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isaac Mao

Scientists adapt economics theory to trace brain's information flow - 0 views

  • Granger's original objective was to see if links could be established that allowed economists to use current economic data to forecast changes in the economy in the near future. But first author Steven L. Bressler, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Florida Atlantic University, suspected the technique might help reveal if one brain area was passing data to or influencing another brain area.
isaac Mao

Neurobics - 0 views

  • Some specific types of sensory stimuli and activities, especially those that involve non-routine actions and thoughts, produce more of those chemicals that encourage growth of new dendrites and neurons in the brain. These are generally non-routine activities. Routines become so automatic that actions are done largely unconsciously (ever get up in the morning and walk to the bathroom before you're really conscious?). Such automated or unconscious actions require less activity in the brain, and exercise it less.
isaac Mao

Free will - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - 1 views

  • It is claimed by some that quantum indeterminism is confined to microscopic phenomena.[54] The claim that events at the atomic or particulate level are unknowable can be challenged experimentally and even technologically: for instance, some hardware random number generators work by amplifying quantum effects into practically usable signals. However, this only amounts to macroscopic indeterminism if it can be shown that microscopic events really are indeterministic.
  • Hard incompatibilism is defended by Derk Pereboom, who identifies a variety of positions where free will is seen irrelevant to indeterminism/determinism, among them the following: Determinism (D) is true, D does not imply we lack free will (F), but in fact we do lack F. D is true, D does not imply we lack F, but in fact we don't know if we have F. D is true, and we do have F. D is true, we have F, and F implies D. D is unproven, but we have F. D isn't true, we do have F, and would have F even if D were true. D isn't true, we don't have F, but F is compatible with D. Derk Pereboom, Living without Free Will,[13] p. xvi. Pereboom calls positions 3 and 4 soft determinism, position 1 a form of hard determinism, position 6 a form of classical libertarianism, and any position that includes having F as compatibilism. He largely ignores position 2
  • Compatibilist models of free will often consider deterministic relationships as discoverable in the physical world (including the brain). Cognitive naturalism[118] is a physicalist approach to studing human consciousness in which mind is simply part of nature, perhaps merely a feature of many very complex self-programming feedback systems (for example, neural networks and cognitive robots), and so must be studied by the methods of empirical science, for example, behavioral science and the cognitive sciences like neuroscience and cognitive psychology.[101][119] Cognitive naturalism stresses the role of neurological sciences. Overall brain health, substance dependence, depression, and various personality disorders clearly influence mental activity, and their impact upon volition also is important.[113] For example, an addict may experience a conscious desire to escape addiction, but be unable to do so. The "will" is disconnected from the freedom to act. This situation is related to an abnormal production and distribution of dopamine in the brain.[120] The neuroscience of free will places restrictions on both compatibilist and incompatibilist free will conceptions. Compatibilist models adhere to models of mind in which mental activity (such as deliberation) can be reduced to physical activity without any change in physical outcome. Although compatibilism is generally aligned to (or is at least compatible with) physicalism, some compatibilist models describe the natural occurrences of deterministic deliberation in the brain in terms of the first person perspective of the conscious agent performing the deliberation.[7] Such an approach has been considered a form of identity dualism. A description of "how conscious experience might affect brains" has been provided in which "the experience of conscious free will is the first-person perspective of the neural correlates of choosing".[7]
isaac Mao

The Human Brain - Exercise - 9 views

  • Only recently have scientists been able to learn how the neural network of the brain forms. Beginning in the womb and throughout life this vast network continues to expand, adapt, and learn.
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  • Plasticity is the basic mental drive that networks your brain, giving you cognition and memory – fluidity, versatility, and adaptability.
  • Before birth you created neurons, the brain cells that communicate with each other, at the rate of 15 million per hour! When you emerged into the world, your 100 billion neurons were primed to organize themselves in response to your new environment – no matter the culture, climate, language, or lifestyle.
  • A healthy, well-functioning neuron can be directly linked to tens of thousands of other neurons,
  • A healthy, well-functioning neuron can be directly linked to tens of thousands of other neurons, creating a totality of more than a hundred trillion connections – each capable of performing 200 calculations per second!
  • Many neuroscientists believe that learning and memory involve changes at neuron-to-neuron synapses.
  • Travel is another good way to stimulate your brain. It worked for our ancestors, the early Homo sapiens. Their nomadic lifestyle provided a tremendous stimulation for their brains that led to the development of superior tools and survival skills. In comparison, the now-extinct Neanderthal was a species that for thousands of years apparently did not venture too far from their homes. (Maybe they were simply content with their lives – in contrast to the seldom-satisfied sapien.)
  • Exercise is a natural part of life, although these days we have to consciously include it in our daily routine. Biologically, it was part of survival, in the form of hunting and gathering or raising livestock and growing food. Historically, it was built into daily life, as regular hours of physical work or soldiering. What is now considered a form of exercise – walking –was originally a form of transportation.
isaac Mao

