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27

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. ...


26

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 ...


17

The short answer is no, this doesn't violate the law of cause and effect because the mind itself is a physical entity. Your thought experiment hinges on the debate of materialism (the mind is a physical thing) versus dualism (the mind is a different kind of thing than other physical things). Most cognitive scientists believe that materialism is the correct ...


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 ...


15

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 ...


14

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 ...


14

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 ...


14

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 ...


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 ...


11

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

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

This question becomes more complicated if we think in terms of "emotions" (e.g., angry, happy, sad, afraid, etc.) than in terms of "affect" (positive and negative feelings, high and low arousal). I'll start with affect and move on to emotions. An affective state tags an object with a certain value--and it does so very quickly (e.g., Pham, 2007). For ...


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

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 ...


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

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

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

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 ...


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

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

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 ...


7

Communication is always a lossy and inexact process. If I am trying to convey information to you - the times of trains, for example - I can use dates and times that I can be confident that you will interpret the same way I do. But you may not - I may say the train leaves at 8:40, and you assume I mean the morning, whereas I actually mean the evening. So ...


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 ...


7

It appears that there's been a lot of research done by USC professor Antonio Damasio on the importance of emotions. There's some fascinating case studies and interviews that are worth reading and listening to, but the short summary, as I understand it, is: Emotions are important because they end up directing reason. Without emotion, there are simply too ...


7

At some level, it's true that psychology reduces to biology and chemistry. If it didn't, then the widely-accepted view of physicialism/materialism would be wrong. But just because psychology can (in theory) be reduced to biochemistry, reductionism may not be the most productive way to approach the problem, for a couple of reasons: The causes 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 ...


6

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 ...


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 ...



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