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The Brain [DVD]

4.1 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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(Jan 20, 2009)
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Editorial Reviews

THE 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. This DVD from HISTORYTM brings it all to spellbinding life.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Directors: Richard Vagg
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: A&E HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: January 20, 2009
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001J863EO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,516 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Brain [DVD]" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I liked the way the video is divided into several stories that explain what part of the brain is involved with different feelings like fear, pleasure, psychotic behavior, memory, decision-making, etc. Also describes what happens when important parts of the brain are missing. Explains how the brain has evolved over the years. It uses state-of-the art CGI to determine the activity of the brain and this is fascinating. This is particularly descriptive when it comes to sex and I think the video is only appropriate for mature audiences.
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Format: DVD
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"The human brain, one of the last great frontiers...We've learned more about it in the last 5 years than in the last 5,000 years...For the first time, we're actually seeing what's going on in the brain during sex...What makes some brains evil?...And is there really such a thing as ESP [ExtraSensory Perception]?...Technology is finally unlocking the secrets of the brain. It's explaining why we behave the way we do. It's helping experts develop new methods and machines to boost our brain power. And its revealing the untapped abilities that we all have inside our heads."

The above is what the narrator states in the introduction of this interesting documentary that uses simple analogies, real-life case studies, and state-of-the-art computer generated images.

This program is not about explaining detailed anatomy of the brain. Instead it features experts in brain studies (interweaved with narration) explaining a brain-related topic (like those given above: sex, evil, ESP) and brain function while fantastic animations provide an additional look of what's going on in the brain (learned through brain-imaging techniques) at a specific time.

Eleven brain-related topics are discussed. Eight of the topics last between eight and eleven minutes while three of the topics last between four and six minutes.

The last topic is particularly interesting. Discussed is the future of the brain and how technology may interface with the brain to enhance its abilities for all of us.

I was amazed at the scope of what this documentary covers. However, each topic is given brief treatment (as can be inferred from the above times). It feels that we are given a sample of each topic.
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Format: DVD
I have seen some reviews saying that this isn't effective for classroom use. Personally, I have had good results using it for my high school psychology class, which is almost entirely populated by serious-minded seniors. Yes, there are a few awkward minutes about sex, but they're going to run across Freud soon enough, so having the TV break that ice a bit helps me out later. Our blocks run for 85 minutes, so I always cut the video right around the time they discuss ESP while making the point that parapsychology is an interesting field, but one to which I give little credence. Overall, it's a little topical, but a good intro to the physiological psychology unit, because it hooks them and gives them some of the more basic structures of the brain and their functions. They all walk out with a better memory of the functions of the amygdala, hippocampus, cerebellum, and cerebrum than if I gave notes or a reading on them, and they usually remember positron emission tomography (PET) scans when we come around to the methods of studying brain function.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I bought this hoping to use it in teaching psychology, but no luck. The scenes about sex would be too embarrassing, and the dvd tries to make a case that ESP is real. The History Channel should stick to history.
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By Triggah on September 16, 2014
Format: DVD
I bought this hoping I would learn something new.

I should have known this would be shallow and pointless given the target audience and mentality of the history channel.

Let's see, people masturbating each other for a brain scan ? Sophomoric innuendo and speculation like when a scientist says women most likely pass out during orgasm and not the man because it was the mans evolutionary role to stay awake so he could protect her from a saber tooth tiger. Yes, this documentary was actually that retarded. Add into a long drawn out pointless sub-plot on Navy SEAL training.

The History Channel should be embarrassed by this production as well as any person who appeared in it.

This one goes in the garbage can.
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Format: DVD
This was done by the History Channel, which has a tendency to over-simplify a bit. But it is quite recent, and concentrates on the cutting edge research into the way the brain is structured and how it functions. There are some fascinating bits, such as research into psychopaths and serial killers, memory, the mental control of Navy Seals and professional athletes, and a variety of curious areas of research.

The credibility of the entire show was compromised somewhat by spending some time on so-called psychic research, although they make it clear that this is on the outer edges of research. The one glaring omission was any mention of noted skeptic Randi's standing million dollar challenge to demonstrate psychic ability under controlled circumstances.

Still, it was quite informative, and made good use of a color-coded graphic model of the brain that helped a lot in understanding the research described. In fact, I'd say the graphics might be the best part. In any case, it was quite thought-provoking, which is what a documentary is all about.
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