Wednesday 28 December 2011

Brainy stuff

Pinkish grey and vaguely reminiscent of an oversized walnut, the human brain is composed of brainy stuff, which allows it, by means that are far from fully understood, to do brainy stuff. Currently screening on BBC Four TV this week (and available on iPlayer) this year's Royal Institution Christmas Lectures are delivered by Professor Bruce Hood, who is inviting us to "Meet Your Brain".

Here's a trailer, from the RI Channel website:

The Christmas Lectures 2011 - Trailer from The Royal Institution on Vimeo.

There are lots more videos relating to the Christmas Lectures on the RI Channel, including some snippets recorded well before the lectures themselves. Worth a browse.

As an unexpected bonus, Professor Hood's new book The Self Illusion — not due to be published until April 2012 — is partly available as a free Kindle download from Amazon (remember you don't need a Kindle to be able to read Kindle ebooks — there are free software readers for Mac, Windows, iOS and Android).

The last time brainy stuff was the subject of the Christmas Lectures they were delivered, if I remember correctly, by Susan Greenfield. Presumably she went on to carry out rigorous, detailed research — fully documented in respected peer-reviewed scientific journals — into the effects on the brain of activities such as video-gaming and internet social networking. Or something like that.