Neurobiology News

Thought it'd be cool to have a thread on all the mind-blowing stuff that's happening in neurobiology these days.
----
Music and the Brain (click on link for full article)

What is the secret of music's strange power? Seeking an answer, scientists are piecing together a picture of what happens in the brains of listeners and musicians.
 
View Printer Friendly Format
Emotions: from brain to robot (click on link for full article)

Some robots have been given emotional expressions in an attempt to improve human–computer interaction. In this article we analyze what it would mean for a robot to have emotion, distinguishing emotional expression for communication from emotion as a mechanism for the organization of behavior. Research on the neurobiology of emotion yields a deepening understanding of interacting brain structures and neural mechanisms rooted in neuromodulation that underlie emotions in humans and other animals. However, the chemical basis of animal function differs greatly from the mechanics and computations of current machines. We therefore abstract from biology a functional characterization of emotion that does not depend on physical substrate or evolutionary history, and is broad enough to encompass the possible emotions of robots.
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Source: Science Daily

"...Working at Rutgers-Newark's Center for Molecular and Biological Neuroscience, she has brought a neuroscientist's perspective to the concept of learning, convinced that developing brains are much more plastic than has been generally believed by educators. Independent tests at Stanford University have demonstrated that developmental skills in language and reading can be dramatically improved through the intensive use of these six- to eight-week programs involving computer-based suites of exercises...

..."There's no essential difference between children who are struggling with reading and children who are dyslexic other than perhaps in terms of severity," Tallal observes.

Data from early testing that compared dyslexic children with children who had normal reading capabilities showed, via functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans taken in real time, that the brains of the dyslexic children "rewired" themselves during the training, and areas that previously had been inert "lit up" as they were accessed. The brains of the dyslexic children more closely resembled the brains of the normal readers by the end of the program.

But Tallal saw much more far-reaching potential for Fast ForWord, convinced that non-dyslexic students could benefit as well. And the fMRI test results continue to intrigue more and more educators and public school systems across America..."
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
While improving reading skills and correcting dyslexia are very important, my interest is in the "rewiring" process. Understanding the process of "rewiring" could be used to disassociate traumatic experiences with object specific memories and may be beneificial in correcting panic attack triggers.
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
quote:
While improving reading skills and correcting dyslexia are very important, my interest is in the "rewiring" process.
-- Eric


First molecule discovered that directs nerve cells to connect with each other (click on link for full article)

UCSF scientists have identified for the first time a molecule that directs neurons to form connections with each other during an animal's early development - creating synapses essential to all behavior.

The molecule may be one of only a few "matchmaker" proteins that instruct one type of neuron to form a synapse with another type, essentially wiring up the body during embryological development, the researchers say. Such molecules have been sought for decades, but this is the first discovered in a living animal.

The matchmaker protein, known as SYG-1, was discovered in studies of egg-laying behavior in the roundworm C. elegans. It is a member of a large family of proteins known as the immunoglobulin superfamily, and is closely related to proteins in fruit flies, mice and humans. The related molecules are always found where two different types of cells form a close connection, and SYG-1 probably receives a signal to form a synapse from the animal's egg-laying tissue, the scientists report.

Discovery of matchmaker proteins in humans may help treat disorders such as chronic epilepsy and chronic pain in which synapse formation goes awry and neurons form the "wrong" connections, said Cornelia Bargmann, PhD, professor of anatomy and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at UCSF. Knowing which proteins direct synapse formation may also help in treatment of peripheral nerve damage, which requires nerves to reconnect with precisely the right partner from among many in their immediate environment...
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
NASA is developing a subvocal speech system that could enable you to make a phone call while keeping your lips sealed. (Click on link for full article)

How do you talk to someone without opening your mouth? Psychics call it telepathy. NASA refers to it as subvocal speech. Scientists at the NASA Ames Research Center in California have developed a system of tiny sensors that read nerve signals in the throat that control speech. You may not make a sound when, say, you read silently, but your nervous system is buzzing with activity. Recently, they used the system to make the first subvocal cell phone call.
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Awesome DIT, the subvocal stuff is cool but thanks for the tip to Cornelia Bargmann studies. I haven't gotten away from there long enough to check out what Shen is doing.

