BRAIN: The World Inside Your Head

What’s more important than your brain? This quintessential organic computer is responsible for every thought, every motion and every response your body makes. Life itself is determined by brain activity. It defines the very essence of being human.

Designed to appeal to audiences of all ages,  BRAIN: THE WORLD INSIDE YOUR HEAD employs innovative special effects, 3-D reproductions, virtual reality, hands-on learning activities and interactive technology to delve into the inner workings of the brain, including its processes, potentials and mysteries.

Realized by the National Institutes of Health in collaboration with the Society for Neuroscience and The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, BRAIN literally takes you inside the head. Probe the geography of a giant brain. Stand in the midst of the brain’s constant electrical brainstorm as thoughts and sensations are generated.

Along the special journey, visitors will discover how the brain learns and thinks. They’ll learn the secrets of sleep and dreams and the dangers, causes and cures of disorders, diseases and mental illnesses. Plus, the exhibit takes visitors into the future of medical and technological exploration of the brain.

The Experience

We walk into a shimmering tunnel—the midst of a functioning human brain. Brain cells-neurons-engulf us. Flashing fiber-optics illuminate networks of neurons firing and communicating. A gallery of animal brains prompts basic questions: How is our brain the same as those of other animals? How are we different?

Brain Bites fly along neuronal tendrils, providing surprising messages about the size, speed, and complexity of the brain. The message is clear: Your brain is exciting. Your brain is surprising. Your brain is always changing. From this dynamic beginning, “BRAIN: The World Inside Your Head” invites visitors deeper into the brain to discover its basic workings—the fact that all brain function, everything we are and do, begins with neurons and synapses, electricity and chemistry.

Here is an exploration of the revitalizing nature of sleep and the process of individual brain development. Then a look back through history at how we’ve learned about the brain, with an emphasis on brain evolution, the bizarre story of Phineas Gage, and today’s amazing brain imaging technologies.

Visitors then experience the reality of brain differences—disorders, accidents, irregularities. Sometimes these differences augment brain capability—for example, Albert Einstein—often they impair it, as with such common conditions as Alzheimer’s, depression, addiction disorders, and others. These presentations will not only inform, they will destigmatize these conditions.

Visitors will also explore the relationship between depression and creativity, how drugs work in the brain, and the nature of pain. They will encounter the future of brain treatments in our new era of genome mapping and molecular medicine. And, finally, visitors will explore the most mysterious aspect of brain investigations, the mind and the nature of consciousness.

By the end of this experience-based, interactive adventure visitors will enjoy a new appreciation of the amazing brain. They will understand that Your Brain is You!