Engaged Brain Podcast

A podcast by the Engaged Brain, Jake Kurczek, discussing science and education.

About

Engaged Brain Podcast Past Episodes

This podcast provides a complementary outlet to my blog.


Join me as I wade through the latest news and discoveries in science (almost exclusively cognitive neuroscience and psychology) and education. You can stream the podcast on this website or suscribe to my youtube channel for later listening pleasures.


In this archive you'll be able to find back episodes of the podcast.


Episode 20 - Figurative Language

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Episode 20 Description


Figurative language is language that uses words or expressions with a meaning that is different from the literal interpretation. Language has been one of the most fascinating topics to scientists for thousands of years, but even after all of this time, our understanding of language is still fairly minimal. When you look to an even more intricate and confusing aspect of language like figurative language, then we might as well give up. Today I sit down with Anna Aaronson to talk about figurative language processing in the brain and how confusing the findings are depending on what tasks and what methodology are used. This episode is sponsored by Figure This, speech training program.

5 Things You Did't Know About The Cognitive Processing Of Figurative Language

Music is provided by http://freemusicarchive.org/ - Cool Change - "Cool Change" and offered by the Creative Commons License

Episode 19 - Runner's High

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Episode 19 Description


How to achieve a Runner's High
K. Aleisha Fetters
"Sometimes we get it, sometimes we don't. But we always want it - and more of it. It's the runner's high, and when we are lucky enough to tap into it, our runs feel easy, exhilarating, even euphoric. But we aren't always that lucky, are we? Recently, researchers studied how the brain responds to running and found that the ability to get "high" while logging miles might be hard-wired within us. Years ago, our ancestors' survival likely depended on chasing down food. The desire to live was possibly their motivation to run and run fast, and the feel-good brain chemicals released when they did so may have helped them achieve the speed and distances required, says David A. Raichlen, Ph.D., an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Arizona. The runner's high may have served (and serves today) as a natural painkiller, masking tired legs and blistered feet, he says. Even though you no longer have to chase down dinner, learning how happy brain reactions are sparked may help you achieve the runner's high more often."
Today I sit down with Katie Rose Sullivan to discuss the neural mechanisms underlying the Runner's High. This episode is sponsored by Natural High, .

Runner's High

Music is provided by http://freemusicarchive.org/ - Andy Cohen - "Trophy Endorphin" and offered by the Creative Commons License

Episode 18 - Neuroscience and Law

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Episode 18 Description


Polygraphs don't work. No seriously they don't work. Everyone and their grandma knows how to beat them. But guess what, now instead of looking at the physiological responses of the brain, we can just look straight in at the brain itself, no more proxy measures for brain activity (well I guess we're using BOLD activation and that's still a proxy measure, but we're closer than before). With Lie Detector 2.0, we throw you in an fMRI detector and with 100% accuracy we can tell if you're lying, though we might also sometimes categorize your response as a lie when it's really not, but we're working on that so don't worry a few false positives won't hurt. This episode is sponsored by Lie Detector 2.0, a modern polygraph.

8 Reasons Why Using fMRI As A Lie Detector Is Both A Great Idea, And A Not So Great Idea

Music is provided by http://freemusicarchive.org/ - Ketsa - "Conscience" and offered by the Creative Commons License

Episode 17 - Dance Perception

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Episode 17 Description


When you watch someone dancing what is happening? Are you focused on the movements, the rhythms, the music and how the movements complement the sounds you hear. Do you feel something from the dance, well it could be all of these and more. Today I speak with Jharna Jahnavi about dance perception. This episode is sponsored by Dance VR, a VR dance game.

