The Brain Made Plain

Every episode a different neuroscientist talks about their research

About the show

The Brain Made Plain features interviews with neuroscientists from all over the world about how our brains work. Topics include sensory and motor systems, learning, memory, language, music, and more. Suitable for class assignments or home listening! Hosted by card-carrying cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Jonathan Peelle.

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  • Taraz Lee (cognitive control)

    January 25th, 2022  |  Season 1  |  43 mins 55 secs
    cognitive control, dlpfc, learning, motivation, motor cortex

    Dr. Taraz Lee joins us to talk about cognitive control: that is, how we organize and execute actions throughout the day. In particular, although we often think about cognitive control as helping performance, this might not always be the case—for example, when choking under pressure. All of which provides insight into daily activities, complex motor activities found in sports and music, and opportunities for rehabilitation.

  • Jessica Grahn (music)

    January 11th, 2022  |  Season 1  |  48 mins 27 secs
    basal ganglia, beat, movement disorders, music, parkinson's disease, rhythm

    We talk about the neuroscience of music with Dr. Jessica Grahn, with a special attention to rhythm and beat. Beat perception relies on both auditory and motor systems, including the basal ganglia, which may relate to effects of music in patients with Parkinson’s Disease. We also talk about beat perception in birds and other animals, and why some people might be better at beat perception than others.

  • Lauren Whitehurst (sleep and cognition)

    December 21st, 2021  |  Season 1  |  45 mins 41 secs
    autonomic nervous system, heart rate variability, memory, memory consolidation, sleep

    Dr. Lauren Whitehurst joins us to talk about the critical role that sleep plays in cognition. The effects of sleep (and sleep loss) are seen in systems that span not only the brain, but the rest of the body, and understanding this can help us understand not only a host of cognitive processes, but encourage us to have good sleep habits.

  • Morgan Barense (memory and perception)

    December 3rd, 2021  |  Season 1  |  41 mins 33 secs
    hippocampus, memory, perception, perirhinal cortex

    Dr. Morgan Barense joins us to talk about the close relationship between perception and memory. In particular, the hippocampus — a brain structure most often associated with memory — is also involved in high-level vision. Also discussed: the formative impact of undergraduate research experience and mentors, different kinds of perception and memory, and an app for your phone (Hippocamera) that might help you remember things better.