Rewiring The Mind

The historian of broadcasting, David Hendy, explores the ways in which the electronic media have shaped the modern mind.


01The Ethereal Mind2010061420110404

How did wireless conquer the world in the early years of the twentieth century, and how did a fascination with radio among scientists and writers unleash new ideas about the transmission of thought and the utopian potential of invisible forces?

02The Cultivated Mind2010061520110405

How effective were the efforts of the BBC to improve the 'public mind' between the wars? Did broadcasts such as W.B.

Yeats's poetry recitals or E.M.

Forster's talks foster ideas of a 'spiritual democracy' and an enlightened citizenry?

03The Anxious Mind2010061620110406

Tonight the reporting of the Holocaust in 1945 and television coverage of the Challenger Space Shuttle explosion in 1986.

If media have made us all witnesses to horror and tragedy do they also help us to come to terms with suffering, or just leave us depressed at the wrongs in the world?

04The Fallible Mind2010061720110407

Two seminal TV programmes: the American drama Marty, broadcast in 1953, and the BBC's Face-to-Face, from 1960, used unflinching close-ups to reveal human beings as flawed individuals.

Did they make us more compassionate - or just more obsessed with the private lives of others?

05 LASTThe Superficial Mind2010061820110408

Might the Internet, despite its wonderful power as a repository of information and creativity, be slowly degrading or enhancing our mental abilities? Are our brains ready for it?

05 LASTThe Superficial Mind20100624