of hearts and minds

programme information


1 x 60'

Production Company

BBC Scotland Productions





Episode Information

The heart is the most symbolic organ of the human body. Draw a heart, and immediately you evoke feelings of love, appreciation, and friendship. Across the millennia, it has been seen as the site of emotions, the centre of our being. But by the seventeenth century, scientific understanding overturned historical ideas, and the heart was recognised merely as mechanical pump. One medic describes it as “a bunch of muscles that has nerves and chemical receptors.” We began to see ourselves as ruled by our heads and not our hearts. But more recently, Professor David Paterson from The University of Oxford has been doing extensive research that challenges this view. He has discovered that the heart has millions of specialized neurons just like those that can be found in the brain. Neurons are the cells that give us the ability to think, so what does their presence in the heart mean?

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