Tag Info

Hot answers tagged

23

Another approach to this issue is to consider whether this kind of reductionism ("mind is just a by-product of the brain") is useful. Strictly speaking, architecture is "just a by-product of physics and materials science", but there are phenomena that are usefully described at the level of architecture and would not be well-captured by the atomic and ...


21

It is not meaningful to talk about your brain processing something as 'right-side up"' or 'upside-down'. The 'images' in your brain are just collections of neural activations, and not actual pictures. Thus they cannot have an orientation. The only meaningful way to test your question is to try flipping the input the brain receives and seeing if it can cope. ...


15

This is a hot topic of debate, so my answer will be an incomplete one. There are actually two separate questions here. One is on language and the other one is on environment. Language: My answer is no; different languages do not limit the conceptual repository of human mind. The current ongoing debate is partially on the Pirahã language. Everett studied ...


13

I think you are succumbing to the homunculus argument, the fallacy that there is some sort of image in the brain for someone to view. There is no magical theater in your head where what is incident on your retina is projected. All you have in your brain is complicated patterns of neural activity, there are no images and nothing to view. However, these ...


13

Modern homunculus arguments don't assert that there is physically a little man in your head. This would be a completely vacuous argument, and nobody would make it in the present day. When people make the homunculus fallacy today, they usually do it in the same fashion as you do: all the sensory information is assembled 'somewhere' and then 'some brain ...


12

Note: one can never prove a negative. It's hard to say "there's no evidence" as an absolute truth. That being said: No. All evidence is suggestive of monism. Drugs and brain lesions are physical actions that influence cognitive outcome by physically affecting the brain in ways predicted by pharmacists and neuropsychology. It could also be noted that ...


11

Yes, this scenario is possible, occurring with certain cases of brain lesions in specific areas of the visual cortex, the fusiform, lingual and posterior parahippocampal gyri. These areas are analogous to what is referred to in primates as V4, or the 4th visual cortex, and are known to be involved (at least partly) in the perception of color (though see ...


10

It's possible to instill a false memory, even a traumatic one, in an adult. Children have been known to be more susceptible to suggestion since the 19th century (Binet, 1900, 1905). Here are some example references of memory implantation: Porter, S., Yuille, J. C., & Lehman, D. R. (1999). The nature of real, implanted, and fabricated memories for ...


10

As @Gray mentioned, the philosophical problem you are interested in is known as the inverted spectrum. Unfortunately, @Gray's claim about no empirical difference is not exactly true. As @ChuckSherrington pointed out, we can have differences in color perception due to brain lesions, but this is cheating in way. We don't have to go this far, we already have ...


10

I think part of what makes this question confusing is the use of expressions like "what the eye sees", "what the brain sees" and "what the frog's eye tells the frog's brain". Nobody sees anything except the experiencing subject. When one stops thinking that the brain (or some visual-system part of the brain) observes the image on the retina, then the ...


9

nrz is on the right track with the epilepsy example. One of the limiting factors in the use of our brain is the amount of free molecules of the neurotransmitter glutamate. Having too much free glutamate can cause a phenomenon known as excitotoxicity. This phenomenon is also seen in conditions such as stroke, where damaged cells release their entire load ...


9

Intensive stimuli may trigger epileptic shocks in some individuals. At least prolonged epileptic shocks may damage neurons, I'm not sure about short epileptic shocks. So the answer is yes, using your brain eg. your extended visual system to process excessively intensive visual stimuli may cause epileptic shocks and thus be detrimental to the brain. However, ...


9

Your question touches on a number of different active research areas in cognitive science and cognitive neuroscience. The motoric component to not "following and running after every thought" is commonly understood to reflect a capacity for response inhibition - that is, the ability to override or cancel ongoing or prepotent motor commands. This process is ...


9

The Computational Theory of Mind is not that the mind does some form of computation in the wide sense of computation. Rather, look at the examples for the CToM given in the Wikipedia article; people like Fodor, Pinker, Marr. Their view is very much the opposite to the Connectionist position of West Coast scientists like Rumelhart, Elman and McClelland. Both ...


