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Brain’s Secrets Revealed in a New Series of Podcasts

If you’d like to know more about how our brains work, and the way in which we process information, a new series by NPR promises to reveal more of our brains’ secrets in their weekly podcasts entitled Hidden Brain.

A conversation about life’s unseen patterns

The podcasts, which last approximately 20 minutes each, will cover a whole range of topics, from how the brain processes our mundane routine activities to the more complex and, at times, secret patterns. For example, you’ve probably all seen or taken part in the experiment where you’re given one simple instruction before you watch a video. The instruction may be to count the number of times the team wearing red pass a ball. You’re usually so engrossed in the counting that you fail to miss a key event such as a person in a gorilla suit walking through the court. He may even pause to beat his chest and stare at the camera. However, you won’t notice a thing. This kind of video shows that we often experience selective attention, in that we can ignore what is deemed to be irrelevant information when we’re bombarded with other stimuli.

Our brains have more to do with magic than we think

While some of these experiments seem to have a touch of magic about them, they reveal that the brain can be very selective in what it chooses to do. The series of podcasts is hosted by Shankar Vedantam, an NPR correspondent and author of the 2010 book, The Hidden Brain, and will include all kinds of neurological games, including some that you would expect to be more at home in a magician’s show. And you wouldn’t be far wrong, as Vedantam explains that magicians use various biases and factors of the brain to pull off their tricks. In one of these games, Vedantam plans to implant a little snippet of information inside your brain, so that the next time you’re stuck in traffic, the supermarket queue, or even in a meeting, you’ll be able to remember a piece of useful information. Sounds interesting? You’ll just have to tune in to find out.

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