Brain Science Podcast turns Seven

Ginger Campbell with Rusty and GretaEarlier this month my Brain Science Podcast celebrated its seventh anniversary. I haven't been doing a very good job of updating this website in recent months, but I wanted to take a moment to look back at 2013. While I only published two episodes of Books and Ideas, I did publish 12 episodes of the Brain Science Podcast and I am looking forward to some major changes in 2014.

BSP 103 featured the return of Olaf Sporns who was also interviewed back in BSP 74. Last month we talked about his most recent book Discovering the Human Connectome.

BSP 104 is our seventh annual review episode, which highlights the main ideas that we explored in 2013. I also announced that beginning on December 30, 2013 I will be offering a Premium Subscription. The most recent 25 episodes of the Brain Science Podcast will remain free while older episodes and episode transcripts will be available via subscription. Subscribers will get unlimited access to the entire library of content while individual episodes and transcripts can be purchased on the BSP website.

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Brain Science Podcast Nominated as Best Science Podcast

The Brain Science Podcast has been nominated as the Best Science Podcast in the Ninth Annual People's Choice Podcast Awards. Voting runs from November 1-15 at http://podcastawards.com. Listeners are allowed to vote up to once a day and since we are up against several large radio shows I am encouraging listeners to vote as often as they can.

Recent Episodes:

Mur Lafferty returns to Books and Ideas

Mur Lafferty (photo by Philip Peterson)Mur Lafferty inspired me to start podcasting back in 2006, so I am very proud that she recently won the prestigious John W. Campbell Award at this year's Hugos Celebration. Her latest novel The Shambling Guide to New York City is also garnering well-deserved praise.

Mur was my guest way back in Episode 17 of my Books and Ideas podcast so I am very pleased to have her back on for Episode 52. We talked about her writing career and what she has learned along the way. Mur continues to produce her long-running podcast I Should Be Writing, which is a must listen for all aspiring fiction writers.

 

Listen to Episode 52 of Books and Ideas

Episode Transcript (Download PDF)

 

Additional Show Notes:

 

 

Brain Science Podcast passes 5 Million Downloads

Thanks to a library of 100+ episodes the Brain Science Podcast is now averaging over 100,000 downloads per month and recently passed 5 million downloads.

I am particularly grateful to all my loyal listeners who have helped the show grow by sharing it with others.

The Brain Science Podcast has a discussion group at Goodreads.com, a Fan Page on Facebook and a page on Google+.

If you haven't checked it out yet I hope you will.

 

 

Brain Science Podcast #100

Alvaro FernandezLast month I posted episode 100 of the Brain Science Podcast. To celebrate this milestone I supplemented the discussion of Brain Fitness with Alvaro Fernandez with feedback from listeners.

Listen to Episode 100.

Visit the Brain Science Podcast website for the full show notes and free episode transcript.

Comment: During the interview with Alvaro Fernandez he talked about the upcoming SharpBrains Virtual Summit, which is scheduled for September 19-20. Fans of the Brain Science Podcast have been offered a 25% discount. Just use the code brainpodcast when you register.

Temple Grandin Share Practical Advice (BSP 99)

photo by Rosalie WinwardLast month in BSP 98 I reviewed Temple Grandin's latest book The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum. That podcast focused on the current science, but this month's follow up interview (BSP 99) is a little different. It focuses on Dr. Grandin's practical advice for living with autism. Besides emphasizing the need for more research into the sensory problems that are common in autism and applying the recent discoveries about brain plasticity. Dr. Grandin believes very strongly in nurturing strengths while accommodating weaknesses. She said that it is very important that "we accommadate weaknesses in a way that is enabling." She is particularly worried that many young people are not being taught the social skills they need to succeed in a work environment, even thought they have valuable talents to contribute.

In my opinion, Dr. Grandin's advice carries extra weight because her personal example shows how an autistic person can make a unique contribution if given extensive training and support.

Listen to Dr. Grandin's interview.

Visit Brain Science Podcast website for full show notes and a free episode Transcript.

 

BSP 98 "The Autistic Brain"

Click image above to play audioI hope to post a new episode of Books and Ideas before the end of the summer. Meanwhile the Brain Science Podcast is heading toward episode 100! Last month's episode (BSP 98) was a discussion of The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum  by Temple Grandin. This book is a tremendous gift, not just to patients and their families, but also to teachers, mentors, friends, and everyone who is interested in understanding how our brains make us who we are.

I think that this is a book everyone should read because as we come to appreciate the fact that the strengths and challenges of autism occur across a broad spectrum, we may also realize that some of these issues actually affect people who aren't considered autistic.  It is not the label that matters.  What does matter is recognizing that each of us has his or her own strengths and weaknesses, but thanks to brain plasticity, we all have the potential to nurture our strengths and, when necessary, accommodate our weaknesses.

Please visit the Brain Science Podcast website for full show notes and free episode transcripts.

