For questions about this branch of philosophy that studies the nature of the mind, consciousness and their relationship to neurobiology.

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27
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3answers
18k 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 ...
19
votes
2answers
854 views

Does language and/or culture affect an individual's cognitive capacity?

Some languages have multiple expressions to identify, address, comprehend, and interpret a single concept and/or experience. Are limits placed on understanding and describing aspects of cognition due ...
16
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3answers
796 views

Is it possible for certain people to perceive colors differently?

What if someone perceives a color as 'red' when it is actually 'green'? Since different people have preferences for different colors, and colors are perhaps constructed in the mind, is it possible ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

What, if anything, sets humans apart from other species?

As I grew up, I was taught that the difference between humans and animals was that human beings have free will and animals do not. The basis is that animals will act accordingly to the nature of their ...
14
votes
1answer
397 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
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there evidence that brain and mind are separate?

I've heard countless discussions about whether or not the mind is separate from the brain, but they have all been philosophical. I am looking for peer-reviewed studies that suggest the mind is not ...
11
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2answers
194 views

Can the Philosophy thought game “The experience machine” be answered by Positive Psychology?

In Philosophy, a thought game exists called "The experience machine" {1}. In summary, it's a machine you plug into that enables you to always experience positive events, and never negative ones. One ...
10
votes
3answers
841 views

Is it possible to run multiple thought processes concurrently?

For example, let's say I have a friend sprinting a 50m distance and that friend wants me to time the race, but I don't have a stopwatch so I have to count "manually". Can I count while simultaneously ...
9
votes
1answer
126 views

Why aren't Connectionism and Dynamicism considered part of the Computational Theory of the Mind?

In the Wikipedia article for Computational Theory of the Mind (NOT to be confused with Computational Representational Understanding of Mind which includes Connectionism), it is mentioned that ...
9
votes
1answer
179 views

How does evolution help in Minsky's theory of a resourceful mind?

I've read Minsky's book The Emotion Machine, where he explains how the mind can be seen as a set of resources interacting and self-interacting based on several levels of change. The explanation is in ...
8
votes
10answers
2k views

Can the mind affect the physical brain? - a simple thought experiment

Scientists maintain that "a physical action requires a physical cause". However, if I am in deep thought about my dead spouse, for example, and a tear comes to my eye, how is it that the mind ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Why do humans need emotions?

If the emotions' only purpose is to stimulate certain behavior, why can't this task just as effectively, or even more effectively be done by the reasoning part of the brain? Are emotions really ...
8
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2answers
132 views

Is it possible to create artificial thoughts in a childs mind

What I mean is, is it possible to create memories in a childs mind, memories which a child grows up to remember as real events, when infact those events never happened in real life? For example: If ...
8
votes
1answer
237 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
396 views

Is it possible for humans to conceive of being dead?

I am reading Stephen Cave's book Immortality, and one of the claims he makes early on is that there is a "mortality paradox." This is the phenomenon that humans know that they will die (based on ...
7
votes
1answer
133 views

Any attempts at testing or modeling the 'cognitive conception' of language?

For those unfamiliar, the 'cognitive conception of language' refers to a claim made by some theorists that, in the words of Carruthers: "besides its obvious communicative functions, language also ...
7
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0answers
523 views

Cultural brain hypothesis and gene-culture co-evolution

Recently, Joseph Henrich of UBC has been promoting his cultural brain hypothesis. The goal is to explain a selection pressure behind the development of the human brain and general intelligence. The ...
6
votes
4answers
264 views

Can scientific evidence support concepts of the soul?

In some spiritual premises, the soul is said to belong to the Almighty. Religions (Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism) all talk about cleansing our inner being because only when it's pure, its actual ...
6
votes
1answer
78 views

Is there any fMRI evidence for different “states of mind”?

If you've seen a snickers commercial, it goes something like "you are a different person when you are hungry". I'm interested if the person's brain actually looks different when observed through fMRI ...
5
votes
3answers
399 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
741 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
194 views

How much information is lost when conveying an experience or emotion to another person?

Certain languages have words that do not literally translate into any another language. There is already a small loss of information in this sense. Emotions are a personal experience and the ...
5
votes
1answer
442 views

Can one “understand” emotions, yet not “feel” them?

Prometheus Viral Clip #3 - David is a good clip of a fictional character in a science-fiction movie that helps frame my question; but I am interested in the general question, not the specifics of this ...
5
votes
1answer
171 views

The mind as a state of matter or physical system?

What examples of attempts to formalize a principled physical basis for consciousness and/or a general theory of the mind exist? I read a fascinating ArXiV preprint last year called Consciousness as a ...
4
votes
1answer
44 views

Are there any studies (fMRI scans, etc) showing why some people (supposedly) are more open to hypnotism?

In this article published in Harper's magazine back in 1996, journalist David Foster Wallace described his experience with hypnotist Nigel Ellery (see the last section of the article, titled "THE ...
4
votes
2answers
227 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
61 views

Has the inverted spectrum thought experiment ever been conducted (and if not, why)?

The inverted spectrum thought experiment posits that you (the subject) wake up one morning to find that your colour spectrum (or some part of it anyway) has inverted. This experiment has important ...
3
votes
1answer
92 views

What introductory material is available linking complexity theory to cognitive science?

