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Hjernevask title card.jpg
Title card
GenreDocumentary miniseries
Created byHarald Eia
Ole-Martin Ihle
Country of originNorway
Original languageNorwegian
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes7
Running time40 minutes
Original networkNRK1
Original release1 March (2010-03-01) –
19 April 2010 (2010-04-19)

Hjernevask ("Brainwash") is a Norwegian documentary miniseries about science that aired on NRK1 in 2010. The series, consisting of seven episodes, was created and presented by the comedian and sociologist Harald Eia.

The series contrasted cultural determinist models of human behavior (also referred to as the Standard social science model) with nature-nurture interactionist perspectives. Experts interviewed for the series included Simon Baron-Cohen, Steven Pinker, Simon LeVay, David Buss, Glenn Wilson, Robert Plomin and Anne Campbell. This ignited a wide public discussion on the subject of the nature versus nurture debate.[1][2][3][4] The entire series has since been released online.

Objectives and awards[edit]

Eia and coproducer Ole Martin Ihle have named Steven Pinker's book The Blank Slate as an inspiration for the documentary series.[5] The series was a huge success, and Eia was awarded the Fritt Ord Award for "having precipitated one of the most heated debates on research in recent times".[6]


The producers have made the series available online.[7] Episodes linked here have English subtitles available:

Episode number Title Description Participants Air Date[8]
1 The Gender Equality Paradox Why do girls tend to go into empathizing professions and boys into systemizing professions? Why does the labor market become more gender segregated the more economic prosperity a country has? Anniken Huitfeldt, Jørgen Lorentzen, Cathrine Egeland, Camilla Schreiner, Simon Baron-Cohen, Richard Lippa, Anne Campbell, Trond Diseth 1 March 2010
2 The Parental Effect How much influence do parents really have on their children? To what degree is intelligence inherited? Gudmund Hernes, Willy Pedersen, Judith Rich Harris, Hans Olav Tungesvik, Robert Plomin 8 March 2010
3 Gay/Straight To what extent is sexual preference innate? Are there differences between heterosexuals and homosexuals? Is homosexuality a result of a choice or is it innate? Sturla Berg Johansen, Thomas Folkestad, Jørgen Lorentzen, Agnes Bolsø, Nils Axel Nissen, Gerulf Rieger, Ricard Lippa, Simon LeVay, Arve Sørum, Glenn Wilson 15 March 2010
4 Violence Are people from some cultures more aggressive than others? Hedda Giertsen, Richard Nisbett, Erling Sandmo, Ingvild Forbord, Marit Clementz, Steven Pinker, Ragnhild Bjørnebekk, Inger Lise Lien, David Buss 22 March 2010
5 Sex Are there biological reasons men have a greater tendency than women to want sex without obligation? Willy Pedersen, Jørgen Lorentzen, Leif Edward Kennair, Anne Campbell, Gro Isachsen, Martine Aurdal, Richard Lippa, David Buss 5 April 2010
6 Race Are there significant genetic differences between different peoples? Trond Thorbjørnsen, Knut Olav Åmås, Cathrine Sandnes, Gregory Cochran, Charles Murray, Richard Nisbett, Richard Lynn. 12 April 2010
7 Nature or Nurture Is personality acquired or inherited? Jørgen Lorentzen, Knut Olav Åmås, Agnes Bolsø, Trond H. Diseth, Nils Axel Nissen, Martine Aurdal, Hedda Giertsen, Cathrine Egeland, Tom Colbjørnsen, Simon Baron-Cohen, Steven Pinker, Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair, Philip Skau, Vigdis Bunkholdt, Simon LeVay. 19 April 2010


  1. ^ Braanen, Bjørgulv (17 March 2010). "Hjernevask". Klassekampen (in Norwegian).
  2. ^ Mikkelsen, Solveig (25 November 2011). "- Rammer kritisk og teoretisk tenkning". Universitetsavisa (in Norwegian). Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
  3. ^ "NRK legger ut Eia-intervjuet". Side2 (in Norwegian). Nettavisen. 1 April 2010.
  4. ^ "Slik brukes Hjernevask til å sverte norsk kjønnsforskning". forskning.no (in Norwegian). 29 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Vasker forskerhjerner". Universitas. 2010-02-24. Retrieved 2013-05-25.
  6. ^ "Harald Eia, Dag Hessen and Bjørn Vassnes receive the Fritt Ord Foundation Tribute". The Fritt Ord Foundation. December 8, 2010. Archived from the original on October 23, 2013. Retrieved September 5, 2012.
  7. ^ "Norwegian wood and the nature-nurture question". Mail archive. 2011-02-25. Retrieved 2013-05-25.
  8. ^ "Hjernevask på nrk.no" (in Norwegian). NRK. Retrieved April 6, 2010.

External links[edit]