The Brain
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The Brain

2009, Science  -   19 Comments
Ratings: 4.71/10 from 35 users.

The BrainThe Brain is an astonishing voyage of discovery into our last biological frontier. Although today’s computers can make calculations in one-100th of a second and technology can transport us outside the bonds of Earth, only now are we beginning to understand the most complex machine in the universe.

Using simple analogies, real-life case studies, and state-of-the-art CGI, this special shows how the brain works, explains the frequent battle between instinct and reason, and unravels the mysteries of memory and decision-making.

It takes us inside the mind of a soldier under fire to see how decisions are made in extreme situations, examines how an autistic person like Rain Man develops remarkable skills, and takes on the age-old question of what makes one person good and another evil.

Research is rushing forward. We've learned more about the workings of the brain in the last five years than in the previous one hundred.

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19 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Cornutz

    Really!? Its a independent study done on the brain. All the people in here that don't like the John Edwards segment, are stuck in they're own pre-conceived notion, the all mediums are fake. "No such thing". Its pathetic that this was a documentary of the brain, and you people still fail to understand. Get over yourself, and realize that you suffer from Cognitive Dissonance. Wake up! There's more to life then what your tiny minds can understand. Admit you don't know anything. And maybe then will you begin to actually learn.

  2. Randy

    @Epi_logic who wrote:

    "Q.E.D. (Quad Erat Demonstrandum)"

    Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. That made me smile with all of the big brains of it...

    Randy is looking at you now with his yellow eyes and slavering, and such...

    But yes, the corpus-collusum, for example is very tough and stringy. There are parts of the brain that are not tasty, in fact.


    Where is my money?

  3. Epicurean_Logic


    Oh yes very nice sir. Its an instantaneous 10-17% used whereas in the next instant a slightly different 10-17% is being used. Another nice formulation of a possible reason that the 10% figure is bandied about so much.

    I really wanted to add a Q.E.D. (Quad Erat Demonstrandum) at the end of the direct proof. Sigh I will have to save that for the next proof.


    Stay away from the emotional centres of the brain I hear that 10% of the population are addicts and the transmission of neuro-chemicals in the Amygdala tend to misfire! Causes an awful taste on the back of the tongue!

  4. D-K


    I'd like to chime in on that, the 10-17% mark is a public misconception. In actuality, during consciousness, humans only use 10% at any given moment in time, not all the time. This is because the majority of our lives are routine.. a boring tedium of endlessly repeated tasks to which the brain gets accustomed and grows more efficient in performing.

    For instance, a younger, more inexperienced driver is far more neurally engaged/active than a more experienced driver. Driving is one of the relatively few activities that require lots of processing. Other instances that call for hightened brain activity are generally stress-situations in which decisions and their implications must be weighed and considered in a small timeframe, The brain then uses certain boosterhormones to increase "flow" and communication between the various regions.

    During the REM-cycle however, various parts of the brain are highly active, i.e the occipital lobe, hippocampus, and strangely enough, the parietal lobe, whereas much of the frontal lobe takes a backseat. This might explain why dreams are so unpredictable.

    I could ramble about the brain for hours.. so interesting..

  5. Epicurean_Logic

    The 10 % figure touted as the percentage of the brain that we humans use is a myth; as previous posters have already demonstrated. Direct Proof: cut away any small piece of the brain and some human function is disabled or destroyed. Hence all parts of the brain are useful in some way.

    One possible reason for this figure gaining so much attention and publicity not already mentioned previously is that the brain neurons (cells) make up of 10% of brain matter (cant find an online source for this, voice recorded it out of a book in the local bookstore) and these cells have always been thought to be the prime components of intelligence and brain functioning. Latest research shows that Glial cells make up 90% of brain matter. Originally scientist thought that that they did very little but latest research (the local bookstore again!)suggests that these Glia are the prime 'movers' in the formation and retention of brain ability.

    Research on going ...

    p.s. don’t let @Randy anywhere near them!

  6. Randy

    The human brain is truly amazing, and delicious!

    You know, it has the consistancy of hard-boiled egg whites. You can slice it really thin and then sautee the slices in Extra Virgin Olive oil and butter.

    Some shallots, wood-ear mushrooms... that's good eating!

    Oh my goodness, I think I just drooled a little over my chin... how embarassing!

  7. JasonStephens

    This is a truly amazing doc! Especially if you are the type of person that falls asleep while reading a book, yet love to science and love to learn.
    It breaks down the brain in steps giving phenomenal analogies that help you retain the information without all sorts of jargon and pretentious descriptions.

  8. Hrt

    "Only now are we beginning to understand the most complex machine in the universe"....Who the heck has the nerve to make a statement like that? Where has anyone travelled to gather information to make that statement? Unless someone travels the whole universe and can prove it, our brains are nothing more than fat and water. Any one person nervy enough to make a bold statement like that must be suffering from hypoxia.

  9. jp

    Good informative film but why do most american documentaries now feature graphics and an overly intense narrative voice that makes you think you're looking at an action computer game for 12 year old boys?

  10. Epicurean_Logic

    Good documentary. One of the few that actually describes the parts of the bain, their jobs and the way they interact. A good first step to understanding how the big thing between your ears works.

  11. NaughtyGnosiophile

    A good documentary. But I was taken back with the psychic segment. The guy is obviously cold reading.

  12. joe piscapo

    the modern home computer can make a calculation in 1/1,000,000,000 of a second

  13. poppy

    Hi, I have chosen this film to write and essay on for my Documentary Film assignment, and no matter what version I find to watch online, I cannot see the credits! I have been searching for hours, so if anyone knows where I can find it, I would greatly appreciate your help. My paper is finished now, and I just need to add the director & editor, etc. names, it is due friday, S.O.S.! Sincere thanks.

  14. makisig

    I doubt that human can detect what happens in the cosmos thru quantum entanglement, because quantum entanglement itself hasn't been proven yet. I also don't believe in the 6th sense. But it's a great film tho. I highly recommend watching this. It's amazing how much we become preoccupied with understanding the universe yet we know very little about where we store what we learn, our brain. Our brain has enable us do a lot of things, it makes us remember events in our lives, and makes smart guesses on what might happen in the future so we dont make mistake. Really awesome. When the docu shifted to memory, I was surprized. I realized that I've alresdy seen this docu several months ago. But what surprized me more is that it was more awesome watching it for the second time. Thank you very much Vlatco!

  15. D-K


    Elaborate, your comment holds no merit as it is now.

  16. Raymond

    I think the ESP part is highly questionable.

  17. Chief

    Any scientific test, to meet the established protocols, must be done in a double-blind arrangement. Is that correct? I am not a scientist but I think the segment with John Edwards needed more to validate his 80% plus accuracy.

    The documentary is quite informative and shows that neuro-science is way ahead of our general realm of understanding. The capacity of the brain remains largely untapped, but science is beginning to fill the vacuum.

  18. Brian Cohen

    Great documentary! What Dean Radin was saying is particularly fascinating.

  19. D-K

    Thanks for putting it up, Vlatko.
    I'll be on the lookout for more ;)