Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Brain and Cognitive Science Podcasts

I have been known to drift to sleep with my media player filled with episodes of science and speculative fiction podcasts. I do confess that in between the twilight and the snoozing I’m picky about what I put into my brain. You’d think I’d seek out boring speakers to help me sleep but my mind does not like the idea of forced ennui.

Not to say that science is boring. People are boring, not the topic. I have some art lectures that are natural sleep aids. Still, I should make more of an effort to keep up on the science news not filters by sound bites. So I’m waving the metaphorical finger at myself to at least make an effort to find science podcasts that are informative and accessible.

A few months back I wrote about Dr. Ginger Campbell and her podcast Brain Science. Dr. Campbell and other like minded science folks now have a centralized meeting point called quite sensibly Science Podcasters.

If you have a thing for viruses and parasites this could be your kinda place. Science Podcasters has links to all kinds of shows ranging from space, nature and psychology.

Brain and Cognition Sciences

Kerri Smith hosts Neuropod that looks at the brain from the cell up and the chemicals, transmitters and genes that can affect our behavior. At NeuroScene there is an interview with Dr. Judith Lauter who talks about how hormonal balances in the brain develops during gestation may predispose certain brain types.

Natasha Mitchell at All in the Mind looks at the relationship of the mind to topics such as psychology, artificial intelligence and pop culture. The program originates from Australia’s ABC Radio and there is a blog to support the podcast.

Other Science Podcast of Interest

Not all of the discussions about the brain take place in academia. Sometimes they are as close as your public library. In this case, the Los Angeles Public Libraries Aloud series are public gatherings of discussions about engaging topics such as George Lakoff’s The Political Mind: A Cognitive Scientist’s Guide to Your Mind and Its Politics.

Explo.TV is the video and podcast channel of the Museum of Science, Art and Human Perception in San Francisco. There are many great audios and videos and I can’t pick just one but under the Cognitive Science section I would take a listen to musician Laurie Anderson or Julie Yu on her explanation on what is a stem cell.

Are We Alone looks at science issues with a critical, as in analytical, point of view. In the episode Eureka, the program takes a look at what it takes to be innovative thinker like Archimedes.

Leaning Opportunity

If you really want to dive deeper into what make a brain function and you don’t have the time or money to attend a university class might I suggest a visit to the MIT Open Courseware on Brain and Cognition. MIT has free class material and audio recording of lectures and classes on psychology, neuroscience and behavior and brain structures and their origin.

All of these podcasts and recordings leaves me in a state of panic. I think I’m gonna have to get a larger media player.


  1. Thanks for mentioning SCIENCEPODCASTERS.ORG I just wanted to mention that our site is open to science podcasts of all sizes, ranging from Nature to a show produced by students at the University of Edinburgh.

    Ginger Campbell, MD

  2. Thanks Doc, it is getting a good response at BlogHer so hopefully a few more folks will trickle into the science pod stream as well.