Show cover of This Is Your Brain With Dr. Phil Stieg

This Is Your Brain With Dr. Phil Stieg

This Is Your Brain With Dr. Phil Stieg provides a fascinating look into the human brain, with each episode asking new questions — and finding new answers — about our most mysterious organ. Together with his expert guests, Dr. Stieg takes us on a journey that reveals unexpected secrets at every turn, and redefines what we know about ourselves and our place in the world. The podcast explores the many fascinating aspects of neuroscience, ranging from how the brain is wired for both sudden bursts of violence and the pervasive inner calm of meditation. Where does confidence come from? How do we remember traumatic events – or do we? How do other animals experience consciousness? Does storytelling change our brains? Take the journey with us as we explore the very foundation of what makes us human.

Tracks

Finding Your Soul in Ice
Extreme athlete Wim Hof has set records for immersion in icy water, and he recommends it for physical and mental health. Find out why his wife's suicide drove Hof to master controlled hyperventilation -- in breathtaking cold -- to become happy, strong, and healthy. (Everything else, he'll tell you, is BS.) Surprisingly, heart and brain science just may support the Wim Hof Method.   http://www.wimhofmethod.com/ Plus...contrasting ice and fire, with a firewalking story courtesy of Jim Metzner www.pulseplanet.com    
26:59 09/23/2022
Everybody Dance Now!
Dancer and neuroscientist Julia Basso, PhD, wants us all to dance -- together or separately, it's all good. Dancing with a partner creates a synchrony that's remarkably like that between a mother and infant, and even dancing alone benefits body and brain alike. Find out how dance produces new neurons and engages brain processes, and why it is that joyful movement optimizes brain function. Plus... Dance for Parkinson's Disease! https://www.juliabasso.com/home Sign up for our newsletter at www.ThisIsYourBrain.com
25:36 09/09/2022
Making Sense of Music (reprise)
This week, a reprise of one of our most popular episodes from Season 2 - Sound may be the least understood of the five senses, with music the most mysterious of all. Neuroscientist Nina Kraus of Northwestern University takes us on a tour of how the brain processes music and explains the lifelong benefits of music education. Find out how music can help offset the effects of poverty, and how concussion distorts the perception of music in the brain. Plus… Why you really should make your child take piano lessons! https://brainvolts.northwestern.edu/ 
24:33 08/26/2022
The Healing Power of Grief
Our brain pathways are designed to get us through life’s traumas, as painful and debilitating as they are. Neurologist Lisa Shulman, MD, joins us this week to talk about how to make sense of grief, how trauma interrupts the connection between the cognitive and emotional parts of the brain, and how the brain learns to consolidate traumatic experiences and allow us to move forward. Plus… humans are not the only creatures to feel grief – hear how other animals experience loss. For bonus content, sign up for our newsletter at www.ThisIsYourBrain.com
27:26 08/12/2022
The Scent of a Memory
Smell is our most evocative sense, with instant associations with emotions and memories. Cognitive neuroscientist Rachel Herz, PhD, explains why she loves the stink of a skunk, why a blow to the head can kill off your sense of smell, and how you get a new nose every month. Plus… why stores, hotels, and other brands create signature scents. https://rachelherz.com/   Sign up for our newsletter at www.ThisIsYourBrain.com 
24:59 07/29/2022
The Nine Triggers of Rage
The human brain is designed to "snap" under threat, but 100,000 years of evolution did not prepare us for the the world we live in today. R. Douglas Fields, PhD, describes how the brain's rage circuitry is activated -- whether that's a car that cuts you off on the highway or a pickpocket who steals your wallet. The primal rage response also explains a lot about the January 6 mob mentality, the unruly airline passenger who strikes a flight attendant, or a terrorist attack. Learn the 9 triggers that are programmed to make you snap (and how to identify the "misfires") Sign up for our newsletter at:  www.thisisyourbrain.com
27:17 07/15/2022
Decoding Brainwaves Into Language
Language originates as brain signals — mysterious lines of squiggles — that somehow turn into speech. Meet the neuroscientist who is turning those squiggles into conversations, using artificial intelligence to translate brain activity into words and sentences. Dr. Edward Chang of UCSF talks with Dr. Stieg about the painstaking "magic" of decoding that has allowed a paralyzed man to speak after 20 years of aphasia, essentially live-streaming signals from his brain and transforming them into language. Plus... Why are A.I. voices always female?   Sign up for our newsletter at www.ThisIsYourBrain.com
