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

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How does the brain learn abstract maths?

I have found quite a bit of information of how, on a neurological level, we learn the most basic forms of maths. We seem to be hardwired from the get go, to deal with manageable quantities, can ...
3
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2answers
283 views

Neural Microfilaments for Computation?

I just watched an interesting TED talk (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1d5RetvkkuQ) where a Stuart Hameroff proposes that a neuron's microtubules are responsible for computations, and that they are ...
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76 views

Structural descriptions of neuronal networks are important for understanding brain dysfunctions; which dysfunctions, in particular?

In a recent paper, we find this quote: The brain contains vast numbers of interconnected neurons that constitute anatomical and functional networks. Structural descriptions of neuronal network ...
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1answer
426 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 ...
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94 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

How to make diagnosis of these symptoms using Pet scan, fMRI, and EEG?

The symptoms are muscle weakness, slow reaction time, visual perception issues, seizures, hearing loss, weight gain, general sense of pain and delusions. Using the above scanning techniques, a doctor ...
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2answers
104 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
80 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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1answer
156 views

How many calories do we burn when we try to understand mathematical proofs?

While thinking we burn calories. For comparison: "And if it’s the right wood and the right chess grand masters in the middle of a tournament, they are going through 6,000 to 7,000 calories a day ...
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1answer
81 views

Are connections in the human brain directed?

Do connections in our brain have a direction, or do they behave equally in both directions? I am especially interested in the structures responsible for memory.
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101 views

What is the neurobiological basis of Spearman general factor of intelligence?

I found here a brief intro to genetic factor of human intelligence: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1036362 Also there is known that gyrus hipocampii is basis of STM which have role in general ...
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62 views

Diagram of the peripheral nervous system of different animals? [closed]

Can anyone recommend a good resource (free or paid) for finding detailed images of the nervous systems of various animals? In particular I am looking for images of the peripheral nervous system of ...
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69 views

What is the neurological mechanism behind the feelings associated with loneliness?

Loneliness can be debilitating, and the feelings associated with it can be overwhelming, including feeling 'cold inside', sad, hopeless and even helpless. Many things can 'cause' loneliness', both ...
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125 views

What are the neurological differences between varying types of love?

It stands to reason that the biochemical cascade involved when a person experiences love, gives a feeling of well-being and drive. Studies in neuroscience have involved chemicals that are present ...
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2answers
130 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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2answers
150 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
325 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
116 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
146 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 ...
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67 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
114 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
88 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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3answers
245 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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197 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
560 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
371 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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95 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
1k 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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184 views

Plot a schematic outline of the brain [closed]

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
546 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
176 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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78 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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57 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
229 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
300 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
70 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
95 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
247 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
194 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
105 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
242 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 ...
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1answer
114 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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0answers
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
236 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 ...
2
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1answer
86 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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173 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
139 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
123 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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229 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 ...