Temporary Exhibition » Brain Twisters



  • Brain Twisters
  • Brain Twisters
  • Brain Twisters
  • Brain Twisters
  • Visual of the exhibition 'Brain Twisters'

Brain Twisters

Thu, 12/06/2014 to Sun, 30/08/2015

Displayed at the Museum: 12/06/2014 > 30/08/2015

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And yet, it isn’t a magic trick: the brain adapts and learns extremely quickly. But how does it work? What does a neuron look like? How do optical illusions and other conjuring tricks manage to fool it? And what about the brains of other animals?

In our new exhibition you can find out what happens in your cranium, test the performance of your neurons in the Cognitilab, use the Cervomaton to explore the anatomy of your cerebral hemispheres in 3D, get caught out (or not) by our optical illusions, and analyse the cerebral capacities of other animals. Interactive videos and games complete this fascinating journey to the centre of your brain.

Brain Twisters is for young neurons (aged 10 and over) and grown-up brains.


This exhibition is a Cap Sciences production, supplemented by the Museum of Natural Sciences.

Who Has a Brain?
  • A man holding an hands-on human brain

With the exception of very simple organisms like sponges, all animals – earth worms, earwigs, octopuses, parrots, humans, etc. – have, if not a brain that is more or less developed, at least a nervous system. So, when did the first brain develop?

Videos, models and interactive maps enable you to understand how difficult it is to date the first appearance of this organ and send you on a journey through evolution and the variability of nervous systems throughout time.

Our collections complete this overview of animals including the magpie, anemone, aplysia, beaver, chimpanzee, dolphin, and more.

1000 Brains, 1000 Worlds
  • Visitors listening to several songs of canaries

Each species sees its environment in a different way depending on the organisation and complexity of its nervous system. This subjective perception also depends on sensory and effector systems, the way in which each species learns to use them and the environment itself.

This zone illustrates, through videos, multimedia and interactive games, four “worlds”, each bringing together a collection of animals which have the same brain capacity: “a world of reflexes”, “a world of programmes”, “a world of innovations” and “a world of culture”.

A Plastic World
  • Three panels of the area 'A plastic world'

For a long time we thought that the brain was wired in a particular way, that like a machine it could not be 'rewired' or changed, and that each zone had a well-defined, programmed and unchanging function. In reality, the brain continues to evolve throughout our life. So what is brain plasticity? What role does it play in the learning process? How does the brain adapt to the events which govern our life?

Videos and digital displays present the advances in neuroscience in relation to the incredible property that is brain plasticity. 

Tricking the brain?
  • A boy seems to stand on a giant chair.
  • Panel with three upiside down faces
  • A short movie about some card tricks

Our brain puts together a perception of the world by interpreting the information that has been picked up by our senses. Sometimes these interpretations can be wrong because the brain tries hard to find meaning even where there isn’t any. In other words, it isn’t infallible!

In this zone, you can experiment with various sensory illusions and find out why (context, speed of change, movement, etc.) our brain interprets what it perceives differently.

Zooming in on the Brain
  • Cabin where a visitor is observing the general anatomy of his brain in 3D
  • Boy testing a sort of pinball machine that illustrates a neural network
  • A few endocranial casts from our collections
  • The endocranial cast of Amurosaurus, a specimen from our Dinosaur Gallery.

The brain has more than 100 billion neurons, each of which communicates with 10,000 of its neighbours. This incredibly complex network can now be observed with the aid of medical imaging.

In this zone you zoom in on the most mysterious organ of the human body, right down to the brain cells. You can also find out about things that can go wrong, degeneration and possible imbalances.

The Cognitilab
  • Tablets to individually test your memory or attention

In this zone, which has been fitted out with 8 touch tablets, you can select the cognitive function you want to put to the test – memory or attention –, you start the game and, once the test is over, the tablet provides you with the keys to understanding this cognitive function.

The tests on offer all come from studies which have been carried out in different neuroscience laboratories.

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