Olfaction and Olfactory Navigation
In C. elegans, as in other animals, odors are detected by large families of specialized G protein–coupled receptors. Individual C. elegans olfactory neurons express multiple receptor genes, allowing a few cells to detect many odors. The odors that activate one sensory neuron regulate a common behavioral output, such as attraction or avoidance. Expression of a foreign receptor within a sensory neuron can produce an artificial behavior, in which transgenic animals respond to activation of the foreign receptor. The artificial behavior resembles the behavior generated by the sensory neuron in response to natural odors. This result shows that sensory neurons are dedicated to characteristic behavioral responses.
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
quote:

...if it's that small a world, it starts to smell funny...

-- Eric's sig


Works beautifully with your post Eric Big Grin
I wonder if memory evolved so that organisms could tell whether a smell was getting stronger or weaker and thus move towards it or away from it?

Article on Brain Machine Interfaces (BMI) from 2002; not sure how far it's progressed since then:

Controlling Robots with the Mind
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
But how does one avoid the world getting smaller Big Grin

Damn, I just realized I forgot to post the link.
If you go, check out the Janelia Farm. Interesting.

Controlling machinery remotely with the mind could be potentially more precise than using hand controls and using an added simstim like feedback to the controller indicating the machine's pitch and roll and resistance etc. A person could turn the turret and lower the boom from a safe distance. High skill operations.
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Cool - thanks for the link, Eric!

Came across this today:

Brain networks change according to cognitive task
Using a newly released method to analyze functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), Northwestern University researchers have demonstrated that the interconnections between different parts of the brain are dynamic and not static. This and other findings answer longstanding debates about how brain networks operate to solve different cognitive tasks. They are presented in the current (June 1) issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.
Equally important, the researchers discovered that the brain region that performed the integration of information shifted depending on the task their subjects performed. In this study, the subjects were assigned two language tasks. In both, subjects were asked to read individual words and then make a spelling or rhyming judgment.

"We found that one network takes different configurations depending on the goal of the task,"
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Mirror Neurons

Healthy human beings are intensely social. This excellent NOVA scienceNOW presentation discusses how a recently discovered system in the brain - mirror neurons - may help explain why we humans can get so worked up watching other people.

A new study using pro dancers finds that your physical skills determine how your mirror neuron system responds to observed movement.

Includes a 14 minute broadcast segment on the discovery and significance of mirror neurons.
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Brain activity monitored using Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer

A breakthrough in nanotechnology has enabled doctors accurately to measure the levels of crucial chemicals in living brain cells in real time and at the level of a single cell.

Scientists at Stanford University and the Carnegie Institution's Department of Plant Biology claim to be the first successfully to apply genetic nanotechnology using molecular sensors to view changes in brain chemical levels. The sensors alter their three-dimensional form on binding with the chemical, which is then visible via a process known as fluorescence resonance energy transfer, or Fret.

A newly published study from the scientists reveals how the nanosensors were introduced into nerve cells to measure the release of the neurotransmitter glutamate, the major brain chemical that increases nerve-cell activity in mammalian brains. It is involved in everything from learning and memory to mood and perception. Too much glutamate is believed to contribute to conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, the report stated.

"The fluorescent imaging technique allows us to see living cells do their jobs live and in colour," explained Sakiko Okumoto, lead author of the study at Carnegie. Fret is like two musical tuning forks which have the same tone. If you excite one, it gives a characteristic tone. If you bring the second fork close to the first one, it will also start to give you a tone even though they do not touch. This is resonance energy transfer."

Wolf Frommer, leader of the Fret team at Carnegie, added: "This is a tremendously exciting technology. I'm anxious to see what we can learn about the vast complexities of the brain over the coming years."
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Smaller screens, bigger brains

"The articles in "Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine" correlated the amount of television young children watched with test scores and achievement as grown-ups.

In one study, Robert Hancox, Barry Milne and Richie Poulton, researchers at the Dunedin School of Medicine, studied 1,000 New Zealanders, most of whom were 26 years old. They found that the more time the research subjects had spent watching TV during childhood, the more likely they were not to have made it through college. TV watching as a teen and especially during adolescence made it more likely they were to have left school without a sixth-form certificate, the degree needed to go on to university.

