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

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? For more information, transcripts, and all episodes, please visit https://thisisyourbrain.com For more about Weill Cornell Medicine Neurological Surgery, please visit https://neurosurgery.weillcornell.org 
26:41 6/14/24
Outsmarting Anxiety
We are programmed by evolution to be anxious - fear was a lifesaver for early humans! So are why are some 21st-century humans crippled by it? Catherine Pittman, PhD, chair of psychology at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, is an expert on how different parts of the brain create and manage anxiety, and how to overcome it. Learn just how fast your amygdala responds to a threat (before we even perceive it), and how your cortex jumps in to process the information. Turns out your amygdala has been watching too much Cortex TV, and you can train your brain to change the channel. Plus... the rare cases of people who are completely "fearless". For more information, transcripts, and all episodes, please visit https://thisisyourbrain.com For more about Weill Cornell Medicine Neurological Surgery, please visit https://neurosurgery.weillcornell.org
31:14 5/31/24
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. For more information, transcripts, and all episodes, please visit https://thisisyourbrain.com For more about Weill Cornell Medicine Neurological Surgery, please visit https://neurosurgery.weillcornell.org 
25:19 5/17/24
A Memory Workout
Can't remember the fourth item on your grocery list? Nelson Dellis, a professional "memory athlete," can remember 100 things or more (though he still may forget the butter). Hear how Dellis learned to memorize lists so long that he became a five-time USA Memory Champion, and how you can use some of his strategies to improve your own memory. Dellis explains how he uses tricks like the "memory palace" and mnemonic devices to recall lengthy lists with perfect accuracy. In an era when cell phones are making memory superfluous, you can regain some of those lost skills by using his techniques. Plus... those rare folks who can never forget a day in their lives.  For more information, transcripts, and all episodes, please visit https://thisisyourbrain.com For more about Weill Cornell Medicine Neurological Surgery, please visit https://neurosurgery.weillcornell.org 
26:35 5/3/24
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, M.D. has spent his career exploring this remarkable phenomenon, and has some 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!  For more information, transcripts, and all episodes, please visit https://thisisyourbrain.com For more about Weill Cornell Medicine Neurological Surgery, please visit https://neurosurgery.weillcornell.org
22:12 4/19/24
What Are Your Hands Saying?
Most of us talk with our hands, some more than others, but what are we really saying? Susan Goldin-Meadow, PhD, professor of psychology and comparative human development at the University of Chicago, is an expert on gestures – what they mean, why they don't always agree with what words we are using, and even how they develop in blind children who have never seen them. Plus... why you should never use the thumbs-up sign in Iran! For more information, transcripts, and all episodes, please visit https://thisisyourbrain.com For more about Weill Cornell Medicine Neurological Surgery, please visit https://neurosurgery.weillcornell.org
26:46 4/5/24
“The Change Is Gonna Come” - Menopause and the Brain
Menopause can wreak havoc on mood and body temperature as it signals the end of fertility, but some of the biggest changes it causes are in the brain. Emily Jacobs, assistant professor in the department of psychological and brain sciences at UC Santa Barbara, explains how the precipitous decline in estrogen during the "change of life" disrupts the endocrine system and makes a woman's brain more like... a man's! Plus: Hear from real women describing the wide range of effects they experienced. For more information, transcripts, and all episodes, please visit https://thisisyourbrain.com  For more about Weill Cornell Medicine Neurological Surgery, please visit https://neurosurgery.weillcornell.org  
18:30 3/22/24
The Incredible Shrinking Attention Span
Is the deluge of digital media killing our ability to focus? Psychologist Gloria Mark, a professor in the Department of Informatics at University of California, Irvine, explains how we are shaped by what we pay attention to – and why today’s short snippets of everything are reinforcing short attention spans. Learn how playing a few minutes of Solitaire on your phone can help relieve stress, and why it can be so hard to stop. And in case you need to ask, you’ll find out why it’s such a bad idea to give an iPad to a baby. For more information, transcripts, and all episodes, please visit  https://thisisyourbrain.com For more about Weill Cornell Medicine Neurological Surgery, please visit  https://neurosurgery.weillcornell.org 
26:57 3/8/24
Near Death Experiences (reprise)
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. For more information, transcripts, and all episodes, please visit https://thisisyourbrain.com For more about Weill Cornell Medicine Neurological Surgery, please visit https://neurosurgery.weillcornell.org
24:24 2/23/24
Game Changer - A Concussion Revolution (reprise)
The impact of mild traumatic brain injury extends far beyond the gridiron – concussions can happen anywhere, including playing fields, bike paths, and war zones. Kenneth Kutner, PhD, who specializes in head injuries and has been the team neuropsychologist for the New York Giants for 30 seasons, joins us to talk about what the latest research has revealed about concussion and how it affects physical health and cognitive function. From the military to the NFL, and even in the corporate boardroom, this invisible injury is finally emerging from the shadows. Plus… why don’t woodpeckers get concussions?