What is Neuroanthropolgy? (BSP 97)

Featured on BSP 97The latest episode of the Brain Science Podcast (BSP 97) is a conversation with Daniel Lende and Greg Downey, editors of The Encultured Brain: An Introduction to Neuroanthropology. We explore how neuroscience and anthropology can work together to unravel the mystery of how our brains make us who we are.

Listen to BSP 97 (or download mp3)

Click here for complete show notes and the FREE episode transcript.

 

 

Robert Burton Returns to the Brain Science Podcast (BSP 96)

The latest episode of the Brain Science Podcast (BSP 96) marks the return of one of my favorite guests: retired neurologist and author Dr. Robert Burton. We discussed his new book A Skeptic's Guide to the Mind: What Neuroscience Can and Cannot Tell Us About Ourselves. In this book Dr. Burton expands on the ideas he first presented in On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not. He also argues that because mental sensations like certainty, agency, and causation originate outside of conscious awareness there are inherent limits in our ability to use neuroscience to understand the Mind. This is a somewhat controversial and definitely thought-provoking position, which I invite you to explore further by listening to this interview.

Listen to BSP 96

Go to Brain Science Podcast website for complete show notes and free episode transcripts.

Brain Science Podcast Update

Last month we launched a completely redesigned website for the Brain Science Podcast. It is intended to be more accessible to people on mobile devices, but it also makes it easier for visitors to submit feedback directly from the site.

 

 Here is a brief summary of our most recent episodes:

Pain Part 2 (BSP 95):

Click image to listenBSP 95 is the second part of our discussion of Understanding Pain: Exploring the Perception of Pain by Fernando Cervero, who is the current president of the International Society for the Study of Pain. Dr. Cervero was interviewed in BSP 93 and in this episode I discuss additional key ideas from his book. (BSP 93 and 95 can be enjoyed in any order.

Listen to BSP 95 

Click here for the detailed show notes.

 

 

 

How the Brain Understands Language (BSP 94):

Dr. Benjamin BergenBSP 94 was an interview with linguist Benjamin Bergen author of Louder Than Words: The New Science of How the Mind Makes Meaning.

Listen to BSP 94

Go to the complete show notes.

 

 

 

Why Animal Emotions Matter (podcast)

Dr. Jaak Panksepp (click for audio)Episode 51 of Books and Ideas is actually a followup of Dr. Jaak Panksepp's recent interview on the Brain Science Podcast. There we talked in depth about the scientific evidence that humans share basic emotional circuitry with other mammals. In this interview we talk about the implications of this discovery,  focusing on how it should impact the treatment of laboratory animals. We also consider our relationships with pets and other domestic species.

Listen to Episode 51 of Books and Ideas

Episode Transcript (Download Free PDF)

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    • Books and Ideas has its own Facebook Fan Page.
    • You can also post your feedback about Books and Ideas within the BSP Group on Goodreads.
    • A new version of the Books and Ideas website will be launching soon. The URL will not change.

    Meet Dr. Campbell:

    • Atlanta, Georgia: February 19-21, 2013
    • South by SouthWest in Austin, Texas: March 7-10, 2013
    • Johannesburg, South Africa: April 8-10, 2013
    • I love to meet listeners when I travel so if you will be at any of these places just drop me an email at gincampbell at mac dot com.

     

  • Neuroscience of Pain (BSP 93)

    Click Logo to ListenDr. Fernando Cervero of McGill University has been studying pain since the beginning of his career back in the 1960's. These decades have seen tremendous advances in our neuroscientific understanding of what causes different types of pain as well as changing attitudes. Pain was once regarded as something that most people had to endure, but now most of us demand adequate pain relief, sometimes even to the point of not tolerating minor pain. Dr. Cevero's new book Understanding Pain provides an accessible account of both the history of pain research and a thoughtful consideration of the challenges facing the field.

    The latest episode of the Brain Science Podcast (BSP 93) is an interview with Dr. Cervero. This is Part 1 of a planned two part series.

    listen-to-audio Listen to Episode 93

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    Brain Science Podcast is 6 years old

    Ginger Campbell, MDThe Brain Science Podcast recently passed 4 million downloads and it remains entrenched at or near the top of the iTunes rankings for Science and Medicine. So now it's time for our 6th Annual Review Episode. The purpose of this year-ending podcast is to review some of the year's highlights and key ideas. As I reviewed the transcripts of this year's episodes I was struck by the fact that although each episode stands alone, they also inform one another. One unifying theme was the importance of taking an evolutionary approach to understanding how the human brain generates complex features like mind and consciousness.

     

    listen-to-audio Listen to Episode 92

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    Ted Meisner: Secular Buddhism (podcast)

    Ted Meisner (click to listen)I recently had the opportunity to be a guest on The Secular Buddhist podcast, which is hosted by Ted Meisner. We talked about neuroscience and my new eBook Are You Sure? The Unconscious Origins of Certainty. I enjoyed learning about the Secular Buddhist Association, which is an outgrowth of the podcast, but I was surprised that listener feedback indicated that many listeners have a poor understanding of Buddhism and how it relates to Secularism. That is why I invited Meisner to come on my Books and Ideas podcast.