Not Exactly Rocket Science : Taking the new out of neurons - 0 views

  • The situation is much the same in primates and rodents, where new neurons only appear in the hippocampus and olfactory bulb. In contrast, fish, reptiles and birds renew the neurons throughout their entire network and throughout their entire lives.
isaac Mao

Technology Review: Detecting Brain Chemicals - 0 views

  • Sampling the brain: A device by the Mayo Clinic can analyze and detect neurotransmitters locally in the brain. Blue wires link an external monitor (circuit board) to gray connectors, which are in turn linked to neurotransmitter-sensing electrodes (not shown). The device is battery operated (the battery is shown connected to the circuit board) and can transmit the neurochemical information from the electrodes to a remote station for analysis.
isaac Mao

Looking Inside the Human Brain - 0 views

  • What's really going on inside your head when you make a decision, make a mistake, or have a few drinks? In this segment, Ira and guests talk about new research involving the field of functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI. The technique allows researchers to monitor the blood flow through parts of the brain as it responds to stimuli, allowing researchers to monitor which parts of the brain are active and which are resting. Though the technique is being eagerly explored in a variety of fields, fMRI has received criticism from some brain experts as being the modern-day equivalent of phrenology. We'll hear about the technique, and what it can tell researchers about the inner workings of the human brain.
isaac Mao

The 'satellite navigation' in our brains - 0 views

  • "The hippocampus is crucial for navigation and we use it like a 'sat nav'," says Dr Spiers from the Institute of Behavioural Neuroscience at UCL. "London taxi drivers, who have to know their way around hundreds of thousands of winding streets, have the most refined and powerful innate sat navs, strengthened over years of experience."
isaac Mao

Science News / Do Subatomic Particles Have Free Will? - 0 views

  • Human free will might seem like the squishiest of philosophical subjects, way beyond the realm of mathematical demonstration. But two highly regarded Princeton mathematicians, John Conway and Simon Kochen, claim to have proven that if humans have even the tiniest amount of free will, then atoms themselves must also behave unpredictably.
  • “If the atoms never swerve so as to originate some new movement that will snap the bonds of fate, the everlasting sequence of cause and effect—what is the source of the free will possessed by living things throughout the earth?”—Titus Lucretius Carus, Roman philosopher and poet, 99–55 BC.
  • claim to have proven that if humans have even the tiniest amount of free will, then atoms themselves must also behave unpredictably.
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  • That’s certainly what we ordinarily assume in life. We don’t imagine, say, that a fence turned white just because we looked at it — we figure it was white all along.
  • This means that the particle cannot have a definite spin in every direction before it’s measured, Kochen and Specker concluded. If it did, physicists would be able to occasionally observe it breaking the 1-0-1 rule, which never happens. Instead, it must “decide” which spin to have on the fly.
isaac Mao

Brain will be battlefield of future, warns report | Science | - 0 views

  • Rapid advances in neuroscience could have a dramatic impact on national security and the way in which future wars are fought, US intelligence officials have been told.
isaac Mao

Efficient technique enables thinking - 0 views

  • However, contact between nerve cells is also constantly being set up and dismantled in adults. It is this continuous restructuring of the brain that allows us to learn and to forget.
  • In reality, it should actually be consuming much more energy. This is because both young and adult nerve cells allow many hundreds of cell extensions to grow towards their neighbours.
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  • The scientists marked a number of nerve cells with fluorescent dyes, observed them under a special microscope and discovered the secret to how the information is exchanged: local calcium signals very quickly transmit all the necessary information to the cell. A synapse only actually develops when the cell and the contact point prove to be suitable candidates for long-term contact.
isaac Mao

Free Will vs. the Programmed Brain: Scientific American - 0 views

  • In this light, it’s not surprising that people behave less morally as they become skeptical of free will. Further, the Vohs and Schooler result fits with the idea that people will behave less responsibly if they regard their actions as beyond their control. If I think that there’s no point in trying to be good, then I’m less likely to try.
isaac Mao

Cooking and Cognition: How Humans Got So Smart - 0 views

  • For a long time, we were pretty dumb. Humans did little but make "the same very boring stone tools for almost 2 million years," he said. Then, only about 150,000 years ago, a different type of spurt happened — our big brains suddenly got smart. We started innovating. We tried different materials, such as bone, and invented many new tools, including needles for beadwork. Responding to, presumably, our first abstract thoughts, we started creating art and maybe even religion.
    Cooking and Cognition: How Humans Got So Smart
isaac Mao

The Loom: West Coast Soul, or How to Get on TV - 0 views

    new book
isaac Mao

Study provides new insights about brain organization - 0 views

  • "One theory is that individual senses have separate areas of the brain dedicated to them," said Mark Wallace, Ph.D., the study's lead investigator. "In this view, information is processed initially on a sense-by-sense basis and doesn't come together until much later. However, this view has recently been challenged by studies showing that processing in the visual area of the brain, for example, can be influenced by hearing and touch."
isaac Mao

Technology Review: Want to Enhance Your Brain Power? - 0 views

  • A little brain boost is something we could all use now and then. A new option may be on the horizon. Researchers at the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke, in Bethesda, MD, are studying how applying gentle electrical current to the scalp can improve learning.
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