Introduction: Mindbending: Dara O'Briain's Science Club (Series 2) (01:43)
Host Dara O'Briain introduces this show on the human brain. Alok Jha will test to see if computers can read minds. The team will take control of Mark Miodownik's brain. Helen Czerski will examine a NASA theory on weather control.
Robot-Human Interaction (02:48)
Scientists are teaching computers how to read human emotions via body language, particularly focusing on the face. They have identified 412 emotions for computers to learn.
Machines Displaying Emotions (01:59)
Charles is an animatronic head researchers built to determine whether people are comfortable with computers displaying emotion.
Prof. Noel Sharkey talks to the Science Club team about human-robot interactions and caregiving robots. He also displays PARO, a robot seal used in therapy.
Our brains often take shortcuts when processing stimuli from the world around us. Prof. Bruce Hood explains how and why illusions occur.
Altered Perception (02:17)
Mark Miodownik dons a set of perception-altering glasses to show how our brains can be tricked, and how quickly they adapt to new conditions.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (02:33)
In a second experiment, Prof. Hood uses a magnetic current to interfere with the functions of Mark Miodownik's motor cortex.
Brain Scans and Mind Reading (03:36)
Alok Jha participates in an experiment to see whether a supercomputer can read his mind. Prof. Marcel Just shows that, given a choice between two objects, the computer can successfully determine what Alok is thinking about.
Lie Detection (02:33)
Alok Jha undergoes another brain scan, this time to see if sensors can determine when he is lying. Relying on data from the scans, Dr. Giorgio Ganis accurately determines when Alok lied.
Discussion: Is this Mindreading? (01:38)
Prof. Bruce Hood joins the Science Club team to discuss whether brain scans could be useful in the courtroom. Like other types of lie detectors, they can be fooled. Lawyers have tried to use them as evidence, but the courts haven't accepted them yet.
Psychopathy and Brain Scans (02:06)
Prof. Bruce Hood and the Science Club team discuss different methods for determine whether a person is a psychopath. Brain scans can, but so can a questionnaire. Host Dara O'Briain reveals that the studio audience took this questionnaire prior to the show.
Eat With Your Eyes (03:21)
Host Dara O'Briain tastes food using utensils made of zinc, stainless steel, and gold. Mark Miodownik demonstrates how a metal's reactivity affects our perception of it.
Weather Control (02:10)
Helen Czerski visits Dr. Gregory Guzik and Dr. Brent Christner to learn about how microbes may be controlling the weather.
Suspended Microbes (03:22)
Scientists have found that certain microbes are so perfectly shaped for ice nucleation that they can result in precipitation at a much warmer temperature than any other particle. This property probably evolved as a way to force plants to release nutrients in moist environments.
Collective Behavior (01:16)
Host Dara O'Briain asks the studio audience to clap and then clap in time. Despite a lack of defined leadership, groups of people can develop a pattern of behavior.
The urge to swarm is a fundamental behavior across nature. Alok Jha visits Prof. Iain Couzin to see how shoals of fish behave. Couzin's research shows that only a few fish respond to the danger itself; interactions between those fish and others compound to produce group behavior.
Crowd Behavior (02:58)
Alok Jha participates in a simulated fire drill. Participants are told to exit via one door, but some are secretly told to exit via another. Many participants follow the group that exits via the wrong door.
Ant Death Circles (01:40)
Back in the studio, the Science Club team and guests discuss collective behavior. Prof. Bruce Hood says that humans are social animals, and there are biological benefits to following the crowd. Dara O'Briain points out that in some situations, following the crowd can have a negative result.
Miracle Fruit and Supertasting (04:13)
In the studio, audience members and guests taste a sample to test their bitter flavor perception. Roughly 20% are supertasters, with more taste receptors than the average person. The Science Club team tastes lemon and vinegar after consuming miracle fruit, which enhances the tongue's ability to taste sweetness.
Who's a Psychopath? (01:22)
A very small number of audience members scored as possibly psychopathic on a questionnaire. Alok Jha points out that the judgements were self-reported, so are not terribly reliable.
Credits: Mindbending: Dara O'Briain's Science Club (Series 2) (00:45)
Credits: Mindbending: Dara O'Briain's Science Club (Series 2)
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