Brain Myths Exploded: Lessons from Neuroscience

Course No. 1671
Professor Indre Viskontas, Ph.D.
University of San Francisco; San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Share This Course
4.5 out of 5
55 Reviews
80% of reviewers would recommend this product
Course No. 1671
Streaming Included Free

What Will You Learn?

  • numbers Examine the special neurons that might play a role in how we socialize with others.
  • numbers Learn how our senses use "shortcuts" to create the illusion that we're seeing objective reality.
  • numbers Discover the truth behind claims that brain games and brain foods can make us smarter.
  • numbers See how magicians use the brain's inherent weaknesses to convince us their tricks are real.
  • numbers Explore the interconnected relationship between the left and right hemispheres of the brain.

Course Overview

With its 86 billion neurons and hundreds of trillions of intricate connections, the human brain is mystifyingly complex. Which explains why, despite lightning-fast advancements in neuroscience, there’s still a lot that we don’t understand. And even what we think we understand may not be completely accurate. In fact, much of what the public thinks about the brain is based on popular myths that have perpetuated despite the passage of time and the proliferation of brain research.

These myths include the idea that you’re only tapping 10% of your brain’s potential; that creative people are dominated by the right side of their brain; that your brain is perfectly capable of juggling multiple tasks simultaneously; that there’s a hidden message in your dreams; and that our dependence on technology is making us less and less intelligent, just to name a few.

These and other popular myths all derive from the fact that the brain, for all its complexity, is still very much an imperfect system. As popular Great Courses instructor and award-winning professor Dr. Indre Viskontas of the University of San Francisco puts it, “for all its beauty, the brain can be messy, random, and inefficient. It can be prone to mistakes from the lowest levels of perception to the highest levels of complex decision making.”

To start building a more straightforward, accurate understanding of current breakthroughs in neuroscience, and how they’re reshaping what we thought we knew about the brain, you have to start by shattering popular brain myths. Exploring these myths is also a fun way to engage with neuroscience—to get an accessible look at an often-intimidating field of study—as well as a chance to think more deeply about who you are and why you do the things you do.

Brain Myths Exploded: Lessons from Neuroscience is an eye-opening, rewarding course in which Dr. Viskontas guides you through the neuroscience of everyday life, separating myth from reality, fact from fiction, and truth from falsehood. Each of these 24 lectures focuses on a single powerful, prevalent brain myth, and uses it as a launch pad from which to explore myriad topics in neuroscience: decision making, memory, dreams, emotions, neuroplasticity, consciousness, mental illness, and much more. How has neuroscience helped us conquer the human mind like never before? What uncharted territory still remains to be mapped? This course, whether you choose to experience the lectures in order or by your interests, is the perfect place to find the answers.

Three Principles of the Brain

According to Dr. Viskontas, when busting the myths about the brain, it’s important to keep several key ideas in mind. These fundamental principles form the architecture of Brain Myths Exploded, and they serve as a scaffold on which you can hang new information about the brain as it’s discovered and reported in the news.

  • The brain is not perfectly designed. Contrary to what you may think, the human brain is a product of evolutionary forces, and as such is a constant work-in-progress filled with short cuts that can help us—but that also leave room for potentially harmful errors.
  • No brain region is an island. The power of the brain lies in the interconnectedness of its parts (including the amygdala and the hippocampus), as well as the malleability with which it wires and rewires itself with everything you experience in life.
  • There are two systems of thought. Our behavior is influenced by two kinds of thinking: the slow, deliberate, rational type that we think guides most of our decisions, and the fast-thinking, automatic processes that actually influence us much more than we know.

Popular Myths, Hidden Truths

Each lecture in this course is a stand-alone examination of one particular myth related to neuroscience. But Dr. Viskontas doesn’t just settle for obliterating these myths once and for all. Instead, she replaces these myths with scientific facts gathered from experiments, research, and case studies. The result is an eye-opening adventure into the latest understanding of why the brain works the way it does. And the truth is much more interesting.