28:36 2/9/24
Do Our Dogs Really Love Us ?
Dogs and the humans who cherish them have a unique bond unlike any other. We wonder all too often, do our dogs love us as much as we love them? What are they really thinking? Are we projecting our own feelings onto t​hese treasured family members in trying to understand them? In this  "classic" episode first released in 2020, Emory University neuroscientist Dr. Gregory Berns, discusses some of his extraordinary findings.   After spending years using MRI imaging technology to study the human brain, he then used this same approach to study dogs’ brains. It turns out that our furry friends are much smarter than we thought! For more information, transcripts, and all episodes, please visit https://thisisyourbrain.com For more about Weill Cornell Medicine Neurological Surgery, please visit https://neurosurgery.weillcornell.org
33:11 1/26/24
Music’s Powerful Impact on the Brain
In this classic episode recorded live at the Juilliard School in the fall of 2019 Dr. Stieg visits with world-renowned soprano Renée Fleming - a leading advocate for research and public education on the therapeutic power of music to heal the mind. Music’s psychological and neurological impact can help people suffering with dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and other brain disorders, and even restore speech after a stroke. Fleming also explores the brain’s incredible musical memory mechanism and why learning and healing through song can be so transformative.  https://reneefleming.com/ For more information, transcripts, and all episodes, please visit https://thisisyourbrain.com For more about Weill Cornell Medicine Neurological Surgery, please visit https://neurosurgery.weillcornell.org 
24:49 1/12/24
Controlled Hallucination
What world do you live in? You may think your experience of life comes from the outside, with your brain processing sensory information as it's received. Anil Seth, professor of cognitive and computational neuroscience at the University of Sussex in England, takes a different view. Tune in as Dr. Seth explains how your brain is actually creating your reality, not just interpreting it. Plus... why the brain is a "prediction machine," and how anesthesia is more like death than sleep. For more information, transcripts, and all episodes, please visit https://thisisyourbrain.com For more about Weill Cornell Medicine Neurological Surgery, please visit https://neurosurgery.weillcornell.org 
24:36 12/29/23
Connecting the Heart and Brain
The brain and the heart are in constant communication, sending signals that control and respond to each other, so it’s no surprise that what’s good for one is what’s good for the other. Dr.  Robert Harrington, an esteemed cardiologist and the new Dean of Weill Cornell Medicine, joins us today to explore the fascinating conversations that go on between these two most important organs. From the electrical signals sent from the brain to the oxygenated blood flow the heart sends back, find out what keeps both organs going—and what happens when something disrupts that balance. Turns out you really can die of a broken heart, as a sudden intense emotional event can cause the brain to send a “stop” message to the heart; a disruption in the heart’s blood flow can send a similar message to the brain.  For more information, transcripts, and all episodes, please visit https://thisisyourbrain.com For more about Weill Cornell Medicine Neurological Surgery, please visit https://neurosurgery.weillcornell.org
25:55 12/15/23
Using All 5 of Your Minds
Forget the standard IQ test - that only measures a very narrow definition of intelligence. Meet psychologist Howard Gardner, professor of cognition and education at Harvard and one of the foremost thinkers and writers in the fields of education, cognition, and multiple intelligences. His fascinating research into different kinds of intelligence (there are 8!) has the potential to revolutionize education, turn our kids into better citizens, and help us all identify our purpose in life. Learn more about our 5 minds, and how our education system should help us to move the needle from "I" to "we" not just personally, but globally.  Plus – the “dark history” of IQ Testing
23:39 12/1/23
More Than a Feeling - Your Pain Is Made in Your Brain
Pain can be felt anywhere in the body, but it all originates in the same place: the brain. Lorimer Moseley, a professor of clinical neurosciences at the University of South Australia and a specialist in how the brain produces pain signals, joins us today to talk about how pain is created as a protective strategy. Your brain, which is constantly monitoring your environment for signs of danger vs safety, sends pain signals when it detects a painful stimulus (a process called nociception).  Moseley studies how to retrain the brain when it continues to send pain signals long after the damaged tissue has healed (or, in the case of phantom pain, even after the damaged tissue is gone).  Plus - the dangers of a pain-free life.
