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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

9
votes
2answers
256 views

What are different ways to determine centroids of fMRI activation, their drawbacks and perks?

I'm reading an older article on bilingualism (Kim, Relkin, Lee, & Hirsch, 1997) for a seminar. They were interested in the spatial separation of two languages in early and late bilinguals. They ...
13
votes
3answers
498 views

Research suggesting conscious control over brain region activation?

Has there been any research proving, disproving, or exploring the concept of conscious activation of specific brain regions? To elaborate on this: I've read that performing processing tasks causes ...
2
votes
1answer
182 views

Possibility of perfect virtual reality [closed]

Is it biologically possible to build a "perfect" virtual reality, in which the person in that world cannot distinguish it from the real world? (e.g. as in the movie The Matrix) From my knowledge ...
6
votes
3answers
131 views

Can neural spiking in an organism temporarily cease?

I'm interested in modeling human brain spiking activity. Are there cases in which neural spiking completely ceases in an organism and yet later resumes? I've considered: hypothermic drowning, but ...
8
votes
1answer
226 views

Is performance reducible to brain activity in an unambiguous way?

As a preface, let me assume that the entirety of mental states and their corresponding behaviors in a person are entirely reducible to the physical activity of neurons sending a variety of chemicals ...
3
votes
0answers
35 views

What regulates the strength of motoric signals?

I've seen cognitive/roboter models where the input signals from the sensors are directly used as the signal for outgoing motoric control. This doesn't make much sense, because obviously we're able ...
12
votes
1answer
347 views

Is there a region of cortex which over a period of development becomes the seat of self?

Background Mountcastle's hypothesis, which is based on the observation of uniform cortical anatomy, suggests that the there might be a uniform cortical "algorithm". The only reason that some cortical ...
3
votes
1answer
74 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
114 views

Is happiness a result of cognitive or a side effect of neurobiological processes? [closed]

This morning I've heard this talk on Ted.com: Matt Killingsworth: Want to be happier? Stay in the moment The presenter is discussing an iPhone app used to track happiness, and seems to draw a ...
15
votes
2answers
395 views

Do we understand the non-subjective mechanisms behind pleasure and pain?

If we are to view pleasure and pain as being essentially synonymous with the more mechanistic concept of reward and punishment (i.e. as a part of learning and motivation system) then do we understand ...
1
vote
0answers
270 views

What is a good beginner level book on neuroanatomy? [closed]

I'm looking for a beginner level book on neuroanatomy. I haven't any background in neuroanatomy, other than what I learnt back at school. I'd like to take up a post grad neuroscience course to help ...
5
votes
0answers
88 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Which neurotransmitters can be measured in a living human brain?

I'm interested in learning more about the modern techniques that are used for scientific studies of neurotransmitters in the living human brain. As far as I know, there are 4 neuromodulator systems ...
4
votes
1answer
498 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
299 views

What is the brain power devoted to vision and haptics?

I heard a talk by Vincent Hayward on the sense of touch as a multi-modal system, where he claimed that the brain power devoted to haptics is at least as big as the one devoted to vision. I have found ...
14
votes
2answers
287 views

How are newly created neurons recruited into existing networks?

As far as I understand, the basics of neurogenesis (abstracted down to the level that makes sense to a computer scientist) is as follows: Neural progenitor cells differentiate into new neurons that ...
9
votes
1answer
142 views

Is there evidence that STDP is responsible for the ability to infer causation?

Spike timing dependent plasticity (STDP) is a property of synapses that modifies their efficacy based on timing relationships between action potentials in the pre-synaptic and post-synaptic neuron. A ...
9
votes
2answers
569 views

In what ways can neurons fire randomly?

When developing a model of a biologically-plausible neural network, it is important to know all the circumstances under which neurons can fire. But, I am limiting this question to random firing. In ...
9
votes
1answer
255 views

How does neural spiking begin in the fetus?

I'm interested in modeling human brain spiking activity. How does the very first spiking activity begin in the fetus? I imagine all spiking activity is initiated by the senses and internal ...
11
votes
2answers
473 views

Biological plausibility of bayesian models of cognition

Inspired by this question: What are drawbacks to probabilistic models of cognition? I would like to know more about the biological plausibility of Bayesian models of cognition. Is there any neural ...
9
votes
1answer
186 views

What explains variability in the mean firing rate across biological neurons?

Biological neurons have a trade-off between high information transfer (high firing rate) and energy conservation (low firing rate). One would suspect that the maximization of this function has a ...
8
votes
1answer
114 views

What is the role of traveling waves in circuit formation during cortical development?