  • The bigger your brain, the smarter you are. While there is a correlation between the size of an individual’s brain and some measures of his or her intelligence, it’s only moderate. One has to consider a host of other factors, including the amount of white matter in the brain, which can indicate how quickly your neurons communicate with each other.
  • Our memory is an accurate, objective record of the past. Our memories are anything but objective. The truth is that every time you pull out the “file” that contains a memory, you have to “rewrite” the whole story. And your current beliefs and emotional state affect how that memory gets rewritten and stored once again.
  • Our senses reflect the world as it exists. While evolution has given us a powerful sensory system, it doesn’t capture the world as it is. Instead, our brains pick and choose only tiny bits of information, and fill in the details to give us a perceptual experience of the world we can actually use.
  • Our dreams have secret meanings. Contrary to what Freud believed, there is currently little evidence to suggest the subconscious uses dreams to communicate its desires. Neuroscientists have come up with several theories about why we dream, including one that posits we dream in order to consolidate our memories, and process emotions.
  • Our brains are unbiased. Unfortunately, prejudice is ingrained in the human brain, and our behavior can be affected by biases of which we’re not aware. These implicit biases can hijack our rational minds and lead us to behave in uncharacteristic ways.

Other topics you’ll explore through the lens of mythbusting include:

  • how magicians use the brain’s own weaknesses to convince us of their tricks;
  • controversies about brain differences between men and women;
  • the level of addiction we have to social media tools like Facebook and Twitter;
  • which specific neurons play a role in how we socialize with other people; and
  • the importance we should give to brain games and brain foods.

Enrich Your Sense of Wonder

As a prominent, award-winning science communicator who has spent her career involved with the multidisciplinary intricacies of neuroscience (including its relationship to memory, music, reason, and creativity), Dr. Viskontas makes this intellectual journey detailed, rewarding, and accessible. She brings a skeptical, but always open-minded, perspective to each of the 24 questions tackled in this course.

While the topics delve into hard science, you never feel like you’re out of your depth. Rather, Dr. Viskontas uses her engaging teaching style—combined with brain scans, 3-D animations and illustrated diagrams of the inner workings of the brain—to guide you through sometimes-mysterious, often-uncharted territory.

“With each new discovery, the story just gets more interesting,” says Dr. Viskontas. “I hope I’ll enrich your sense of wonder at that amazing and often baffling thing: the human brain. And I hope you’ll leave this course with a better sense of how your own mind works—and how it will continue to change in the future.”

However you choose to enjoy this fascinating course, you’ll be left with insights that will put you on the cutting-edge of our current scientific understanding of the brain, and that will help you better determine the hard scientific truths behind the breaking news (and myths) of tomorrow.

