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

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Is variation in human brain size related to mental functioning?

It seems that the head size of human beings has evolved to be relatively similar, yet there is still some amount of variation. While I'm sure the correlation is not absolute, I read that larger heads ...
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128 views

Does electricity pass through synapse?

As far as I understand, when a neuron fires the action potential generated in a cell body reaches only the presynaptic part of the synapse, then triggers the transmitter to pass through the gap, and ...
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177 views

How do neurons decide how to alter their output signals?

In computer science, neural networks are trained using backpropagation and other methods. Backpropagation heavily relies on mathematical formulas to describe how the weights should be changed ...
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263 views

Why does a neuron choose to connect to another?

I have been reading about neuron creation, guidance cues and all sorts of highly complex mechanisms used to allow one neuron axon to extend or connect - but to what end? Why does one neuron end up ...
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172 views

What does daytime actigraphy reveal about an active and awake brain?

I have interest in the study of human motion ( Actigraphy), and have built a couple of smartphone apps using its principles. The apps look at gross motor activity of an individual. Up until now, most ...
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574 views

Why is MATLAB so common in Neuroscience?

It is common knowledge that neuroscience -- particularly experimental neuroscience -- uses MATLAB more than any other programming language. I have always just taken this as a given, and pointed to ...
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140 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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2k views

Why is the order of white/grey matter different in the brain and spinal cord?

In the brain proper, grey matter forms the outer layer of the brain, and white matter forms the inner layer. In the spine, this is reversed: white matter forms the outer layer of the spine, and grey ...
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79 views

Do the colour blind have a distinct visual cortex structure?

Studying the structure of the visual cortex, it seems there are many neural structures specifically dedicated to detecting and interpreting colour. For example, parvocellular cells are particularly ...
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88 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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73 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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165 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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258 views

Measuring changes in hemispheric dominance over time

I've recently started using my trackball left-handed after being right-handed my whole life. The motivation is partly to balance out wrist strain, and partly to see how much my brain rejects the idea. ...
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86 views

Are the human cerebral hemispheres only connected via the corpus callosum?

Are the human cerebral hemispheres only connected via the corpus callosum? Or is there any other structure for interaction between the left and right hemispheres?
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116 views

What is the neurophysiological mechanism behind double hearing?

A patient with sensorineural hearing loss can have the symptom of hearing "double" in the damaged ear. Not having a time-delayed echo, but hearing as if he (or other people) speak with "two voices" at ...
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1answer
106 views

Visual acuity and offset stimuli

I'm currently setting up and experiment that utilises a visual search task that contains a circular array of target letters and a distractor that falls outside the circle. Obviously the further away ...
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1answer
587 views

Neurotransmitters appearance in the evolutionary process

Recently I disagreed with the assumption, that lots of neurotransmitters came within recent 10,000 years of Homo Sapiens evolution. Judging from the available information sources, there is possibility ...
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1answer
140 views

Introductory resources on developmental psychology/neuroscience

I'd like to be able to answer questions such as: What neuro/psychological functions underly competences such as empathy (or others - see background below)? What neurotransmitters are of particular ...
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98 views

How would the blind experience a hallucinogen like LSD?

I have heard that LSD allows you to see ridiculous things. But they are things that you have seen, or can imagine to see. If you've never seen before (like a blind person), what effect will LSD have ...
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302 views

Grid cells : Between what is the correlation of autocorrelogram measured?

In their seminal paper Hafting, Torkel, et al. "Microstructure of a spatial map in the entorhinal cortex." Nature 436.7052 (2005): 801-806.‏ the Mosers have discovered the grid cells. To show the ...
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170 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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60 views

Is the ordering of Brodmann areas arbitrary?

A single Brodmann area is defined based off cellular composition. Are the Brodmann areas ordinal, and if so for what reason? (e.g. is there something that makes Brodmann area 1 the "first one", and ...
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96 views

What functional purpose does a cortical column serve?

The Blue Brain project led by Henry Markram focused on simulating cortical columns under the idea they form basic processing units of the brain/cognitive function. What functional purpose does a ...
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343 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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302 views

How are qualia localized in consciousness?

I understand that evolution incorporated arbitrary qualia into the default network to inform consciousness (the largest cranial global processing information subnetwork) about properties and qualities ...
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103 views

Could ketosis be therapeutic for ADHD based on the neuro-energetic theory of attention?

I'm a complete neuroscience novice so please bear with me. One of the more interesting theories of the etiology of ADHD that I've read posits that the disorder may be one of neuroenergetics - the ...
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224 views

Why does anger “clouds the mind”?

There are a lot of anecdotes on frustration and anger inhibiting judgement and problem solving. Examples include "anger clouds the mind" in pop culture or in programming - "if you're stuck on a ...
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218 views

What is the neurobiological basis of the “inner voice” used for thought or reading?