The findings held true regardless of sex, intelligence or socio-economic status, the researchers found. They posit that there's a simple trade-off between watching television and doing homework -- with no intellectual benefits to the tube.

...

Finally, Frederick Zimmerman and Dimitri Christakis of the University of Washington analyzed data on kids' TV habits in order to study the effect of watching TV and reading skills development. They looked at scores on three reading and comprehension tests.

Children under three watched an average of 2.2 hours per day; at ages 3 to 5 years, the daily average was 3.3 hours. The under-three couch potatoes had lower scores on all three tests. However, kids in the three-to-five age group showed a 0.51 percent improvement in the reading recognition test for every hour they watched.

Zimmerman and Christakis concluded that watching TV could stunt the thinking of children under three. They advised parents to follow the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines and not let kids under two watch TV at all.
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Chips coming to a brain near you

"Professor Theodore W. Berger, director of the Center for Neural Engineering at the University of Southern California, is creating a silicon chip implant that mimics the hippocampus, an area of the brain known for creating memories. If successful, the artificial brain prosthesis could replace its biological counterpart, enabling people who suffer from memory disorders to regain the ability to store new memories.

And it's no longer a question of "if" but "when." The six teams involved in the multi-laboratory effort, including USC, the University of Kentucky and Wake Forest University, have been working together on different components of the neural prosthetic for nearly a decade.
...
Berger's team began its research by studying the re-encoding process performed by neurons in slices of rat hippocampi kept alive in nutrients. By stimulating these neurons with randomly generated computer signals and studying the output patterns, the group determined a set of mathematical functions that transformed any given arbitrary input pattern in the same manner that the biological neurons do.

Dr. John J. Granacki, director of the Advanced Systems Division at USC, has been working on translating these mathematical functions onto a microchip. The resulting chip is meant to simulate the processing of biological neurons in the slice of rat hippocampus: accepting electrical impulses, processing them and then sending on the transformed signals. The researchers say the microchip is doing exactly that, with a stunning 95 percent accuracy rate.
...
The team expects it will take two to three years to develop the mathematical models for the hippocampus of a live, active rat and translate them onto a microchip, and seven or eight years for a monkey. They hope to apply this approach to clinical applications within 10 years. If everything goes well, they anticipate seeing an artificial human hippocampus, potentially usable for a variety of clinical disorders, in 15 years
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
"If you think of brain circuits as locked rooms, the vasopressin receptor as a lock on the door, and vasopressin as the key that fits it, only those circuits that have the receptors can be ˜opened' or influenced by the hormone," added Hammock. "An animal's response to vasopressin thus depends upon which rooms have the locks and our research shows that the distribution of the receptors is determined by the length of the microsatellites."


This is last month's news but it reminded me of Gene Wolfe's alzabo and an entire life's memories being accessible through eating flesh with the alzabo. I always imagined the alzabo allowed the splicing and translation of some junk DNA.

NIH The junk dna part is in the article
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Cool bit of synchronicity there, Eric... just read about how jumping genes formerly considered junk DNA have been found to contribute to the uniqueness of individual brains (article)

"Brains are marvels of diversity: no two are the same, not even those of otherwise identical twins. Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies may have found one explanation for the puzzling variety in brain organisation and function: mobile elements, pieces of DNA that can jump from one place in the genome to another, randomly changing the genetic information in single brain cells. If enough of these jumps occur, they could allow individual brains to develop in distinctly different ways."

I think they better drop the term "junk" DNA and replace it with "WTF is this for??" DNA.
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
quote:
Originally posted by DIT:
Cool bit of synchronicity there, Eric... just read about how jumping genes formerly considered junk DNA have been found to contribute to the uniqueness of individual brains...
I think they better drop the term "junk" DNA and replace it with "WTF is this for??" DNA.


I like WTF DNA. The ease of the WTF DNA mutability is very scary and promising at the same time. I want to think the differences are a result of experiences stored temporarily and genetically but thats way off base from this. I still have a lot of learning to do.
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
quote:
The ease of the WTF DNA mutability is very scary and promising at the same time.

