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The study of the human brain is quickly becoming one of the most important and exciting fields of scientific research in the world.

Learning about the brain is important! Neuroscience can help us to understand our interests and motivations, improve our productivity Hack Your Brain: 5 Ways to Use Neuroscience to Be More Productive Hack Your Brain: 5 Ways to Use Neuroscience to Be More Productive Read More , and teach us about the reasons behind our behaviours 11 Fantastic TED Talks That Explain How Your Brain Works 11 Fantastic TED Talks That Explain How Your Brain Works Why are we the way that we are? Is there anything we can do to change the way we think or behave? These 11 absorbing TED Talks on brain science teach us to overcome our... Read More .

The Inaccessibility of Neuroscience Research

ComplexBrain

As important as neuroscience is, it can be a very inaccessible subject if you don’t study it at a post-secondary level or have access to peer-reviewed journals. Even if you do study it in university (as I did!) it can be difficult to keep up with the sheer amount of complex information being produced while also maintaining a big-picture understanding of the field.

One of the problems with the complexity of neuroscience research is that studies’ findings can be easily misinterpreted by the popular press. This is what causes headlines exclaiming that watching a 3-D movie will make you smarter Watch 3D Movies to Boost Your Brain Power Watch 3D Movies to Boost Your Brain Power According to a recent study, you might be able to boost your brain power by doing something as simple as watching a 3D movie. Result! Read More , or that Lumosity will prevent dementia Is Lumosity a Lie? The Neuroscience Behind Brain Training Games Is Lumosity a Lie? The Neuroscience Behind Brain Training Games Brain training games promise to improve your memory, prevent cognitive losses and decrease your chances of showing symptoms of dementia – are their promises too good to be true? Read More . It’s not that there isn’t any support for these claims, it’s just that the science has been overblown into a sensational headline instead of a reasoned scientific discussion.

The podcasts in this list offer clear and clever discussions about the world of neuroscience in a way that anyone can understand – whether you’ve completed years of study in sciences, or if you just want to learn a little more about your brain Thinking Machines: What Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence Can Teach Us About Consciousness Thinking Machines: What Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence Can Teach Us About Consciousness Can building artificially intelligent machines and software teach us about the workings of consciousness, and the nature of the human mind itself? Read More .

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Best of all, most of these podcasts include practical applications of the information presented within each episode, helping you to know what you should be doing to keep your brain healthy.

1. Neurotransmissions

Neurotransmissions

Hosted by: Ben Scholl, Ph.D., Joe Schumacher, Ph.D., and Misha Smirnov, Ph.D.

Average Length: 40 minutes

New episodes released: Monthly

About: Neurotransmissions is a newer podcast (Episode #1 was released in March 2016) that is hosted by three scientists from the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience. The hosts are all researchers in neuroscience who want to share current research in a way that is engaging and interesting for the general public. Episodes include interviews with other prominent researchers, stories from researchers’ experiences, and discussion of public health issues in society.

Listen to: Episode #2 – “Connectomics – Unraveling a Society of Cells with Dr. Jeff Lichtman” to learn about how the billions of neurons in your brain work together and whether we can transfer consciousness to computers.

2. Hidden Brain

HiddenBrain

Hosted by: Shankar Vedantam (author, lecturer, and journalist)

Episodes Released: Weekly

Average Length: Some episodes are less than five minutes, but most are about 20 minutes

About: Hidden Brain is an NPR program and podcast that uses psychology and neurobiology to give listeners insights into music, literature, art, and everyday life. Topics include unconscious patterns of human behaviour, biases, and social relationships.

Listen to: Episode #21 – “Stroke of Genius” about how Derek Amato became a musical savant after hitting his head on the bottom of a swimming pool

3. High Proof

High_Proof_Podcast

Hosted by: Ryan Price (works in bioinformatics), and Joel Eisenhower, a Neuroscience PhD student

Episodes Released: Sporadically

Average Length: 40 minutes

About: The hosts of High Proof are two students who were amazed at the amount of neuroscience information that the general public were unaware of. They pour themselves a glass of spirits at the beginning of each episode, and discuss neuroscience and philosophy with each other while introducing listeners to new information in an accessible way.

Listen to: Episode #12 – “Proprioception” for an understanding of how your brain processes information from your body’s sensory systems.

4. UPWIRE: Hacking Human Nature

Upwire

Hosted by: Robert Cooper, Ph.D.

Episodes Released: Weekly

Average Length: 10 minutes

About: Robert Cooper is a neuroscientist and New York Times best-selling author. In this podcast he translates neuroscience research and neurobiology into easily understood self improvement recommendations and leadership tips. Each podcast is short enough to hold your attention, and the information is presented in a friendly way with concrete advice for how to implement the neuroscience findings into your everyday life.

Listen to: Episode #162 – “Wired for Distraction” to learn about why we are so drawn to the information available online, why we are prone to distraction instead of focused attention, and how to overcome this tendency.

5. Brain Science

Brain Science

Hosted by: Ginger Campbell, MD

Episodes Released: Monthly, but on hiatus until September 2016

Average Length: 50 minutes

About: Ginger Campbell has been presenting information on neuroscience discoveries through her podcast since 2006. She interviews researchers and reviews current research and books to provide listeners with key information about neuroscience and brain health whether they are scientists or completely new to neuroscience.

Listen to: Episode #111 – “Exercise and the Brain” to hear an interview with author Dr. John Ratey about the incredible ways that exercise can change your brain.

