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Evolution of life's operating system revealed in detail

Evolution of life's operating system revealed in detail | Human Nature  ,Brain and Cognitive Sciences &Singularity | Scoop.it
The evolution of the ribosome, a large molecular structure found in the cells of all species, has been revealed in unprecedented detail in a new study.
Mlik Sahib's insight:

The common core of the ribosome is essentially the same in humans, yeast, bacteria and archaea – in all living systems. The Georgia Tech team has shown that as organisms evolve and become more complex, so do their ribosomes. Humans have the largest and most complex ribosomes. But the changes are on the surface – the heart of a human ribosome the same as in a bacterial ribosome.

"The translation system is the operating system of life," Williams said. "At its core the ribosome is the same everywhere. The ribosome is universal biology."



Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-06-evolution-life-revealed.html#jCp
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Something doesn’t smell right

Something doesn’t smell right | Human Nature  ,Brain and Cognitive Sciences &Singularity | Scoop.it
Harvard scientists say they’re closer to unraveling one of the most basic questions in neuroscience — how the brain encodes likes and dislikes — with the discovery of the first receptors in any species evolved to detect cadaverine and putrescine,...

Via David McGavock, Jocelyn Stoller
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David McGavock's curator insight, January 28, 2014 2:47 PM

I'm curious about attraction  and aversion. This study investigates aversion at a very basic level. Important steps in understanding what turns us on and off.


“We don’t understand, as a field, how aversive and attractive odors are differentially processed … but identifying the receptor gives us a handle on the neural circuits that are involved. Now that we have the receptor, we can ask basic questions about aversion and attraction circuitry in general."

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Yes, you can learn a foreign language in your sleep, say Swiss psychologists

Yes, you can learn a foreign language in your sleep, say Swiss psychologists | Human Nature  ,Brain and Cognitive Sciences &Singularity | Scoop.it
Subliminal learning in your sleep is usually dismissed as pseudo-science at best and fraud at worst, but a team of Swiss psychologists say you can actually learn a foreign language in your sleep.

Via René Z.
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How many gigabytes does it take to make a human?

How many gigabytes does it take to make a human? | Human Nature  ,Brain and Cognitive Sciences &Singularity | Scoop.it
How much information is stored inside a human? Not as much as you think. All you need is a mere 1.5 gigabytes to fit your entire genetic code. Veritasium did the math in his latest brain tapping video and cooked up that number using bits to understand the molecules that make up a person's genetic code.
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LOr's curator insight, July 4, 2014 5:41 AM

robotique

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Bio-printing transplantable tissues, organs: Another step closer

Bio-printing transplantable tissues, organs: Another step closer | Human Nature  ,Brain and Cognitive Sciences &Singularity | Scoop.it
Researchers have made a giant leap towards the goal of 'bio-printing' transplantable tissues and organs for people affected by major diseases and trauma injuries, a new study reports. Scientists have bio-printed artificial vascular networks mimicking the body's circulatory system that are necessary for growing large complex tissues.
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La Théorie SENSORIELLE | Une exploration du Non-Conscient Cognitif

La Théorie SENSORIELLE | Une exploration du Non-Conscient Cognitif | Human Nature  ,Brain and Cognitive Sciences &Singularity | Scoop.it

Le non-conscient revêt une importance dans nos comportements que l’on ne soupçonnait pas. Bien plus qu’un simple appui à la conscience, il aurait une part prépondérante dans tous les processus cognitifs (1). À ce titre, on estime que plus de 90 % des opérations mentales d’un individu sont non-conscientes. Mais pour énoncer de tels propos, encore faut-il en apporter la preuve. Or, explorer le non-conscient, identifier ses bases cérébrales, concevoir des expériences qui mettent en évidence son importance n’est pas chose aisée. C’est en effet souvent au niveau du protocole que les difficultés surgissent, car tout ce qu’on peut demander à un individu est d’effectuer une tâche consciente et non d’exécuter un acte non-conscient. Il faut donc inventer des tests dont les résultats ne peuvent être interprétés que par l’intercession de processus non-conscients. L’effet d’amorçage est l’un d’eux. 


Via association concert urbain
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New study discovers biological basis for magic mushroom 'mind expansion'

New study discovers biological basis for magic mushroom 'mind expansion' | Human Nature  ,Brain and Cognitive Sciences &Singularity | Scoop.it
New research shows that our brain displays a similar pattern of activity during dreams as it does during a mind-expanding drug trip. Psychedelic drugs such as LSD and magic mushrooms can profoundly alter the way we experience the world but little is known about what physically happens in the brain. ...
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How Should We Be Thinking About Genetic Studies?