25:33 11/17/23
Is Your Baby Smarter Than a Robot?
Babies and toddlers have truly outstanding brains - they absorb information broadly, quickly, and indiscriminately as they learn about the world, with processing speeds that leave AI-powered robots in the dust. Alison Gopnik, professor of psychology and affiliate professor of Philosophy at U.C. Berkeley, has been studying baby brains for decades, and she joins us today to talk about how we could look to them to make computers smarter. https://thisisyourbrain.com/ 
27:16 11/3/23
Training To Be Yourself
Your early experiences literally change the way you think and feel about the world -- they even shape what you see and hear. Dr. Chantel Prat,  a cognitive neuroscientist and professor at the University of Washington, studies how variations in brain wiring make each of us unique individuals and drive our understanding of each other, and of the world. In this episode, learn which parts of the brain are "experience-expectant" (waiting for input on how to develop), and why trade-offs in the brain are responsible for our personalities, our learning styles, and our values. The answers begin to explain how three pounds of brain develop into what we know as the mind. Click here to learn if you are a "Carrot" learner or a "Stick"  learner in a special bonus segment. https://tinyurl.com/j7prsh7n  
26:45 10/20/23
Drowning In Distraction
Our brains evolved for a simpler life, and today they struggle to cope with a deluge of distraction from technology. Dr. Adam Gazzaley, professor of neurology at the University of California San Francisco, reveals why the brain loves multi-tasking even though it's so bad for productivity; why "single-tasking" is so hard to relearn; and why 60-year-olds can't filter out irrelevant information. Plus... a prescription video game that can help kids with ADHD and others change their brains to find better focus. Click here for a bonus segment on distraction and the "Coffee Shop Effect."  For more information, visit https://thisisyourbrain.com 
28:52 10/6/23
Music As Medicine
Speech therapists have long used music to help patients regain their voices after stroke or brain injury. Today's music therapists are going even further, developing strategies that use music on patients with Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injuries, cognitive issues, and more. Hear from Neurologic Music Therapist Caitlin Hebb about how the rhythm and rhyme of music work on memory, gait, and language. https://www.medrhythmstherapy.com/teamcaitlin  Plus... what's that earworm?
18:59 9/22/23
Tales of a Hijacked Brain
Unlike a broken bone or clogged artery, a brain that goes awry due to disease or injury—or even an errant molecule—causes weird and unpredictable changes in personality. Hear some of the bizarre tales of tiny particles that alter behavior from neurologist Sara Manning Peskin, author of A Molecule Away From Madness. https://saramanningpeskin.com/  Plus... how parasites hijack animal brains, sometimes turning a host into a zombie in their quest to reproduce.
21:34 9/8/23
Game Changer: A Concussion Revolution
The impact of mild traumatic brain injury extends far beyond the gridiron – concussions can happen anywhere, including playing fields, bike paths, and war zones. Kenneth Kutner, PhD, who specializes in head injuries and has been the team neuropsychologist for the New York Giants for 30 seasons, joins us to talk about what the latest research has revealed about concussion and how it affects physical health and cognitive function. From the military to the NFL, and even in the corporate boardroom, this invisible injury is finally emerging from the shadows. Plus… why don’t woodpeckers get concussions?
