Thursday, July 26, 2007

Brain Science Podcast #17: The Wisdom of the Aging Brain


This week we discuss another book by Elkonon Goldberg, Ph.D. I highly recommend this book to everyone because it is an excellent review of many of the topics we have discussed over the last several months including memory, emotion, and neuroplasticity. In this episode we continue our discussion of the role of the pre-frontal lobes in intelligence, as well as what happens to our brain as we age.

Show Notes

Episodes that are referred to in this episode:

Note: You should have no problem listening to episode to #17 first, but I have provided these references for those who want to review or go back for more details.

Definitions used in this episode:

attractor: a cognitive template that enables pattern recognition. An attractor is thought to be a concise set of neurons with strong interactions among themselves. A unique and important quality of attractors is that a broad range of inputs activate the same set of neurons. This is thought to be the mechanism of pattern recognition.

cognitive competence: the ability to relate the old to the new so as to recognize the similarities between a new problem and one that has been previously solved

cognitive wisdom: an enhanced capacity for problem solving

generic memory: memory for patterns

Brief List of topics discussed in this episode:

  1. Review of important ideas about the prefrontal lobes from #16
  2. An hypothesis about the differing roles of the right and left hemispheres
  3. How the brain changes in normal aging
  4. Mechanisms that protect the brain from degenerative changes
    1. generic memory-why this type of memory is more robust
    2. pattern expansion-how parts of the cortex expand with use
    3. effortless experts-why familiar tasks are less demanding
  5. Why vigorous mental activity is important throughout life

For more links related to Dr. Goldberg's work see the show notes for episode 16.

Listen Now

The Brain Science Podcast feed is available here.

Subscribe via iTunes™

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Books and Ideas #12 Explores Free Will


I have posted episode 12 of Books and Ideas. It is my response to The Myth of Free Will (2007), which was edited by Cris Evatt.

This is a very controversial subject. I hope that you will listen and then submit your comments to the new Brain Science Podcast Discussion Forum, which is at

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Brain Science Podcast Update



The Brain Science Podcast #16 is a discussion of The Executive Brain: Frontal Lobes and the Civilized Mind (2002)
by Elkhonon Goldberg.

Listen Now

The Brain Science Podcast feed is available here.

Subscribe via iTunes™

Subscribe to Brain Science Podcast with Dr. Ginger Campbell by Email

Visit the new Brain Science Podcast Forum

Show Notes

This episode is an introduction to the role of the pre-frontal lobes in decision-making, and the other "executive" functions of our brain. The functions of the pre-frontal lobes are not only the keys to what makes us human, but also the keys to our individual personality.

In this episode, using Dr. Goldberg's book, we discuss how the frontal lobes relate to the other structures of the brain. We also, discuss some ideas about why the left and right sides of the brain differ, as well as several important ways in which the cortex, and especially the pre-frontal lobes differ from some of the older parts of the brain.

We discuss briefly the vulnerability of the frontal lobes to damage and disease, and we consider the implications of frontal lobe dysfunction. Questions are introduced that will be considered in more detail in future podcasts.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

FINAL TAXI: Last Voyage of Sinbad's Kerwin Mathews

Direct Download: Kerwin Mathews

Kerwin Mathews, who earned a niche in film history as the handsome hero who battled a Cyclops, a dragon and a sword-wielding skeleton in the 1958 fantasy classic “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad,” has taken his Final Taxi. Mathews was also in “The Devil at 4 O’clock” with Spencer Tracy and Frank Sinatra and in b-movies “Octoman” and “The Boy Who Cried Werewolf.” He was 81.

Friday, July 6, 2007

FINAL TAXI: Stevens & McCorkle

Direct Download MP3: Stevens & McCorkle

Disney's Art Stevens and his work
On this weeks Final Taxi podcast Ron talks about Art Stevens, who was a Disney animator who worked on the 1940 classic “Fantasia” and later co-directed “The Fox and the Hound” and “The Rescuers.” Among Stevens’ credits as an animator are “Peter Pan,” “101 Dalmatians,” “Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day,” “Robin Hood,” “Mary Poppins” and the underwater sequence in “Bedknobs and Broomsticks.”

George McCorkle was a founding member of the Marshall Tucker Band and author of Southern rock anthem “Fire on the Mountain.”