Yeah, and it's kind of reassuring in a strange way, too. It sounds like WTF DNA provides some randomization factors that play a key role in the immune system, reproduction and the brain, especially in regions governing behaviour and personality. I kinda like the idea that we're not all just perfect manifestations of the patterns passed down through the ages in our DNA, that there's a bit of randomness at play that makes each of us truly unique. It sounds like even clones might have slightly different behaviour and personality from their progenitor and each other.

"I still have a lot of learning to do" is something I've been saying a lot the last few years. It's kind of a fact of life these days, with the learning curves all going vertical. I've recently started to think of it as a profoundly positive thing to say, however. It's so awesome to live at a time when all of these new discoveries are being made...
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Better talk to Wage...I mean Gage.

"[Fred]Gage now believes that changes in behavior like exercising more can affect neurogenesis and alter the brain's wiring. "The idea is that we have control over who we are, even as adults," he says. We're used to thinking that our minds control our bodies. Could it be the other way around? Could what we do change the structure of our brains? It's a radical idea-one that turns on its head accepted ideas of nature vs. nurture. And since Gage has some experience toppling long-standing biological truths, it's probably worth considering."
Source
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Very interesting all these neuro-updates. I´m not very skilled in neuroscience myself, but as I´m into speek-language pathologies, I´m often connecting to this knowledge. The "mirror neurons" reminded me on the estimated childpsychologist Daniel Stern and a lecture he gave on the human childs ability not only to mimic shortly after birth, but also to mimic the other persons bare intentions of movement and how this particular skill is dividing humans from I think chimpanses.
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
quote:
Could what we do change the structure of our brains? It's a radical idea-one that turns on its head accepted ideas of nature vs. nurture

There's a really well written book by Matt Ridley called The Agile Gene - How Nature turns on Nurture that does a great job of explaining current research into genetics and how the body and brain develop and grow, using the 'nature vs. nurture' debate as a conceptual framework to discuss how genetics and experience work together. Very readable. Highly recommended.

gutze, thanks for pointing out Daniel Stern's work. Came across a really interesting article as a result: The Emergence of a New Paradigm in Ape Language Research, that talks about how meaningful communication between people can be thought of as a complex gestural dance, how children learn to communicate, etc.
(I've noticed that there seems to be some kind of gestural communication used by birds and by squirrels when the parents are next to their offspring. I wonder if you could learn how to 'speak' the language used by a different species by analyzing the interactions between an infant of that species and its parents?)

I also came across a really good Podcast interview with R. Douglas Fields, one of the best communicators I've found in the field, able to explain complex neuroscience in a way that makes it easy to understand what is going on. He touches on some really interesting topics - e.g. Genes within a neuron can be turned on and off by stimulating a neuron to fire at a certain frequency, altering the structure of the neuron. A neuron can have up to 100K connections. Through activation of the brain, interaction with the environment, those connections get winnowed away and pruned. Understanding the pruning mechanism is one of the next major research challenges. Favourite quote: "We are always held captive by our analogies."
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
quote:
Originally posted by gutze:
Very interesting all these neuro-updates. I´m not very skilled in neuroscience myself, but as I´m into speek-language pathologies, I´m often connecting to this knowledge. The "mirror neurons" reminded me on the estimated childpsychologist Daniel Stern and a lecture he gave on the human childs ability not only to mimic shortly after birth, but also to mimic the other persons bare intentions of movement and how this particular skill is dividing humans from I think chimpanses.

I'd say you're becoming skilled quickly though. Hope all is well with the little one! They pick up on body language so fast its hard to hide emotion from them. Like when you know they did something by accident but it still upsets you.

Great Fields article!
I wonder if those synapses that fire out of sync are what cause the dejavu feeling? Or if it is a signal that is almost strong enough so a portion of the event is sent to long term but then to short term and the brain says "wait a minute didn't this happen before". Very interesting.

