The Self Illusion

How the social brain creates identity

The Brain Bank

On on-line resource for those who teach intro psych.

This time last year, I was presenting the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, "Meet Your Brain" that were filmed for the BBC. It was a major life event that took four months of preparation. One of the major hurdles was coming up with demonstrations that would work well for a young audience. To my surprise this was a lot harder than I imagined as there were not that many "off-the-shelf" examples to illustrate the basic principles of neuroscience that we teach our students. 

In the end, we came up with three shows-worth of material and demonstrations that went down really well (excellent ratings by the TV pundits & over 4 million viewers). It seems like a distant memory now that I have returned to day job as an academic but I must confess I miss the spotlight and attention that the Christmas Lectures generate.

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One legacy is that we have created a free online resource based around the content of the three lectures called "The Brain Bank." It contains video clips, demonstrations, images and Q&A discussions all aimed at a teenage audience. There are three sections that deal with architecture, functions and the social brain. It is especially good for UK teachers as it explains difficult concepts and tells you which part of the school's curriculum each of the points cover but it has international appeal. After all, brains are pretty much the same wherever you are!

I really hope it gets used and inspires the next generation of brain scientists.

Bruce Hood, Ph.D., is the Chair in Developmental Psychology at the University of Bristol.

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