Brain games can quicken your wit, sharpen your senses and adapt your mind to new ways of thinking. About Corey GibsonAfter graduating from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in Journalism and Anthropology, I managed a pizza place for a year, while freelancing for various newspapers in the area. Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic. Brain Games challenges viewers to question their own perceptions through a series of games. Jason Silva, host of Brain Games on National Geographic, hopes the show makes you curious about how your brain works. That’s the idea behind Brain Games, a program premiering on National Geographic Canada on Aug. Playing the games during the show should be like watching a magic trick or seeing an optical illusion, Brain Games host Jason Silva explained.
With a background in philosophy and filmmaking, Silva combines those two passions to give keynote addresses and create short films that examine the evolution of humans and technology. But Brain Games only works, he added, if you open yourself up to the show’s interactivity and play along.
The games he will introduce are adapted from real lab experiments, aided by brain experts who specialize in things like perception, motion and lying. Because the show is based on real science, he hopes viewers finish the program feeling like they learned something. The crew of Brain Games took 5 days and nights setting up hundreds of cubes to make the show open.
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The goal is for viewers to leave the couch with an unsettling feeling that what they see through their own eyes isn’t always as it appears. National Geographic Channel is premiering Monday night a new series called "Brain Games," a fun, smart show that, in a nontraditional way, teaches you how your mind works. The show, hosted by Jason Silva with the help of deception artist Apollo Robbins, set out to explore the shortcomings of the brain and how those shortcomings can be exploited. Each episode zooms in on a different aspect of how our brains work, in areas such as focus, fear, motion and persuasion. During each half-hour program, viewers engage in several games that show how our brains might not be operating the way we expect. Through perceptual experiments, interactive games and illusions, the show is able to, in a sense, "hack your brain," Silva said. You might think that everything you see is like high-definition TV, that you perceive the world around you in perfect detail.
As Silva says on the show: It's as if your attention is a spotlight, and you can only shine it on one thing at a time. Your brain fills in the rest on its own, in order to save energy, so everything around you doesn't immediately jump out and demand focus.
Perhaps you have noticed, for instance, that while commuting to work you are thinking about all sorts of things that don't involve being in the car, train or bus that you ride every day.
Your brain has already stored a model of your environment, so you might not notice something unusual right next to you. You might think of this as "misdirection," but Robbins says in a video on the show's website that he likes to think of it as "managing attention." In one episode, he gets many volunteers to look through a deck of cards for the card they started with. Actually, the card is on Robbins' head, but they're so focused on the task that they don't immediately notice.

If you keep your eyes focused on the X, can you tell which one of the cheerleaders is actually a man wearing a skirt and a wig? The show is particularly relevant now, given recent movements toward advancing brain science, Silva said. Earlier this month, President Barack Obama announced a $100 million initiative called Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies, or BRAIN. It "aims to help researchers find new ways to treat, cure and even prevent brain disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy and traumatic brain injury," the White House said in a release. Another major brain research initiative is called the Human Brain Project, based in Europe.
Scientists at the Human Brain Project are using supercomputers to simulate the way the brain works in order to understand it better. In January, the European Commission awarded this international effort about a‚¬1 billion ($1.3 billion).
The show's executive producer, Jerry Kolber, said he wanted to make a game show where the viewer would also be contestants. The fear response is something that evolved in humans, and dates back to when our primitive ancestors had to be on high alert in case of animal attacks.
You can learn more about "Brain Games," play games and watch additional videos on the show's website.

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