Hide Full Description
24 lectures
 |  Average 29 minutes each
  • 1
    Is Your Brain Perfectly Designed?
    Begin the course by debunking one of the most fundamental myths about the human brain. Along the way, discover how our brains are shaped by evolution and experience, which neurons are responsible for self-awareness and motor coordination, and why the brain is still very much a work in progress. x
  • 2
    Are Bigger Brains Smarter?
    When it comes to brains, size doesn't matter as much as you think. Here, explore concepts including the Encephalization quotient (which compares brain mass to body mass), the g" factor (a long-sought-after standard of cognitive ability), and the lessons scientists have learned from studying the brain of Albert Einstein." x
  • 3
    Is Mental Illness Just a Chemical Imbalance?
    According to Dr. Viskontas, major psychiatric illnesses aren't just the result of chemical concentrations in the brain. The focus of this lecture is an intriguing exploration of two disorders that have proven to be far more complicated and nuanced in our understanding of mental illness: schizophrenia and depression. x
  • 4
    Are Creative People Right-Brained?
    Think your brain is divided into a creative side and an analytical side? Think again. The two hemispheres of your brain are actually quite interconnected. Discover what neuroimaging has revealed about the way our brains think and create, and why it's all about collaboration-not competition. x
  • 5
    How Different Are Male and Female Brains?
    We're always hearing about studies that find significant differences the brains of men and women. How should we be thinking about gender differences in the brain? How are these differences misinterpreted? What are the differences in the male and female amygdala and hippocampus? Which genders express which emotions more openly? x
  • 6
    How Accurate Is Your Memory?
    In this lecture that unpacks the accuracy of your memories, learn how information is encoded, stored, and retrieved in the brain; examine how Alzheimer's disease and amnesia affect the brain's ability to remember; and explore the Seven Sins of Memory," including absentmindedness, memory blocking, and misattribution." x
  • 7
    Do You Only Use 10% of Your Brain?
    Are you using your brain to its fullest potential? Here, clear up some of the mystery about how much of our brain power we're using. As you'll learn, you use a lot more of your brain than you think, whether you're practicing a new skill or simply zoning out in front of the television. x
  • 8
    Do You Perceive the World as It Really Is?
    According to Dr. Viskontas, the biggest myth about our senses is that they reflect the world as it actually is. Using vision as an example, discover how your sensory system uses shortcuts and fills in details to create, from portions of the environment, the illusion that you're perceiving reality objectively. x
  • 9
    Is Your Brain Too Smart for Magic Tricks?
    We've all been fooled by a magic trick at one point or another. But we rarely stop to think about how magicians are simply manipulating pre-existing shortcomings in our minds. Here, explore some of the neurological principles magicians rely on, including selective attention, inattention blindness, and change blindness. x
  • 10
    Is Your Brain Objective?
    Contrary to what you might believe, we don't weight evidence equally before building personal beliefs. Instead, we're beholden to confirmation bias. Is this a bug our brains could do without? Is it an evolutionary advantage? Can it also lead to sublime experiences (like appreciating a piece of music)? x
  • 11
    Do You Have 5 Independent Senses?
    Discover why your senses aren't as separate as you think-and why you actually have more than five. Topics in this lecture include proprioception (sensing where you are) and synesthesia (a neurological condition in which the stimulation of one sense causes the involuntary activation of a different sense). x
  • 12
    Can Certain Foods Make You Smarter?
    In this lecture on brain food," consider the scientific truths behind the food fads that make headlines; test out the myths associated with foods like fish oil, vitamins, power drinks, chocolate, and tea; and ponder the potential of smart pills (known as nootropics) such as Adderall and Ritalin." x
  • 13
    Can Brain Games Make You Smarter?
    An increased focus among scientists on neuroplasticity (changes in the brain's biology) has led to a flurry of brain-training games and tools aimed at improving our cognitive skills. Here, probe the potential of these games, and consider some alternate ways to train your brain, including exercising and socializing. x
  • 14
    Does Your Brain Shut Down during Sleep?
    What, exactly, happens when you fall asleep? Why do our brains need sleep in order to function? What are some of the neurological dangers of not getting enough sleep? What are the sleep patterns of other animals, and how do they compare to our own? Dr. Viskontas provides some answers. x
  • 15
    Are Your Decisions Rational?
    When we make decisions, we're actually swayed by things that any truly rational human being would ignore. Why do our brains work this way? Explore the mental laziness" hardwired into our nature, and why we easily fall prey to superficial judgments. Central to this idea: the brain's two thinking systems." x
  • 16
    Are You Always Conscious while Awake?
    In this lecture, probe the eternal problem" of consciousness-perhaps the most difficult topic in all of neuroscience. How have scientists tried to determine what consciousness is and how it works? Along the way, examine several theories, including the intriguing idea that consciousness is nothing more than a neural afterthought." x
  • 17
    Are Other Animals Conscious?
    Continue exploring consciousness with a consideration of its appearance in other animals. Scientific studies in animals ranging from primates to octopi have uncovered some illuminating insights into how animals can potentially show complex behaviors (including compassion, self-recognition, and generosity) we typically associate exclusively with conscious humans. x
  • 18
    Can You Multitask Efficiently?
    Multitasking is a critical skill in today's world. But does it really work as well as you think? Dr. Viskontas lays bare the neurology of the multitasker and uses key studies to draw several powerful conclusions, including that doing two things at once is impossible when both tasks require your conscious attention. x
  • 19
    Are Dreams Meaningful?
    Consider some of the potential roots (and purposes) of dreams and how neuroscientists study them. While dreams continue to remain mysterious, some theories posit that dreams play a role in consolidating your memory, and that they can be driven by emotional events (including traumatic ones). x
  • 20
    Can Brain Scans Read Your Mind?
    Discover what neuroimaging can-and can't-tell us about how the human mind works. First, examine what brain scans are actually showing us. Then, consider three regions of the brain prone to common misunderstanding in the media: the amygdala, the reward circuitry, and the prefrontal cortex. x
  • 21
    Can Adult Brains Change for the Better?
    Just because you're an adult doesn't mean you can't still learn and master new things. After considering how neuroplasticity works in a toddler's brain, explore how exercise and musical training are two ways to influence the growth of new neurons and the formation of new synapses (known as neurogenesis). x
  • 22
    Do Special Neurons Enable Social Life?
    From mirror neurons to von Economo cells, learn the role that special neurons might play in human social behavior. Recent breakthroughs in neuroscience have expanded our understanding of how we interact with and understand people, but myths about these special neurons abound. x
  • 23
    Is Your Brain Unprejudiced?
    You might not be racist, but your brain likely is. How did neuroscientists come to this startling conclusion? And what can we, as individuals, do about it? Find out in this fascinating lecture on the neurology of prejudice, implicit and explicit biases, stereotyping, and in-group preferences. x
  • 24
    Does Technology Make You Stupid?
    In this final lecture, ponder several prevalent myths about the relationship between technology and the brain. Among these: smartphones are killing our attention spans, social media is addictive (and leads us to be less social), computers make us less intelligent, and search engines are destroying our memory. x

