The Best Episodes of Brain Games
Last Updated: Apr 16, 2019
National Geographic Channel's Emmy-nominated series Brain Games returns this summer with 10 new mind-blowing episodes! Host Jason Silva gets inside your head and shows you what's really going on in there with an intricate series of interactive experiments designed to mess with your mind and reveal the inner-workings of your brain. Hailed by critics as "tremendous fun" that "makes science entertaining," Brain Games turns your mind's eye inwards for a fascinating journey into the three and a half pounds of tissue that makes you... you.
#1 - Animal vs. Human
Season 6 - Episode 5
On this beastly episode, it's going to be heads vs. tails as we pit humans against animals in series of unique competitions. And if you play along, you'll discover how a bird can eat like a horse, a dog can be jealous like a baby, and how a chimp can make you look like a chump. Who will win this interspecies showdown? Don't bet on the wrong horse.
#2 - Motion Commotion
Season 2 - Episode 3
This is a show about your brain and how it perceives motion. Evolving in a world that is constantly moving, the human brain had to develop a pretty sophisticated sense of motion in order to survive. This episode stops to ask some deceptively simple questions-What really is motion? Is the movement that you see real? Or is the wiring of your brain's motion detectors merely being fooled? We explore the science behind how your brain detects and interprets motion, and you'll see how easily this hard-wiring can be fooled... for better and for worse.
#3 - Faces
Season 5 - Episode 10
Your face is pretty remarkable. Whether you've got a baby face, a poker face, or a face only a mother could love... your identity is deeply rooted in your own unique face. And with over 40 muscles twisting and contorting, your face allows you to express a near infinite number of emotions and feelings. But not only are you capable of making faces -- your brain is also highly adept at recognizing what other peoples' faces are saying to you. In this episode about faces, we're going to mess with your mind and show you that there's more to a face than meets the eye. And if...
#4 - Seeing is Believing
Season 2 - Episode 8
Seeing is believing, right? Not necessarily. It all depends on your perspective. In this episode of Brain Games, mind-bending illusions will show you the ways in which your visual perceptions can be surprisingly off.
#5 - Sleep
Season 6 - Episode 3
The average adult spends more than 220,000 hours - or roughly 25 years - in bed sleeping. That's one third of your life spent in slumber!1 But what exactly is sleep - and why do we spend so much time doing it? In what could be our most ambitious Brain Games experiment ever, we keep 3 volunteers awake for 36 hours in order to answer just that.
#6 - Follow the Leader
Season 3 - Episode 10
Everyone thinks they’re unique and independent, but how much of your behavior is based on how much your brain is copying from people around you? You’ll discover how you unconsciously adapt the way you behave, speak, and move according to who you’re talking to, who you’re trying to please, or who you’d like to be like in the future.
#8 - Language
Season 4 - Episode 3
Discover how language is the closest thing humans have to telepathy and how you communicate without words every day. Guest Sri Sarma, a biomedical-engineer from John Hopkins University, leads a discovery of language and how humans create meaning.
#9 - What You Don't Know
Season 2 - Episode 6
Bet you could explain something as basic as how a zipper works? Or correctly draw something as simple as a bicycle? If you said yes, you likely bet wrong... but don't worry it's not just you! When you stop and think about it, you're probably not that aware of all of the things you don't understand. The fact is we go through our daily lives feeling pretty confident in our knowledge and understanding of the world, but that confidence is mostly an illusion. In this episode of Brain Games, we'll show you firsthand just how the "illusion of knowledge" plagues the human brain and why we fall victim, again and again, to the notion that we understand more than we actually do.
#10 - In It to Win It
Season 3 - Episode 9
Whether you're trying to get to the head of the class, earn the big promotion, or just find a parking spot—every day, you're competing. With yourself... and with others. So what is it about the human brain that makes you want to win—sometimes at all costs? In this episode we'll explore your brain and competition through a series of competitions! Each viewer will be assigned a team and play along as our Red and Blue teams duke it out in a head to head battle to determine the winner of “The Brain Games.” Along the way you'll learn what drives you to compete, why some people may be born more competitive, and how a little healthy rivalry can help you climb the ladder of success.