27:00 07/01/2022
The Power at the End of Your Fork
Depression, anxiety, low libido… your mood is directly related to what you eat. Nutritional psychiatrist (and chef) Uma Naidoo, MD, examines the “gut-brain romance” and explains the delicate balance between your diet and your mental health. If you haven’t given up junk food to lose weight or reduce the risk of diabetes, maybe you’ll do it to feel happier? Plus… what happens when obsessing about healthy eating becomes UNhealthy  :  https://umanaidoomd.com/ 
28:14 06/17/2022
Maps in Your Head
From the outside, a human brain appears fairly uniform – but what’s inside is very different depending on where you look. Your brain has complex maps within that allow you to see, understand, imagine, and recognize everything from faces to objects to abstract concepts like love, time, and debt. This week, neuroscientist Rebecca Schwarzlose of Washington University explains what parts of your brain are at work when you pick up an object, see someone you know, or read a book. Plus... is your GPS map app weakening your brain? www.rebeccaschwarzlose.com https://gardenofthemind.com  
26:18 06/03/2022
While You Were Sleeping
Can you communicate with someone who's sound asleep, and is it possible to influence their dreams?  Ken Paller, professor of psychology at Northwestern and a leading sleep researcher, talks about "lucid dreaming" — the state of dreaming while knowing you're in a dream — as well as about how researchers can reach into the brain of a sleeping person and actually create the experience they have in their dreams. Is it ethical to influence the dream state? What are the implications for brain health if we can never turn off Plus... "Sleep Learning" with the 1920s Psycho-Phone.
23:37 05/20/2022
The Brink of Death
Near-death experiences may seem like the stuff of supermarket tabloids, but there are real patterns to what people report after coming close to departing this life.   Dr. Bruce Greyson has been studying near-death experiences for decades and has stories to tell about out-of-body phenomena, that light at the end of the tunnel, and a near-universal finding of new meaning in life after coming close to death. Plus... a glimpse of what happens to your brain after death. https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250265869/after 
24:25 05/06/2022
Whispers & Tingles
ASMR, or the autonomous sensory meridian response, is a state of deep calm accompanied by a sense of “brain tingles.” Not everyone experiences it, but if you do, you know what triggers it: a whisper or other soft sounds, a gentle touch or movement, even watching a Bob Ross video. Physiologist Craig Richard explains the science behind ASMR, and why in some people induces a deeply relaxing response that can resolve insomnia, relaxation, and stress. Plus: Who are the top “artists” of ASMR?    https://asmruniversity.com/about-dr-Richard
28:35 04/22/2022
Searching for the "God Spot"
Whether you're a believer or not, God is taking up space in your head — the prefrontal cortex, to be exact. Jordan Grafman, PhD, of Northwestern University has been studying where religious belief systems are stored in the brain and how they overlap with moral, political, and social systems. This fascinating episode explores near-death experiences, how brain injury can influence belief, and how religion has been used to enforce cultural and social rules. Plus — the disappearing boundary between religion and politics in America.   To read the transcript: https://thisisyourbrainpodcast.com/category/podcast-season-3/ For more information about Dr. Grafman: https://www.feinberg.northwestern.edu/faculty-profiles/az/profile.html?xid=26439
27:18 04/08/2022
Exploring The Magic Mushroom
It's effective against depression, can help you stop smoking, even ease end-of-life distress. It's non-addictive, naturally occurring, and has been used for thousands of years -- but you can't have it. It's psilocybin, the compound that creates the "magic" in dozens of species of mushrooms. Johns Hopkins researcher Albert Garcia-Romeu, Ph.D. knows just how magical it is. He's conducting research on psilocybin's therapeutic value for everything from persistent Lyme disease to a range of mental health conditions. Find out what this psychedelic drug can do, and why it got such a bad reputation. Plus... revisiting Timothy Leary's rise and fall as he turned on, tuned out, and dropped out. https://hopkinspsychedelic.org/garcia-romeu   
25:12 03/25/2022
Why Your Brain Hates Exercise
We all know exercising is good for us – it reduces anxiety and inflammation, boosts the immune system, and may even ward off dementia, all while it helps keep us fit. But our brains don’t want us to do it! Meet Dr. Jennifer Heisz, a neuroscientist who learned how overcome the brain's resistance and used exercise to conquer depression - and complete a triathlon! Plus… why those who fear exercise the most have the most to gain from it. https://www.harpercollins.com/products/move-the-body-heal-the-mind-jennifer-heisz?variant=39999874367522   
