Segments in this Video

Introduction: Changing Your Mind (03:49)


Alan Alda introduces the topics in brain development he will investigate in this film. Conventional wisdom dictates that as we become older, our brains remain fixed and rigid in structure. Michelle Geronimo has volunteered to participate in an experiment to remain blindfolded for a week to measure how her brain adapts.

Seeing Blind (09:01)

Gil Bush is a braille proofreader that has been blind from birth. Scientists experiment with disabling Bush's visual cortex, and discover it has been rededicated to interpreting symbols by touch. Meanwhile, Geronimo learns to read braille and undergoes many tests to see how living without sight for a week has changed her brain.

Grow Your Own Brain (07:31)

Alda visits London to investigate how driving taxi cabs alters the brain to better recall information. Fred Gage explains the recent discovery that adults can in fact grow new brain cells. Henriette van Praag explains that experiments with mice have shown exercise alone can generate new brain cells.

True or False (09:08)

Memory research Dan Schacter demonstrates the malleability of memory to Alda with a simple experiment. This is because of how memories are stored in the brain and how they are retrieved. Under certain conditions, it is possible to determine if someone is having a true or false memory.

What's in a Dream? (08:04)

Alda undergoes a sleep study to find out what happens to the mind while it is dreaming. He takes multiple tests throughout the night to measure the performance of his brain after dreaming.

Monastery of the Mind (11:04)

Gerrry Edelman won the Nobel Prize in 1972 for determining the structure of antibodies. At the Neurosciences Institute, Edelman studies the human mind and how it interacts with the body. Edelman wants to find a way to study the phenomenon of consciousness.

The Power of Half (05:35)

Jordan Grafman introduces Michelle Mack, a woman who suffered a stroke before she was born that damaged almost all of the left side of her brain. However, the right half of Mack's brain has adapted to perform the functions of the left.

Credits: Changing Your Mind (00:45)

Credits: Changing Your Mind

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Changing Your Mind

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In this episode of Scientific American Frontiers, Alda meets two young women whose brains have remodeled themselves—one temporarily in response to a week of being blindfolded, the other permanently after a devastating brain injury before birth. They are dramatic examples of "neuroplasticity"—today's hot topic in brain research. Alda also joins researchers who have overthrown the conventional wisdom that adults can't grow new brain cells.

Length: 55 minutes

Item#: BVL151391

Copyright date: ©2000

Closed Captioned

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