Tag Archives: Neuroscience

The brain is a computer, but what is a computer?

Kevin Lande has an article up at Aeon which is one of the best discussions of the brain as a computational system that I’ve seen in a while.  For an idea of the spirit of the piece: The claim that … Continue reading

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A neuroscience showdown on consciousness?

Apparently the Templeton Foundation is interested in seeing progress on consciousness science, and so is contemplating funding studies to test various theories.  The stated idea is to at least winnow the field through “structured adversarial collaborations”.  The first two theories … Continue reading

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Maybe the brain communicates via electrical fields after all

An interesting finding by scientists at Case Western Reserve University, that neurons may communicate via electrical fields: Scientists think they’ve identified a previously unknown form of neural communication that self-propagates across brain tissue, and can leap wirelessly from neurons in … Continue reading

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Is the brainstem conscious?

(Warning: neuroscience weeds and references to gruesome animal research.) The vast majority of neuroscientists see consciousness as a cortical phenomenon.  It may be crucially dependent on sub-cortical and sub-cerebral structures, but subjective experience itself exists mainly or entirely in the … Continue reading

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Blindsight explained and conscious perception

Warning: neuroscience weeds. Every so often we get into discussions about where in the brain consciousness lies.  Sometimes it’s asserted to be in the brainstem, other times in the thalamus, sometimes in the parietal lobe, and yet other times in … Continue reading

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On imagination, feelings, and brain regions

The last post on feelings generated some excellent conversations.  In a couple of them, it was pointed out that my description of feelings put a lot of work on the concept of imagination, and that maybe I should expand on … Continue reading

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The construction of feelings

I’ve had a number of conversations lately on the subject of feelings, the affective states of having valences about conscious perception, such as fear, pain, joy, hunger, etc.  Apparently a lot of people view feelings as a very mysterious phenomenon.  … Continue reading

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Could a neuroscientist understand a microprocessor? Is that a relevant question?

A while back, Julia Galef on Rationally Speaking interviewed Eric Jonas, one of the authors of a study that attempted to use neuroscience techniques on a simple computer processor. The field of neuroscience has been collecting more and more data, … Continue reading

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The layers of emotion creation

What are emotions?  Where do they come from?  Are they something innate or something we learn?  The classic view is that they’re precognitive impulses that happen to us.  If so, this would imply that they have specific neural signatures. Early … Continue reading

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Steven Pinker: From neurons to consciousness

This lecture from Steven Pinker has been around for a while, but it seems to get at a question a few people have asked me recently: how does the information processing of neurons and synapses lead to conscious perception?  Pinker doesn’t answer this … Continue reading

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