StarTalk's photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson, Heather Berlin, and Jackie Hoffman.
StarTalk's photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson, Heather Berlin, and Jackie Hoffman.

Cosmic Queries – Neuroscience

Shown: Neil deGrasse Tyson, Heather Berlin, and Jackie Hoffman. Credit: StarTalk®.
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StarTalk's photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson, Heather Berlin, and Jackie Hoffman.

About This Episode

On this episode of StarTalk Radio, we try and solve some of the mysteries of the ever-evolving, ever-eluding human brain. Neil deGrasse Tyson is joined by first-time comic co-host Jackie Hoffman, and neuroscientist and StarTalk All-Stars host Heather Berlin, PhD, to help answer fan-submitted questions on an array of neuroscientific topics. 

You’ll learn how male and female brains differ. We explore the colorful world of psychedelic drugs. Find out why taking psychedelics is like putting your brain into a dream state. We discuss how psychedelic drugs allow unfiltered information from the world to enter your brain. Heather shocks Jackie by revealing that everyone is hallucinating most of the time as we try and break down the nature of our reality. We also discuss the idea that some people claim to see insight into the universe and beyond when experimenting with psychedelics. 

Next, investigate our reality and if it’s possible that everything we experience is a figment of our imagination. As part of the discussion we take a look back at movies like The Matrix and Total Recall. You’ll explore turning certain sensory information into different sensory information, like when a blind person turns visual information into audio information for the brain to process. You’ll also discover more about synesthesia. 

Finally, we explore the current state of mental health awareness. Dive into dreams as we break down the importance, or non-importance, of what your dreams are about. Neil and Heather point out the merit and flaws of Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams. You’ll find out what it means to “focus” on something. We ponder whether or not brain transplants will ever become a reality. We also wonder if you’ll be able to implant memories. All that, plus, we ask, “Do you need a brain to feel pain?”

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: Cosmic Queries – Neuroscience.

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