28:36 8/25/23
Thinking In Pictures
Temple Grandin, PhD, wants kids -- especially those on the autism spectrum -- to start using their hands again. The woman Oliver Sacks called "the anthropologist on Mars" explains how our brains may be naturally wired to think in words, mathematics, or visuals, and there's nothing disordered about any of them. Dr. Grandin urges us to respect our young visual thinkers and celebrate their strengths instead of labelling them disabilities.
28:57 8/11/23
Taking Laughter Seriously
Giggles, guffaws, or belly laughs -- whenever we crack up, we're communicating more than we realize. Laughter, says Dr. Sophie Scott, a neuroscientist at University College London as well as a standup comic, is pretty complicated. It's a way of expressing group membership and affection (as long as nobody is laughing AT you) and involves a physical reaction as well as an emotional one. Scott can make you laugh -- and then explain why you did!
24:24 7/28/23
Finding Your Soul In Ice (reprise)
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.  Plus... contrasting Ice with Fire.  http://www.wimhofmethod.com/
27:01 7/14/23
Marketing to Your Primal Brain
With each of us receiving more than 30,000 messages a day - everything from news headlines to print, TV, radio, and online advertising - how do today's marketing professionals have a chance of getting a product or service to stand out?  Dr. Christophe Morin is a "neuromarketer," combining his expertise in neuroscience with his passion for understanding how to persuade people to do or buy almost anything. This week, Dr. Morin talks about the "emotional cocktail" that is our response to advertising messages, and why appeals to the rational brain don't work. Hit the primal brain using these six strategies, he says, and you'll get the emotional brain to respond every time. Plus... did subliminal advertising ever work? 
29:58 6/30/23
I've Got (Circadian) Rhythm!
Your brain, your heart -- in fact, every cell in your body -- has its own clock telling you when to be alert and when to pack it in. You probably know that jet lag and daylight savings time affect that clock, but did you know that the food you eat (and when you eat it) as well as your activity level can also wreak havoc on it? Emily Manoogian, PhD, chronobiologist and clinical researcher at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, explains how shift work, long flights, eating at the wrong times, and even staying up too late on weekends all affect health, mood, and emotional regulation. Plus - what happens when animals are thrown off their rhythm?
29:56 6/16/23
Mesmerized By Magic
Magicians and illusionists rely on our brains' tendency to predict what comes next—and the surprise we feel when we're wrong. Dr. Luis Martinez, a neuroscientist at the Spanish National Research Council at the Institute of Neuroscience in Alicante, Spain, explains how card tricks, illusions, and other sleight of hand is all about the brain's interpretation of reality. Hint: your reality is different from the magician's.   https://press.princeton.edu/books/hardcover/9780691208442/the-illusionist-brain   
28:01 6/2/23
The “Reading Brain” In A Digital World
The human brain did not evolve to read -- but reading makes us more fully human as it opens up new worlds of understanding and empathy. Today, as we read so much by "skimming" on phones and tablets, we're missing out on the sophisticated thought processes that deep reading provides. Dr. Maryanne Wolf, director of the Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice at UCLA and the author of several books on literacy, joins us this week to discuss how reading in a digital era affects our critical thinking and leaves us vulnerable to misinformation.   Plus... is dyslexia actually a superpower? https://www.maryannewolf.com/
26:40 5/19/23
The Mother of All Brain Changes
New parents - especially moms - experience profound changes in the brain when they are expecting and welcoming a new baby. Health journalist Chelsea Conaboy explains how the caricature of "mommy brain" and its cognitive fog has it all wrong - parenthood actually has a neuroprotective effect, as the brain adapts to meeting the needs of children. It happens to all parents, not just mothers, but it's most dramatic in gestating parents. Plus... how it takes a troop to raise a monkey. https://www.chelseaconaboy.com/ 
27:12 5/5/23

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