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Brain Games

Brain Games

  • Premiered: 
    April 22, 2013
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: Nat Geo
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Medical
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Plot Synopsis

Using interactive experiments and tricks, the world's leading experts explain the inner workings of the brain, revealing how our brains create the illusion of a seamless reality and uncovering new discoveries about attention, sensory perception and memory. On Sunday, October 9, 2011 from 8-11pm ET/PT, Nat Geo first aired BRAIN GAMES as a three-hour special, including these three episodes: "Pay Attention!" in which magician David Copperfield, sleight-of-hand artist Apollo Robbins and other illusionists explore perception, distraction, focus, and multitasking; "Watch This!" explains how optical illusions work and teaches viewers how blind people can "see" -- by using sonar; and "Remember This!" investigates human memory, including a world-record holder who can memorize the order of cards in a deck of 52 cards, tips about remembering people's names, and a crime scene for which 20 eyewitnesses can't recall details correctly. When the program returned for its official series premiere on Monday, April 22, 2013 at 9pm ET/PT, host Jason Silva -- with the help of psychologists, neurobiologists, and scientists -- investigates the following: how subjects concentrate, losing the information in their peripheral vision; how the brain can warp time; how a brain detects, interprets and responds to motion; how the brain balances fear and rationalization; how humans are susceptible to the power of suggestion; how humans don't have a good grasp about how the world around us actually works; the surprising ways the male and female brain may be different; our decision-making process; and many more surprising aspects and features of the brain.

BRAIN GAMES returned for its second season on Monday, January 13, 2014 at 9pm ET/PT, as Nat Geo showed back-to-back new episodes. The season opener revealed how color is just an illusion created by the brain, and the night's second episode explored the secrets of long-term relationships. Subsequent episodes in Season 2 focused on trust; the effect of age on grey matter; the impact of stress; spatial awareness; competition; and much more. On Monday, July 14, 2014 at 9pm ET/PT on Nat Geo, BRAIN GAMES returned for its summer season with back-to-back new episodes. The night's first episode, "Compassion," explores the brain's capacity for compassion through games and experiments, revealing the motives behind selfless and selfish acts. Then, in the second episode, "Addiction," games and experiments reveal how everyone is addicted to something. On Monday, January 19, 2015 at 9pm ET/PT, Nat Geo premiered a new season of BRAIN GAMES, showing back-to-back new episodes. In the night's first episode, "Common Sense," illusionist Eric Leclerc reveals how your basic beliefs and perceptions can lead you astray, the wisdom of the crowd is revealed, comedian Ben Bailey will then quiz some people on the street to see just how good their common sense actually is, and kinetic artist Joseph Herscher will challenge two very different teams to build a better mousetrap. In the night's second episode, "Left vs. Right," host Jason Silva, with some live musical accompaniment, will show how the left and right brain can sometimes cross wires, creating some compromising body positions; a simple quiz designed to test if people are more right-brained or left-brained; volunteers try to make illogical one-syllable words into a common phrase; and a demonstration of how hard it is to name 20 animals when the words and pictures don't match up.

Season 5 of BRAIN GAMES premiered on Sunday, February 14, 2016 at 9pm ET/PT on Nat Geo, shortly after an all-day marathon (9am-8pm) of encore episodes. In the new season, which consists of six hourlong episodes, Jason Silva takes viewers to the gritty backstreets of New Orleans, traipses deep into the woods of America's National Park System and conducts experiments in high-tech laboratories at the world's top institutions -- visually illustrating the "wow" behind the "why" to better understand the science. According to Silva, "With this new season, we ambitiously embark on 'mind missions' to spark new ideas and reveal new possibilities, awakening us to the awe-inspiring borderland between illusion and reality." In his quest to explore topics like the seven deadly sins, God, survival, hidden senses, the regions of the brain and how your brain ages, Silva teams up with some of the world's foremost neuroscientists, psychologists, cognitive scientists and specialists. The mind-bending, jaw-dropping and illusion-shattering journey they take through the twists and turns of gray matter makes for a profoundly entertaining and enlightening exploration of the most complex organ in the human body. Alongside these amazing investigations, Silva presents an incredible assortment of interactive games and enthralling experiments designed to mess with the mind and reveal the surprising inner workings of the brain. This new season's whirlwind of a trip around the world includes London, Jerusalem, Colorado Springs, New York City, New Orleans, Philadelphia and the New Jersey Shore.


Production & Distribution

  • Produced by National Geographic Television