Neuroscience Of Dance Perception

Music is provided by http://freemusicarchive.org/ - Circus Marcus - "La Chute" and offered by the Creative Commons License

Episode 16 - Pathways to Depression

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Episode 16 Description


Historically, treatments for depression and other psychiatric illnesses seemed barbaric. It wasn't until the advent of less severe electroconvulsive therapies and antidepressant medications that we moved away from punishing people with depression. MAOIs and SSRIs have been a saving grace to many people, but not everyone has found solace in antidepressant medications. For those who suffer from pharmacoresistant depression that resists therapy, medication and even ECT, there appeared to be nowhere left to turn. However, recent advances in neuroscience is shedding light on the multiple neural pathways thought to underlie depression. Using this information along with studies of structural and functional differences in depression, scientists have begun targeted treatments of dysfunctional pathways in order to treat depression. Today I sit down with Ashley Macina to discuss the neural underpinnings of depression. This episode is sponsored by ZAP, depression stimulation treatment.

Solving a Pathway for Depression

Music is provided by http://freemusicarchive.org/ - Jon Watts - "Be Kind to Me" and offered by the Creative Commons License

Episode 15 - Running and the Brain

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Episode 15 Description


Most of the time, the brain's governor on our abilities is a good thing, it stops us from injuring ourselves and others. But sometimes we want to take the governor off and just go, especially if the governor is set at a fairly conservative level. Many events in running push various physiological processes to their extreme, from the 400/800 overloading lactic acid production to the marathon pushing carbohydrate stores to their bare minimum. Today I'll speak with Dylan Geringer about how we can take findings from neuroscience to improve our running performance. This episode is sponsored by Runner's Wheel, a runner's watch.

Your Brain on Running

Music is provided by http://freemusicarchive.org/ - Questionmark Embargo - "Storm Riding" and offered by the Creative Commons License

Episode 14 - Art and the Brain

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Episode 14 Description


What can art reveal about the human brain? Can it be used to study pleasure and reward processes, or how the brain assigns value or can it be used to study either episodic or procedural memory or even the processes and pathways of perception. Art can, in the context of neuroscience, do all of these things and many more include studying emotions and emotional experiences. "Neuroaesthetics" is an emerging field where scientists use the tools of neuroscience to study art and art processes. Today I speak with Sherlande Edouard about perception and art. This episode is sponsored by ISJR, an OA science journal.

Art, Visual Perception, Neural Processes

Music is provided by http://freemusicarchive.org/ - The Stevenson Ranch Davidians - "Stargazer" and offered by the Creative Commons License

Episode 13 - Memory, Learning, the Self

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Episode 13 Description


Have you ever stopped to ponder what it means to be a human, or what is human being? We might look to certain cognitive abilities, from Memory, and language, to the self, or personality. There seem to be a number of unique human abilities. In my own research on memory and language, I'm amazed by how the line for what qualifies as autobiographical memory or language production changes as animals like scrub jays seem to show, what, where and when knowledge, or bonobos learn hundreds of lexigrams. These fundamental aspects of human thought and cognition have been pondered and explored since antiquity. Beginning with philosophers and more recently neuroscientists, researchers have been probing the mind and now the brain for answers. Today I speak with Calvin Trisolini about "humanness" and what it means "to be". This episode is sponsored by Brain Game!, a brain training game for you brain.

Ten Facts You Didn't Know About Learning And Brains! #5 Will Literally Make Your Head Explode!

Music is provided by http://freemusicarchive.org/ - Scott Gratton - "A Way to Get By" and offered by the Creative Commons License

Episode 12 - Love and the Brain

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Episode 12 Description


What is love? Baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me no more. While that song may not have been written with the purpose of describing love and the brain, it appears that Haddaway wasn't far off. Love is addictive, love is obsessive, love is prone to poor decision-making, and love seems to come down to a particular mix of chemicals in your brain. While it seems odd to pull love out of the heart and put it in the brain, recent research from neuroscience is indicating an integral role of the brain in different types of love. Today I speak with Allie Gibbons about how the brain changes as you fall both into and out of love. This episode is sponsored by Love Potion Number 10, attraction cologne and perfume.

