Neuroscience of free will Neuroscience of free will is the part of neurophilosophy that studies the interconnections between free will and neuroscience. As it has become possible to study the living brain, researchers have begun to watch decision making processes at work. Findings could carry implications for our sense of agency and for moral responsibility and the role of consciousness in general. Relevant findings include the pioneering study by Benjamin Libet and its subsequent redesigns; these studies were able to detect activity related to a decision to move, and the activity appears to begin briefly before people become conscious of it. Other studies try to predict activity before overt action occurs. Taken together, these various findings show that at least some actions - like moving a finger - are initiated unconsciously at first, and enter consciousness afterward. A monk meditates. Overview
Neurotheology: This Is Your Brain On Religion Principles of NeurotheologyBy Andrew B. NewbergPaperback, 284 pagesAshgateList price: $29.95 "Neurotheology" is a unique field of scholarship and investigation that seeks to understand the relationship specifically between the brain and theology, and more broadly between the mind and religion. As a topic, neurotheology has garnered substantial attention in the academic and lay communities in recent years. Several books have been written addressing the relationship between the brain and religious experience and numerous scholarly articles have been published on the topic.
Embodied Cognition Embodied Cognition is a growing research program in cognitive science that emphasizes the formative role the environment plays in the development of cognitive processes. The general theory contends that cognitive processes develop when a tightly coupled system emerges from real-time, goal-directed interactions between organisms and their environment; the nature of these interactions influences the formation and further specifies the nature of the developing cognitive capacities. Since embodied accounts of cognition have been formulated in a variety of different ways in each of the sub-fields comprising cognitive science (that is, developmental psychology, artificial life/robotics, linguistics, and philosophy of mind), a rich interdisciplinary research program continues to emerge. Table of Contents
120 Ways to Boost Your Brain Power Here are 120 things you can do starting today to help you think faster, improve memory, comprehend information better and unleash your brain’s full potential. Solve puzzles and brainteasers.Cultivate ambidexterity. Use your non-dominant hand to brush your teeth, comb your hair or use the mouse. Write with both hands simultaneously. Switch hands for knife and fork.Embrace ambiguity. Religion May Cause Brain Atrophy Faith can open your mind but it can also cause your brain to shrink at a different rate, research suggests. Researchers at Duke University Medical Centre in the US claim to have discovered a correlation between religious practices and changes in the brains of older adults. The study, published in the open-access science journal, Public Library of Science ONE, asked 268 people aged 58 to 84 about their religious group, spiritual practices and life-changing religious experiences. Changes in the volume of their hippocampus, the region of the brain associated with learning and memory, were tracked using MRI scans, over two to eight years. Protestants who did not identify themselves as born-again were found to have less atrophy in the hippocampus region than did born-again Protestants, Catholics or those with no religious affiliation. Although the brain tends to shrink with age, atrophy in the hippocampus has been linked with depression and Alzheimer's disease.
Out of Our Brains The Stone is a forum for contemporary philosophers and other thinkers on issues both timely and timeless. Where is my mind? The question — memorably posed by rock band the Pixies in their 1988 song — is one that, perhaps surprisingly, divides many of us working in the areas of philosophy of mind and cognitive science. Look at the science columns of your daily newspapers and you could be forgiven for thinking that there is no case to answer. We are all familiar with the colorful “brain blob” pictures that show just where activity (indirectly measured by blood oxygenation level) is concentrated as we attempt to solve different kinds of puzzles: blobs here for thinking of nouns, there for thinking of verbs, over there for solving ethical puzzles of a certain class, and so on, ad blobum. (In fact, the brain blob picture has seemingly been raised to the status of visual art form of late with the publication of a book of high-octane brain images. )
7 Skills To Become Super Smart People aren’t born smart. They become smart. And to become smart you need a well-defined set of skills. Here are some tips and resources for acquiring those skills. Neural oscillation Neural oscillation is rhythmic or repetitive neural activity in the central nervous system. Neural tissue can generate oscillatory activity in many ways, driven either by mechanisms within individual neurons or by interactions between neurons. In individual neurons, oscillations can appear either as oscillations in membrane potential or as rhythmic patterns of action potentials, which then produce oscillatory activation of post-synaptic neurons. At the level of neural ensembles, synchronized activity of large numbers of neurons can give rise to macroscopic oscillations, which can be observed in the electroencephalogram (EEG). Oscillatory activity in groups of neurons generally arises from feedback connections between the neurons that result in the synchronization of their firing patterns. The interaction between neurons can give rise to oscillations at a different frequency than the firing frequency of individual neurons.
Can't relax? It's all in your mind: Research shows stopping a thought puts more strain on the brain (PhysOrg.com) -- Turns out, relaxing is exhausting—which could by why so many people struggle to unplug from work during vacation. According to mathematicians at Case Western Reserve University, stopping a thought burns more energy than thinking-like stopping a truck on a downhill slope. "Maybe this explains why it is so tiring to relax and think about nothing," says Daniela Calvetti, professor of mathematics and one of the authors of a new brain study published in an advanced online publication of the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism. Since opening up the brain for detailed monitoring isn't exactly practical, Calvetti teamed up with fellow mathematics professor Erkki Somersalo and Rossana Occhipinti, a postdoctoral researcher in physiology and biophysics, to create a computer model of brain metabolism.
Psst! The Human Brain Is Wired For Gossip hide captionLearning juicy details about someone can change the way you see them — literally, according to a new study. August Darwell/Getty Images Hearing gossip about people can change the way you see them — literally. Sympathetic nervous system The sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system are parts of what is commonly called the autonomic nervous system. (Autonomic = can not be controlled by the mind). You can say that these systems work in balance with each other and directly or indirectly affect almost every structure in the body (e.g. heartfrequence, heartcapacity, lumbar function, kidneys, blood vessels, stomach and intestines) The sympathetic nervous system has an active "pushing" function, the parasympathetic has mainly a relaxing function. The sympathetic nervous system is located to the sympathetic chain, which connects to skin, blood vessels and organs in the body cavity. The sympathetic chain is located on both sides of the spine and consists of ganglias.