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

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Are there any serious neuroscientific theories of emotional valence?

Could anyone tell me if there are any serious neuroscientific mechanisms that have been proposed to explain how feelings of body states take on a positive or negative character (valence)? An example ...
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1answer
75 views

Where in the brain is meaning extracted from visual information?

I am looking into several systems for improving learning speeds and ran into a question I seem unable to answer on my own: When we read a word, it somehow gets converted into it's abstract meaning. ...
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1answer
48 views

Number of presynaptic inputs per cell in primary visual cortex

I have been digging in the literature lately, but I haven't found a nice answer with clear cut numbers (avg +- std) to this question: How many presynaptic inputs receives a pyramidal cell in primary ...
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0answers
43 views

Can microdialysis be made in Drosophila melanogaster?

Microdialysis is a common method to study the effects of drugs on specific mamal brains zones (mostly in rats), in order to study the it's interaction with the function of those specific areas that ...
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2answers
113 views

How does subjective experience arise from matter?

Forgive me for lacking rigor, but if what I know is correct, it is established that consciousness and other higher functions characteristic of humans are a consequence of our cortex, specifically ...
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1answer
53 views

How actively does your brain physically prune connections?

Is pruning defined as neural apoptosis or are connections (neural synapses) simply separated? At what rate, if known, does this occur in individuals (ages 18+)?
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94 views

Can repetitive sports-related head injuries make a person senile many years later?

Would repetitive football injuries to the cranium show up decades later, causing symptoms resembling mild retardation, OCD, etc.? What is the best way to determine this in terms of imaging, testing, ...
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1answer
125 views

Why is it easier to fall asleep in the dark?

I'm curious if there is any neurological mechanism that explains why falling asleep is easier in the dark. I recognize that this isn't true universally -- a phobia of darkness might make it easier to ...
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1answer
111 views

How many synapses in the average human brain?

Knowing there are 100,000,000,000 neurons in an average human brain, and 7,000 dendrites in each neuron, and neurons are connected to each other by dendrites and axon terminals, how many synapses are ...
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1answer
58 views

What was the quantified brain volume of Albert Einstein?

I have read articles stating that Albert Einstein had an average brain volume but couldn't find a specific measurement. I'm curious because the articles are all so ambiguous. He could have been on the ...
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2answers
30 views

Are there any programmes to identify modular “NeuroBricks”?

In synthetic biology, an organization called the BioBricks Foundation tries to identify modular biological components that are amenable to engineering design, and publishes them in the Registry of ...
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0answers
38 views

How do ligands bind to and release from receptors?

I'm wondering exactly how ligands bind to and release from receptors. Until recently I presumed ligands were attracted to receptors through electrostatic forces with no chemical interaction involved, ...
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1answer
34 views

What are the neurobiological factors associated with intelligence in animals?

For example, is there a well-defined relationship between "number of neurons in the cortex" and some measure of "intelligence" in animals? I'm familiar with the encephalization quotient - that is, ...
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5answers
984 views

Why do scientists say brains are faster than computers?

Supposing that neurons function similarly to transistors: A neuron able to fire $200$ times per second and transistors can be switched on and off more than $100,000,000,000$ times per second. Let's ...
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1answer
51 views

Prerequisite Request: Neurorobotics [closed]

For the newly emerging field, Neurorobotics. Can one list several highly recommended prerequisite courses prior to entering this field ? Except for classical machine learning, computational ...
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0answers
60 views

Trying to understand equations in Karl Friston article

I am trying to understand a neuroscience article by Karl Friston. In it he gives three equations that are, as I understand him, equivalent or inter-convertible and refer to both physical and Shannon ...
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1answer
233 views

OCD Motivation and Dopamine Motivation, is there a connection?

I understand that OCD is something that causes sufferers to perform irrational behavour consciously, I also understand that the motivation comes from performing the irrational behaviour/behaviours to ...
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2answers
97 views

Why is it hard to simulate a neuron?

I read a NY Times article about the European effort to simulate a human brain and the criticism regarding the (non-)feasibility of such an endeavor (not to mention the astronomical costs). In this ...
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2answers
117 views

Difference between brain disease and brain disorder

Is there any difference between the terms brain disease and brain disorder? They are often used in combination without ...
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1answer
113 views

Importance of Neural Synchrony to Cognition

Is there a consensus on whether computation using Neural Synchrony is reasonable or not? In "How to Build a Brain", Chris Eliasmisth cites Yuko Munakata and R. C. O'Reilly as saying that "the ...
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1answer
95 views

How does an understanding of the brain explain why people experience strong emotional responses to major sporting events?

Anyone know studies or theories that explain how massive competition events between countries or parties, like the Soccer World Cup Tournament finals or Olympic Games affect our brains? Why do people ...
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1answer
361 views

Can the neuronal firing rate be increased through medication/diet?

My rudimentary understanding of the neuronal firing rate is that it varies person to person, and neuron to neuron. So any specific number for a firing rate would be specific to the test subject and ...
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1answer
55 views

If one is flexing a muscle, for any given motoneuron involved, how many action potentials occur per second to keep the muscle flexed?

Also, will the axon terminals in a given motoneuron ever run out of neurotransmitters to release if they are constantly undergoing action potentials (say in the situation outlined above where a muscle ...
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1answer
51 views

How is averaging used in calculating the Bereitschaftspotential?

I have a question about the averaging involved in the Bereitschaftspotential. On http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bereitschaftspotential you can read that, because it is so small, the ...
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2answers
125 views

Is learning and memory formation mostly comprised of new synapses forming, or already-existent synapses strengthening?