    I have just posted this interview as Episode 50:

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    NMX - I'll Be There

    Where do Emotions Begin?

    Dr. Jaak Panksepp (click to play audio)In his new book The Archaeology of Mind: Neuroevolutionary Origins of Human Emotions Jaak Panksepp set out to make his life's work more accessible to a general audience. To be honest, reading this book requires a significant commitment, but I think he does a wonderful job of updating his classic textbook Affective Neuroscience. Anyone who is interested in this field will definitely want this book as a reference. The other strength of Archeology of Mind is its evolutionary approach. The primary emotional processes that Panksepp has spent his career studying have their origins in the ancient parts of the brain that are shared by all mammals. This contradicts longstanding assumptions in neuroscience, but it has important implications for both humans and other animals.

    In Episode 91 of the Brain Science Podcast Dr. Panksepp and I talked about some of the new information contained in Archeology of Mind with a particular focus on FEAR, which contrary to what many researchers claim, does NOT begin in the amygdala, but begins much lower. We do talk briefly about the experimental evidence, but this was covered in more detail during Dr. Panksepp's previous appearance on the Brain Science Podcast in BSP 65.

    listen-to-audio Listen to Episode 91

    Click here for detailed shownotes and free transcript.

    CEUs for Psychologists

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    Video Game Music with Emily Reese (Books and Ideas podcast)

    Emily Reese (Photo by Nate Ryan)Episode 49 of Books and Ideas is an interview with Emily Reese from Minnesota Public Radio. Reese is the host of two podcasts that I enjoy: Top Score and Learning to Listen. In this interview we focus on Top Score, which is a podcast about video game music. Reese interviews the composers and gives listeners an inside look at the challenges that face composers in this new, but growing field. You don't need to be a muscian or a gamer to enjoy Emily's podcasts. 

    Listen to Episode 49 of Books and Ideas

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    How does the Brain become Conscious? (BSP 90)

    Episode 90 of the Brain Science Podcast is a discussion of Self Comes To Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain by Antonio Damasio. Damasio's book focuses on the answer to two key questions: How does the brain generate the Mind? and How does the Brain generate Consciousness? His approach is unusual because many scientists and writers treat the Mind and Consciousness as identical. In contrast, Damasio argues that Mind proceeds Consciousness. Listen to this podcast to learn how the Mind becomes Conscious.

    listen-to-audio Listen to Episode 90

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    Brain Science Podcast with Evan Thompson (BSP 89)

    Evan Thompson, PhDEmbodied Cognition is a movement within cognitive science that argues that the mind is inseparable from the fact that the brain is embedded in a physical body. This means that everything that the brain does, from the simplest perception to complex decision-making, relies on the interaction of the body with its environment.  Evan Thompson's book Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind is an in depth look at what he calls the "enactive" approach to embodied cognition. The enactive approach was pioneered by Thompson's mentor Francisco Varela and it emphasizes the importance of the body's active engagement with its environment.

    In a recent interview (BSP 89) I talked with Thompson about some of the key ideas in Mind in Life. Unlike most episodes of the Brain Science Podcast, this is not really a stand-alone episode. It is part of my ongoing exploration of both embodied cognition and the controverial topic of emergence. It is also intended as a follow-up to my recent interview with Terrence Deacon.

    Listen to Episode 89

    Click here for complete show notes and the free episode transcript.

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    Bruce Hood Returns (BSP 88)

    Bruce Hood, PhD

    The Self Illusion: How the Social Brain Creates Identity by Bruce Hood is a fascinating look at how our brains create both our experience of the world and our sense of being a single, coherent self. As the word "illusion" in the title indicates, neither is exactly what it seems. When I interviewed Dr. Hood (for BSP 88) he explained that The Self Illusion is a broad introduction to this somewhat surprising idea. The  Self Illusion was written with a general audience in mind. For those already familiar with the topic he also puts a new emphasis on the role of development. All readers should come away with a new appreciation for the critical role social interactions play through out human life.

    It was fun to talk with Dr. Hood again. I first interviewed him for Books and Ideas #34. At that time we discussed his first book, SuperSense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable.

    listen-to-audio Listen to BSP 88

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    How Storytelling Makes Us Human (podcast)

    Jonathan GottschallWhat do fiction, dreams, and children's make believe have in common? Why is storytelling found in every human culture? These are among the fascinating questions explored in The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Makes Us Human by Jonathan Gottschall.

    I have just posted an interview with Jonathan Gottschall (Books and Ideas #48) in which we talk about some of the key ideas in his new book. Gottschall's goal is to look for clues about why storytelling is such an universal behavior. He also argues that it should be possible to form testable theories about the purpose of storytelling.

     

    listen-to-audio-20 Listen to Episode 48 of Books and Ideas

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