What Makes a Neuroscientist?

Ever wonder what congenital anosmia was all about? You could google it, or you could watch an entertaining video featuring a middle schooler explain his older friend’s disorder.

From Wikipedia.

Ever struggle to fall asleep at night? You could turn on the TV and stare stupidly into its light, or log onto YouTube and watch a video on the genetics of sleep and learn something about how your biology shapes your sleep patterns.

Or have you ever fancied yourself a pirate who likes to search for treasure, but can’t figure out which words to use to describe your thoughts? Stroke and aphasia affect a large number of people, but it takes a special kid to explain how these things affect his grandfather.

What do all of these seemingly disparate concepts have to do with one another? They were all the subjects of winning videos in the 2011, 2012 or 2013 Brain Awareness Video Contests.

If you have an interest in explaining neuroscience-related concepts to the general public, then this contest is for you! The contest is open to all when sponsored by a member of SfNhigh schoolers, undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, researchers, and non-neuroscientists alike.  Those links lead to fantastic videos about all sorts of topics and only begin to cover the realm of topic possibilities for this contest. I didn’t think it was right to label any who had a submitted a video as a “non-neuroscientist” because I think once you make one of these videos, you become an honorary neuroscientist. All you have to do is think about a topic that interests you and set it to music or words (or rap) and overlay some visuals like claymation, hand drawn pictures of synapses, or even sock puppets.

So next time you need to explain how population encoding can help us read a person’s mind, try explaining it in rhyme. Or if you are looking for love in all the wrong places, check out how dopamine is nothing more than a chain-smoking, old school journalist. And if you have a hankerin’ to act like a hero, remember the Brain Awareness Video Contest needs YOUR help!

This year’s contest is open from March 10 until June 12. Each entry needs to be sponsored by a member of SfN – you can find a member through this link. You can find contest details, prize information, and submission guidelines here. Yes, there are prizes, but the real prize is learning more about the chunk of tissue between your ears as you teach others about the wonders of the brain.

Animation of fMRI images of a human brain, created byChristian R. Linder.

This entry was posted in Brain Basics, by Leanne Boucher, Diseases & Disorders, Educators, Neuroeducation, Sensing, Thinking & Behaving and tagged ,
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Leanne Boucher

About Leanne Boucher

Leanne Boucher is passionate about communicating scientific thought to the public. An assistant professor of psychology at Nova Southeastern University, she actively engages the local community about brain science through Brain Awareness Week activities and library and museum programs. She also organized the first TEDxNSU event in 2012, a night featuring lectures, exhibits, art, and dance centered on the theme, The Inspiring Brain.

Leanne received her B.A. in psychology from Brandeis University, her PhD in experimental psychology from Dartmouth College, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt University. She enjoys hiking, cooking, reading, and playing with brains.

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