25:09 03/11/2022
The Science of Storytelling
Brain science is everywhere, even in the stories we tell. Hear from neuroscientists and storytelling experts Paula Croxson and Uri Hasson about how the brain processes stories, how a listener's mind resonates with the storyteller's, and why some stories have the power to transport you to a different place. Plus... If facts can't change someone's mind, can stories? https://pni.princeton.edu/faculty/uri-hasson https://www.storycollider.org/
22:51 02/25/2022
Transcendental Meditation
Dr. Tony Nader, an academic, author, and the leader of the Transcendental Meditation movement, knows how you can find inner peace. TM is like a deep dive to the stillness at the bottom of the ocean, leaving the turbulent waves far above. Learn how the body and mind are inextricably bound, and how meditation can improve mental and physical health. Plus… what the Beatles taught us about meditation. https://www.drtonynader.com/ 
26:37 02/11/2022
Cultivating Confidence
Where in the brain is that little something that makes top performers feel so confident in their ability? Can that confidence be developed in someone who is naturally more timid? Dr. Nate Zinsser, director of West Point’s Performance Psychology Program and author of The Confident Mind, explains how a sense of mastery develops, and why butterflies in your stomach are a signal from the brain when you're about to do something great. Plus... why Ted Lasso wants us all to be a little more like goldfish. https://www.natezinsser.com/  
29:46 01/28/2022
Our Emotional Memory
Where were you on 9/11, and why do you remember it so clearly? Dr. Elizabeth Phelps, a Harvard neuroscience professor who studies the effect of trauma on memory, explains how highly emotional events get stored in our brains. Find out why we are so confident that these "flashbulb memories" are completely accurate, even though the evidence suggests otherwise. Plus... the "Michael Moore effect" that can influence what we think we remember.
27:16 01/14/2022
The 9 Triggers of Rage
The human brain is designed to "snap" under threat, but 100,000 years of evolution did not prepare us for the world we live in today. R. Douglas Fields, PhD, describes how the brain's rage circuitry is activated -- whether that's a car that cuts you off on the highway or a pickpocket who steals your wallet. The primal rage response also explains a lot about the January 6 mob mentality, the unruly airline passenger who strikes a flight attendant, or a terrorist attack. Learn the 9 triggers that are programmed to make you snap (and how to identify the "misfires")   https://rdouglasfields.com 
26:48 01/01/2022
Awestruck! (Part 2)
The human brain resists uncertainty — whether it's an approaching tiger or a global pandemic, we've evolved to move from fear and chaos to order and resolution. Dr. Beau Lotto, founder of the Lab of Misfits, explains why the brain takes small steps instead of large leaps, and why we need to teach kids to think more like scientists. Plus... why we react to a pandemic by hoarding toilet paper  www.beaulotto.com
20:23 12/24/2021
Awestruck ! (Part 1)
What is awe? It's not wonder, or surprise, or pleasure — it's a state of mind that Dr. Beau Lotto calls "finding the impossible in the common." Dr. Lotto is a neuroscientist who specializes in perception; he once actually measured awe in the brains of people watching Cirque du Soleil. Learn where awe originates, why it evolved, and even how military leaders might weaponize it. Plus... why Dr. Lotto says babies are born "useless"   https://www.beaulotto.com/
20:02 12/17/2021
The Biology of Eating Disorders
After witnessing a childhood friend suffer from a severe eating disorder, Lauren Breithaupt dedicated her career to exploring the causes of anorexia, bulimia, and related syndromes. Now a PhD in psychology at Massachusetts General Hospital, Breithaupt explains that eating disorders - once thought to be a plague of teenage girls – can affect men and women of all ages and share a genetic link with other psychiatric disorders. Plus… how dinnertime conversations help your child’s brain develop. Seeking Help? - National Eating Disorders Asso.  https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/ National Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders  https://www.nceedus.org/
22:13 12/03/2021
A Jolt of Happiness
Is it possible to relieve depression or PTSD using electricity? Kelly Bijanki, PhD, runs a lab at Baylor College of Medicine, where her team is using deep brain stimulation to induce happiness in patients who need it the most. Her fascinating work shows that “emotional” issues are as biologically based as “neurological” ones, and that depression can be treated with the same techniques used for epilepsy or Parkinson’s disease. Plus… the evolution of the smile.    
