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Since he’s the host of a TV show titled Brain Games, it comes as no surprise that Jason Silva (pictured) is a brainy host. He offers up quirky remarks that sometimes have a hidden meaning that only mani- fests later to a slow mind.
At first sight, Brain Games appears to be an intimidating show given that it delves into neuroscience, psychology and cognitive science. Before we all get confused, the programme essentially takes an interest in how the human brain works through various brain exercises and tests.
Before you see a bloody lab scenario, let’s just get it out there that Brain Games is not that dark. In fact, it’s more like The Weakest Link, only with a different approach.
Considering that the hit series has now arrived on our shores, we spoke to Silva who lives in Los Angeles.
“It is freezing here and this is just making my brain freeze a little and draw blanks on creativity,” he said jokingly.
After coming up with the idea for Brain Games, Silva used the internet to fuel interest in the concept. “I started by posting thought-provoking videos on YouTube and they became really popular. I think it is this popularity that brought National Geographic to me and they proposed that we do a show together and, of course, I jumped at it,” he said.
The partnership was a great idea because Brain Games went on to be the highest-rated series of its kind in the history of National Geographic.
The show takes a close look at how limited, or otherwise, our grey matter is. It ponders questions about memory, fear, illusions and all things that inform the human body on how to act or respond.
“We basically introduce a topic every episode and have experiments in a visual format around that topic.
“In essence, we try to make sure that we explore the reasons why people react or reason in a certain way,” he said.
Perhaps Silva’s past and his area of study were the inspiration for this programme, but the rest, as they say, is history.
“I majored in philosophy and film at university and at some point I worked for Al Gore’s TV channel (Current TV), so I think all this was preparing me for this show,” admitted Silva.
To keep the Brain Game audi- ence entertained, Silva said several writers came up with great ideas to test the brain.
“We have a collaborative team of writers and producers who all come up with interesting subjects which we can use on the show. It is really a perfect storm,” he explained.
Although he is involved in the making of the programme, Silva could not deny that he is intrigued by some of the discoveries they make.
“You know how we are told that we use a small fraction of our brain and the rest is dormant?
“Well, that’s not entirely true, as you will see on this show. And when we test the male brain versus the female one, it is always interesting that the female one comes out tops, despite it being smaller.
“These are strange but exciting results,” Silva said.
lBrain Games airs every Wednesday at 8.05pm on National Geographic (DStv channel 181).