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

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Why do we have so many wishes and desires?

Two years ago I started to learn (as self-education) evolution theory and neurobiology for to understand - who we are and where we came from? Now I see clearly that we are our brains, which are the ...
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1answer
13 views

What are the neurobiological factors associated with intelligence in animals?

For example, is there a well-defined relationship between "number of neurons in the cortex" and some measure of "intelligence" in animals? I'm familiar with the encephalization quotient - that is, ...
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If neurochemicals cause emotions, what triggers the chemicals? [on hold]

I understand that some biologists have a very materialistic view of life, in the sense that everything that a living being does is a result of certain chemical reactions. If that is the case, then ...
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1answer
58 views

Why do long range axons in mammals travel in white matter tracts?

I am curious to know as to why long range, myelinated axons prefer to convene and form white matter tracts, rather than simply reach its target in an arbitrary fashion. Is there some kind of ...
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1answer
65 views

Can the neuronal firing rate be increased through medication/diet?

My rudimentary understanding of the neuronal firing rate is that it varies person to person, and neuron to neuron. So any specific number for a firing rate would be specific to the test subject and ...
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3answers
116 views

Why do scientists say brains are faster than computers?

Supposing that neurons function similarly to transistors: A neuron fires 200 times per second and transistors can be switched on and off more than 100,000,000,000 times per second. Let's say it fires ...
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1answer
108 views

What kinds of information can (and cannot) be extracted from connectome?

Several scientific projects are trying to map the connectome, such as The Human Connectome Project. The connectomes of other organisms, such as C. elegans, have been mapped already. Having an ...
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1answer
117 views

How does the body experience free-fall during a hypnic jerk

Today I learned that a sudden jerk that you sometimes experience when you are just about to fall asleep due to a sense of free-fall or weightlessness is called a hypnic jerk. If, while sleeping, I ...
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3answers
848 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 ...
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2answers
512 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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34 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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2answers
62 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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1answer
122 views

OCD Motivation and Dopamine Motivation, is there a connection?

I understand that OCD is something that causes sufferers to perform irrational behavour consciously, I also understand that the motivation comes from performing the irrational behaviour/behaviours to ...
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2answers
65 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
62 views

Importance of Neural Synchrony to Cognition

Is there a consensus on whether computation using Neural Synchrony is reasonable or not? In "How to Build a Brain", Chris Eliasmisth cites Yuko Munakata and R. C. O'Reilly as saying that "the ...
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1answer
59 views

How does an understanding of the brain explain why people experience strong emotional responses to major sporting events?

Anyone know studies or theories that explain how massive competition events between countries or parties, like the Soccer World Cup Tournament finals or Olympic Games affect our brains? Why do people ...
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1answer
120 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
45 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
41 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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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 ...
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1answer
74 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
51 views

Law and its formula that says: more time organism working the slower (or less precise) the movements

What is the name of the law and the equation that says that "the more time an organism is working the slower (or less precise) its movements." ? I read once that there is a law in behavioral science ...
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2answers
55 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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2answers
92 views

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

There is a common knowledge that several brain areas are involved in memory processes and each area is involved in a different aspect of memory. But where do our memories get stored and how are they ...
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1answer
36 views

How exactly does alcohol consumption damage dendrites?

How exactly does alcohol consumption damage dendrites? I'm not talking about over a long period of usage, but just one instance.
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2answers
52 views

Are the lobes of the brain anatomically distinct, or is the distinction between them not as well-defined?

If I had a brain in front of me, would I be able to find some kind of crevasse or something separately each lobe from the next? I guess what I'm asking is, are lobes more arbitrarily-defined regions ...
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1answer
193 views

Folding (wrinkles) in cortex: Why is surface area more important than volume?

When we look at the cortex of the brain, it has a folded structure. It is said that this is because this enables a greater number of neurons to exist, which is obviously advantageous. However, we ...
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1answer
656 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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60 views

Is there a correlation between brain size and amount of sleep?

As far as we know, sleep seems to be the part of the daily cycle when executive functions are resting and memories are fortifying. Many, but not all, of the functions that become dysfunctional upon ...
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27 views

Do people with prenatal hyperkinetic dysfunction have better endurace?

I have a question about hyperkinetic dysfunction. I wonder if theres a relation between HKD and the physical fitness, like endurance or strength, because I have a case, where someone never does ...
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1answer
67 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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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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34 views

Why low audio frequencies seem to detune after an intense workout?

After a specially intense workout (biking, running...), listening to music with headphones, I hear the music pitch has dropped slightly. What I find odd is that not all parts of the sound are detuned, ...
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89 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
36 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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44 views

Brain structures related to risk-taking behavior

I did a preliminary research on brain structures in which activity might underlie risk-taking behavior. I came to two research that described right prefrontal cortex (Knoch et al., 2006), or ...
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1answer
77 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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2answers
116 views

Does not using the brain erode its power? [closed]

Does not using the brain erode its power? If so, are perpetual brain exercises recommended to prevent (or increase) its power (chess, puzzles, etc)?
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42 views

What exactly is the neurobiological mechanism behind the functioning of the human muscle?

From what I have read, its been given that muscle functioning and coordination involves two processes: frequency summation and muscle recruitment. What I want to know is that, do these two processes ...
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38 views

Is the Orch-OR Penrose-Hameroff model for consciousness sensible? [duplicate]

I would definitely consider myself a fan of Penrose, but I know very little about Hameroff. My questions, basically, are: Do you think that the theory seems sensible and well based? Why do you ...
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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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376 views

Computational Neuroscience software

What are the most common software tools you use in your day to day work in computational neuroscience? I am referring to neuroscience tools like GENESIS and NOT to generic tools like Excel.
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1answer
62 views

What can be inferred about the strength of the synapse from an electron microscope image?

In the following EM image (1um scale), there are several synapses: Image or HD Version What information about the synaptic strengths can be extracted from this image? Does vesicle count contain ...
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3answers
122 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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What is the relationship between topographic maps and sensory memory?

Sensory maps are defined functionally: they exist for a certain time window, are overwritten quickly, are generally inaccessible to introspective control. Topographic maps are defined biologically: ...
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2answers
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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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67 views

Is Brain Sync music effective in increasing cognitive functioning?

From the website: BRAIN SYNC meditation CDs and guided imagery techniques are proven to significantly improve mental performance. In two decades, nearly 3 million Brain Sync users have ...
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1answer
81 views

How do thoughts work at the neuron level?

How does thought work at the biological level of individual neurons? I believe there are many neurons which are active in the brain at the same time. For example, our senses are constantly taking in ...
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1answer
121 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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Has a Split Brain patient's right brain been asked if he has qualia?

For split brain patients, usually only the left brain is capable of language and thus deep communication is done only with that part. However, some split brain patients have a more or less language ...