The Human Brain
What are you? Look deep inside yourself and ask, "What am I?" You could say you are a man or a woman, a human, a primate, an animal. But what 'you' really are is a MIND. For ages humanity has been exploring the landscape of the mind, but it was just recently that we realized the mind is the result of physical processes happening in an organ in your skull. Let's explore the mysteries of the human brain together. Jun 9
by Maria Popova Debunking the myth that memory is about “reliving” a permanent record stored in a filing cabinet. Last year, Joshua Foer set out to hack his memory .
by Maria Popova What five-year-old Albert Einstein can teach us about serendipity and the filter bubble of information. A newborn baby would stare at a new image for an average of 41 seconds before becoming bored and tuning out on repeated showings — that’s how hard-wired our affinity for novelty is. In New: Understanding Our Need for Novelty and Change , behavioral science writer Winifred Gallagher — whose treatise on the myth of multitasking you might recall — explores the evolutionary, biological, psychological, and cultural forces that drive our deep-seated neophilia, our tendency to ceaselessly seek out the new and different.
“If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the ﬁrst place.”
ARCHITECTS HAVE BEEN talking for years about “biophilic” design, “evidence based” design, design informed by the work of psychologists. But last May, at the profession’s annual convention, John Zeisel and fellow panelists were trying to explain neuroscience to a packed ballroom. The late-afternoon session pushed well past the end of the day; questions just kept coming.
Evolution has created a staggering range of organisms, each with features cleverly honed for its environmental niche. But while evolution is a fantastic creator, adding almost whatever is needed, it is surprisingly lazy at tidying up after itself, at pruning what is no longer required.
A copying error appears to be responsible for critical features of the human brain that distinguish us from our closest primate kin, new research finds. When tested out in mice, researchers found this "error" caused the rodents' brain cells to move into place faster and enabled more connections between brain cells. When any cell divides, it first copies its entire genome . During this process, it can make errors.
by Maria Popova Hume was a neuroscientist, or what early aviation has to do with the psychology of identity. We’ve already seen that the notions of stable character and fixed personality are a myth . And yet, our culture is wired for labels and checkboxes, eager to neatly file people away into categorical cabinets and thrown into furor over the slightest inkling of multiplicity. Take, for instance, Howard Hughes , at once a legendary aviator, movie mogul, tycoon, and socialite, and a reclusive billionaire housebound by his deathly phobia of dirt.
Image: Photoillustration by Aaron Goodman In Brief Most of us believe that we are free because, under identical circumstances, we could have acted otherwise. Determinism—the idea that all particles in the universe follow set trajectories—challenges this idea.
Poor Alfred Russel Wallace!
The human brain has the same general structure as the brains of other mammals , but is larger than any other in relation to body size. Large animals such as whales and elephants have larger brains in absolute terms, but when measured using the encephalization quotient which compensates for body size, the human brain is almost twice as large as the brain of the bottlenose dolphin , and three times as large as the brain of a chimpanzee . Much of the expansion comes from the part of the brain called the cerebral cortex , especially the frontal lobes , which are associated with executive functions such as self-control, planning, reasoning, and abstract thought.
The young women had survived the car crash, after a fashion. In the five months since parts of her brain had been crushed, she could open her eyes but didn't respond to sights, sounds or jabs. In the jargon of neurology, she was judged to be in a persistent vegetative state. In crueler everyday language, she was a vegetable.
by Robert Lamb | June 24, 2009 So my wife and I were discussing Josh and Chuck’s recent podcast on our culture’s dire need for innovators, teleportation and a universal language . We both agreed on the first count, but were split on the other two. Setting aside the ethical and possibly gene-splicing issues of teleportation , I just couldn’t get behind the idea of a universal language. Recently, I finally got around to reading Neal Stephenson’s cyberpunk classic “Snow Crash” and there’s a great deal of interesting stuff in the book about human language as an operating system and how the trend toward divergence in language actually prevents and protects us from widespread harm. If a farmer grows only one crop, then his entire farm is susceptible to devastation from a single parasite.
This article is related to the study of self-replicating units of culture, not to be confused with Mimetics . Memetics is a theory of mental content based on an analogy with Darwinian evolution , originating from the popularization of Richard Dawkins ' 1976 book The Selfish Gene . [ 1 ] It purports to be an approach to evolutionary models of cultural information transfer . The meme , analogous to a gene , was conceived as a "unit of culture" (an idea, belief, pattern of behaviour, etc.) which is "hosted" in one or more individual minds, and which can reproduce itself, thereby jumping from mind to mind. Thus what would otherwise be regarded as one individual influencing another to adopt a belief is seen—when adopting the intentional stance [ 1 ] [ 2 ] —as an idea-replicator reproducing itself in a new host.
Let's get this out of the way right up front: I'm afraid of people eating. Some people are scared of snakes or flying or heights or other things that can actually be dangerous. I'm filled with overpowering, irrational dread by the sight or sound of another human being eating or drinking. It doesn't make any more sense to me than it does to you. But that's what a phobia is: a fear that has nothing to do with logic or common sense.
Dream Scape <p>You are getting sleepy, very sleepy. When your head hits the pillow it’s lights out for the brain and body, right? Not if you consider the brain cells that must fire to produce the sometimes vivid and sometimes downright haunted dreams that take place during the rapid-eye-movement stage of your sleep. Why do some people have nightmares while others really spend their nights in bliss? Like sleep, dreams are mysterious phenomena.
A rich "webbook" on neuroscience from the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. by Feb 2