How Should We Be Thinking About Genetic Studies? | Human Nature  ,Brain and Cognitive Sciences &Singularity | Scoop.it

In February 2013, the New York Times Magazine published, "Why Can Some Kids Handle Pressure While Others Fall Apart?" The article, which quickly went viral, focused on school stress, and placed great emphasis on Catechol-O-methyl transference (COMT), a gene that codes for an enzyme responsible for breaking down neurotransmitters in the brain. The difference between a kid who can't handle the pressure, a "worrier," and a kid who takes it all in stride, a "warrior," the authors argued, may come down to how the COMT is expressed. It was a compelling story-and one that parents seemed to cotton to (likely in hopes of explaining their own kids' school performance). But many experts argue that the science is not that simple: there are important caveats that should be cited when discussing genetic studies, particularly genome-wide association studies.

 

Mlik Sahib's insight:

"We need to explain the context of genetics in a very different way now that the technology and science has improved," says Farahany. "Now more than ever we must help people understand there's no such thing as a single gene for any behavior, but a complex set of genetic, epigenetic, and environmental factors that influence behaviors."

Huda Zoghbi, a molecular geneticist who studies rare diseases at the Baylor College of Medicine, says that education is also key. She suggests that science educators could go a little deeper when discussing genetic concepts with students, even as early as elementary school.

"Certainly we should still highlight single gene defects. But it is also important to explain that there are many genes involved in behavior," she says. "Today, we don't cover the intricate relationships between genetics and experiences, perhaps, as much as we need to. We should emphasize that the genome is the framework for how genes affect health and behavior. But we should also discuss that there are many other factors that modulate those effects even in a healthy genome."

Churchland concurs. "It won't be easy, I know. We are all predisposed to want simple explanations-simple, causal explanations," she says. "We need to help people understand that genes essentially never act alone, and a single gene linked to a single trait is highly unusual. Any behavior involves a very complex network of genes and dynamical interactions between those genes and the environment. It's an awesomely tricky business, certainly. But it's a reminder of just how terribly important scientific literacy is.  Every year, with the launch of many new kinds of studies and techniques for getting meaningful data, scientific literacy matters ever more."

 

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Empathy May Be Genetic

Empathy May Be Genetic | Human Nature  ,Brain and Cognitive Sciences &Singularity | Scoop.it

Do you jump to help the less fortunate, cry during sad movie scenes or tweet and post the latest topics and photos that excite or move you? If yes, you may be among the 20 percent of our population that is genetically predisposed to empathy,


according to Stony Brook Univ. psychologists Arthur and Elaine Aron. In a new study published in Brain and Behavior, Aron and colleagues at the Univ. of California, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Monmouth Univ. found that Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging

 

(fMRI) of brains provide physical evidence that the “highly sensitive” brain responds powerfully to emotional images.

 

 


Via Edwin Rutsch, Jocelyn Stoller
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To recover consciousness, brain activity passes through newly detected states

To recover consciousness, brain activity passes through newly detected states | Human Nature  ,Brain and Cognitive Sciences &Singularity | Scoop.it
Research shows that recovery from deep anesthesia is not a smooth, linear process but is instead a dynamic journey with specific states of activity the brain must temporarily occupy on the way to full recovery.
Mlik Sahib's insight:

"Recordings from each animal wound up having particular features that spontaneously appeared, suggesting their brain activity was abruptly transitioning through particular states," Hudson says. "We analyzed the probability of a brain jumping from one state to another, and we found that certain states act as hubs through which the brain must pass to continue on its way to consciousness." While the electrical activity in all the rats' brains passed through these hubs, the precise path back to consciousness was not the same each time, the team reports today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"These results suggest there is indeed an intrinsic way in which the unconscious brain finds its way back to consciousness. The anesthetic is just a tool for severely reducing brain activity in a way in which we can control," Hudson says.

In other scenarios, including coma caused by brain injury or neurological disease, the disruption to brain activity cannot be controlled, making these states much more difficult to study. However, the team's results may help explain what is going on in these cases. "Maybe a pathway has shut down, or a brain structure that was key for full consciousness is no longer working. We don't know yet, but our results suggest the possibility that under certain circumstances, someone may be theoretically capable of returning to consciousness but, due to the inability to transition through the hubs we have identified, his or her brain is unable to navigate the way back," Calderon says."