Lecture Titles

Clone Content from Your Professor tab

What's Included

What Does Each Format Include?

Video DVD
Instant Video Includes:
  • Download 24 video lectures to your computer or mobile app
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
DVD Includes:
  • 24 lectures on 4 DVDs
  • 232-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
  • Closed captioning available

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • 232-page printed course guidebook
  • Photographs and illustrations
  • Questions to consider
  • Suggested readings

Enjoy This Course On-the-Go with Our Mobile Apps!*

  • App store App store iPhone + iPad
  • Google Play Google Play Android Devices
  • Kindle Fire Kindle Fire Kindle Fire Tablet + Firephone
*Courses can be streamed from anywhere you have an internet connection. Standard carrier data rates may apply in areas that do not have wifi connections pursuant to your carrier contract.

Your professor

Indre Viskontas

About Your Professor

Indre Viskontas, Ph.D.
University of San Francisco; San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Dr. Indre Viskontas is a Cognitive Neuroscience Affiliate with the Memory and Aging Center at the University of California, San Francisco, where she has studied the emergence of creativity in patients with dementia.Dr. Indre Viskontas is an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at the University of San Francisco and Professor of Sciences and Humanities at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she is pioneering the...
Learn More About This Professor
Also By This Professor


Brain Myths Exploded: Lessons from Neuroscience is rated 4.4 out of 5 by 55.
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Just Didn't Find It Too Interesting I thought this course had a lot of potential. Specifically lectures on sleep, dreaming, and consciousness intrigued me enough to purchase this course. But I could never really get into it. Simply stated I just didn't find it interesting enough. Maybe I unfairly expected components that wouldn't be in scope like more philosophy of the mind or other theories around dreaming but this just seemed to be one long recitation of study after study and while some were eye opening and do bust some myths most of us carry, the sheer volume of tidbits from this study and that made it difficult to put all of this together. And to be honest I didn't even find the studies themselves very interesting. The professor's presentation style wasn't bad but I didn't like some aspects of it: at times she seemed smug in what she was presenting, rarely offering differing views. Her attempts at humor also fell flat with me and were odd at times. Okay so she's probably a dog person and aren't too fond of cats but her disparaging jokes about cats seemed out fo place since she's probably irritating or isolating half of her audience! And sometimes the references to her husband and child seemed too much. While they can help illustrate points at time, I really didn't need to listen to her recorded reaction to the first time her child recognized his own name in which she screamed with joy. Nor did hearing her refer to him as meatloaf numerous times help my understanding of the topics at hand. Sorry maybe I'm being trivial and overly cruel here but the upshot is all of this only contributed to a lack of connection on my behalf with the content/course and instead resulted in me feeling like this course was something to just endure (in case I was missing a really good lecture somewhere at the end) vs. one to really enjoy. If you have a great interest in neuroscience then this course may intrigue you so take my review for what it's worth but I didn't going in and me thinking it just might turn my interest to the discipline...well that ended up being just a myth.
Date published: 2019-01-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I thought the product was very informative. It was great information. I was fascinated by everything that was said. The brain is complex and endlessly interesting to study. I could listen for hours to anyone talking about the brain.
Date published: 2018-12-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Nice overview of a range of topics The professor is very articulate and was very easy to follow in the audio version. I know that it is sometimes hard to figure out the level of difficulty in some of these courses, I often miss the mark. I have taken several different courses on neurology, each bringing a new point or perspective to the table. So, her reference to technical terms were quite familiar to me at this point. However, I think other professors may take more time to introduce some of these terms, so it might be frustrating to some people who are new to neurology. On the other hand, I don't think it is absolutely necessary to understand all of the neurological terms to be able to grasp the main points she is presenting. I don't think I'd call all of these topics myths. Some easily fall into that category, but others are more or less results of advancing science-more questions are asked, more studies are performed, advancing technologies allows for better studies, etc. And yes, there are many things that scientists do not yet understand, and things we wish were simple are, unfortunately, very complicated. Not pleasant to those who are desperately seeking answers when they are experiencing problems. I was somewhat expecting the kind of lists of myths you can find all over the internet, but I was plesantly suprised that she took some time to dig deeper into each area. I was a little disspointed, however, in some of the studies she used to "prove" that something was a myth. On the one hand she points out that neuro imaging is often used in an over zealous manner, which may or may not be true, it isn't my area of expertise. But then in a later lecture when discussing racism, she puts an awful lot of faith in the studies from social sciences, which are well known to be negatively affected by all kinds of biases. It is a shame, because I have many questions and theories about prejudice (and not just the ones that society defines as such) and neurology.
