The Ever-Changing Brain with David Eagleman and Brian Eno

What does drug withdrawal have in common with a broken heart? Why is the enemy of memory not time, but other memories? How can a blind person learn to see with her tongue or a deaf person learn to hear with his skin? Why did many people in the 1980s mistakenly perceive book pages to be slightly red in colour? Will we one day be able to control a robot with our thoughts, just as we do our fingers and toes? Why do we dream at night, and what does that have to do with the rotation of the planet?

These are just some of the questions David Eagleman answered when he came to Intelligence Squared for this exclusive online event. Eagleman is a leading neuroscientist, as well as one of the world’s most dynamic and engaging science communicators. He specialises in brain plasticity – the idea that our brains are constantly changing and reconfiguring the world around us. The more experiences we have, the more the brain absorbs and the more it adjusts. In conversation with musician and producer Brian Eno, Eagleman discussed his latest findings which he outlines in his new book, Livewired: The Inside Story of the Ever-Changing Brain. And he showed that far from getting less malleable as we get older, our brains can continue to learn and absorb information quickly, if we keep on providing them with stimuli and new experiences.

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