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The Beginning and the End - The Meaning of Life in a Cosmological Perspective

The Beginning and the End - The Meaning of Life in a Cosmological Perspective | Human Nature  ,Brain and Cognitive Sciences &Singularity | Scoop.it

In this fascinating journey to the edge of science, Vidal takes on big philosophical questions: Does our universe have a beginning and an end, or is it cyclic? Are we alone in the universe? What is the role of intelligent life, if any, in cosmic evolution? Grounded in science and committed to philosophical rigor, this book presents an evolutionary worldview where the rise of intelligent life is not an accident, but may well be the key to unlocking the universe's deepest mysteries. Vidal shows how the fine-tuning controversy can be advanced with computer simulations. He also explores whether natural or artificial selection could hold on a cosmic scale. In perhaps his boldest hypothesis, he argues that signs of advanced extraterrestrial civilizations are already present in our astrophysical data. His conclusions invite us to see the meaning of life, evolution, and intelligence from a novel cosmological framework that should stir debate for years to come.


Via Spaceweaver
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LB026QhWNHQ

 

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Spaceweaver's curator insight, June 20, 2014 6:52 AM

The global brain in a cosmic context.

20% off with the code 'Vidal2014'

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Finding thoughts in speech: How human brain processes thoughts during natural communication

Finding thoughts in speech: How human brain processes thoughts during natural communication | Human Nature  ,Brain and Cognitive Sciences &Singularity | Scoop.it
For the first time, neuroscientists were able to find out how different thoughts are reflected in neuronal activity during natural conversations. They studied the link between speech, thoughts and brain responses.

Via Jocelyn Stoller
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58 Cognitive Biases That Screw Up Everything We Do

58 Cognitive Biases That Screw Up Everything We Do | Human Nature  ,Brain and Cognitive Sciences &Singularity | Scoop.it
The Galatea effect, attentional bias, recency, and more.
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Amis végétariens, les plantes peuvent entendre leurs feuilles se faire croquer | Gizmodo

Amis végétariens, les plantes peuvent entendre leurs feuilles se faire croquer | Gizmodo | Human Nature  ,Brain and Cognitive Sciences &Singularity | Scoop.it
Nous ne savons pas encore si les plantes souffrent quand elles se font manger, mais elles peuvent vous entendre quand vos dents croquent leurs feuilles !
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Key brain region responds to subjective perception in study of individual neuron activity

Key brain region responds to subjective perception in study of individual neuron activity | Human Nature  ,Brain and Cognitive Sciences &Singularity | Scoop.it
When evaluating another person’s emotions – happy, sad, angry, afraid – humans take cues from facial expressions. Neurons in a part of the brain called the amygdala “fire” in response to the visual stimulation as information is processed by the retina, the amygdala and a network of interconnected brain structures. Some of these regions respond just to the actual features of the face, whereas others respond to how things appear to the viewer, but it is unknown where in the brain this difference arises.
Mlik Sahib's insight:

"The firing of a single neuron is believed to be the basic unit of brain computation, and these studies are accomplished through the collaboration of neuroscientists and neurosurgeons, with the consent and participation of patients who undergo deep brain electrode placement for diagnostic or treatment procedures.

"Single neuron studies have been performed in animals, but conducting them in human subjects gives us an opportunity to get direct feedback, without having to make assumptions when interpreting animal responses. The amygdala is a routine target for depth electrodes to localize epileptic seizures, and this provides the opportunity to explore this structure that is vitally important in the processing of emotions," said Adam Mamelak, MD, professor of neurosurgery and director of functional neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai, one of the article's authors.

According to Ralph Adolphs, PhD, Bren professor of psychology and neuroscience at Caltech, a contributing author, "Most data relevant to understanding psychiatric illness is derived from studies that use functional magnetic resonance imaging. What we desperately need is a more microscopic level as well, and these single-unit data we can record in neurosurgical patients offer a unique study opportunity."

Rutishauser added, "Our group is focused on pursuing neurosurgical approaches that allow us to study individual neurons. We believe this research can provide valuable new knowledge on the function of the human nervous system that would otherwise be unobtainable."

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Consciousness on-off switch discovered deep in brain - life - 02 July 2014 - New Scientist

Consciousness on-off switch discovered deep in brain - life - 02 July 2014 - New Scientist | Human Nature  ,Brain and Cognitive Sciences &Singularity | Scoop.it
Zapping an area deep in our brains turns off consciousness – suggesting this is where perceptions are bound together into a cohesive experience
Mlik Sahib's insight:

"Scientists have been probing individual regions of the brain for over a century, exploring their function by zapping them with electricity and temporarily putting them out of action. Despite this, they have never been able to turn off consciousness – until now.

Although only tested in one person, the discovery suggests that a single area – the claustrum – might be integral to combining disparate brain activity into a seamless package of thoughts, sensations and emotions. It takes us a step closer to answering a problem that has confounded scientists and philosophers for millennia – namely how our conscious awareness arises."