Date published: 2018-12-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent presentation I greatly enjoyed this course, and learned a lot from it. First of all, the professor is well organized, speaks clearly, and demonstrates not just a broad knowledge of the topics, but also includes apt personal anecdotes to insert some humor. Although she has an opinion as to the myths she is "exploding", she also presents opposing views, and backs everything up with reference to scientific research. This has been one of my favorite courses, and I looked forward to watching each video.
Date published: 2018-10-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amygdala and hippocampus drive our brains! The lecturer is dynamic and easy to listen to. Her layman’s description of how amygdala and hippocampus was clear and fascinating. I enjoyed the story she told about how pathologists pooked and analyzed Einstein’s brain tissue for over 30 years. Only learning he had a smaller than average brain size. The 7 sins of memory, 10% use of our brains, discussions of benefits of sleep for brain, and especially how it is much better to socialize and exercise than playing computer games were very interesting to me. I have listened to this series twice already since there were so many nuggets of gold I missed from first listening.
Date published: 2018-08-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thought provoking The subject of Neuroscience is still at the Frontier. Anybody expecting definitive answers is bound to be mistaken and/or disappointed. I thought that her presentation was finely balanced in trying to explain the facts and the misconceptions behind each lecture's 'myths'. In fact, quite a refreshing approach... Her style is immediately appealing, very clear, and laced with subtle humour - often against herself !
Date published: 2018-08-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVED IT!!! One of the best lectures I have listened to from The Great Courses. Entertaining and informative. I want to hear more from this lecturer.
Date published: 2018-08-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good science I enjoyed the focus on dispelling myths and accuracy.
Date published: 2018-05-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating Course Content. I found this series, and the presenter, of great interest. She presented a great deal of interesting and detailed information about the working of out incredible brains.
Date published: 2018-04-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my Favorite Very interesting subject matter and engaging professor!
Date published: 2018-04-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating information, well presented. Don't be put off by some of the lecture titles that may seem mundane and uninteresting. Each lecture if full of surprising and fascinating information, well presented.
Date published: 2018-02-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great voice, easy to understand, not condescending I am a physician and I also teach Anatomy & Physiology and I use these tapes when I travel. There were days when I was sad to reach my destination because I had to turn off the tape. Do yourself an enormous favor---buy this tape. You shall have no regrets when you do.
Date published: 2017-09-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great course indeed The course is informative - precise - organized - well documented - easy to understand - well delivered - ---- in general it is one of the best courses I have listened to.
Date published: 2017-08-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very informative and entertaining, but not perfect I enjoyed Prof. Viskontas' "12 Essential Scientific Concepts" a lot and she has an amazing breadth of in-depth knowledge (not to mention being an opera singer!). She is an excellent presenter and I learned a lot on a wide range of topics from gender differences to magic tricks. I particularly enjoyed the discussion of animal consciousness (Jeffrey Masson's When Elephants Weep would be of interest to anyone wanting to know more). But a few times she was over-confident about conventional wisdom. For example, her materialist explanation for near-death experiences has been shown to be inadequate to explain how people can come back and report distant events while they were clinically dead (see Dr. Jeffrey Long's God and the Afterlife). She's way too optimistic about the benefits of social media and technology--as a journalist, I know most people read less and less and much of that is shockingly superficial. I seriously doubt that all the people who need to urgently check their messages the entire time they are at dinner with others is better than rela conversations. She also doesn't mention a study which showed that reading Kindle doesn't. But these shortcomings are minor compared with how much you'll learn, so definitely get this course.
Date published: 2017-07-27
