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#BAW2016: Exploding Brain Myths

Myths about the brain are widespread in 21st century society, capturing the imagination of Hollywood film directors and fuelling the sales of self-help psychology books. Popular as these ideas about our brains are, they are largely false or misinterpret the basic underlying neuroscientific research. EXPLODING BRAIN MYTHS is a new series being developed to debunk the most common myths we hold about the brain. Follow Brian as he explores some of these myths in the animations.

The love hormone
It is often portrayed in the media that one chemical underlies one function in the brain. Dopamine mediates reward, endorphins signal pain and oxytocin is the love hormone… but is it really this simple?

The 10% myth
As Hollywood films such as Limitless and Lucy would have us believe, we don’t realise the full potential of our brain power. Really, do we truly believe we only use 10% of our brain and the other 90% is redundant?

Brain training
Brain Training is big business with claims that such games can improve working memory and other cognitive skills or stave off the risks of dementia and cognitive decline in older age.

Left brain, right brain
The left side of the brain is used for logic & language, and the right side for creativity… or so the self-help books tell us. Take a look to see where this brain myth arose!


‘Exploding Brain Myths’ is a collaborative project made between VU University researchers, Dr Rhiannon Meredith, Ms Rhodé van Westen and Professor Matthijs Verhage, and the UK-based animation team of Jon Hunter, Matt Partridge, Henry Paker and Gareth Gwynn. These animations were funded by a VU University Research Fellowship to van Westen/Verhage and as part of a Dutch Research Council award to Meredith.

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