The human brain might be Nature's greatest creation, but scientists have just begun to understand how the mind really works. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, new frontiers in brain research. Also, how the invention of the alphabet may have rewired our ancestors' brains, and created patriarchal cultures.
In "The Alphabet Versus the Goddess," surgeon Leonard Shlain argues that the spread of literacy gave rise to patriarchy and caused the oppression of women. Shlain tells Steve Paulson that reading strengthens the linear, analytical side of the brain; that consistent reinforcement of the left brain made it dominant over the right brain; and that this dichotomy in brain function is reflected in social structures.SEGMENT 2:
Neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran talks with Judith Strasser about some of the medical oddities described in his book "Phantoms in the Brain." He describes cases where amputees experience phantom limbs; cases of false pregnancy complete with swollen abdomens and labor pains; and a woman with a hole in her visual field that is filled with cartoons. Also, Pulitzer prize winning science writer Lee Hotz talks with Steve Paulson about the ways new research is changing our understanding of the brain. It turns out we continue to make new brain cells well into middle age. (What a relief!)SEGMENT 3:
In "The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary," Simon Winchester tells the remarkable story of William C. Minor, a American Civil War surgeon who went mad, committed murder in London, and contributed thousands of quotations to the Oxford English Dictionary while housed in a lunatic asylum. Winchester tells Jim Fleming how he managed it, and how the editors eventually found out his true situation.Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 98-11-22-B.
Page Design and Management by Jim Fleming at Wisconsin Public Radio.
© Copyright 1998 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.