Secrets of Your Mind: Why We Do What We Do

Four-hour series explores the mysteries and the science of the brain.

August 13, 2010, 1:15 PM

Aug. 17, 2010— -- "Nightline Prime," a new primetime series, premieres Thursday, Aug. 19, with the first of four installments of "Secrets of Your Mind: Why We Do What We Do."

The series explores the mystery and the science of the brain through a range of extraordinary case studies. Each installment focuses on a different research area, including love's impact on the brain, violence and the brain, medical emergencies involving the brain, and food and the brain.

The Brain and Love

Cynthia McFadden explores the brain in love. What does love look like in the brain? Can you be addicted to love?

McFadden follows one couple's struggle to be who they were before husband Derrick Gaines suffered a massive traumatic brain injury that caused him to forget his love for his wife.

Meet the man who is literally paralyzed by love. Matt Frerking has a peculiar brain condition which causes his body to shut down whenever he experiences feelings of love for his wife.

Another couple gave up their careers to hit the road, hoping to deepen their love for one another. Their brains are scanned before their romantic world tour and afterwards. Is romantic love still alive in their brains?

The Brain and Violence

Martin Bashir takes a journey inside the mind of a psychopath, examining evil's origin in the brain and whether people can be born with a tendency for evil or violent behavior and if it can be detected in childhood.

Bashir visits death row for a close-up look at two of the country's most notorious serial killers: Tommy Lynn Sells and Joel Rifkin. Were they born to kill? It's a question researchers who study psychopathy have been hard at work to answer.

Bashir also speaks exclusively to the distraught father of Chris Benoit, the pro-wrestler who murdered his family and then killed himself. Doctors later describe how they believe Benoit had suffered extensive brain damage in the ring that drove him to murder. These doctors say the kind of brain damage found in Benoit's brain is the same damage seen in multiple pro-football players, who also met tragic ends after years of concussions and subconncussive blows on the field.

Healing the Brain

Terry Moran embeds with neurosurgeon Dr. Julian Bailes for a first-hand look at life-and-death drama inside the operating room of the West Virginia University Health Sciences Center.

Bailes gives life back to a woman admitted to the hospital comatose with massive brain hemorrhaging. To control another woman's seizures, Bailes removes precious parts of her brain that could hold all of her life's memories. Will she recognize her own daughter when she comes out of surgery?

It's a race against time as cameras capture an aneurysm bursting on the operating table and Dr. Bailes and his team have only seconds to react.

The Brain and Food

Bashir takes a closer look at the brain's mysterious relationship with food and its impact on America's obesity epidemic. Go inside the brain of an obese person and see how the brain responds to fattening foods like chocolate cake.

Bashir reports on a story of an obese woman who has tried everything -- from diets to bariatric surgery -- to lose weight and manage her compulsion to eat all the time. She turns to brain surgery -- the most radical weight loss procedure ever attempted.

Bashir also peers into the mind of a woman who can't stop eating. She even eats when she sleeps. Is there any hope for her?