"Why do we like and dislike certain foods? The most important thing in the tasting process is not the tongue, nose or ears – it’s the brain." Barry Smith explores how the brain makes us capable of language, thinking and feeling.
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Neuroscientist by day, novelist by night - David Eagleman has just written an extraordinary little novel about the afterlife. He’s also a leading researcher in synesthesia, studying people who taste sounds, hear colours, and live in a remarkable world of sensory cross-talk. He joins Natasha Mitchell in conversation about life, death and the in-between.
The experiences that we take for granted – talking to a friend, listening to a piece of music, lifting a cup of coffee, tasting a peach – depend for their existence on the intricate and silent workings of several cooperative regions of the brain.
Why do some people see numbers as coloured? Do we have five or twenty-five senses? How much of the brain do we need to understand language? Can we cure chronic pain or depression at the flick of an electrical switch? Do we decide how to act before we know about it?
For this four-part series, Professor Barry Smith from the Institute of Philosophy, explores the way neuroscience is addressing the ultimate scientific challenge: namely, how our brain makes us the conscious creatures we are – capable of language, thinking and feeling.
Part one: Senses and Language
“When I wake up in the morning I think I’ve still got two normal arms and I have to look to see which one is not there.” How do our brains work in everyday life? In the second of a four-part series examining the mind’s complexities, Professor Barry Smith explores the link between the body and the brain.