21:34 11/19/2021
Things Don't Have To Fall Apart
Daniel Levitin says we can all age successfully if we take our choices more seriously now. The neuroscientist and author reveals the keys to reaching our senior years in the best possible shape, explains what happens to dopamine levels when we stop trying new things, and tells us the three things older adults are better at than younger ones. Plus... what primatologist Jane Goodall told him about the key to healthier aging. https://DanielLevitin.com 
20:08 11/05/2021
Do You Hear What I See?
Synesthesia is the mysterious mingling of the senses that creates the experience of "seeing" sounds or "hearing" colors. Neurologist Richard E. Cytowic, MD, has spent his career exploring this remarkable phenomenon and has a fascinating insight into how these sensations are formed in the brain — and how we might use it to reunite our fractured society. Plus... meet the man whose extreme form of synesthesia mingled all five of his senses! More information on https://drphilstieg.com and  https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/synesthesia 
22:10 10/22/2021
Your Brain On Trial
Would a better understanding of the brain lead to better outcomes in court? Professor Francis X. Shen, neuroscientist and lawyer, has devoted his career to “neural law” – leveraging neuroscience to reduce injustice. Using what we know about addiction science, adolescent brain development, and traumatic injury could lead to better interventions to reduce recidivism and raise the bar on justice. Plus… why eyewitness memory is so very, very unreliable. http://www.fxshen.com/bio/
23:30 10/08/2021
Making Sense of Music
Sound may be the least understood of the five senses, with music the most mysterious of all. Neuroscientist Nina Kraus of Northwestern University takes us on a tour of how the brain processes music, and explains the lifelong benefits of music education. Find out how music can help offset the effects of poverty, and how concussion distorts the perception of music in the brain. Plus… Why you really should make your child take piano lessons! Dr. Kraus' Lab - www.brainvolts.northwestern.edu  Dr. Kraus' new book - Of Sound Mind -  https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/sound-mind
24:12 09/24/2021
Do-It-Yourself Neuroscience
Worried about dementia, depression, or the zombie apocalypse? Greg Gage, PhD, has a solution for all of these – teach more kids about neuroscience, stat. His company, Backyard Brains, makes do-it-yourself brain kits that wow students with robo-roaches, nerve takeovers, and the sounds of neurons popping. One of these aspiring neuroscientists just may save us from brain disorders (or zombies) some day. Plus… listen in as Gage demonstrates how to take over an unsuspecting audience member’s arm.   www.backyardbrains.com  
18:17 09/10/2021
In Search of Creativity
True creative genius may well be the last frontier in human evolution - the only trait that can’t be replaced with technology. Dr. Robert Bilder, who directs the Tennenbaum Center for the Biology of Creativity at UCLA, reveals what his study of artists and scientists tell us about how creative brains work, and how some creative people manage to bring their brains to the very edge of chaos without crossing into madness. Plus… Are we educating the creative genius out of our kids? https://www.semel.ucla.edu/creativity 
22:33 08/27/2021