This past weekend, I watched two episodes of a five-episode Netflix series called “The Mind, Explained,” by Vox. The series focuses on five psychological phenomenons: memories, dreams, anxiety, mindfulness, and psychedelics. Each episode explains one phenomenon, and I watched the first two.
The episode begins with a brief explanation of the general process and the part of the brain that is used when the said phenomenon occurs. Those who are not genuinely curious about the scientific functioning of the brain may not find this interesting. However, it may be interesting to see how different parts of the brain attributed to a psychological phenomenon, is also responsible for other common functions. For example, the part of the brain related to emotion is also related to the creation of dreams.
After the explanation, the host then moves onto interview people to show the effects of the phenomenon. The interviews provide fun backstories and associations as to how these psychological phenomena affect everyone, making the TV series feel more relatable. An example of a person’s recall of the 9/11 twin tower bombing was used to illustrate the inaccuracy of one’s memory. Further explanations of the phenomenon follow with more interesting lab experiments on animals and even on humans that show very interesting results that are worth looking at. One such case focused on the effects of removing certain parts of the brain.
Some of the background information may be repetitive for adult and young adult viewers; however, many would still find that the information for these videos is very specific and may correct some initial misconceptions.
They also feature individuals who have special abilities such as memory champions for the episode on memory and explain the reason for their ability, all of which are attainable with practice by average people. Simply knowing that you yourself may be capable of these feats make this TV series worthwhile.
Even if you do not enjoy scientific series, the episodes are below twenty minutes, making it a quick watch. The show itself was interesting, and the short duration of the film really helped me sit through it. By having one episode focus on one psychological phenomenon, it also enables viewers to select only the episode that they are interested in. This is definitely a good alternative to more simplistic entertainment, and for those who want something more educational, these series is definitely recommended.