Philosophy and Science of Mind and Brain
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Philosophy and Science of Mind and Brain
Following the latest breaking news and discussions about Mind Science and Neurophilosophy
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Frans de Waal: Moral behavior in animals | Video on TED.com

Frans de Waal: Moral behavior in animals | Video on TED.com | Philosophy and Science of Mind and Brain | Scoop.it
TED Talks Empathy, cooperation, fairness and reciprocity -- caring about the well-being of others seems like a very human trait.

 

Frans de Waal describes some clever experiments that showcase examples of morality in the animal kingdom. The most interesting- or the most easy to parallel to human sense of morality- is exhibited toward the end of the video and involves a pair of Capuchin monkeys. I won't ruin the surprise- as hilarious as it is to watch- but feel free to comment about the struggle of the 99% 

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Spectacular brain images reveal surprisingly simple structure

Spectacular brain images reveal surprisingly simple structure | Philosophy and Science of Mind and Brain | Scoop.it
Stunning new visuals of the brain reveal a deceptively simple pattern of organization in the wiring of this complex organ.

 

With the global structure of brain region-t0-region communication mapped out, and revealing a simplistic structure, the potential to understand what goes wrong in brain injury should be aided greatly. These crude maps, for the moment, should at least give us a refreshing view on how the different regions might function together.

 

I can't wait to see what new angles in research come out of this connectome project. 

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The controversial science of free will

The controversial science of free will | Philosophy and Science of Mind and Brain | Scoop.it
New findings raise questions about our brain's role in decision-making.


These days, we seem to be living in a new golden age of choice. One moment we’re tweeting, the next we are changing our profile picture. We get a hankering for hummus and next thing we know, it’s off to Yelp the nearest falafel place. In every choice and action we make, online or off, we have the unique sense that we are in control. This is what it feels like to have free will.

But many neuroscientists have maintained a long-standing opinion that what we experience as free will is no more than mechanistic patterns of neurons firing in the brain. Although we feel like free agents contemplating and choosing, they would argue that these sensations are merely an emotional remnant that brain activity leaves in its wake. If these neuroscientists are right, then free will isn’t worth much discussion.

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The role of Broca's area in speech perception: Ev... [Brain Lang. 2011] - PubMed - NCBI

Motor theories of speech perception have been re-vitalized as a consequence of the discovery of mirror neurons. Some authors have even promoted a strong version of the motor theory, arguing that the motor speech system is critical for perception. Part of the evidence that is cited in favor of this claim is the observation from the early 1980s that individuals with Broca's aphasia, and therefore inferred damage to Broca's area, can have deficits in speech sound discrimination. Here we re-examine this issue in 24 patients with radiologically confirmed lesions to Broca's area and various degrees of associated non-fluent speech production. Patients performed two same-different discrimination tasks involving pairs of CV syllables, one in which both CVs were presented auditorily, and the other in which one syllable was auditorily presented and the other visually presented as an orthographic form; word comprehension was also assessed using word-to-picture matching tasks in both auditory and visual forms. Discrimination performance on the all-auditory task was four standard deviations above chance, as measured using d', and was unrelated to the degree of non-fluency in the patients' speech production. Performance on the auditory-visual task, however, was worse than, and not correlated with, the all-auditory task. The auditory-visual task was related to the degree of speech non-fluency. Word comprehension was at ceiling for the auditory version (97% accuracy) and near ceiling for the orthographic version (90% accuracy). We conclude that the motor speech system is not necessary for speech perception as measured both by discrimination and comprehension paradigms, but may play a role in orthographic decoding or in auditory-visual matching of phonological forms.
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Why or How Do Emotions Grab Attention? – Science News

Why or How Do Emotions Grab Attention? – Science News | Philosophy and Science of Mind and Brain | Scoop.it

A study involving the analysis of rhesus monkeys’ brains suggests how we may be physiologically wired to focus on emotional stimulus. Researchers injected a dye into the brains of 10 rhesus monkeys which traced individual neurons along the length of their axons. It’s a technique that can highlight physiology in more detail than is possible with current brain imaging technology. Scientists discovered that axons from the amygdala, the emotional center of the brain, converge on a major site believed to be involved with the capacity for attentional focus, the thalamic reticular nucleus.

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Primitive Consciousness Emerges First as You Awaken from Anesthesia

Primitive Consciousness Emerges First as You Awaken from Anesthesia | Philosophy and Science of Mind and Brain | Scoop.it
Awakening from anesthesia is often associated with an initial phase of delirious struggle before the full restoration of awareness and orientation to one’s su...

 

The question whether we can ever really get a clear picture of the constituents of consciousness is one still raised by critics, and by even the proponents of scientific enquiry, myself included. This study published in the April 2012 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience sheds some light on one of the methods into cracking open the shroud of mystery.

 

The anesthetized brain provides new vews into the story of the emergence of consciousness. The study finds that arousal from a spoken command was first associated with a core network of subcortical and libic regions that couple with higher cortices upon awakening from dexme-detomidine-induced unconsciousness. 

 

Read further for more detail on the experimental design.

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Consciousness: The Black Hole of Neuroscience | Think Tank | Big Think

Consciousness: The Black Hole of Neuroscience | Think Tank | Big Think | Philosophy and Science of Mind and Brain | Scoop.it

The simplest description of a black hole is a region of space-time from which no light is reflected and nothing escapes. The simplest description of consciousness is a mind that absorbs many things and attends to a few of them. Neither of these concepts can be captured quantitatively. Together they suggest the appealing possibility that endlessness surrounds us and infinity is within.

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