What Neuroscience Says: 7 Things That Happen In Your Brain When You Fall In Love

Music is provided by http://freemusicarchive.org/ - Snake Oil Salesmen - "Lungs, Ribs and Heart" and offered by the Creative Commons License

Episode 11 - Music and the Brain 2

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Episode 11 Description


Few experiences are as immersive as listening to music. You can listen to music and get completely lost in time and space as it washes over your body. At the same time, music can transport you back through time and space to a previous experience and re-live it as if it were the present. Today I'm speaking with Brandon Valentin about the power of music and music's effect on the brain. This episode is sponsored by BrainSonic, portable EEG.

The Power Of Music

Music is provided by Brandon Valentin - BVAL16 - "Viva La Vienna (BVAL Mashup)" and offered by the Creative Commons License

Episode 10 - Bilingualism

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Episode 10 Description


Somewhere around 20% of the US population is bilingual and that number is steadily increasing. Besides being able to speak more than one language, years of research has indicated that bilingualism has a number of other advantages, from understanding and appreciating cultural references, to opening up new job opportunities, and even being able to express yourself in a number of different forms or personalities. Language and thought are so closely intertwined, it raises the question of how the brains of monolingual speakers and bilingual speakers are different. Today, I speak with Shantal Taveras about bilingualism, the brain and both the advantages, and generally unrecognized disadvantages of bilingualism. This episode is sponsored by Brain Learning Institute, neuromyth training seminars.

Bilingualism

Music is provided by http://freemusicarchive.org/ - Dinosaur Jugnot - "Don't Look Too Much" and offered by the Creative Commons License

Episode 9 - Neuroscience of Hitting

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Episode 9 Description


As you step up to the plate you're not only entering a batter's box, but you're entering a mental chess match with the pitcher. He's studied your tendencies, you've watched his and in less than half a seconds time you have to try to figure out where to put your bat in order to hit the ball. The best baseball players in the world fail at a rate between 60 and 70 percent of the time. That's why some of the quotes by players on hitting sound almost magical:

  • You can't think and hit at the same time - Yogi Berra
  • Its's a round ball and a round bat, and you got to hit it square. - Pete Rose
  • Hitting is timing. Pitching is upsetting time. - Warren Spahn
  • The more pitches you see, the more dangerous you become. - Hawk Harrelson

Today I speak with Spencer Sohmer about baseball, hitting and the brain. We discuss how findings from neuroscience and cognitive psychology may provide insight into how a baseball player should approach the plate. This episode is sponsored by BetaBoost Brain Serum, a brain enhancing drink.

Neuroscience of Hitting

Music is provided by http://freemusicarchive.org/ - Michael Howard - "Raven King" and offered by the Creative Commons License

Episode 8 - PTSD

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Episode 8 Description


In the emotion and memory episode we learned about the boost in consolidation and recall that emotion can give to memories. But what happens when that process goes awry and the emotional boost becomes a runaway positive feedback loop of a negative memory, an emotional state and physical arousal. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a very common mental health condition triggered by experiencing or seeing a terrifying event affecting over 3 million people a year. PTSD so far has no cure and can last many months or years with triggers bringing back a memory to the present along with the intense emotional and physical experiences that accompanied the original experience. Today I speak with Madison Skerritt, about PTSD and the brain. This episode is sponsored by Neuro-Behavioral Consultants, neuroscience consultants.

PTSD, Triggers, and Treatments

Music is provided by http://freemusicarchive.org/ - Audiobinger - "Memory Lane" and offered by the Creative Commons License

Episode 7 - Music and the Brain

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Episode 7 Description


Music seems to be one of the oldest and most fundamental actions of human beings. Music plays a part in almost every important function or gathering that we take part in across our lives from celebrations to graduations, to weddings and finally funerals. Music doesn't just happen in isolation though, it can be used to affect us in many ways. Today I speak with Heather Robinson about music and the brain. This episode is sponsored by QuantaBox, neuroscience subscription box.

