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This Is Your Brain With Dr. Phil Stieg

Weill Cornell Medicine Neurological Surgery

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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 burst ...
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Tech entrepreneur and author Max Bennett explains how AI learns, where it falls short, and how it stacks up against our own intelligence. As it turns out, what's easy for humans is hard for AI, but AI is better at doing some things that are quite hard for us. For more information, transcripts, and all episodes, please visit https://thisisyourbrain.…
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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…
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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 …
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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 …
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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 …
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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 fracture…
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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 h…
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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 …
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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 Solit…
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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 fin…
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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 re…
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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 neuros…
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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 dis…
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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 yo…
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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 betwe…
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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 (th…
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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 mon…
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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, a…
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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…
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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-…
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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…
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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/ Pl…
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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 re…
  continue reading
 
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 yo…
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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 …
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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…
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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 understand…
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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,…
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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 interp…
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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 Le…
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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 …
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Teen brains are uniquely primed for addiction -- that age is all about novelty seeking, risk taking, and impulsivity, a developmental stage with strong drives and little inhibition -- and they "learn" the pleasures of alcohol and drugs a little too well. Judith Grisel, PhD, a behavioral neuroscientist at Bucknell University who has written widely (…
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You know what you have to do to tighten your abs (whether or not you actually do it), but do you know how to awaken your brain? Lisa Miller, professor of psychology at Columbia University, explains how we humans are hard-wired for spirituality, but we've lost the connection. Faith-based traditions once connected most of us to something larger than …
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Have you ever felt a "presence" - someone next to you, even speaking to you, when no one is there? Dr. Ben Alderson-Day, a psychologist at Durham University in the UK, studies the phenomena of felt presences, or what he calls "the unseen other." These experiences are not always symptoms of mental illness - these are universally reported and not alw…
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Some 6 million Americans suffer from active PTSD at any given moment, and nearly half of us will be exposed to major trauma at some point in our lives. Dr. Shaili Jain, a Stanford University psychiatrist and PTSD specialist, explains why silence plays such a large role in the aftermath of trauma, why some people recover quickly and others don't, an…
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Superstitions, fairy tales, and talismans are more than silly remnants of our early human history -- they are bridges to the unconscious mind. Psychiatrist Daniel Z. Lieberman, MD, talks about just how complicated the unconscious is, and how rituals and fairy tales actually make us more sophisticated managers of our conscious mind. https://www.dani…
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With the left hemisphere of her brain ravaged by a hemorrhage, neuroscientist Jill Bolte Taylor made a surprising discovery. The brain bleed had not only deprived her of language, it had also wiped away memory of past trauma. What Dr. Taylor learned about brain cells after a stroke has implications for identity, spirituality, and insight. Find out …
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We all work on important tasks while we sleep – consolidating memories, building immunity, and managing weight, just for starters – but some of us do a whole lot more. From walking and talking to driving and committing crimes, sleep disorders can be disruptive, dangerous, and downright deadly. British neurologist and sleep expert Guy Leschziner exp…
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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 i…
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Did you ever notice when you see a close up of Julia Roberts smiling on the big screen, you have an urge to smile back? That’s an effect of your brain’s “Mirror Rule” according to Dr. Jeff Zacks of Washington University. Watching movies in a theater stimulates the signals in our brains more than almost any other activity. Dr. Zacks investigates the…
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Placental stem cells have the potential to stop cancer and autoimmune disorders in their tracks, slow or even halt the aging process, and perhaps even tackle the next pandemic. Dr. Robert Hariri, a surgeon and stem cell entrepreneur, explains how a temporary product of pregnancy, often discarded as waste, is actually an example of evolution at its …
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The past 30 years have produced an epidemic of obesity -- mostly because evolution did not prepare us for so many calories and so little physical activity. Dr. Louis Aronne, a leading authority on obesity, explains how a period of caloric excess can damage the neural connections that manage your metabolism, throwing your weight regulation out of wh…
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All of life is set to music -- or at least to a rhythm. From the graceful undulation of a jellyfish to the irresistible urge to bop along to our favorite songs, the urge to sway is hard-wired. Dr. Laurel Trainor, a professor of psychology, neuroscience, and behavior at McMaster University and director of the "LIVELab" there, conducts research into …
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Many of us worry about memory loss, but it's surprisingly important to forget. Scott Small, MD, director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Columbia, says pruning our memories is good for us. We all know "forgive and forget" is key to emotional health, but forgetting is also critical to cognitive health. Find out why a healthy dose of fo…
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The hemispheres of the brain are responsible for different views of the world - one literal, narrow-beam, and maybe a little angry, and the other broad-minded, nuanced, and appreciative of beauty. Psychiatrist, philosopher, and literary scholar Iain McGilchrist has spent his career studying how the two hemispheres of the brain work, together and se…
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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…
  continue reading
 
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 …
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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 h…
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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 experienc…
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