6. On Your Mind

OnYourMindPodcast

Hosted by: Liam Crapper, Adel Farrah, and Kathryn Vaillancourt

Episodes Released: Monthly

Average Length: 75 minutes

About: Hosts discuss their experiences as neuroscience graduate students in Canada, current news in the world of science, and in-depth reviews from a scientific perspective of articles that are gaining a lot of media attention. Discussion topics tend to focus on the biological and molecular causes of neurological diseases as well as healthy brain function. The podcasts are conversational in nature, drawing both experienced scientists and casual listeners into the world of neuroscience in an accessible way.

Listen to: Episode #94 – “C4 Blows the Lid off Schizophrenia” for an in-depth review of a Nature paper that uses statistics and genetics to identify and explore a likely genetic marker for the development of schizophrenia.

7. Neuroscientists Talk Shop

Neuroscientists Talk Shop

Hosted by: Salma Quraishi, Assistant Professor at University of Texas at San Antonio

Episodes Released: Weekly

Average Length: 45 Minutes

About: A cross-section of faculty members at the University of Texas at San Antonio interview internationally renowned guest neuroscientists on every episode. Episodes focus on the guest’s area of research, and the field of neuroscience more generally. This podcast is more complex than others on this list, and would be best for individuals who already have some understanding of neuroanatomy and neuroscience.

Listen to: Episode “Mounya Elhiali” to learn about how the brain identifies sources of sounds, from a faculty member of Johns Hopkins’ Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

8. Rationally Speaking

RationallySpeaking

Hosted by: Julia Galef and Massimo Pigliucci, Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology

Episodes Released: Bi-weekly

Average Length: 50 minutes

About: Rationally Speaking is the podcast for New York City Skeptics, a group dedicated to promoting critical thinking, science education, and skeptical inquiry. The podcast addresses science more generally (although often focuses on neuroscience and psychology), and attempts to draw clear lines between science and pseudoscience with humour and insight. Many of the episodes include a discussion of practical applications of the scientific information discussed.

Listen to: Episode #157 – “Dr. Herculano-Houzel on What made the human brain special” to learn about her individual research into the brain structures that give humans a cognitive advantage over other species.

9. All in the Mind

All In The Mind

Hosted by: Lynne Malcolm

Episodes Released: Weekly

Average Length: 30 minutes

About: All in the Mind is a production of ABC Radio National that focuses on brain health and behaviour. Most episodes include interviews with experts in the field and personal stories. The production presents information in a comprehensive, understandable format supported with solid research and sound bytes.

Listen to: Episode “The Injured Brain” to learn about the impact of concussions on the brain, and how repeated minor brain injuries may have significant consequences on our brain health, as well as what the journey to recovery looks like.

10. Brain Matters

BrainMatters

Hosted by: Matt Davis and Anthony Lacagnina

 Episodes Released: Monthly

Average Length: 45 minutes

About: Brain Matters is hosted by two graduate students in neuroscience at the University of Texas in Austin who are passionate about sharing neuroscience research with those who are curious about the brain. On every episode the hosts interview researchers currently involved in experiments in all areas of neuroscience, and explain difficult concepts clearly to their listeners.

Listen to: Episode 38 “Stroke and Aphasia with Dr. Argye Hillis” for a medical perspective on neuroscience research concerning the recovery of language and emotions after someone experiences a stroke.

Inactive Neuroscience Podcasts

All of the podcasts mentioned above are currently on the air and are being updated semi-regularly. If you run out of new episodes to listen to, the following inactive podcasts all have excellent collections of past episodes that you may find beneficial:

Which Neuroscience Podcasts Intrigue You Most?

Podcasts are an incredible learning tool for people who have a little spare time while exercising, commuting, or cleaning.

By listening for just a few minutes every day, you may find yourself becoming more productive Let's Talk Productivity: 7 Podcasts You Should Listen To For Working Awesomely Let's Talk Productivity: 7 Podcasts You Should Listen To For Working Awesomely Let us talk about productivity -- or let these seven life hackers talk about the little things we can do to work awesomely. Plug in...sit back...and listen. Read More , altering your lifestyle to keep your brain healthy, and having an improved appreciation and understanding of the incredibly complex world of neuroscience Tapping Brainwaves: Will Our Brains Soon Be Hackable? Tapping Brainwaves: Will Our Brains Soon Be Hackable? With recent developments in brainwave sensing technologies, the idea of a future where a person's brain can be hacked is a worthy one to consider. Will it grow into a security threat? Read More .

Have you listened to any neuroscience podcasts in the past? What do you think are the best ways for podcasts to explain complex information in an accessible way? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Image Credit: Tatiana Shepeleva via Shutterstock.com

  1. eitan
    November 4, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    Koocam is the perfect site for those who wants to work from home by selling their knowledge.Any knowledge is required.

  2. Becca dawn
    June 5, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    These look wonderful!

    • Briallyn Smith
      July 13, 2016 at 5:12 pm

      Thanks! :) I've found them awesome for learning while on long drives or walks!

  3. Indian Gift Guru
    June 4, 2016 at 6:52 am

    indiangiftguru say train brain concept now should be added in school curriculum like Yoga and other fitness programs .

    • Briallyn Smith
      July 13, 2016 at 5:12 pm

      That would be a really great thing - I agree! It's so important to understand how your brain works and how to best support it!

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