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Feb 12, 2019

This episode features a neurologist with some striking tales to tell about who we become when our brains start to break. What happens when memories are gradually destroyed by Alzheimer's, when our personality is drastically transformed by dementia, or when a sudden surge of creativity is unleashed by Parkinson’s medication?

Dr Jules Montague’s new book Lost and Found integrates moving stories of her own patients with philosophical ideas about personal identity. The result is a fascinating insight into the fragile and complex workings of the brain, and a profound and compassionate reflection on the relationship between memory, personality and identity.

6:26 What does memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease mean for identity?

13:32 Why the notion of ‘embodiment’ offers a richer understanding of identity

16:10 The Extended Mind theory - how phones and pens are part of our cognitive apparatus.

18:23  How our selves are created jointly, through relationships

23:09 The dynamic and unstable nature of memory

27:34 Why personality can be radically transformed by dementia

33:26 How dopamine medication can cause a surge of creativity

42:49 Tools of the neurologists’ trades: how simple questions and reflex hammers can reveal brain damage

Jules' book Lost and Found is now available in paperback, check it out here

Thanks to the STS department at UCL, where this episode was recorded. Check out their full range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses here:

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