Top Scientists on the Brain & Movement

"How does the brain do it?

How does this brain translate subjective intentions into basic physical actions? What happens in the brain when we learn a new skill? Why are some of us graceful, and others clumsy? Why does practice make perfect?" — from Charlie Rose's introduction to "The Acting Brain" (Episode 3 in The Brain Series).

This video features a remarkable discussion among some of the leading brain scientists on how the brain organizes action & movement. The scientists are:

  • Nobel Prize Winner Eric Kandel, Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at Columbia University
  • Daniel Wolpert (Univ. Cambridge), MD and Professor of Engineering
  • John Krakauer (Columbia), Associate Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons Lab Co-director
  • Tom Jessell (Columbia) who studies nerve cells and circuits at Columbia University. Heads the Jessel Lab there, and is a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator.
  • Robert Brown (U Mass) Robert Brown, MD is Director, Respiratory Acute Care Unit and Director, Pulmonary Function Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital, Expert in ALS

They lead an engaging, accessible, intelligent discussion of their research, and have a good time doing it. The talk includes video clips, further exploration of how disease processes like ALS and stroke manifest in the nervous system, how the nervous system can continue to learn even after injury or disease, and several simple demonstrations among the scientists themselves. This is an excellent basic primer for anyone interested in how the brain learns, anticipates and helps the body survive and thrive in its environment.

While you won't hear Feldenkrais® mentioned in the discussion, the concepts of neuroplasticity, motor plans, and the close relationship between the sensing and movement activities of the brain are central ideas in Dr. Feldenkrais work, and they are just now becoming the central focus of the cutting edge of brain science. He writes brilliantly about these ideas in his books: Awareness Through Movement, The Potent Self, and Body and Mature Behavior.

The Feldenkrais Method is his direct application of these ideas into everyday life, so that anyone, no matter their level of physical skill or fitness can engage the nervous system in an active study and refinement of it's ability to think, sense, act and move.

Enjoy! A special thank you to my friend Phyllis K. for sending me the link.