A newborn baby is well-equipped to eat and sleep, but not much more. It cannot speak, it sees almost nothing, and controlled movements of its arms and legs are minimal. Previously it was believed that, at birth, the brain was ready for all these tasks (nature), and that the child only had to learn through experience (nurture). Significant changes in the brain before, during and after this major learning period are however a condition for and also a result of this learning process.
The Ego does not exist, it is an illusion, a trick of the brain. This claim of neuroscientists may scare you. But is it true? Or does something like an ego exist? And if so, what is it?
You walk down a street and nearly bump into someone; you look at their face and in a fraction of a second you know who it is. It does not really matter if you see them in profile or full face. And one can do this with thousands of faces; a clever trick of our brains. How do we recognise faces?
The probability of having autism is greater for an individual if it runs in their family. This suggests hereditary factors. But what do you actually inherit? What you inherit is a predisposition for a specific development of your brain. This, together with what you experience while growing up, can lead to the development of a mild to severe form of autism.
How would we manage, if we could not visualise three-dimensional objects from flat two-dimensional diagrams? An amazing feat our brain performs. What role does predetermined programming play in this? That is related to how the sun shines on us.
In a country with golden sand dunes by the sea, each year saw more murders committed than the year before. Neuroscientists had proven that the conscience of most murderers did not function. The judges were stuck. How could they solve this problem?
When you drive a car, you have to execute several actions at the same time, and also pay attention to traffic. For this to take place, most of your actions are performed automatically. These are laid down in a separate memory in a specific part of the brain: the corpus striatum.
What is the relation between what the neurologist calls amazing and the psychiatrist paradoxical? Our impression of the world around us is not formed on the basis of what we actually perceive with our senses. Instead, we carry a preexisting image of our surroundings in our head, and we check if that matches with our perceptions. Sometimes this goes awry.
Our brain controls everything we do and think and what happens in our body. Who directs these complicated brains? "I" do? No, there is no central power or police force, no editor, prime minister or CEO, no leader. The brain controls all without a director.
Successful musicians put in hours of practice from an early age. But is all that practice really necessary? Is talent alone - with a bit of practice - not enough? How does the brain change with practice, and can you create a genius?