Unless you’re committed to studying the areas covered by this release, then I fear the dry, classroom-like delivery will leave you in need of a brisk walk.
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Secrets of the Mind
I once had a dream that I’d turned into a TIFF – and that whenever I wanted to eat or go to the toilet, I had to do so by transporting myself via an XPress dialogue box. I was hoping Secrets of the Mind might throw some light on this. But trawling through this two-CD release, was a dream-like experience in itself – it’s like being trapped inside an episode of Horizon, from which you emerge coated with chalk dust and spattered with the spittle of corduroy-clad boffins. Secrets of the Mind is logical enough, which is the very least to be expected from a title exploring the inner cogs of thought. It covers four categories: Learning and Memory; Conscienceness and Perception; Human Intelligence; and Brain Building. It does so via a picture-based map, in which the above sections are broken down into 20 constituent subjects. Clicking on any of these 20 images takes you into that subject, which is further broken down into sub-categories. Typical of this is The Mind’s Eye, whose sub-headings includes Retinoptic Images. It’s the delivery of the information that lets this title down. Montparnasse has collared 11 of the world’s leading experts on psychology and neuroscience to guide us through the mind. To their credit, this assortment of profs and docs make often-complicated topics accessible and interesting. Some of the more subjective topics – such as Free Will – have a section in which the opinions of all 11 eggheads are available. One drawback is the poor audio-quality: where one contributor booms, another whispers. There’s a volume control, but this didn’t work. As well as the talking heads, Secrets of the Mind uses interactive experiments, through which you can test things such as long-term memory. For the amount of ground these CDs cover, there wasn’t enough of this to keep me interested.