MRI scan that identifies which part of his brain switches off when he succumbs to an anesthetic. Subsequently, he attempts to stay oriented while monitoring a live video image of himself from behind; endures the illusion of inhabiting another person's body; and copes with other procedures designed to unravel his sense of self.
2010; 2009

What Makes a Genius? [electronic resource]

Can modern genetics, psychology, and neuroscience actually identify the qualities that make up human creativity and brilliance? This program follows innovative research which may help determine what makes a person a genius-if such a label even makes sense. Dr. Manuel Casanova of the University of Louisville has detected differences in brain structure that may account for extreme intelligence. Dr. Justin Halberda of Johns Hopkins University administers a color-coded computer test that measures latent mathematical ability in children. And Dr. Elly Nedivi of MIT has, through studying Pavlovian responses in mice, found a gene associated with learning. Artists and savants are also featured.

TEDTalks [electronic resource]: Dan Dennett, Can We Know Our Own Minds?

Philosopher and scientist Dan Dennett argues that human consciousness and free will are the result of physical processes and are not what we traditionally think they are. In this TEDTalk, Dennett makes a compelling argument that not only don't we understand our own consciousness, but that half the time our brains are actively fooling us. "Dan Dennett is our best current philosopher," says AI pioneer Marvin Minsky. "He is the next Bertrand Russell. Unlike traditional philosophers, Dan is a student of neuroscience, linguistics, artificial intelligence, computer science, and psychology. He's redefining and reforming the role of the philosopher."

TEDTalks [electronic resource]: Paul Zak, Trust, Morality, and Oxytocin

What drives the desire to behave morally? In this TEDTalk, neuroeconomist Paul Zak discusses why he believes oxytocin - he calls it "the moral molecule" - is responsible for trust, empathy, and other feelings that help build a stable society. A pioneer in the field of neuroeconomics, Zak seeks to understand how the hormone promotes social bonding, and shares with the audience the unorthodox experiments he has conducted to test his theories.