For questions about the biology of the nervous system, from a macroscopic to microscopic perspective.

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22
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3answers
9k views

Why would the brain flip the images perceived by your eyes?

The following is a common scientific statement, which you don't have to google long for to find: The eye views images upside-down in the manner of a camera lens, but our brains reinterpret this ...
18
votes
1answer
565 views

Have the abilities of John Lorber's patients with limited cortical mass been further evaluated in adulthood?

Short of minor lesions or infarcts, most high-functioning adults have an intact cerebral cortex. Yet, a surprising result published anecdotally in Science in 1980 caused a lot of scientists to take ...
15
votes
2answers
699 views

What are current neuronal explanations and models of 'consciousness'?

I would like to understand more about consciousness from a neuroscientific perspective. I have a limited understanding of it in the philosophical/psychological sense through lectures. Although it is ...
14
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2answers
381 views

Do we understand the non-subjective mechanisms behind pleasure and pain?

If we are to view pleasure and pain as being essentially synonymous with the more mechanistic concept of reward and punishment (i.e. as a part of learning and motivation system) then do we understand ...
14
votes
2answers
270 views

How are newly created neurons recruited into existing networks?

As far as I understand, the basics of neurogenesis (abstracted down to the level that makes sense to a computer scientist) is as follows: Neural progenitor cells differentiate into new neurons that ...
14
votes
3answers
919 views

Why does neuroplasticity decrease in adults?

Although adult brains are malleable and even undergo limited neuorgenesis, the extent of the neuroplasticiy is much lower than in children. This is most obvious in language acquisition, and recovery ...
14
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1answer
353 views

How long should I work before taking a break?

I'd like to work as effectively as possible for 8-9 hours a day, whether at work or studying. At some point in completing my major in psych I remember hearing about the importance of taking breaks ...
13
votes
3answers
467 views

Research suggesting conscious control over brain region activation?

Has there been any research proving, disproving, or exploring the concept of conscious activation of specific brain regions? To elaborate on this: I've read that performing processing tasks causes ...
12
votes
4answers
579 views

If someone becomes a split-brain patient, which side will “maintain” the continuity in their consciousness?

The brain injury might apparently produce two "independent" consciousnesses, and I'm wondering where the original person's "consciousness" would "transfer". We had a debate on this over at Reddit ...
12
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3answers
398 views

Is there a better way to describe brain activity than EEG “brain waves”

I've been reading about EEG brain waves, which are specific waveforms that are observed on the EEG output, and are usually scored by humans. This concept has been around for quite some time. Is there ...
12
votes
1answer
332 views

Is there a region of cortex which over a period of development becomes the seat of self?

Background Mountcastle's hypothesis, which is based on the observation of uniform cortical anatomy, suggests that the there might be a uniform cortical "algorithm". The only reason that some cortical ...
12
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1answer
357 views

Modern replacement for Panksepp's “Affective Neuroscience” book?

Jaak Panksepp's book (Amazon link here) is a phenomenal and highly readable systems-based introduction to not only affective neuroscience, but the neuroscience of motivation in general. The problem ...
12
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1answer
225 views

Does cognitive training enhance dopamine release?

Joe Hardy reports on a study by Backman et al (2011) in Science, where from the authors report: Updating of working memory has been associated with striato-frontal brain regions and phasic ...
11
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2answers
619 views

What can we learn from the neural networks of C.elegans to understand human brains?

Recently I am reading some works about Caenorhabditis Elegans. A C.elegans has 302 neurons and we already know the function and connection of every one of their neurons so that we can exactly ...
11
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2answers
457 views

Biological plausibility of bayesian models of cognition

Inspired by this question: What are drawbacks to probabilistic models of cognition? I would like to know more about the biological plausibility of Bayesian models of cognition. Is there any neural ...
11
votes
2answers
239 views

What causes short-term dysphoria following intense pleasure?

I'm interested in the phenomenon of short term Dysphoria: Dysphoria is a state of feeling unwell or unhappy; a feeling of emotional and mental discomfort as a symptom of discontentment, ...
10
votes
3answers
362 views

What are the key examples of the use of computational methods in the study of biological neural networks?

