Science Podcasts

Naked Scientists episode

Sat, 6th Oct 2012

Tricks of the Mind

Crystal mind (c) [[User:Nevit

The tricks your mind plays on you are up for analysis this week as we explore the science of taste including why noise diminishes food flavour aboard an aeroplane and how much affects your choice of wine. We also speak to a synaesthete who, quite literally, tastes the people he meets, and we probe the workings of the placebo effect. Plus, pain killers from black mamba venom, why teenagers take risks and the age old chestnut of why names are so hard to remember...

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 01:29 - The Science of Taste I

    Most people regard taste as a very simple sense. You put something in your mouth and your tongue tells you the flavour, right? Well, not quite. How you perceive taste is a very intricate and complicated relationship that combines several different senses. Apart from just your ...

  • 13:34 - Researching synaesthesia

    How does synaesthesia work? What causes it? Is there any agreement on what colour 'A' and are the associations cultural? We put these questions and more to Duncan Carmichael, a synaesthesia researcher at the University of Edinburgh.

  • 18:37 - Snake ache relief: powerful painkiller in venom

    Venom from the black mamba snake contains two powerful new pain-killing chemicals, French scientists have discovered.

  • 21:07 - Risky teen years due to ambiguity tolerance

    Teenagers take many more risks than both adults and children. What causes this risky behaviour? Researchers have found that thrill-seeking behaviour isn't driven by a desire to seek out risks, but something altogether more ambiguous.

  • 43:37 - How does the placebo effect work?

    The placebo effect is a reported improvement in a patient’s condition in response to their own expectation that a drug or treatment will make them better. Even giving a person a pill containing sugar and nothing else can still produce powerful painkilling effects if the person ...

  • 49:46 - Why do tastes change, so we like things we previously abhorred?

    How do we learn to like new taste and smells? I used to hate the king of the fruits, a durian. But after a few years of learning how it smells and tastes, it’s just incredibly good. So please get some durian in the studio.

  • 54:37 - Why do I have such a poor memory for names?

    Chris, I am a great fan of your program and listen regularly to your podcasts when travelling. I have a terrible memory for names, to the point where I can be introduced to someone and have forgotten their name a few moments later. Is there an explanation? Regards, Davi...

  • Planet Earth - Prion sea birds

    Climate change could be altering the migration patterns of seabirds and a team, led by the University of Glasgow, is studying one seabird in particular. They’re called prions– a type of petrel whose beaks filter food from the sea. They’re especially fond of tiny crustaceans know...



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