Moviegoers wear 3D glasses as they watch the world premiere of "Hubble 3D," screened at the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum
Moviegoers wear 3D glasses as they watch the world premiere of "Hubble 3D," screened at the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum

Our Brains on Film: Neurocinematics with Heather Berlin

NASA Hubble, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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About This Episode

What does your brain do when watching movies? On this episode, Neil deGrasse Tyson and comic co-host Chuck Nice discover the field of neurocinematics and the difference between fiction and reality with neuroscientist Heather Berlin. 

Do violent movies make you violent? How does the brain distinguish between fact and fiction? Learn about intersubject correlation and the testing done with movies and advertisements. Can commercials influence your amygdala? What does the prefrontal cortex do? Without a prefrontal cortex would there be no society? We explore human’s ability to extrapolate meaning. Is new science going to allow us to read minds? Heather introduces us to new technology that helps us reconstruct thoughts on a computer. Will machines one day be able to read our minds? Will we be living in the world from Minority Report?

We discuss the myth that we only use 10 percent of our brain. Could we use our brain power to move objects? Next, we get started on patron questions: What are long term effects of misinformation on the brain? We explore the flaws of the human mind and how it can be manipulated due to our evolutionary past. Are virtual reality and television processed differently by our brain? We venture into suspended disbelief and how today’s youth are becoming more acclimated to technology. 

If a child thinks Amazon’s Alexa is a real person, should we correct them? We also dive into the most accurate depictions of mental illness on screen. What would the ethics be of trapping someone in a virtual reality? We also discuss upward comparison versus downward comparison. Could movies help treat depression? All that, plus, why do so many children’s stories end with eating a child? 

Thanks to our Patrons Adrian Flores, Zack Floyd, Martina Quinlan, HARRY SPRAGUE V, john lopez, Brody Eckstein, Adam Hudson, Anthony Harker, Scruffshroom, and Duy Tran for supporting us this week.

NOTE: StarTalk+ Patrons can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free.


In This Episode

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