In an upcoming postdoc, I'm going to be looking through biological neural network data in the hopes of finding some interesting "patterns". I'm coming at this field from a mathematics/computer ...
10
votes
2answers
522 views

What do the super-large brains of whales and elephants map to?

Elephants and whales have brains that are much larger than those of humans. It is presumed that much of their brain is used up for their larger bodies (after all, there is a allometric scaling between ...
10
votes
3answers
276 views

What is the term for a psychological effect which does not have a neurobiological/genetic basis?

When a psychological condition is the result of irregular brain structures or neurotransmitter imbalances we say the condition has a neurobiological basis; this is analogous to the classic Nature in ...
10
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3answers
164 views

What neural mechanism explains the tendency to visually attend to the whole scene before attending to details?

I have the intuition that human vision first attends to large-scale objects and then small-scale details. Is there any mechanism in the visual cortex that will explain this phenomenon? Is there a ...
10
votes
1answer
197 views

What is a reliable physiological measure (e.g., serotonin levels) of positive affect?

Is there a reliable physiological measure or correlate to positive affect? What does research say on this? I thought that serotonin levels are correlated with self-reported happiness levels, but, ...
10
votes
1answer
88 views

Has an upper-limit on the physical spacing represented by grid cells in Entorhinal cortex been probed?

There is considerable research reporting activity of unit recordings from grid cells in the Entorhinal cortex (e.g. [1]) - typically of rats running around in enclosed spaces. Is there any ...
10
votes
1answer
457 views

What form might Jungian archetypes take in the brain?

Modern psychology and psychiatry are very well grounded in scientific principles. Both, however, have a history in various analytical philosophies. Jung had the notion of an archetype, a universally ...
10
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1answer
213 views

What causes laughter?

I was looking at this video from VSauce: "Why did the chicken cross the road?", where several facts about this old joke are exposed and explained. At some point, (6:59) Michael explains that there is ...
10
votes
1answer
189 views

What structures in the brain are called upon to strengthen coupling between bilateral movements?

It is very difficult for the normally-coordinated person to be able to pat his/her head and rub his/her stomach at the same time (or pick a similar activity). It seems to be possible to maintain the ...
9
votes
3answers
272 views

How does the brain learn what something is for the first time?

I'm trying to understand how the idea of what a thing is originates in humans. For example, in computer science, it is possible to know what an object is and what it does, by examining its ...
9
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1answer
315 views

What are the major structures of the medial temporal lobe?

Basic question here from a behavioral researcher: What are the major structures of the medial temporal lobe (MTL)? Can anyone link to a good diagram of these structures?
9
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1answer
140 views

What is the difference between psychophysics and neurophysiology?

I'm an engineering student who is doing some subjective tests. What are the difference between psychophysics and neurophysiology? Is it correct that in the latter case, we have to implant to read ...
9
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1answer
141 views

Computational Model Linking Neural Activity to Behavior

A big question in neuroscience is how neural activity represents knowledge. We can use modelling to explore how different levels of neural activity- subthreshold currents, action potentials, local ...
9
votes
1answer
416 views

How does body temperature and oxygenation affect thinking ability?

I'm interested if the brain works better when the temperature is higher than usual and the amount of oxygen in the air is a bit lower than in fresh mountain air. This has been my personal experience. ...
9
votes
2answers
246 views

What are different ways to determine centroids of fMRI activation, their drawbacks and perks?

I'm reading an older article on bilingualism (Kim, Relkin, Lee, & Hirsch, 1997) for a seminar. They were interested in the spatial separation of two languages in early and late bilinguals. They ...
9
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1answer
142 views

Is there evidence that STDP is responsible for the ability to infer causation?

Spike timing dependent plasticity (STDP) is a property of synapses that modifies their efficacy based on timing relationships between action potentials in the pre-synaptic and post-synaptic neuron. A ...
9
votes
1answer
131 views

In C. elegans, which neuron has the largest span, and why is it this large?