Allan Alda hosted a Scientific American segment awhile back about memories and false memories. He participated in an experiment at a picnic. Pictures were taken while he was there. After he left, pictures were also staged that resembled events that occurred and that had no resemblence to events during the picnic. When he was questioned about the picnic using the pictures, he denied witnessing some actual events and created false memories about the some of the staged photos.
Eye witness testimony will become obsolete.
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Gromit's News is good news.
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Everything is just fine with my little son Tao, thanks.
It is a special opportunity to observe the mental-neurological development. The reactiontime at several seconds, at start, from something unpleassant happens, to the facial expression and finally the crying for help. You can almost see the neurological signals making virgin pathways.
And the dominant will and urge to communicate. Tao allready made up his first nonverbal word (with a defined and constant meaning) by grapping his bib and putting it to his mouth, when he wants water while eating. Of course he didn´t make it alone, but in the intricate interplay of guessing, confirming and repeating.
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Glad to read everything is going smoothly.

and this is cool:
quote:
...You can almost see the neurological signals making virgin pathways. And the dominant will and urge to communicate...
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Neurobiology? Close enough, I guess...

Taking the piss?
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Oooo- I love this topic, being a neuromancing biochemist myself!

Machines and creativity- do composers just rearrange concepts they already have learned in new ways when making composing music? So then machines could simulate music in the same way?? Here our explortation (sic) at: http://www.mental-escher.net/podcast_2005/ME_2005-06-04...ne-music_updated.mp3
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Cool podcast, defwheezer!
quote:
CGI contruct 'Kyoko Data' (code named DK-96), Kyoko Data renders "Tatu (I'm a) Robot".
-- defwheezer


Fascinating use of language - DK-96 renders a song instead of sings it. Do you refer to DK-96 as 'she' or 'it'?

w.r.t. your 'explortation', you might be interested in this Sound on Sound article - I would guess that the state of the art has progressed quite a bit since it was written...

I'm quite fascinated by how the creative process works. There's a great book called "The Creative Process" by Ghiselin that compiles letters from Einstein, Van Gogh, Mozart and others where the authors try to outline how their creative process works. At a certain level, it seems that there's this sub-conscious inference engine whirring away in the background coming up with countless combinations of memories and 'what if' hypotheses that pass through some form of filter so that only those that are 'beautiful' in some way, shape or form are surfaced. I think there's also another mechanism where inputs trigger a chain of reactions and responses, both emotional and rational that can perturb the mind in ways so that it can enter new search spaces for concepts and ideas.

If a simulation could be built that could learn, create hypotheses, filter out any that are not 'beautiful' or 'interesting' and somehow test them empirically, the rate of innovation will skyrocket and we'll be well on the way to the singularity. Non trivial to be sure, but I doubt that it's impossible. A project to model the human brain (called Blue Brain) was recently announced by IBM and the Brain and Mind Institute at the Ecole Polytecnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland. Combine it with a database of the contextual information needed for 'common sense' understanding (see http://www.cyc.com/ ) and things start to get pretty interesting...
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
"Once you have a truly massive amount of
information integrated as knowledge, then
the human-software system will be superhuman,
in the same sense that mankind with writing
is superhuman compared to mankind
before writing." ~ Doug Lenat, June 21, 2001

Does self-preservation drive what we perceive as "common sense"?

"'You have no care for your species. For thousands of years men dreamed of pacts with demons. Only now are such things possible. And what would you be paid with? What would your price be, for aiding this thing to free itself and grow?' There was a knowing weariness in her young voice that no nineteen-year-old could have mustered."
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
I found this sampler page, DIT.

"Every genuinely creative worker must attain in one way or another such full understanding of his medium and such skill, ingenuity, and flexibility in handling it that he can make fresh use of it to construct a device which, when used skillfully by others, will organize their experience in the way that his own experience was organized in the moment of expanded insight. Among the users of his device may be the inventor himself, who may recover the configurations of his insight in this way, though not the full activity out of which they were crystallized. His device may even fail to remind him of his labor." [Brewster Ghiselin - pg. 29]

Strangely a device making artisan of this type seems like the altruist individuals crazy carlos mentions over in the intelligent design thread. A social neurological evolution of the creative process like WG mentions in _PR_. The creative process may reside outside the individual.
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
ALRIGHT!

Protein identified with memory

MONTREAL, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- Researchers say they have discovered a protein that might be a master regulator of the switch from short-term to long-term memory.

The scientists determined the protein GCN2 inhibits conversion of new information into long-term memory.

The discovery provides the first genetic evidence that protein synthesis is critical for memory formation and regulation.