#11 - It's About Time
Season 2 - Episode 2
Ever wonder why a watched pot never boils? See how the brain can actually warp and shift time, giving a false impression of the order and the speed of events. Neuroscientist Dr. Chess Stetson explains the oddball effect using a series of pictures. Illusionist Apollo Robbins uses juggling pins to demonstrate what happens when the brain doesn't have enough time to process a large amount of information, while host Jason Silva plays with the speed of sound and light to find out why movies and television shows are sometimes out of sync.
#12 - Battle of the Sexes
Season 2 - Episode 7
From the second you're born, you're a unique individual. You'll make choices about your friends, your career, your relationships, where you live, and how you dress. But one thing you don't get to choose is whether you were born a man or a woman - and that flip of the genetic coin will play a huge role in determining how you think about...well, almost everything. In this episode, we find out once and for all which gender's hard drive is wired better...for doing what.
#14 - Misconceptions
Season 5 - Episode 7
This is a show about your brain and the widely held myths you believe to be true. Through a series of fun and interactive games and experiments, you'll discover whether or not you only use 10% of your brain, if size really does matter and whether listening to Mozart actually makes you smarter.
#15 - What's Going On?
Season 3 - Episode 6
Whether it's remembering where you parked the car, or just finding the light switch in the morning, navigating your busy world can be tough. Luckily your brain has a built-in navigation system to help make sense of your surroundings. In fact, recent discoveries prove that the brain uses place cells and direction cells to help get us to where we're going. In this episode we explore spatial awareness. It's how your brain tells you where you are. Through a series of games and experiments we’ll test the boundaries of your brain’s hardwired sense of direction, and prove how you aren’t always aware of your surroundings or even your body. Plus you’ll learn a surprising technique to enhance your spatial memory.
#16 - Power of Persuasion
Season 2 - Episode 5
By exposing us to specific stimuli, Jason Silva can prime our brains to respond in certain ways. See how identical twins interview for the same job, in the same clothes, with the same resume. They even give the exact same answers-but the order of the words in their answers is slightly different. The result? One twin comes off negative, and the other gets the job. Would you believe that Texas seceded from the U.S. if a crazy-looking guy told you? Probably not, but what if a news reporter with a microphone did? This episode unveils the subtle tactics that advertisers, marketers and con men can use to get you to do what they want, without you noticing.
#19 - Pay Attention!
Season 1 - Episode 2
When it comes to mastering and manipulating attention, some of the world's leading experts aren't scientists; they're magicians like David Copperfield. While the brain's attention acts a bit like a spotlight to filter and make sense of a busy world, it can be easily controlled and deceived. Copperfield and a team of experts test, trick and fool using an elegant form of attention control.
#20 - You Decide
Season 2 - Episode 9
Every time you make a decision, your brain enters an often invisible battle between risk and reward. Through a series of addictive interactive games, surprising experiments, and relatable experts you'll learn astonishing facts about how you make decisions - and how to get better at making them.
#21 - Trust Me
Season 3 - Episode 4
This is a show about your brain and trust. Does it sometimes seem like you have to be on your guard all the time against untrustworthy advertisers, politicians, and other people? So how do you maintain a level of trust in an untrustworthy world - and what is trust anyway? Through a series of fun and interactive games, you’ll learn to trust others a little more and your own brain a little less! Prepare to put your trust in Brain Games.
#22 - Remember This!
Season 1 - Episode 3
With memory, things are not always as they seem: Details go missing, recollections change, and sometimes our brains fill in the blanks and create false visual memories. Our experts are on a mission to find out where memories reside in the brain by examining every millimeter for clues. Investigating every piece of the memory puzzle, from how we recognize faces even if they have been digitally distorted to how we can move memories from short-term to long-term storage.
#24 - Compassion
Season 4 - Episode 1
Join host Jason Silva in interactive games and experiments to explore your brain's capacity for compassion. Discover if you were born naughty or nice and explore the chances of finding a psychopath among your family and friends.
#25 - Don't Be Afraid
Season 2 - Episode 4
Our experts examine the brain's internal tug of war between fear and rationalization. Whether boarding an airplane or walking down a spooky street at night, we'll see how dread and anticipation build feelings of fear. Putting our host's emotions to the test, Apollo Robbins challenges Jason Silva to a game of Russian roulette. Then, with the help of John Harlacher, co-director of one of New York City's scariest haunted houses, we "Fear Factor" a group of volunteers. Without their senses of sight, sound, or control of their limbs, see how they react to snakes, cockroaches and rats... or so they think.