Wednesday, 14 August 2013
A Monthly Podcast On Cognitive Science
Do you love in-depth interviews with famous names in the vast field of cognitive science? Does the idea of spending an hour with philosopher Patricia Churchland, neurobiologist Christof Koch, or affective neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp sound pretty good to you? Then you have to take a look at the web site Brain Science Podcast!
Brain Science Podcast was created in 2006 by Dr. Ginger Campbell, an emergency physician with a passionate interest in the brain, consciousness, and the medical implications of the mind-body relationship, and she has been hosting it ever since. From one month to the next, she alternates between interviews with scientists who are leaders in their fields and detailed reports on recent books on topics in which she is interested.
Over the years, Dr. Campbell’s podcasts have covered just about every subject that we discuss here in The Brain from Top to Bottom. To cite just one example, Brain Science Podcast Episode 30 talks about the evolution of language, on the basis of the first part of the book The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language, by Christine Kenneally. In this podcast, Dr. Campbell summarizes the fascinating history of the study of the evolution of language, which has gone from an almost taboo subject to a very active new area of investigation. The discussion includes encounters with Noam Chomsky and his reluctance to acknowledge the value of this field of study, Sue Savage-Rumbaugh and her experiments on the language abilities of bonobo apes, Philip Leiberman and his research on motor control of language, Steven Pinker, Stephen Jay Gould, and many more.
The podcasts are all the more entertaining because Dr. Campbell is not at all shy about sharing her own thoughts and intuitions about the subjects discussed. For instance, her comments on the important implications that recent discoveries about the brain’s plasticity have for the evolution of language help us to understand what drives progress in a scientific research field such as this.