• Question: what is the strangest or most interesting thing you have discovered about the human brain and emotions?

    Asked by Random Scientist to Robert, Olly, Nicola, Jasmin, Dennis, Caroline on 10 Jun 2019. This question was also asked by Wadd Of Ham, Ava, jazz353jam.
    • Photo: Robert Dempsey

      Robert Dempsey answered on 10 Jun 2019:


      For me, I was fascinated to hear that people who have experience of bipolar disorder often experience a lot of anger and also experience positive emotions like ‘joy’ more strongly than other positive emotions (its thought that joy is a very public emotion associated with success, and it seems like people with bipolar are very sensitive to success-related emotions)

    • Photo: Dennis Relojo-Howell

      Dennis Relojo-Howell answered on 10 Jun 2019:


      I find the concept of neuroplasticity fascinating and comforting, in equal measure. It’s the ability of the brain to change continuously throughout an individual’s life.

      It means that it’s never too late to learn something because you are old.

      As an example, I only started to speak English on my early 20s. Also, I was 35 when I learned how to swim.

      Neuroplasticity reminds us that there’s always a chance for us to improve ourselves.

    • Photo: Oliver Clabburn

      Oliver Clabburn answered on 10 Jun 2019:


      So for me, some of the most interesting stuff is to do with our behaviour and emotions. My area of expertise is about people who are terminally ill creating a legacy… something specifically to be given to children in their family that will last on beyond their death. There’s some really cool stuff about how we all strive to have a part of us that lives forever. That might be creative (poem, art, play), biological (children, grandchildren), perhaps achievements (sports, competitions). I find this sort of thing really interesting.

    • Photo: Jasmin Moon

      Jasmin Moon answered on 11 Jun 2019:


      The story of Phineas Gage is something I still find fascinating. He had an accident at work where an iron rod went through the front of his brain, but he survived! He was studied and doctors found that his personality had changed after the accident, which helped scientists understand the role of the part of the brain that was damaged in his case. It also shows the amazing ability that the brain has to cope and adapt even when it has been severely damaged.

    • Photo: Caroline Brett

      Caroline Brett answered on 11 Jun 2019:


      There are a few neurological conditions that are particularly interesting (and strange). For example, a condition called “unilateral neglect”, which is where a person is unaware of, or ignores, one side of their body. They don’t respond to touch, they can’t move the side they’re ignoring, and when they see it in a mirror or in the flesh they don’t realise it is part of their own body. If you’re interested in unusual conditions like this, it’s worth checking out the work of Oliver Sacks, such as his well-known book “The man who mistook his wife for a hat”.

    • Photo: Nicola Johnstone

      Nicola Johnstone answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      Number one for me is the ability of the brain to compensate and adapt. It’s really resilient!

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