The Mysteries of the Brain, a new BBC Documentary, poses the question: how do our brains work in everyday life?

The experiences that we take for granted – talking to a friend, listening to a piece of music, lifting a cup of coffee, tasting a peach – depend for their existence on the intricate and silent workings of several cooperative regions of the brain. Why do some people see numbers as coloured? Do we have five or twenty-five senses? How much of the brain do we need to understand language? Can we cure chronic pain or depression at the flick of an electrical switch? Do we decide how to act before we know about it?

For this four-part series, Professor Barry Smith from the Institute of Philosophy, explores the way neuroscience is addressing the ultimate scientific challenge: namely, how our brain makes us the conscious creatures we are – capable of language, thinking and feeling.

Part one: Senses and Language
Professor Barry Smith examines the link between language and the senses. How do our senses affect our ability to communicate and respond to the world around us?

Part two: Brain and Body
Professor Barry Smith considers the hidden complexities between the brain and the body. Is the biggest challenge of the brain not to explain thinking but to understand movement?

Part three: Decision and Reward, Emotions and Pleasure
Professor Barry Smith looks at how the mind makes decisions. Do the emotional mechanisms in the brain overpower reason?

Part four: Consciousness, Self and Other
Professor Barry Smith investigates the brain and consciousness. What parts of the brain are needed to generate particular experiences?

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