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

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22
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3answers
13k 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 ...
21
votes
2answers
961 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 ...
19
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1answer
796 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 ...
16
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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 ...
15
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2answers
403 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
309 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 ...
15
votes
1answer
489 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
531 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 ...
12
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4answers
651 views

If someone becomes a split-brain patient, which side will “maintain” the continuity in their consciousness?

The brain injury might apparently produce two "independent" consciousnesses, and I'm wondering where the original person's "consciousness" would "transfer". We had a debate on this over at Reddit ...
12
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3answers
529 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
369 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 ...
12
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2answers
494 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
333 views

What causes short-term dysphoria following intense pleasure?

I'm interested in the phenomenon of short term Dysphoria: Dysphoria is a state of feeling unwell or unhappy; a feeling of emotional and mental discomfort as a symptom of discontentment, ...
12
votes
1answer
402 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
271 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
720 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 ...
11
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3answers
303 views

How does the brain learn what something is for the first time?

I'm trying to understand how the idea of what a thing is originates in humans. For example, in computer science, it is possible to know what an object is and what it does, by examining its ...
11
votes
2answers
587 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
90 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 ...
11
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1answer
232 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
415 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
653 views

What do the super-large brains of whales and elephants map to?

Elephants and whales have brains that are much larger than those of humans. It is presumed that much of their brain is used up for their larger bodies (after all, there is a allometric scaling between ...
10
votes
3answers
216 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 ...
10
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3answers
310 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
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1answer
222 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, ...
10
votes
2answers
165 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 ...
10
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1answer
192 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
257 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
109 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
154 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 ...
9
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2answers
2k views

How is fasting related to insomnia?

Yesterday I started a new diet using intermittent fasting. For this reason I only ate one meal all day. I was pretty surprised how well I passed that day: I studied a lot, did some sports and ...
9
votes
2answers
640 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
2answers
280 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
525 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 ...
9
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1answer
415 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?
9
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1answer
200 views

What is the difference between psychophysics and neurophysiology?

I'm an engineering student who is doing some subjective tests. What are the difference between psychophysics and neurophysiology? Is it correct that in the latter case, we have to implant to read ...
9
votes
1answer
281 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
votes
1answer
92 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
495 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. ...
9
votes
2answers
291 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
151 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
1answer
72 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
140 views

In C. elegans, which neuron has the largest span, and why is it this large?

The model organism C. elegans is about 1 mm in length. This is quite small. In fact, some C. elegans neurons span >25% of the length of its body (ref.). This observation leads me to the following ...
9
votes
1answer
110 views

What is the mechanism behind unihemispheric sleep in animals?

It is known that dolphins have the ability to sleep with only one half of their brain at a time. According to this popular science source: Dolphins sleep by resting one half of their brain at a ...
8
votes
3answers
174 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
256 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
1answer
85 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
138 views

Fusiform Face Area (FFA) for within class recognition?

Is there any evidence (papers, studies, etc) that the Fusiform Face Area is used for any other type of recognition besides facial recognition? I remember hearing or reading a long time ago that ...
8
votes
1answer
233 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 ...
8
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1answer
198 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?