Does complexity theory speak to cognitive science? If yes, where can I find some material to explore that is suitable for undergraduate level understanding? In particular, is there any audio contennt ...
3
votes
3answers
143 views

What is a scientifically plausible method by which people might in the future be able to read minds? [closed]

I am writing a book. It will be post-apocalyptic, and the apocalypse I'm thinking of will involve people being able to read each other's mind. Can any of you give me a slightly plausible reason that ...
3
votes
2answers
158 views

Can a biological entity be thought as a simple algorithm? Case-study with the concept of randomness

John Von Neuman believed that all organisms can be though of as information-processing systems. He built on the work of Alan Turing (algorithmic) to create simulations of biological entities. This ...
3
votes
1answer
245 views

What is the most comprehensive system of describing human emotions or states of mind?

Reading about the human mind, I sometimes come across attempts to classify human emotions using various scales. The one that comes to mind most often is the 6 scale circle model shown below. Is ...
3
votes
1answer
160 views

Why do our senses evoke different subjective experiences

I'm wondering why there are different subjective experiences when our sensor systems are technically the same neurons that just get excited by different stuff (photons, soundwaves, ...). So why does ...
3
votes
1answer
99 views

Is meaning-seeking behavior a biological optimization problem?

In short, I'm interested in cognitive, neuroscientific, biological and/or computational perspectives on what we vaguely refer to as meaning seeking. Of course, this is a large topic, but any ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Is there a term to describe an inability to express emotion or feelings?

I am writing a novel and was wondering if there was a specific term for someone unable to express his own emotions or feelings. The catch here is, this doesn't mean he doesn't know what anger or love ...
3
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0answers
42 views

Brain Theory and Paradigm

In this short piece, physicist Dmitri Krioukov makes the case that we must expect complex systems (such as brains) to reduce to simple physical systems. Furthermore, he cautions that the pure ...
3
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0answers
93 views

Why do we dream of unattainable wishes being satisfied in dreams? [closed]

We want many things that we might never achieve or attain in real life. Often we dream, that we have these things. What is the psychological function of this type of dream? How does the satisfaction ...
3
votes
0answers
108 views

Causal reasoning(implicit models?) vs grammar of native language [closed]

I was reading about linguistic relativity and it struck me that there could also be differences in multilingual individuals and mono/bi-lingual individuals on how they derive/reason/create structure ...
2
votes
2answers
109 views

How does subjective experience arise from matter?

Forgive me for lacking rigor, but if what I know is correct, it is established that consciousness and other higher functions characteristic of humans are a consequence of our cortex, specifically ...
2
votes
1answer
295 views

What is the scientific term or concept for inner thought control? [closed]

Usually when a thought arises, it seems that we quickly scurry after it, unconsciously getting caught up with whatever everyday thoughts come up. These can be invoked internally or externally. (No ...
2
votes
1answer
63 views

Is volition a reality or an illusion?

Keeping religious sentiments aside, here is a question raised on the Buddhism SE that attempts to answer a similar question from the Buddhist point of view. You see, Buddhism has a concept of anatman ...
2
votes
1answer
63 views

Is consciousness a sub product of the brain or is there a duality? [duplicate]

I am trying to understand what consciousness is, based on my basic knowledge of our senses, artificial intelligence (computer vision, specifically) and some philosophy. Here's my reasoning: As far as ...
2
votes
1answer
31 views

Are action potentials necessary for experience?

We know that, for example, during brain surgery, electrical stimulation in certain parts of the cortex is sufficient for experience, and result in reportable experiences in human subjects. We also ...
1
vote
1answer
107 views

Are all psychological problems only biochemical in nature?

Are all psychological problems only biochemical in nature or do some 'mental' components ( that is some form of conceptual 'conditioning' caused directly or indirectly or 'subconsciously' by the ...
1
vote
2answers
123 views

How can machine possibly possess consciousness if computation is a human idea?

I feel this question may be closed as non-constructive, but I'll give it a try. Suppose a computer simulates a human brain so it passes Turing test. Suppose this brain is given visual, audio and ...
1
vote
1answer
292 views

How does cognitive science explain the origins of intuition and intelligence, that accurately describes the laws of nature?

What is the origin of non-incremental, revolutionary intuition and intelligence? For example, a human mind like Albert Einstein's can "come up" with revolutionary ideas and theories that correctly ...
1
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3answers
45 views

Is spiritual enlightenment a valid way attempting to understand the universe and consciousness [closed]

Are traditional methods of spiritual enlightenment such as Zen, Buddist, etc accepted by psychologists as valid ways of further understanding the workings of consciousness, Or is it considered too ...
1
vote
1answer
70 views

How does the physical brain know about qualia?

Qualia are phenomenological (the subjective experience of the physical activity of the brain). But how does phenomenology feed back into the activity of the brain? That is, how can the physical ...
1
vote
2answers
693 views

Fear of things that look like or resemble humans

I remember reading this a while back. To be clear, I'm not talking about a phobia such as Automatonophobia (Fear of inanimate objects that resemble humans, such as dolls) or Pediophobia (Fear of ...
1
vote
1answer
477 views

Why do we see unknown people and places in dreams?

People often see unknown things, places, and people in their dreams. How is it possible to have such perceptions in our dreams that go beyond our actual experiences and memories?
1
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2answers
71 views

Is the consciousness currently in oneself the same as the consciousness that used to be or in the future will be in oneself?

People seem to believe that one's consciousness is a "different" consciousness than that of others, but the "same" consciousness as the one that has been in one's body in the past and the one that ...