Catalyst: the Brain Issue
ever wanted to know what percentage of corporate bosses are psychopaths?
Or even how to recognise when you’re working for one? These are just a
couple of the many questions answered by ‘The Brain Issue.’
stories are taken from the ABC’s flagship science programme, Catalyst.
The DVD contains 8 separate stories relating to the functions, disorders
and chemistry of the brain. It’s typical of a Catalyst production, in
that the research is taken from emerging or cutting edge areas of
science, and delivered by an eminently likeable cast of presenters who
each come from a scientific background.
discussed will have a broad appeal, and should interest passers-by as
much as fully-fledged science geeks. The topics dealt with range from
the light and fluffy to the depressing to the downright dangerous. At
the heart of each episode is a question: Why do some people seem to be
happier than others? Does love and attraction just boil down to
chemistry? What effect is workplace stress having on the global economy?
And of course, how do you deal with that suspected corporate psychopath?
(Unfortunately, your prognosis isn’t good if you find yourself in this
situation, at least according to the show’s producers.)
presenters do a great job at breaking down complex issues and explaining
them in a simple, direct way. You always feel as if you’re being spoken
to one-on-one, which is a big part of the show’s appeal. Dr Paul Willis
takes an unabashed and mature approach to breaking down the science of
dating, while Dr Jonica Newby does a great job at explaining the
psychology of Wall Street economics.
down side, all of the material in ‘The Brain Issue’ has been seen on
free-to-air television, meaning that if you’re a regular Catalyst
viewer you’ll likely have watched it already. Then again it never hurts
to brush up on your science, especially when it’s as interesting as
what’s on offer here.
stories aren’t much to fill a DVD with, when you consider that each only
runs for around 10 minutes, and there are no special features to add
value. As great as the reporting is, you can’t help feeling that the
package is missing a few extras to make it worth purchasing.
is one of the best science programmes on Australian television, and ‘The
Brain Issue’ is a good example of that. The stories themselves are
intriguing, and they do what they’re supposed to: They make you think,
and encourage discussion about some tough subjects. If you feel the need
to tweak your hippocampus with some great science reporting, ‘The Brain
Issue’ should do the trick. It’s just missing a few extras that could
have released that extra burst of dopamine, and made it truly worth the