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

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Why neural architecture is not hardwired for N-dimensional vision but hardwired for abstract math?

In The Theoretical Minimum, in lecture 1, Leonard Susskind says that you can only visualize 3 dimentional images. (see yourself). Therefore, he says, in order to deal with N dimensions, you need to ...
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2answers
608 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 ...
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2answers
126 views

Is it possible to objectively measure the amount of pleasure a person is experiencing?

I'd like to know if it's possible to quantify somebody's "fun meter". Maybe by measuring the amount of endorphin produced. Because every person is unique, I don't expect that amount to make another ...
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3answers
266 views

Non coitus sexual activity and the brain

Most animals will only engage in sexual activity that can result in reproduction. There are some exceptions; Bonobos, for instance, engage in a lot of sexual activity that does not involve coitus. ...
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1answer
98 views

What are the neurological mechanisms behind risking one's own life for another?

Every so often, we hear of people who go that extra mile and put their life on the line (and sometimes, give their life) for another person - whether it is a loved one or a complete stranger ...
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1answer
107 views

When a person starts to scratch, why does this often start others to scratch?

Often, when a person starts scratching and complains of being itchy, whether they suggest there might be a bug biting them (for example fleas, head lice, mites) another person with them will start to ...
3
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1answer
59 views

Where to find published results of positive psychology cancer treatment study mentioned in Martin Seligman's book?

In Dr. Martin Seligman's book, "Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life", there was mention of a study involving teaching cancer patients to fight learned helplessness. I believe this ...
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1answer
107 views

How does chronic stress improve memory processes?

There seems to be more information on the detrimental effects of stress on memory. There is evidence to the contrary. Stress effects on memory: an update and integration. Schwabe L, et al doi: ...
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1answer
85 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 ...
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0answers
90 views

Why does strobe lighting trigger seizures in photosensitive epilepsy?

Photosensitive epilepsy (PSE) is a form of epilepsy in which seizures are triggered by visual stimuli that form patterns in time or space, such as flashing lights, bold, regular patterns, or ...
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3answers
199 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 ...
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3answers
161 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 ...
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1answer
445 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 ...
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1answer
274 views

Studies linking brain chemistry to sexual infidelity

This study Oxytocin Modulates Social Distance between Males and Females examines the effects of Oxytocin (OXT) on men in monogamous relationships. It demonstrates that OXT assists in maintaining ...
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0answers
90 views

Is dominance a hypothetical construct or is it based in neurobiology?

There are several personality tests which have dominance as trait or type as result. In addition to this question: How to measure dominance and submissiveness? How are dominant types constructed in ...
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1answer
706 views

How do we get used to smells?

How do we get used to smells? For example, you walk into a room with a certain stench, but it seems no matter how strong it may be, spending enough time in the room will allow you to stop smelling ...
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111 views
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163 views

Plot a schematic outline of the brain

I know that I can read, write and analyse different type of brain scanning data using various Medical Imaging Tools available for R. But I am looking for something very simple - a possibility to just ...
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1answer
362 views

What is the relationship between sociology and cognitive sciences?

I want to know what is the relationship between sociology and cognitive sciences. Let me start by short consideration of both: Sociology - well established discipline or a field of research ...
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1answer
163 views

What is the neurological mechanism responsible for losing one's temper?

I'd imagine that losing one's temper is quite normal, I can not think of anyone who has not experienced it. For me, it is rare, but does happen, I find that there can be 3 broad stages occur (note: ...
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65 views

Can “7 deadly sins/virtues” be explained in terms of brain hormone level or receptor mutations? [closed]

I'm thinking about this question on biology.se: do hormones make men think of sex? From the interview linked in the answer, I get two takeaways: a man who lost most testosterone for 4 months ...
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2answers
284 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, ...
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51 views

What are the neurobiological mechanisms behind clumsiness

Some people are inherently clumsy (including your's truly). Everything from frequently stubbing their toes to, as in my case 2 days ago, falling down a single step and managing to crack a rib and ...
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1answer
129 views

What causes lack of energy? The relative importance of testosterone versus emotional, genetic, and environmental factors

Some people assume that males lack of energy because of low testosterone. I would think that lack of energy could be due to esteem levels, emotional abuse, low self-worth, and even genetics to some ...
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1answer
141 views

What are the neurobiological triggers for sleepwalking?

This phenomena has always fascinated me, ever since my parents told me (and filmed me) doing exactly that - sleepwalking. I have read the pamphlet "Sleepwalking" from the Sleep Health Foundation, ...
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1answer
257 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 ...
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1answer
69 views

Is the process of long term potentiation (LTP) definitively linked with brain plasticity?

