A key to understanding why migraines and head pain are so misunderstood is by realizing just how complicated our brains really are. Our human brains–the foundation of how we experience pain and memory–are vastly complex. Of course, realizing this in a theoretical way is much different than actually understanding it in a literal way. Thankfully, a collection of TED talks helps us better understand the immensity of our brains. From a stroke that caused a brain scientist to realize her true self to brain disorders that allow us to learn more about the normal operations of the brain, these videos help us rediscover our minds.
Vilayanur Ramachandran’s “3 clues to understanding your brain“
Ramachandran, a neurologist, studies brain disorders in order to discover our deeper processes at work. In this talk, he discusses three mental disorders–Capgras delusion, phantom limb pain, and synesthesia.
With his discussion of phantom limb pain, in particular, we can begin to appreciate the complex circuitry in the mind that drives pain in the body. He shows how he uses mirror boxes to treat this pain disorder by actually “tricking” the mind to stop the pain.
Jill Taylor’s “My stroke of insight“
Taylor realized an opportunity for research and study exactly when she was having a massive stroke. Through her basic understanding of the mind as a brain scientist, Taylor was actually able to watch as the “layers” of her mind peeled away during the stroke.
From the onset of headache pain to disengagement to unconsciousness, Taylor walks us all through the immensity of the mind by cataloging her own journey with it. It’s one of the most fascinating TED talks you’ll ever watch.
“How Does My Brain Work?” playlist
If those two TED talks whetted your appetite for learning more about the mind, there’s more. TED compiles more videos that attempt to explore how and why our minds work in this playlist.
From a neuroscientist, you’ll hear about the real reasons for brains. A pediatrician explains how childhood trauma can affect our health throughout our lifetimes. A psychologist attempts to understand the origins of pleasure and pain. For an in-depth look into the mind, a team of researchers is constructing a map of our brains.
What questions do you have about the mind?