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

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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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0answers
91 views

How similar are human brains within the same haplogroup?

I've read about neuroscience and listen to talks like this one Juan Enriquez: Will our kids be a different species, I'm starting to realize that humans are not all the same, and are instead quite ...
7
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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 ...
12
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3answers
458 views

Is there a better way to describe brain activity than EEG “brain waves”

I've been reading about EEG brain waves, which are specific waveforms that are observed on the EEG output, and are usually scored by humans. This concept has been around for quite some time. Is there ...
6
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1answer
307 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 ...
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1answer
223 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 ...
4
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1answer
636 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 ...
9
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1answer
147 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 ...
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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., ...
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1answer
139 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 ...
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0answers
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 ...
4
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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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1answer
100 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 ...
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2answers
160 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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1answer
683 views

Have the abilities of John Lorber's patients with limited cortical mass been further evaluated in adulthood?

Short of minor lesions or infarcts, most high-functioning adults have an intact cerebral cortex. Yet, a surprising result published anecdotally in Science in 1980 caused a lot of scientists to take ...
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2answers
203 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 ...
9
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1answer
460 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. ...
10
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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, ...
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3answers
377 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 ...
12
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1answer
252 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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2answers
318 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 ...
8
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2answers
248 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 ...
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3answers
448 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 ...
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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. ...
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2answers
499 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 ...
12
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1answer
351 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 ...
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2answers
527 views

What form might Jungian archetypes take in the brain?

Modern psychology and psychiatry are very well grounded in scientific principles. Both, however, have a history in various analytical philosophies. Jung had the notion of an archetype, a universally ...
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3answers
199 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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3answers
870 views

What are current neuronal explanations and models of 'consciousness'?

I would like to understand more about consciousness from a neuroscientific perspective. I have a limited understanding of it in the philosophical/psychological sense through lectures. Although it is ...
4
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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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1answer
129 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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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 ...
9
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1answer
187 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 ...
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1answer
121 views

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

In one of Karl Lashley's 1950 papers, it is pointed out that information is not stored locally in certain area of the brain. Instead, it's stored distributively over the structure of the brain. I'm ...
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1answer
347 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?
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3answers
133 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 ...
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2answers
479 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
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1answer
258 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 ...
9
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2answers
587 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 ...
8
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1answer
227 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 ...
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2answers
397 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 ...
9
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1answer
143 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 ...
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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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3answers
11k views

Why would the brain flip the images perceived by your eyes?

The following is a common scientific statement, which you don't have to google long for to find: The eye views images upside-down in the manner of a camera lens, but our brains reinterpret this ...
4
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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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2answers
292 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 ...
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1answer
374 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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2answers
617 views

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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3answers
1k 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 ...
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2answers
677 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 ...