Given that the process of Long Term Potentiation (LTP) is one of the processes that increases synaptic efficacy: Is it reasonable to conclude that the process of LTP is sufficient and necessary to ...
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1answer
85 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 ...
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1answer
174 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?
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1answer
151 views

Does reading a book out loud make you better in social situations?

Suppose a person reads a book out loud for 1 hour straight. Would this "exercise" the parts of the brain involved in speech? Would this make the person a better communicator in social situations?
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1answer
90 views

Dopamine deficiency more frequent in the addiction prone?

I found this clip about dopamine deficiency. ...[P]eople with low dopamine activity may be more prone to addiction. Is the reverse also true? Does susceptibility to addiction (genetic, etc.) ...
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1answer
225 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 ...
6
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1answer
104 views

What are the neurological differences between those who have a high tolerance to pain and those who do not?

I am curious to learn what are the neurological differences between those that have a high tolerance to pain than to those that do not. Specifically, by high tolerance to pain, I am referring to ...
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52 views

To what degree does environment govern the severity of symptoms in schizophrenia?

From what I understand about the physiology of schizophrenia it is thought to be caused by chemical imbalances resulting from genetic factors, fueled by environmental factors. I've garnered that ...
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2answers
204 views

Neural basis of primitive (newborn) reflexes

The Wikipedia article on primitive reflexes, or newborn reflexes, states that they originate in the CNS. Here's the list of reflexes from the article: Moro Walking/stepping Rooting Sucking Tonic ...
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1answer
71 views

Are there neurological conditions that can be worsened by B group vitamins?

I know that vitamins B6 and B12 are very important for the brain function, and both are involved in metabolism of homocysteine. Buildup of homocysteine has been associated with cognitive impairment. ...
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3answers
144 views

Abstract idealized mental visualization improves motor task performance

I practice martial arts (Aikido), which involves a lot of rotation. When practicing, I find that holding an abstract image in my head, instead of thinking about the actual technique, improves my ...
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1answer
129 views

How is light processed by the human brain when awake and in dreams?

I've recently seen this great video: How your brain tells you where you are. The video discusses how certain cells within the brain fire based on proximity to objects. There are great examples of ...
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2answers
99 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 ...
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1answer
175 views

Transsexuality in animals other than humans?

In some research papers, transsexuality is correlated with measurable differences in brain structure. For example: Zhou et al. (1995) inspected the central subdivision of the bed nucleus of the ...
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1answer
115 views

Classic cognitive neuroscience studies that highlight conclusions that could not be drawn from behavioral experiments

Background: I studied psychology prior to going into cognitive neuroscience for my PhD. While I know my own area in depth, I lack the kind of broad overview that people who have done their Masters in ...
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74 views

Do widespread brain toxins explain violence rates?

Saw this: http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/01/lead-crime-link-gasoline Lead emissions from tailpipes rose steadily from the early '40s through the early '70s, nearly quadrupling over ...
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1answer
151 views

How do SSRIs work?

I've found a reasonable explanation on Wikipedia... SSRIs are believed to increase the extracellular level of the neurotransmitter serotonin by inhibiting its reuptake into the presynaptic cell, ...
8
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1answer
122 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 ...
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2answers
210 views

How would synapses behave if resting potential was zero?

Assuming that the resting potential is zero and the other mechanisms were exactly the same, how would it affect the generation of spikes in terms of excitatory and inhibitory postsynaptic ...
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3answers
245 views

Getting started with EEG data

I want to get started with getting signals from EEG and learning on how I can read data. I have some programming skills, so designing a database and manipulating data with ruby (python seems also ...
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1answer
130 views

Does every human brain have the same shape?

Apart from the general structure (6 layer cortex, same areas, etc.) does every brain have the exact same number and arrangement of sulci, gyri, etc? Do these elements have the same shape?
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0answers
59 views

When did neurotransmitters derived from monoamines first appear in evolutionary history?

When did neurotransmitters derived from monoamines first appear in evolutionary history? What are main the points in evolution for monoamines based on the neurotransmitter system ? Edition I'm ...
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1answer
120 views

Can prolonged neural adaptation lead to HPPD?

The human brain adapts to a constant stimulus of our neural system. For instance, if we ride a train and look out of the window for a long time and the train stops, we have the feeling of slowly ...
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87 views

What is the mechanism behind unihemispheric sleep in animals?

It is known that dolphins have the ability to sleep with only one half of their brain at a time. According to this popular science source: Dolphins sleep by resting one half of their brain at a ...