The model organism C. elegans is about 1 mm in length. This is quite small. In fact, some C. elegans neurons span >25% of the length of its body (ref.). This observation leads me to the following ...
9
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1answer
181 views

What explains variability in the mean firing rate across biological neurons?

Biological neurons have a trade-off between high information transfer (high firing rate) and energy conservation (low firing rate). One would suspect that the maximization of this function has a ...
9
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0answers
82 views

How similar are human brains within the same haplogroup?

I've read about neuroscience and listen to talks like this one Juan Enriquez: Will our kids be a different species, I'm starting to realize that humans are not all the same, and are instead quite ...
8
votes
2answers
517 views

In what ways can neurons fire randomly?

When developing a model of a biologically-plausible neural network, it is important to know all the circumstances under which neurons can fire. But, I am limiting this question to random firing. In ...
8
votes
3answers
374 views

Neurotransmitter based imaging techniques

All the brain imaging techniques I know fall into two categories: Tracking blood Either by looking at the magnetic (fMRI), or near-infared absorption (diffuse optical imaging, NIRS) properties of ...
8
votes
1answer
79 views

What evidence is there that the adult brain can produce new neurons?

At school I was taught that the adult brain did not produce new neurons. That we had the maximum number of neurons and this would only diminish over time due to events, like head injuries, drinking ...
8
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1answer
226 views

Is performance reducible to brain activity in an unambiguous way?

As a preface, let me assume that the entirety of mental states and their corresponding behaviors in a person are entirely reducible to the physical activity of neurons sending a variety of chemicals ...
8
votes
1answer
244 views

How does neural spiking begin in the fetus?

I'm interested in modeling human brain spiking activity. How does the very first spiking activity begin in the fetus? I imagine all spiking activity is initiated by the senses and internal ...
8
votes
1answer
146 views

Can stress be detected by an fMRI?

How does stress damage the brain (if at all)? Is it akin to taking drugs, heavy drinking, or a minor stroke? Would an fMRI of a stressed person present evidence of stress?
8
votes
1answer
114 views

What is the role of traveling waves in circuit formation during cortical development?

Propagating waves of activity have been characterized in various regions of the brain such as the visual cortex (Nauhaus et al., 2012). Recently they have been reported for the first time to occur ...
8
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1answer
80 views

Have there been any mechanisms proposed for normalization in probabilistic population codes?

I heard a talk yesterday by Dora Angelaki about multi-sensory integration. Part of the talk was about bayesian inference with multiple noisy sources of information. I know that there has been a lot ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

How is fasting related to insomnia?

Yesterday I started a new diet using intermittent fasting. For this reason I only ate one meal all day. I was pretty surprised how well I passed that day: I studied a lot, did some sports and ...
7
votes
3answers
140 views

Is serotonin conclusively linked to depression?

Some highlights from this article: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2010/01/28/the-depressing-news-about-antidepressants.html ever since a seminal study in 1998, whose findings were ...
7
votes
2answers
299 views

Is an autistic person's brain different from a non-autistic one?

Are there any differences between the autistic person's brain and the non-autistic one? To be more specific, are there any differences in brain structure or brain activity, that can be used to ...
7
votes
2answers
86 views

Which are the multisensory brain areas?

What would be an example of a multisensory brain area, where multiple senses (e.g. smell and taste) are combined to decode the corresponding stimuli from more than one sensory organ? I was thinking ...
7
votes
1answer
109 views

Fusiform Face Area (FFA) for within class recognition?

Is there any evidence (papers, studies, etc) that the Fusiform Face Area is used for any other type of recognition besides facial recognition? I remember hearing or reading a long time ago that ...
7
votes
1answer
74 views

How does one study the effect of a dietary supplement on cognition?

I've really enjoyed this talk by Molly Crockett: Beware neuro-bunk. The speaker outlines the limitations of modern neuroscience when accessing the effectiveness of dietary supplements intended to ...
7
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1answer
95 views

Can processing effort for sub-tasks in neural networks be measured?

I often heard statements like: 80% of your brain processing is computing the effect of gravity or, similarily: You only use 20% of your brain power My question isn't about the truth of ...