Propagating waves of activity have been characterized in various regions of the brain such as the visual cortex (Nauhaus et al., 2012). Recently they have been reported for the first time to occur ...
4
votes
2answers
476 views

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 ...
10
votes
3answers
374 views

What are the key examples of the use of computational methods in the study of biological neural networks?

In an upcoming postdoc, I'm going to be looking through biological neural network data in the hopes of finding some interesting "patterns". I'm coming at this field from a mathematics/computer ...
7
votes
1answer
98 views

Can processing effort for sub-tasks in neural networks be measured?

I often heard statements like: 80% of your brain processing is computing the effect of gravity or, similarily: You only use 20% of your brain power My question isn't about the truth of ...
6
votes
1answer
137 views

Hebbian Learning Rule, Local or Global?

I just learned about the Hebbian Learning Rule. It essentially says "Neurons that fire together, wire together". I'm wondering if the learning rule is affected by the spatial distance of the two ...
9
votes
1answer
144 views

Computational Model Linking Neural Activity to Behavior

A big question in neuroscience is how neural activity represents knowledge. We can use modelling to explore how different levels of neural activity- subthreshold currents, action potentials, local ...
5
votes
3answers
196 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
446 views

How does body temperature and oxygenation affect thinking ability?

I'm interested if the brain works better when the temperature is higher than usual and the amount of oxygen in the air is a bit lower than in fresh mountain air. This has been my personal experience. ...
4
votes
2answers
199 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 ...
7
votes
0answers
50 views

What are some known roles or correlations of glucocorticoid receptor function to behaviour?

The NR3C1 gene encodes for a neuron-specific glucocorticoid receptor (GR), of which methylation levels have been shown to relate to altered maternal care and stress response in rodents (Weaver et al., ...
10
votes
3answers
283 views

What is the term for a psychological effect which does not have a neurobiological/genetic basis?

When a psychological condition is the result of irregular brain structures or neurotransmitter imbalances we say the condition has a neurobiological basis; this is analogous to the classic Nature in ...
10
votes
1answer
89 views

Has an upper-limit on the physical spacing represented by grid cells in Entorhinal cortex been probed?

There is considerable research reporting activity of unit recordings from grid cells in the Entorhinal cortex (e.g. [1]) - typically of rats running around in enclosed spaces. Is there any ...
6
votes
2answers
159 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
206 views

What is a reliable physiological measure (e.g., serotonin levels) of positive affect?

Is there a reliable physiological measure or correlate to positive affect? What does research say on this? I thought that serotonin levels are correlated with self-reported happiness levels, but, ...
7
votes
2answers
315 views

Is an autistic person's brain different from a non-autistic one?

Are there any differences between the autistic person's brain and the non-autistic one? To be more specific, are there any differences in brain structure or brain activity, that can be used to ...
10
votes
1answer
207 views

What structures in the brain are called upon to strengthen coupling between bilateral movements?

It is very difficult for the normally-coordinated person to be able to pat his/her head and rub his/her stomach at the same time (or pick a similar activity). It seems to be possible to maintain the ...
8
votes
2answers
242 views

Are different types of long term memories stored in different parts of the brain?

I recently had some questions concerning the capacity of the brain's memory: Are different types of long term-memories like know-how, your-life, etc. remembered in different parts of the brain? If ...
8
votes
3answers
423 views

Neurotransmitter based imaging techniques

All the brain imaging techniques I know fall into two categories: Tracking blood Either by looking at the magnetic (fMRI), or near-infared absorption (diffuse optical imaging, NIRS) properties of ...
4
votes
1answer
174 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
229 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. ...
4
votes
1answer
118 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
128 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
424 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
136 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
334 views

What are the major structures of the medial temporal lobe?

Basic question here from a behavioral researcher: What are the major structures of the medial temporal lobe (MTL)? Can anyone link to a good diagram of these structures?
11
votes
2answers
660 views

What can we learn from the neural networks of C.elegans to understand human brains?

Recently I am reading some works about Caenorhabditis Elegans. A C.elegans has 302 neurons and we already know the function and connection of every one of their neurons so that we can exactly ...
7
votes
0answers
281 views

Do expert computer gamers have unusual physiological or mental characteristics? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Any work being done on Perception, Action, and/or Cognition in Video games? Are there any research studies that show this? See a thread on Quora for some initial ...
15
votes
3answers
994 views

Why does neuroplasticity decrease in adults?

Although adult brains are malleable and even undergo limited neuorgenesis, the extent of the neuroplasticiy is much lower than in children. This is most obvious in language acquisition, and recovery ...
2
votes
0answers
213 views

Are end-stage Alzheimer's patients still conscious? [closed]

I asked the same question at Reddit here, but none of the responses were convincing. So here's the thing: to the extent of what we know about consciousness, are end-stage Alzheimer's patients still ...