Date published: 2017-07-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting But Not Great There is no doubt that Professor Viskontas is well educated, articulate, and has a good grasp of Neuroscience. She presents her subject manner in an easy going discussion format which is beneficial to understanding her arguments. I was impressed with her insights into the modern advances in Neuroscience and their ramifications for future brain studies. However, I was not convinced that she had adequately disproved all the myths she identified. In some cases, in my opinion, the studies she used to prove her conclusions were not empirical enough to satisfy scientific analysis. Phychology is ripe with studies many of which directly contradict each other in their conclusions. Therefore, although I enjoyed watching and listening to her presentation, I cannot recommend the course.
Date published: 2017-06-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Some interesting information, but not great. This course has some interesting information, but there are others out there that are much better. I wasn't a waste of time.
Date published: 2017-06-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very well done. Dr. Viskontas does a great job of describing the most current understanding of how the human brain works. It seems most of what we thought we knew about the brain is wrong...
Date published: 2017-06-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great information. More people should get this tit I learned so much about the brain, my brain and so much more!
Date published: 2017-06-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Valuable Presentation It is very helpful to the general public when commonly held beliefs are shown to be untrue, and this lecture series is certainly useful in dispelling some about the workings of the human brain. However, the series simply whets your appetite for more proof about the causes of disparate human behavior.
Date published: 2017-06-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Lots of Basic, Practical Information I took this course after Prof. Sapolsky's Biology & Individual Behavior course. This one suffers by comparison. This professor has a friendly voice on the CD. She attempts to personalize the course with anecdotes about her family. The information seems generally good. I disagreed with her analysis, particularly, of, "Are mental illnesses just chemical imbalances?" She did not think so, but failed to discuss the idea that environmental events and traumas can change the functioning of neurons, and, therefore, their chemical functioning. The course seems to simplify many ideas, too much! This is not the worst course I have taken, but it is definitely inferior to many of the 20+ courses I have taken. It is good for beginners in brain science.
Date published: 2017-05-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Review on Brain Myths Exploded I acquired this course as a means of filling in my knowledge of how the brain works, which is based on reading articles in popular and academic journals. I am not a behavorialist or a brain specialist but a writer. I enjoy the direct and clear discussion of the material on the brain, which has helped me to clarify my understanding of things like left brain and right brain, female or male brain, healthy and dysfunctional brain activities. Although I am only on lecture four, I have learned a great deal and corrective some broad misassumptions. I find the material easy to repeat as necessary when some concept I thought I understood in an earlier lecture was misinterpreted by me on the first go round.
Date published: 2017-05-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent, self-explanatory title I am finding this course absolutely fascinating. It assumes a level of intelligence in it's audience, yet it is completely accessible and comprehensible to the layman like me and is presented with charm and humor. I intend to listen to each lecture more than once, because there is actually too much to assimilate on one hearing. I have learned a tremendous amount about the brain.
Date published: 2017-04-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfect course and Dr. Viskontas is incredible This course is flawless; I loved every minute of the lectures. Dr. Viskontas makes neuroscience engaging and entertaining while effortlessly incorporating foundational research studies.
Date published: 2017-04-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating Subject Prof Viskontas's presentation is excellent, a nice blend of humor, excellent intonation and plenty of information. Instead of just listing myths and explaining that they aren't true, this course is more of an exploration of how the brain works. With a gentle touch of science and terminology, concepts are explained clearly in a manner that most people should understand. I've completed 68 "Great Courses" at the moment, I have far more "in progress" and years of them waiting for me to get to them, this will rank among one of the best, both because the subject fascinates me and because of the excellent presentation. Caveat: I've only watched the first five lectures so far. Why doesn't Great Courses wait a month or two to give us a chance to finish a course before prompting us to review it? I decided to post a review now on this course because it is so excellent even though I've got over fifty courses that I have been meaning to write reviews on.
Date published: 2017-04-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very appropriate The lecturer was very knowledgeable. The information was easy to understand for the novice and still full of information for those already know a lot about the brain.
Date published: 2017-04-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Course I found the information disclosed in this course fascinating. Professor Viskontas is articulate and it doesn’t hurt that she is also beautiful. The closed-captioning is the done the best of the 15 or so with that option that I’ve seen on TGC courses to date, but still has a few significant errors.
