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

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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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1answer
635 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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1answer
176 views

Physiological differences between brains of Conservatives and Liberals

I work for a non-profit research organization and I have been assigned to do research on this topic. I have been doing my best to find studies on this topic but every website and article seems to ...
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3answers
138 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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92 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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1answer
138 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
69 views

What is the lifetime of the synapse in the mature brain?

I know there is synaptic plasticity in the mature brain. There is a great number of plasticity mechanisms like LTD and LTP, acting on different time scales. Apart from the synaptic weight change, ...
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2answers
122 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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2answers
240 views

What brain skill does Nonogram (Picross) games develop?

I've been playing Nonogram Picross a lot lately. I really like it and you can always find a harder challenge but I would hate to waste my time for nothing. What brain skill does Nonogram (Picross) ...
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1answer
87 views

Does the Hodgkin-Huxley Model take into account the action of the ion pumps (e.g., Na-K-ATPase)?

After the firing of a neuron, the sodium and potassium concentration differences vanish. It requires some time for cell to actively transport the ions in and out to re-establish the balance. Does ...
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66 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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57 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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106 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
513 views

How can motivation be increased by improving brain chemistry with nutrition and activities?

I'm reading some material about motivation and brain chemistry. One of the interesting articles is "7 Ways to Increase Motivation by Improving your Brain Chemistry". I'm interested in a more ...
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2answers
203 views

Does each sensory neuron type have a characteristic spike sequence pattern?

Background It is known that all sensory information is input to the brain as neural spike sequences. Now, to distinguish between the spike sequences generated by retinal red/blue/green cone cells ...
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2answers
70 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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1answer
77 views

MRI images upside-down in FSLVIEW

I'm visualizing structural data in FSLVIEW, but the sagittal and coronal planes are both upside-down / not in the conventional orientation, i.e. rotated by 90º and 180º. I understand that this ...
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1answer
68 views

What does a cortical column do?

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 does a cortical column do? I ...
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1answer
145 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, ...
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1answer
123 views

What neurobiological changes are associated with the end of the critical period in children?

Developing children are in a critical period during which they are much better at learning certain tasks like speaking a language. After the critical period ends, children have a qualitatively more ...
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41 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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0answers
71 views

Does data support Domhoff's neurocognitive theory of dreams?

Background: A friend described consistent feelings and themes during a dream. It is my understanding that the contents of our dreams are our subconscious/unconscious/preconscious processing stimuli ...
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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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110 views

What biological processes occur when you love someone romantically? [closed]

How can romantic love be described by scientists?
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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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159 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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283 views

Is human Central Nervous System arousal related to choice of activity?

I'm interested in learning more about the central nervous system (CNS) arousal and the choice of what people do and how they feel about it. Lets define CNS arousal in the context of this question as ...
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1answer
191 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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152 views

What are the effects of implanting electrodes into the brains of monkeys?

If one implants electrodes into a monkey's brain in order to allow the monkey to control a mechanical arm, then is the monkeys able to move both it's natural and it's mechanical arms at once? What ...
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3answers
132 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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2answers
86 views

Does a person experience release of dopamine while doing something she/he enjoys?

I am wondering if a person would experience an increase in the level of dopamine while doing something she/he enjoys such as playing guitar or reading a book. And what are some other neurotransmitter ...
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1answer
430 views

How does posture affect cerebral blood flow?

This is a follow-up question to an answer on Quora: In the upright posture, venous outflow is considerably less pulsatile (57%) and occurs predominantly through the vertebral plexus, while in ...
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2answers
106 views

Neurosurgically grown neural link between two brains?

I guess it's possible to surgically restore neural connection after a trauma (e.g. a severed hand can be reattached if done quickly). And, from history of evolution of hominids, it seems that just by ...
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2answers
161 views

Does law of attraction have psychological basis? [closed]

A common claim in business and self-help seminars is that optimists are luckier. Is it true that optimism leads to greater success in life? If so, what part of the brain support this so called ...
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1answer
117 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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1answer
147 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
75 views

How can pain sensations appear to originate within the person's skull?

I've read that humans have some sort of a kinesthetic model of their body and muscles. This internal representation of the body is used to control and coordinate locomotion. I don't remember if ...
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1answer
45 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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1answer
136 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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1answer
148 views

Neuroplasticity and Treatment of Depression

After reading 'The Brain That Changes Itself' by Norman Doidge, 'The Mind and The Brain' by Jeffrey Schwartz and a few other books, I've become curious about the science of neuroplasticity, which, as ...
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1answer
78 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
43 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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2answers
31 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
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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2answers
115 views

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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27 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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1answer
47 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
122 views

Why do the hemispheres of the brain control the opposite sides of the body?

History of question: This previous question asked about both hemispheric specialisation and control of opposite sides of the body. The point was made that these are two very different questions. So ...
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1answer
78 views

What causes a muscle to be unsteady?

I have noticed for myself that sometimes, certain muscles may become unsteady. Here are three examples: Sometimes it is more difficult to hold my hand still in the air. Another example is how my ...
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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 ...