Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

For Brain Awareness Week 2018, our Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging got together with Oxford Sparks to present an immersive experience of some of Oxford's brain research.

The Brain Diaries Competition

The whole idea came out of a competition we ran last year in conjunction with the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, as part of the Brain Diaries exhibition. We asked visitors to the exhibition what they would like to find out about the brain, if they could run an fMRI experiment in one of our scanners?

Questioned answered via a special website

Over 700 people were inspired to make suggestions, and entrants ranged from the very young to the very old. Some people were interested in how food and drink affects our brains; others were keen to know if mindfulness or music were beneficial. Younger participants wondered where naughtiness came from and whether a brain scanner could detect when you were lying! All of this gave our researchers a wealth of material and fuelled the Brain Discovery Week in which many questions were answered.

Judging the competition was a fascinating process involving several WIN researchers, and you can find out a bit more about that in this podcast. The winning experiment, suggested by Richard Harrow, aimed to find out how the brain identifies voices, and it was broadcast live on Facebook at the end of Brain Awareness Week.

Over 3000 people visited the Brain Discovery Week website, with the series of Facebook Lives with researchers proving the most popular pages. The videos reached over 70,000 people worldwide via Facebook and YouTube. We'll certainly be doing something similar next year, to keep up this dialogue between researchers and the public! 

Similar stories

Researcher publishes children's book of the brain

Public Engagement

Betina Ip, a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Research Fellow, has written a book for children: The Usborne Book of the Brain

International Women’s Day Wikipedia Editathon 2020

International Public Engagement

To celebrate International Women’s Day this year a number of groups hosted Wikipedia Editathons

Teenage Brain Workshop

Events Public Engagement

A new workshop aimed at young people to inspire them to learn more about the science of the brain has been designed as part of a large Wellcome Trust funded research programme.

SHElock Holmes - Inspiring Girls With Science

Public Engagement

On 27 July, 16 girls aged between 11-14 joined the SHElock team from the Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging.

Robin Dunbar and his Life Scientific

Awards and Honours Public Engagement

Prof Robin Dunbar, Emeritus Professor of Evolutionary Psychology has been in conversation with Jim Al-Khalili on Radio 4's Life Scientific. This fascinating podcast gives takes us on a journey from his early beginnings in science, and his fascinating research and groundbreaking discoveries he's made deciphering the mysteries as to why humans and animals evolve the social habits to exist in friendship circles.