How is the brain like a guitar? Hint: It is all about rhythm

Typically we are introduced to the nervous system by analogy to an electrical circuit, like a door bell or a telephone line carrying a signal rapidly over long distances to activate a specific process.  Never mind that electrical impulses are not transmitted through nerve axons anything like electrons flowing through a copper wire, this electronic circuit analogy is useful up to a point.    If you want to understand how the brain works at a more complex level, you are going to need a new analogy, and if you play an acoustic guitar you’ll find it under your fingertips.

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Posted in About Neuroscience, by Douglas Fields, Cell Communication, Educators, Epilepsy, Learning and Memory, Neural Network Function, Psychiatric Disorders, Senses and Perception, Sleep, Technologies, Uncategorized
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Sharks use ESP

As the water warms in summer, beachgoers flock to the ocean and thoughts of “jaws” inevitably surface. A shark’s ability to home in on the scent of blood is legendary, but many people are surprised to learn that sharks have a stealthy sixth sense to find prey and explore the world around them. Sharks have the ability to sense an electric aura that surrounds all creatures in seawater–including people. Continue reading

Posted in Animal Research, by Douglas Fields, Neuroanatomy, Senses and Perception, Sensing, Thinking & Behaving, Stress and Anxiety
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Book Review: Consciousness and the Brain

Every ten years the scientific study of consciousness passes a milestone. A decade ago the milestone was the publication of Chrisof Koch’s book “Quest for Consciousness” (2004). “Quest” established the groundwork for a scientific approach to the study of consciousness and described progress using techniques of neuroscience and experimental psychology1. Stenislas Dehaene’s book “Consciousness and the Brain: Deciphering how the Brain Codes our Thoughts” presents a mass of new data and along with new theory. I believe it is a major consolidation; a milestone marking the trail forward for the next decade. Continue reading

Posted in Awareness and Attention, by John Kubie, Senses and Perception
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NEURO.tv Episode 8 – The Function and Evolution of the Visual System.

How does the visual system process information from the outside world and what are the rules that constrain the evolution of sensory systems? We discuss these questions with Dale Purves, Geller Professor of Neurobiology at Duke University. Continue reading

Posted in Authors, Awareness and Attention, Brain Basics, by Jean-Francois Gariepy, by John Kubie, by Leanne Boucher, by Steven Miller, Neuroanatomy, Senses and Perception, Sensing, Thinking & Behaving
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LEGO Freedom

(Minor spoiler alert for those of you who haven’t seen The LEGO Movie)

It is always interesting when an academic debate in philosophy coincides with the release of a blockbuster movie on the same issue. In the last couple of months, a series of texts and comments on free will and moral responsibility were published by some prominent psychologists and philosophers, including Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Paul Bloom, Jerry Coyne, as well as Tamler Sommers and David Pizarro. Meanwhile The LEGO Movie, a clever allegorical metaphor on freedom and creativity, generated 69 million dollars within its first opening weekend in cinemas. Continue reading

Posted in Authors, Brain Basics, by Jean-Francois Gariepy, Evolution, In Society, Neuroethics, Senses and Perception, Sensing, Thinking & Behaving
Posted by Jean-François Gariépy        2 Comments