I'm guessing it may be some combination of the two. If so, which is the more frequent situation? I'm also guessing it varies depending on the type of memory being formed. Let's take for instance, my ...
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1answer
60 views

Law and its formula that says: more time organism working the slower (or less precise) the movements

What is the name of the law and the equation that says that "the more time an organism is working the slower (or less precise) its movements." ? I read once that there is a law in behavioral science ...
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Are axon terminals always part of a synapse, or are there any that just release neurotransmitters into the ether during an action potential?

By "ether" I mean to no post-synaptic cell in particular. If this is the case, how common is it for an axon terminal to not be part of a synapse? Related question: do axon terminals form only as ...
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120 views

Why do we have so many wishes and desires?

Two years ago I started to learn (as self-education) evolution theory and neurobiology for to understand - who we are and where we came from? Now I see clearly that we are our brains, which are the ...
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190 views

Where do our memories get stored and how are they retrieved again?

There is a common knowledge that several brain areas are involved in memory processes and each area is involved in a different aspect of memory. But where do our memories get stored and how are they ...
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66 views

How exactly does alcohol consumption damage dendrites?

How exactly does alcohol consumption damage dendrites? I'm not talking about over a long period of usage, but just one instance.
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2answers
106 views

Are the lobes of the brain anatomically distinct, or is the distinction between them not as well-defined?

If I had a brain in front of me, would I be able to find some kind of crevasse or something separately each lobe from the next? I guess what I'm asking is, are lobes more arbitrarily-defined regions ...
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2answers
511 views

Folding (wrinkles) in cortex: Why is surface area more important than volume?

When we look at the cortex of the brain, it has a folded structure. It is said that this is because this enables a greater number of neurons to exist, which is obviously advantageous. However, we ...
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1answer
86 views

How is epigenetic memory expressed in neurons?

Epigenetic memory is seen as the most evolutionarily plausible way of learning from experiences and gaining instinctual knowledge, as established by the answer to one of my previous questions. ...
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0answers
47 views

Why low audio frequencies seem to detune after an intense workout?

After a specially intense workout (biking, running...), listening to music with headphones, I hear the music pitch has dropped slightly. What I find odd is that not all parts of the sound are detuned, ...
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103 views

How fast is the visual system?

I've heard that the visual system is one of our slowest sensory systems. How fast is the visual system, and how does it compare to other sensory systems (auditory, mechanosensory, pain, etc.)? For ...
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55 views

Brain structures related to risk-taking behavior

I did a preliminary research on brain structures in which activity might underlie risk-taking behavior. I came to two research that described right prefrontal cortex (Knoch et al., 2006), or ...
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1answer
47 views

What exactly is the neurobiological mechanism behind the functioning of the human muscle?

From what I have read, its been given that muscle functioning and coordination involves two processes: frequency summation and muscle recruitment. What I want to know is that, do these two processes ...
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41 views

Is the Orch-OR Penrose-Hameroff model for consciousness sensible? [duplicate]

I would definitely consider myself a fan of Penrose, but I know very little about Hameroff. My questions, basically, are: Do you think that the theory seems sensible and well based? Why do you ...
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1answer
59 views

What is the metabolic load of the visual system?

The brain consumes energy at eight times the rate that would be predicted from mass alone (20% of total organismic load). How much of this is drawn from the visual system? How does the metabolic load ...
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1answer
95 views

What can be inferred about the strength of the synapse from an electron microscope image?

In the following EM image (1um scale), there are several synapses: Image or HD Version What information about the synaptic strengths can be extracted from this image? Does vesicle count contain ...
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3answers
168 views

What kinds of information can (and cannot) be extracted from connectome?

Several scientific projects are trying to map the connectome, such as The Human Connectome Project. The connectomes of other organisms, such as C. elegans, have been mapped already. Having an ...
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3answers
226 views

How are personality traits “encoded” in the brain?

How are personality traits – such as optimism, sensation seeking or need for cognition – "encoded" in the brain? Do people with different levels of, say, extraversion have different neuronal ...
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55 views

What is the relationship between topographic maps and sensory memory?

Sensory maps are defined functionally: they exist for a certain time window, are overwritten quickly, are generally inaccessible to introspective control. Topographic maps are defined biologically: ...
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122 views

Is Brain Sync music effective in increasing cognitive functioning? [duplicate]

From the website: BRAIN SYNC meditation CDs and guided imagery techniques are proven to significantly improve mental performance. In two decades, nearly 3 million Brain Sync users have ...
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0answers
190 views

How does the body experience free-fall during a hypnic jerk

Today I learned that a sudden jerk that you sometimes experience when you are just about to fall asleep due to a sense of free-fall or weightlessness is called a hypnic jerk. If, while sleeping, I ...
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1answer
317 views

What is the difference between computational neuroscience, theoretical neuroscience, and neuroinformatics (if there is one)?

In particular, theoretical and computational neuroscience seem to be synonymous with each other. Neuroinformatics at least seems to deal somewhat more with solving things numerically and the usage and ...
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2answers
41 views

Is pacemaker action potential considered a calcium dependent or sodium/calcium dependent?

Is a sinoatrial node action potential (AP) considered a Ca2+ dependent (No Na+) action potential? I was under the understanding that Ca2+ dependent APs were present only in Purkinje and endocrine ...
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1answer
28 views

The function of pumps in forming the resting potential

I am confused by the following. Apparently the resting potential of -65mV is reached when the two forces, diffusion and electrical gradient are in equilibrium. So why does the book say "The ...
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1answer
179 views

Why does optogenetics not mean that perfect brain-computer interfaces are possible?

There have been multiple articles and videos circulating on the Internet claiming that optogenetics has made it possible to have perfect input/output to the brain from a computer. This is obviously ...
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1answer
104 views

How do thoughts work at the neuron level?

How does thought work at the biological level of individual neurons? I believe there are many neurons which are active in the brain at the same time. For example, our senses are constantly taking in ...