Sioux Falls Atheists
Sioux Falls Atheists and Atheism, Agnostics and Humanism

Sioux Falls Atheists endorse Understanding the Brain for explaining
how the brain works. How neurology, biology, and psychology
all work together in this most complex of organs.

Understanding the Brain
Lectures by Dr. Jeanette Norden

Understanding the Brain (2007) - 36 lectures, 18 hours
Understanding the Brain at

Everything that goes on inside your body and every interaction you have with the outside world is controlled by your brain. It allows you to cope masterfully with your everyday environment. It is capable of producing breathtaking athletic feats, sublime works of art, and profound scientific insights. It also produces the enormous range of emotional responses that can take us from the depths of depression to the heights of euphoria. Considering everything the brain does, how can this relatively small mass of tissue possibly be the source of our personalities, dreams, thoughts, sensations, utterances, and movements?

Understanding the Brain, a 36-lecture course by award-winning Professor Jeanette Norden of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, takes you inside this astonishingly complex organ and shows you how it works, from the gross level of its organization to the molecular level of how cells in the brain communicate. With its combination of neurology, biology, and psychology, this course will help you understand how we perceive the world through our senses, how we move, how we learn and remember, and how emotions affect our thoughts and actions.

Solving the Mystery of the Brain

The ancient Egyptians discarded the brain during mummification while carefully preserving other organs; to them, the brain was of no importance. Starting with the Greek physician Hippocrates, however, observers began tracing more and more of our sensory, nervous, and intellectual activities to the brain - and eventually to specific regions of the brain.

The brain is still a mystery in many respects - for example, we still are unsure as to how consciousness is generated - but recent decades have seen unparalleled advances in understanding how the brain does what it does. In the last 50 years, an explosion of knowledge about the brain's structure and function has occurred. Scientists have performed amazing research by using tools such as MRIs and PET scanning to get a better grasp on deciphering the mysteries of how this important organ works.

Due to these technological advances, we can now pinpoint:

  • where light that enters the eye is converted into the subjective experience of sight
  • where pressure waves that reach the ear are processed into sound
  • where fear is generated
  • which areas of the brain are involved in spoken and written language
  • where the deep chemistry of love is kindled

Dr. Jeanette Norden is a neuroscientist, Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology in the School of Medicine, and Professor of Neuroscientists in the College of Arts and Sciences at Vanderbilt University. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology with training in Neurobiology and Clinical Neurology from Vanderbilt University. Dr. Norden has won numerous university and national teaching awards and was the first recipient of the Chair of Teaching Excellence at Vanderbilt.

36 Lectures - 30 minutes each

1: Historical Underpinnings of Neuroscience 19: Parkinson's Disease
2: Central Nervous System-Gross Organization 20: Language
3: Central Nervous System-Internal Organization 21: The Limbic System-Anatomy
4: Central Nervous System-Subdivisions 22: The Limbic System-Biochemistry
5: Cortex-Lobes and Areas 23: Depression
6: Cortex-Sensory, Motor, and Association Areas 24: The Reward System-Anatomy
7: Central Nervous System-Development 25: The Reward System-Drugs
8: Central Nervous System-Cellular Organization 26: Brain Plasticity
9: Pathways and Synapses 27: Emotion and Executive Function
10: Neurotransmitters 28: Processing of Negative Emotions-Fear
11: Stroke 29: Music and the Brain
12: The Visual System-The Eye 30: Sexual Dimorphism of the Brain
13: The Visual System-The Cortex 31: Sleep and Dreaming
14: The Auditory System 32: Consciousness and the Self
15: The Somatosensory System 33: Alzheimer's Disease
16: Agnosias 34: Risk Factors for Alzheimer's Disease
17: The Motor System-Voluntary Movement 35: Wellness and the Brain-Effects of Stress
18: The Motor System-Coordinated Movement 36: Neuroscience-Looking Back and Looking Ahead

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Understanding the Brain
Lectures by Dr. Jeanette Norden

Sioux Falls Atheists endorse Understanding the Brain for explaining
how the brain works. How neurology, biology, and psychology
all work together in this most complex of organs.