I've recently experienced a number of hypnogogic near sleep states characterized by change in thinking (stage 1-2 sleep). I noticed that if I let go and get absorbed in the state, I can follow it. I ...
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60 views

How much of brain power consumption is for information

As previously answered on this site, the brain uses 20W of power. However, how much of this power consumption is for information processing and how much of it is for maintenance of biological ...
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1answer
89 views

How does it come about that specific areas of the brain are associated with specific functions?

During the development of the human brain, specific areas come to perform specific functions. How (and when) does this differentiation come about? Presumably, some areas of the brain naturally take ...
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52 views

How many thalamocortical relay cells synapse onto each spiny stellate cell in neocortex?

I am curious about how many different thalamocortical relay cells synapse onto each layer IV spiny stellate cell, on average? The answer is likely to be different per region and species, of course. I ...
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38 views

Does the brain generate identical words in different languages similarly?

Saying (or even just thinking) a word or phrase results from activity in multiple regions of your brain. Of course, we can measure/'map' this activity to some degree; From wikipedia: EEG measures ...
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66 views

What are the common nutritional deficiencies in western countries related to reduced mental performance? [closed]

What are the common nutritional deficiencies in western countries related to reduced mental performance ? I've heard about omega 3, folid acid, and vitamin D deficiencies, the last two are now reduced ...
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133 views

How can I test whether Dorsal Raphe Nucleus(DRN) activity at night is related to variations in mood?

I'm reading this paper, which discusses Serotonin activity in the Dorsal Ralphe Nucleus(DRN), and even includes some mathematical models of how serotonin is released and reabsorbed. The paper states ...
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408 views

Theoretical limit to the use of mental faculty of the brain

A lot of articles stress the importance of having to train the brain (By training the brain, I mean the cognitive faculty of the brain for learning things and not brain's normal functions) since the ...
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Where is the visual “image” that we “see” finally assembled?

David Hubel's online book, Eye, Brain and Vision describes in great detail our early visual system. The image that we are conscious of when we open our eyes goes through a complex path: The final ...
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145 views

Is there a complete cortico-cortical connectivity map based on a useful partitioning of the cortex?

I have something like Brodmann Areas in mind, but any complete list of cortex regions would do. I'm primarily interested in human brains here. Ultimately I'd like enough information to be able to ...
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1answer
148 views

Is there a biological limit for “amount” of happiness?

I have heard about neurotransmitters like dopamin and serotonin that are supposed to play a role in our feeling of happiness. I don't know how these chemicals works in our brain, but I am thinking ...
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151 views

Sensitivity of human eye to luminance

I heard once that the human eye has a logarithmic scale for luminance, e.g. to "feel" that a surface is three times as luminous compared to another, the former emits a light 8 times more powerful than ...
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91 views

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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1answer
52 views

Does synesthesia lack symmetry?

Some synesthetes report seeing bright flashes when hearing a loud noise. However, in the same person, bright flashes of light are not reported as being loud. I've read of other examples like this; ...
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1answer
70 views

How is averaging used in calculating the Bereitschaftspotential?

I have a question about the averaging involved in the Bereitschaftspotential. On the wiki page you can read that, because it is so small, the Bereitschaftspotential only becomes apparent after ...
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218 views

Are there useful applications for three channel consumer EEG?

I stumbled upon the consumer EEG Melon (at Kickstarter). It has three electrodes and is advertised as measuring how "focused" you are. In the FAQ it says: The Melon headband has three electrodes. ...
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1answer
55 views

How does architecture impact cognition and mental health?

Research indicates that scenic, natural environments positively impact human health and mental well-being [1][2]. But what about the impact of man-made architecture and various architectural styles on ...
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1answer
84 views

Are there studies on the effect of nicotine patches on dream vividness and dream recall?

Acetylcholine plays an important role during REM Sleep. I cite an answer to the question "Why do dreams lose clarity quickly over time after we awaken?": Activity in the PFC during sleep may be ...
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1answer
56 views

What are 'gap junctions' (electrical synapses) for?

I was reading this and I found the following sentences: Apart from chemical synapses neurons can also be coupled by electrical synapses, so-called gap junctions. Specialized membrane proteins make ...
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1answer
66 views

Predictive Experiments on Neuroscience of Free Will

It seems to be very interesting that we can use modern neuroscience and cognitive science research to inform us about the ages-old question of free-will vs. determinism. The standard experiment was ...
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1answer
363 views

What's the difference between executive functions and cognitive control?

I suspect that the difference between these terms may vary from researcher to researcher, since the wikipedia page treats them as synonymous. What's the difference between executive functioning and ...
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1answer
88 views

Difference in frequencies of mistakes between use of left-right vs. up-down

I have no hard data, but from my personal experience in people specifying right or left directions (similarly east or west) and up or down (north or south, top or bottom), people frequently make ...
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1answer
488 views

What are the effects of social rejection on the brain?

What are the effects of social rejection on the brain? If the external circumstance can not change, how can the impact on the brain be reduced? What is the average sensitivity to social rejection ...