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UCLA Psychologists Report New Insights On Human Brain, Consciousness

UCLA Psychologists Report New Insights On Human Brain, Consciousness | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

UCLA psychologists have used brain-imaging techniques to study what happens to the human brain when it slips into unconsciousness. Their research, published Oct. 17 in the online journal PLOS Computational Biology, is an initial step toward developing a scientific definition of consciousness.

 

The psychologists analyzed the “network properties” of the subjects’ brains using a branch of mathematics known as graph theory, which is often used to study air-traffic patterns, information on the Internet and social groups, among other topics.

 

“It turns out that when we lose consciousness, the communication among areas of the brain becomes extremely inefficient, as if suddenly each area of the brain became very distant from every other, making it difficult for information to travel from one place to another,” Monti said.

The finding shows that consciousness does not “live” in a particular place in our brain but rather “arises from the mode in which billions of neurons communicate with one another,” he said.


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Once considered mainly 'brain glue,' astrocytes' power revealed

Once considered mainly 'brain glue,' astrocytes' power revealed | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

A type of cell plentiful in the brain, long considered mainly the stuff that holds the brain together and oft-overlooked by scientists more interested in flashier cells known as neurons, wields more power in the brain than has been realized, according to new research published March 29 in Science Signaling.


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Patricia Churchland: Neuromorality

Why are humans moral? Patricia Churchland, author of "Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us About Morality," is here to explain how humans evolved to be moral beings. How did we go from the attachment and bonding between parent and child to the sophisticated moral landscape we have today? Churchland believes a big part of the answer is in the evolution of the mammalian brain.


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Why do we still believe when we know it’s probably not true?

Why do we still believe when we know it’s probably not true? | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

It's not about the benefits we gain from believing in this or that. Or the supposed reality of the objects these beliefs describe.

It's all about cost.


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Between Science & Art: Connectograms and Circos Visualization Tool

Between Science & Art: Connectograms and Circos Visualization Tool | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

The point is to show how advances in imaging and data visualization technologies enable inter-disciplinary research which just a decade ago would have been impossible to conduct. There is also a somewhat artistic quality to these images, which reinforces the notion of data visualization being both art and science.

 

CONNECTOME: http://www.scoop.it/t/science-news?tag=connectome

 


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The Electronic Brain? Your Mind Vs. a Computer

The Electronic Brain? Your Mind Vs. a Computer | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

According to Chris Chatham at Developing Intelligence, the brain-computer metaphor has lead to a lot of over-simplification in our thinking about our thinking. "An unfortunate legacy is the tendency to seek out modularity in the brain... the idea that computers require memory has lead some to seek for the 'memory area,' when in fact these distinctions are far more messy." We're now learning that regions cannot be associated with a singular function (i.e. the frontal cortex as "the place where personality occurs").

The brain is not a storage dump, and consciousness is not a place. Synapses are also far more complex than electrical circuits. Neither processing speed nor short term memory capacity are fixed, whereas RAM is.


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Can the brain control itself?

Can the brain control itself? | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

The patient’s task was to control the activity of single neurons. There are several 100 billion neurons in the human brain. How can the patient begin to know which neuron needs to increase in activity to complete the task? The researchers left this part up to the patients, letting them explore strategies until amazingly, they succeeded.


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Brainy Trees, Metaphorical Forests: On Neuroscience, Embodiment, and Architecture | Neuroanthropology

Brainy Trees, Metaphorical Forests: On Neuroscience, Embodiment, and Architecture | Neuroanthropology | Knowmads, Infocology of the future | Scoop.it

Inspiration and interpretation are inevitable. As metaphor is basic to what we do, so emerging results in neuroscience will be taken well beyond the intentions and even meanings of their authors. Much caution and critique will be needed. Yet at the same time, I want to preserve a space for this other mantle, from science to art and humanism. To creation and design and expression.

 

A revolution based on neuroscience? No. A recognition of our bodies and experiences and senses? Yes. And thus much closer to metaphors that inspire us every day. Like HOME or WARMTH. And maybe even a tree or two.


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