Related Headlines

Circadian rhythms affects memory formation (August 23, 2005) -- A University of Houston study suggests the circadian clock affects long-term memory formation, in that learning occurs during an animal's active ... > full story
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
quote:
The creative process may reside outside the individual.
--Eric

I think I know what you mean by this. My take on it is that the creative process is stimulated by a subconscious reaction to some external event (e.g. some accidental discovery or some idea or comment from another person) that acts as some kind of trigger, opening up new possibilities. Bono says U2 does 'songwriting by accident', where the best songs come from reacting to the random collision of ideas and the unintentional. Picasso said something along the lines of 'You are your mistakes', which I take to mean that things that you didn't intend to do open up new possibilities to explore, and that the things that you discover along the way shape you and become formative experiences.

quote:
Strangely a device making artisan of this type seems like the altruist individuals crazy carlos mentions over in the intelligent design thread.
--Eric

I've been thinking a bit about empathy lately -- it seems like it's the root of much of what is considered 'good' in humanity. Including altruism. And that lack of empathy is the root of a heck of a lot of the 'bad'. And that perhaps empathy is related to mirror neurons somehow.

As to how this may have evolved, there's a fascinating BBC website on human evolution that discusses a population bottleneck that occurred 70,000 years ago...

Clues from genetics, archaeology and geology suggest our ancestors were nearly wiped out by one or more environmental catastrophes in the Late Pleistocene period. At one point, the numbers of modern humans living in the world may have dwindled to as few as 10,000 people.
...
The harsh climatic conditions that accompanied the volcanic winter may have placed pressure on humans to cooperate with each other. Small foraging groups became larger societies. Ambrose calls this the 'troop-to-tribe transition'.

This transition seems to have involved systems of gift exchange between distant peoples.
...
In this way, humans increased the likelihood of survival or 'spread the risk of survival'.


Perhaps those with a higher degree of empathy were better able to help each other and engage in successful trade in order to survive?
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Or the empathy talented humans were able to imagine that giving a gift would raise the chances to receive a gift...
No, that´s not all of course. I think the gift theme is important, as it demands a good portion of empathy to give a gift that will be appreciated. It´s terrible to receive something that doesn´t hold that empatic thought of the other, f.ex. a gift representing the givers own desires, revealing the missing knowledge of you. Relations can be formed, changed, destroyed by gifts. The power of donation.
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
I like the gift theme as well.
No one wants a trojan horse.
Something that is given that mirrors the receiver and allows the receiver to associate self with the giver is what most want (but a cut-up collage is always nice). The mirror neuron effect would be to give a gift in return.

Googling empathy mirror neurons,
I found alot of references to the Head and Holmes studies of 1911-1912 in defining Body Schema, an unconscious body map, which enables us to program and monitor the execution of actions with the different body parts.

Googling Merleau-Ponty, I found something that I associated with gutz comment
quote:
...Relations can be formed, changed, destroyed by gifts...

associating with understanding and pain ( source ):
quote:
The intersubjective nature of the human brain is underscored by the discovery of a neural mirroring system in the premotor cortex and other areas of the brain, obviously serving as the neurobiological correlate of action understanding, nonverbal communication and empathy.[19,20] Mirror neurons discharge both when an action is performed and when a similar action is observed in another individual. They seem to represent a system that matches intentional behavior of others to one's own action experience, and in this way they form a link of mutual understanding through bodily simulation or resonance. Recently, 'pain neurons' activated by pain observed in others have also been found in the cingulate cortex.[21] Though not having direct applicability for psychotherapy, the concept of a mirror matching network supplies strong evidence for what the phenomenologist Merleau-Ponty[22] has called 'intercorporality': there is a sphere of bodily sensibility and mutual resonance which we share from the beginning with others as embodied subjects. To become aware of these prereflective processes going on during verbal exchange may enhance therapeutic effectiveness.


In trying to find an interesting bit on Head and Holmes about the different effects of the written and spoken word on the body schema, I ran across Emily Holmes's bit on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that reminded me of _PR_

source:
quote:
The research supports a "dual-representation" theory of PTSD that proposes that traumas are encoded both in the form of higher-level verbal memories and as lower-level sensory memories. As a result, sensory and verbal interference may have changed the intrusion rate in opposite ways. Holmes likens visuospatial/sensory memory to raw film footage, filled with incoherent images that surface as flashbacks, and verbal/conceptual memory to a news broadcast, with narration to explain events and put them in perspective.