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Why the Many-Worlds Formulation of Quantum Mechanics Is Probably Correct | Sean Carroll

Why the Many-Worlds Formulation of Quantum Mechanics Is Probably Correct | Sean Carroll | Human Nature  ,Brain and Cognitive Sciences &Singularity | Scoop.it

Our understanding of the classical Newtonian universe so dominates our worldview--it is the most storied physics narrative and the most observable to the naked eye--that any opposing theories risk severe cognitive dissonance. Positing more than one universe implies finding a lot of new space for those universes to fit into, but this is not how quantum mechanics conceives of space. "The reason why we can state this with such confidence is because of the fundamental reality of quantum mechanics: the existence of superpositions of different possible measurement outcomes." If you accept the premises of quantum mechanics to be true, you must accept its conclusions.

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This Is Where Self-Esteem Lives In The Brain (PHOTO) - Huffington Post

This Is Where Self-Esteem Lives In The Brain (PHOTO) - Huffington Post | Human Nature  ,Brain and Cognitive Sciences &Singularity | Scoop.it
This Is Where Self-Esteem Lives In The Brain (PHOTO) Huffington Post The findings, published online in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, could help change the way we understand self-esteem: not as a panacea for all problems,...

Via LOr, Jocelyn Stoller
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The amazing emotional intelligence of our primate cousins

The amazing emotional intelligence of our primate cousins | Human Nature  ,Brain and Cognitive Sciences &Singularity | Scoop.it
Gorillas cooperating to dismantle poachers's snares, altruistic, food sharing chimpanzees, grieving lemurs performing death rituals ... Danielle Radin finds an extraordinary emotional depth and capacity for empathy in our fellow primates.

Via Andrea Naranjo
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Hijack! How Your Brain Blocks Performance

Hijack! How Your Brain Blocks Performance | Human Nature  ,Brain and Cognitive Sciences &Singularity | Scoop.it
“ How people get mentally stuck, why, and how it happens.”
Via Anne Leong
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Unlocking The Brain: Are We Entering A Golden Age Of Neuroscience?

Unlocking The Brain: Are We Entering A Golden Age Of Neuroscience? | Human Nature  ,Brain and Cognitive Sciences &Singularity | Scoop.it

Brain science is entering what some researchers say may be a golden age, gaining important new insights into the workings of the brain -- even as brain disorders, from autism to Alzheimer's to mental illness -- are increasingly recognized as a...


Via Sharrock, Lynnette Van Dyke, Jocelyn Stoller
Mlik Sahib's insight:

“I think we’re literally on the cusp of a complete revolution both in how we understand the brain and how we treat brain disorders.”

– Neurosurgeon Emad Eskandar
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Sharrock's curator insight, June 22, 2014 9:34 AM
“This is an exciting time to be a neuroscientist. I’m not sure there’s ever been a more exciting time,” Larry Swanson, president of the Society for Neuroscience, told an audience last fall at the society’s annual conference of about 30,000 scientists. “Scientists are advancing the field in ways that we actually couldn’t even imagine say five, 10 years ago, and this is reflected in the tremendous attention that’s being paid to neuroscience not only in the White House and the European Union but really literally around the globe,” he said.
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How brain 'reboots' itself to consciousness after anesthesia

How brain 'reboots' itself to consciousness after anesthesia | Human Nature  ,Brain and Cognitive Sciences &Singularity | Scoop.it
One of the great mysteries of anesthesia is how patients can be temporarily rendered completely unresponsive during surgery and then wake up again, with their memories and skills intact.

Via Dave Vago
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Quantum Physics and Reality (Full Program)

Quantum Physics and Reality (Full Program) | Human Nature  ,Brain and Cognitive Sciences &Singularity | Scoop.it
When no one is looking, a particle has near limitless potential: it can be nearly anywhere. But measure it, and the particle snaps to one position. How do subatomic objects shed their quantum weirdnes
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Seeing the Inner Workings of the Brain Made Easier by New Technique

Seeing the Inner Workings of the Brain Made Easier by New Technique | Human Nature  ,Brain and Cognitive Sciences &Singularity | Scoop.it
Researchers improve on their original technique for peering into the intact brain.

Via Jocelyn Stoller
Mlik Sahib's insight:

"Bio-X scientists have improved on their original technique for peering into the intact brain, making it more reliable and safer. The results could help scientists unravel the inner connections of how thoughts, memories or diseases arise."

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Scientists tie social behavior to activity in specific brain circuit

Scientists tie social behavior to activity in specific brain circuit | Human Nature  ,Brain and Cognitive Sciences &Singularity | Scoop.it
Signaling activity along a single nerve tract deep within the brain predicts a living, wide-awake, freely moving animal’s tendency to socialize.

Via Sandeep Gautam, Jocelyn Stoller
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Sandeep Gautam's curator insight, June 19, 2014 10:24 PM

Dopamine and VTA - NAcc circuit implicated in social exploration