10 Things You Probably Didn't Know about Music and the Brain

Music is provided by http://freemusicarchive.org/ - Jazz at Mladost Club - "Song for Bilbao" and offered by the Creative Commons License

Episode 6 - Post-Decisional Dissonance

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Episode 6 Description


Apple or Samsung? Chevy or Ford? Everyday we make dozens of choices, often times between two almost equivalent options. But after we make our choices, we'll sometimes start to wonder if we actually made the right choice. In order to stop feeling bad, we'll look to all the positives of the thing we did buy and all the negatives of the thing we didn’t choose. If we don't follow this process and stay stuck in the bad feelings then we experience post-decisional dissonance. Today on the podcast I speak with Hassan Ahamed about decision-making, the brain and what happens after we make a decision. This episode is sponsored by VTA Marketing, neuroscience based marketing.

The Neuroscience of Decision-Making

Music is provided by http://freemusicarchive.org/ - Gabriel Vigliensoni - "Animaux" and offered by the Creative Commons License

Episode 5 - Concussion

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Episode 5 Description


Concussion and mild traumatic brain injuries have been playing a huge role in the news cycle recently. From Will Smith's movie Concussion about Bennet Omalu and his work on chronic traumatic encephalopathy to the NFL's announcement that concussions are tied to brain damage, to most recently the finding that the NFL has missed 100s of concussions in their own studies, we've been seeing concussion work everywhere. Concussions are one of the most prevalent injuries and they do not discriminate by age, sex, occupation or any other demographic. Today I speak with Alissa Valentine about recent concussion research. This episode is sponsored by Bird Brains Helmet, a helmet grounded in science and birds.

What Do You Really Know About Concussions?

Music is provided by http://freemusicarchive.org/ - CuzOh - "Out to Win" and offered by the Creative Commons License

Episode 4 - Happiness

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Episode 4 Description


What makes you truly happy? Are you generally a happy person? Happiness is one of the oldest emotions to be studied but was long ignored by the scientific community. Maybe it was because of its frivolousness, or maybe it was because its difficult to find happiness in animal models? Recently, happiness research has entered a renaissance as researchers turn to functional imaging and other new techniques to look inside the brain while we experience pleasantness, pleasure and everything this side of happy. I speak with Dita Cavdarbasha about happiness and the brain. This episode is sponsored by Dopa-MINE, a happy pill for everyone.

Happiness and the Brain

Music is provided by Ben Sound, Ben Sound - "Country Boy" and offered through the Creative Commons License

Episode 3 - Color Perception

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Episode 3 Description


Last year, the dress that blew up the internet was a shining moment for vision researchers and others who study color perception. Finally, the general public was asking, "Why do I see colors differently from my friends" and the scientists were more than happy to oblige them. Today, Claudia Amaral and I speak about color perception, its similarities and differences across individual people and cultures. This episode is sponsored by Color Tinted Glasses, glasses for individuals with color blindness.

Things You Didn't Know About Color Perception

Music is provided by http://freemusicarchive.org/ - Trevor Flowers and Iheka Chama - "Mandingo Tribe" and offered through the Creative Commons License

Episode 2 - Emotional Memories

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Episode 2 Description


How many of your past memories are neutral, just boring old everyday memories? Probably not that many. Researchers have found a so called emotional bump or boost to memories that help encode memories better and aid in recall as well. Today I'll speak with Caroline Bach who is studying how emotion and memory interact in the brain. This episode is sponsored by Lie to Me, a facial recognition and emotion detection software.

The Science Behind Emotional Memories

Music is provided by Ben Sound - Ben Sound - "A New Beginning" and offered by the Creative Commons License

Episode 1 - Fear and Phobias

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Episode 1 Description


Almost everyone is afraid of something and almost everyone has had a frightening experience. Of all the emotions we experience, none feel quite as primordial as the breath catching, heart-rate rocketing, muscle tensing moment of fear. In today's show I talk to Yannick Villaneuva who is researching the brain and its role in fears and phobias. This episode is sponsored by PC - Pocket Computer, a personal assistant device.

How Phobias Hack Your Brain

Music is provided by The Amygdaloids - "Brainstorm" - The Amygdaloids are lead by fear researcher Joe Ledoux