And that completely solidified DIT's statement for me
quote:
...Picasso said something along the lines of 'You are your mistakes', which I take to mean that things that you didn't intend to do open up new possibilities to explore, and that the things that you discover along the way shape you and become formative experiences...


I wish I said The creative process may reside outside the individual. but I'm pretty sure I stole that from our illustrious WG. Straight from the mouth of Bigend.
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
re: gifts, I guess you could view WGB, and the Internet in general, as 21st century global info potlatchs...

Eric - I found the passage spoken by Bigend that you were referring to: "the creative process is no longer contained within an individual skull, if indeed it ever was. Everything, today, is to some extent the reflection of something else." Cool! Got me thinking about Richard Dawkins, E.O Wilson and the meme pool as a parallel evolutionary trajectory to the gene pool. Which led to finding this article, which touches on some of the changes to the human brain 100,000 years ago:


Humans have an encephalisation quotient of about 3 relative to other primates. That is, our brains are roughly three times as large when adjusted for body weight (Jerison 1973). The increase probably began about 2.5 million years ago in the australopithecines, and was completed about 100,000 years ago by which time all living hominids had brains about the same size as ours (Leakey, 1994; Wills, 1993). Not only is the brain much bigger than it was, but it appears to have been drastically reorganised during what is, in evolutionary terms, a relatively short time (Deacon 1997). The correlates of brain size and structure have been studied in many species and are complex and not well understood (Harvey & Krebs 1990). Nevertheless, the human brain stands out. The problem is serious because of the very high cost (in energy terms) of both producing a large brain during development, and of running it in the adult, as well as the dangers entailed in giving birth. Pinker asks "Why would evolution ever have selected for sheer bigness of brain, that bulbous, metabolically greedy organ? ... Any selection on brain size itself would surely have favored the pinhead." (1994, p 363).

...

In outline the theory is this. The turning point in hominid evolution was when our ancestors began to imitate each other, releasing a new replicator, the meme. Memes then changed the environment in which genes were selected, and the direction of change was determined by the outcome of memetic selection. Among the many consequences of this change was that the human brain and vocal tract were restructured to make them better at replicating the successful memes.
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
quote:
re: gifts, I guess you could view WGB, and the Internet in general, as 21st century global info potlatchs...

Lovely idea!
The brainstuff is very interesting and emphazises how vital the development of language and communication is to humans. I don´t think birds f.ex. are unable to understand their world if they for some reason can´t communicate - but on the other hand, I never met an autistic bird...
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
In "The Science of Discworld", Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen spend some time discussing "extelligence" - the externalisation of mental processes through culture, and the combination of intelligence and extelligence feeding back into human evolution.

Worth a read. Assuming there's anyone here who hasn't read it already... Wink
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
Some very interesting reads here. I haven't had time to read most of them, but I do have some of the original SciAm articles. I hope to get around to reading all of them sometime though.

I think these developments in Nanobiology will definetly be a push to the AI people and what they're able to do in the future. I don't really know if that's a good thing or not, only time will tell.

I also think these discoveries will help in the exploritory field of biological computer systems, but the jury's still out on that one...
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
quote:
Originally posted by DIT:
re: gifts, I guess you could view WGB, and the Internet in general, as 21st century global info potlatchs...

Eric - I found the passage spoken by Bigend that you were referring to: "the creative process is no longer contained within an individual skull, if indeed it ever was. Everything, today, is to some extent the reflection of something else." Cool! Got me thinking about Richard Dawkins, E.O Wilson and the meme pool as a parallel evolutionary trajectory to the gene pool. Which led to finding this article, which touches on some of the changes to the human brain 100,000 years ago:


DIT you just functioned like a ribosome and corrected my botched Bigend meme code imitation by inserting the original encoding text Big Grin

Great article too.

gutz - autistic birds...hmmmm...interesting. I wonder if a study has been done.

Prachett double meanings fry my brain.

IWI - looking back in _Neuromancer_ Turing was trying hard to contain those AI's; those demons Big Grin
 
Like Like (0 likes)
PermalinkView Printer Friendly Format
 
Post Reply