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Who Am I? The Brain and Personality

Tom Sutcliffe discusses the inner self with Jules Montague, Anthony David, Nick Chater and Stephen Beresford.

Brain damage can radically change a person's character - but does that mean they are no longer themselves?

Consultant neurologist Jules Montague works with people suffering dementia and brain injuries. She tells Tom Sutcliffe what happens when the brain misbehaves. Memories may fade and names disappear - but does that mean a person no longer has the same identity?

Behavioural scientist Nick Chater is sceptical about whether we have an inner self at all. His book The Mind is Flat exposes what he calls the 'shocking shallowness' of our psychology, and argues that we have no mental depths to plumb. Only by understanding this can we hope to understand ourselves.

The problem of self-awareness challenges psychiatrists hoping to diagnose depression, schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. Neuropsychiatrist Anthony David explores self-reflection and the stigma of mental illness in a series of lectures at King's College, London.

And fear of the mind runs through Ingmar Bergman's classic film Fanny and Alexander, now staged as a play at the Old Vic, London. Stephen Beresford has adapted it, and explains how the clash between a stern stepfather and his imaginative stepson reveals our unease at the power of the mind.

Producer: Hannah Sander.

Available now

43 minutes

Jules Montague

Jules Montague is a consultant neurologist.

Lost and Found: Memory, identity and who we become when we’re no longer ourselves is published by Sceptre.

Nick Chater

Nick Chater is Professor of Behavioural Science at Warwick Business School.

The Mind is Flat: The Illusion of Mental Depth and the Improvised Mind is published by Allen Lane.

Anthony David

Anthony David is Professor of Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, NIHR Senior Investigator and Vice Dean Academic Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King’s College London.

The last of Anthony David’s King's College Lectures Fighting Stigma in Mental Health – And Losing is on Wednesday 7th March.

Stephen Beresford

Stephen Beresford is an actor and writes for stage and screen.

Fanny & Alexander runs at the Old Vic from 21st February until 14th April.

 

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Tom Sutcliffe
Interviewed Guest Jules Montague
Interviewed Guest Nick Chater
Interviewed Guest Anthony David
Interviewed Guest Stephen Beresford
Producer Hannah Sander

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