Date published: 2017-04-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So much to little time I love the variety timeliness quality I think I will always have a lecture series on my phone for walking driving waiting Such a super deal
Date published: 2017-04-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another Excellent Course By Dr. Viskontas This is the second course of Professor Viskontas that I have purchased and greatly enjoyed. Her first was "12 Essential Scientific Concepts" which I had recommended to several of my friends. When I saw this new one "Brain Myths Exploded" I immediately purchased it and began viewing it. I have taken a number of courses and read many books on the Brain and Neuroscience so that many of the lesson topics were familiar to me, but Dr. Viskontas managed to present them in such a way that I learned something new and interesting in every lesson. I am glad to learn that my use of my smart phone, my IPAD, my computer and Google search is not making me Stupider or less focused which she covers in the last lecture. I would highly recommend both of her courses to the beginner looking for information on the brain or science or the knowledgeable individual seeking other views.
Date published: 2017-04-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Caveat Emptor Professor Viscontas has a lot of information at her command and an ability to express her ideas clearly. But I found myself getting nervous at her negativity. Does she have some kind of agenda? I am not competent to judge most of the subject matter she discusses. But there are two areas where I have some ability to make judgements. First the “chemical imbalance myth.” I have taken antidepressants, and they have helped me a lot. They are widely prescribed and have helped a lot of people. So have antipsychotics. There are many fewer people in mental hospitals than there were before these drugs were in use. I have a doctorate in philosophy. Both in that role, and in the role of one who has used antidepressants, I am offended by the imprecision of her language, speaking of the “chemical imbalance myth.” It is true that she at other times speaks more precisely. “I hope I have been able to convince you that the idea that mental illnesses are simply a function of chemical imbalance is too simple to be accurate.” It is time to retire the idea that mental illness stems simply from a chemical imbalance.” Her basic idea is that chemical imbalance is not the only factor involved. But it is involved. So why call it a myth? Why speak of “putting the nail in the coffin of the chemical imbalance story of depression”? Professor Viscontas slips into the same kind of imprecise journalese language she criticizes others for using. Physician, heal thyself. This leads me to be concerned that if she speaks inaccurately in areas I am familiar with, will I be able to trust her views in areas I am not so familiar with, or will I be presented with similarly inaccurate language. A second area in which I have some basis for questioning Professor Viscontas’ pronouncements is in her putting down the theory of multiple kinds of intelligence (e.g. Linguistic, Logical-mathematical, Interpersonal, Bodily-kinesthetic) and multiple learning styles. She cites research finding no basis for this theory. She doesn’t explain the findings of the research, just makes the statement, and uses this as a basis for rejecting the theory. Over Christmas I was sitting with two of my nieces who are grade school teachers. They were complaining that they were under a lot of pressure to teach students just about exclusively to do well on state exams. The school’s reputation, their personal rating, and their salaries were dependent on how students do on these exams. They said they didn’t have time to help students with different learning styles try to assimilate the materials being taught in their own way. They love their kids, and I think this gives them a kind of knowledge of them that cannot be duplicated in the rather antiseptic and artificial environment of academic psychological testing. And such testing goes on and theories go in, out, and back in to favor as new things are discovered. In this area my nieces real-life experience, and the favor the theory has found among those teaching younger children provides a more stable basis for evaluating the theory than the vagaries of academic psychological testing. Right before watching Professor Viscontas’ course I watched Professor Steve Joordens’ course “Memory and the Human Lifespan. Professor Joordens is also a neuroscientist. I found his statements to be much more carefully considered and humble. To those considering Professor Viscontas’ course I would suggest going to it for the wealth of information presented, but bringing the same caution to the evaluations presented as Professor Viscontas tells us to bring to the ideas she is criticizing. A certain process of separating the wheat from the chaff is required. My problem is I am not always competent to know the difference. It is best to keep a very open mind. Professor Viscontas is giving very strong opinions about subject matter that is still very much in flux.
Date published: 2017-03-21
  • y_2020, m_10, d_27, h_16
  • bvseo_bulk, prod_bvrr, vn_bulk_3.0.12
  • cp_2, bvpage2n
  • co_hasreviews, tv_3, tr_52
  • loc_en_US, sid_1671, prod, sort_[SortEntry(order=SUBMISSION_TIME, direction=DESCENDING)]
  • clientName_teachco
  • bvseo_sdk, p_sdk, 3.2.0
  • CLOUD, getContent, 126.93ms

Questions & Answers

Customers Who Bought This Course Also Bought

Buy together as a Set
Choose a Set Format