8

For more recent work on false memories, look at this paper. The authors provide a biological basis for false memories. They also implant false memories in mice. Source Steve Ramirez, Xu Liu, Pei-Ann Lin, Junghyup Suh, Michele Pignatelli, Roger L. Redondo, Tomás J. Ryan, and Susumu Tonegawa. Creating a False Memory in the Hippocampus. Science, 26 July 2013: ...


7

In general, there are two types of 'complexity' that are studied. Usually, when people talk about 'complexity', especially on the internet, they mean Santa Fe Institute style complexity. This is a vague and poorly defined concept that has struggled for a number of years without making significant progress. It uses pretty words, but has yet to deliver on any ...


7

If we stick them in an MRI, the activation will not be very fine-grained. There are roughly 630,000 neurons in a 3x3x3 mm voxel recorded during fMRI. However even this coarse detail is sufficient to perform many impressive mind-reading tasks (e.g. Mitchell et al., 2008) But what if we were able to record every single neuron in the brain simultaneously, ...


7

The nervous system, especially the cortex, is a distributed system. Asking "where" is not always a sensible question. In reality, different properties of the visual scene are assembled in different areas of cortex. There is no one area where everything is reassembled. All the information we know about a scene is stored all over the visual system. In ...


7

Sort of, think of what it's like when you're asleep, not dreaming. Or if you've ever been knocked-out via anesthesia. No-consciousness, just a gap in time. The question can't really be answered though because it's asking how one might perceive a lack of consciousness, consciously. Here's an interesting study on the transition from an unconscious to ...


7

It is not that we are just generally smarter then animals, but we posses cognitive tools of a different kind that they don't. Two of them are language and the ability to simulate the future. Regarding language, there is a wide consensus today that human language has some unique complexities that no animal form of communication has (see Pinker's "The ...


6

Evolution does not help Minsky's theory of a resourceful mind. Although he tries to frame his discussion in loose evolutionary terms in the Emotion Machine and the book it is based on: Society of Mind (here is a good review/summary). As you noted during your reading: Minsky backs himself up by saying "evolution did so", but hasn't provided tests or ...


6

A few thoughts: Brain training A lot of articles stress the importance of having to train the brain Much of this literature is used to sell computer games and crossword puzzles. In a recent review, Owen et al (2010) concluded that the proposed benefits of brain training lack empirical support. There is a vast literature which suggests that practice ...


6

There are two ways to approach your question: with or without dualism. I will highlight the dualist approach since it is more salient. Keep in mind that I do not find this approach reasonable, and doubt my summary will do it justice. You might be interested in the concept of philosophical zombie, it is a modal argument against physicalism in the spirit of ...


6

Parallel processes are often studied in a so called 'dual task' paradigm, where participants are drawing a picture and reciting a poem or, as in your example, counting and thinking about other things. Often this method is used to demonstrate limits in attention and find insights into how the brain works (in a serial versus parallel manner). Training is an ...


5

I have to partly disagree with schultem here-- he is right that the dual task paradigm is used to study multitasking, but the idea that we can truly do two cognitive tasks at the same time is still contentious. In particular, the opposing view might say that we can't really do two cognitive processes at the same time, but we are in fact switching between the ...


5

This is an interesting idea, but I do not think it's correct. One piece of information that goes against the idea is this: auditory information is encoded by both frequency and amplitude modulation of neural spiking. The idea of spiking rate directly correlating with frequency is at odds with the idea of spiking rate containing this sort of "meta" ...


5

The fact that the image does not appears upside-down has to do with the way visual information is processed in the brain. In his book, Jeff Hawkins argues that the low-level visual features on the retina (being upside down, distorted, and changing rapidly) are lost in the process of forming invariant representation. And it's those representations that we ...


5

This is partially an aspect of the binding problem. Sensory information arrives in parallel as a variety of heterogeneous hints, (shapes, colors, motions, smells and sounds) encoded in partly modular systems. Typically many objects are present at once. The result is an urgent case of what has been labelled the binding problem. We must collect the hints, ...


4

There's a quite active line of research (and debate) in experimental psychology and cognitive science on this. It often goes under the rubric of the "Sapir-Whorf hypothesis". I only know some of the work in this domain, but I would suggesting checking out research (experiments, not just armchair discussion) by Lera Boroditsky and Gary Lupyan.



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible