Thursday, June 16, 2022

How Much Of The Brain Do We Understand

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Strategy : Spacing The Activation Of Neurons

How Much of the Brain Do We Understand (Matt Botvinick) | Lex Fridman

At this point, you are probably asking yourself how to space out learning in your day-to-day life. The good news is that there are a number of ways to do it and it can be easily adapted to different skills, such as solving mathematical problems or memorizing definitions. The most obvious change you can make to your study schedule is to break up sessions into smaller sessions. You could also ask your teacher to set daily or weekly review quizzes and other assignments. Finally, spacing can be done by doing interleaved practice. This consists of a set of problems arranged so that consecutive problems cannot be solved by the same strategy. For example, you could mix your math problems so that geometry questions, algebra, or inequality problems are randomly sequenced. The added benefit of interleaving is that you engage in different activities in-between two sessions, making good use of your time. In brief, one thing to keep in mind is that information that was previously learned will require less effort to re-learn because the spacing gives your brain time to consolidatemeaning your brain produces the building blocks required for the connections between your neurons.

Introversion And Extroversion Come From Different Wiring In The Brain

I just recently realized that introversion and extroversion are not actually related to how outgoing or shy we are, but rather how our brains recharge.

Heres how the brains of introverts and extroverts differ:

Research has actually found that there is a difference in the brains of extroverted and introverted people in terms of how we process rewards and how our genetic makeup differs. For extroverts, their brains respond more strongly when a gamble pays off. Part of this is simply genetic, but its partly the difference of their dopamine systems as well.

An experiment that had people take gambles while in a brain scanner found the following:

When the gambles they took paid off, the more extroverted group showed a stronger response in two crucial brain regions: the amygdala and the nucleus accumbens.

The nucleus accumbens is part of the dopamine system, which affects how we learn, and is generally known for motivating us to search for rewards. The difference in the dopamine system in the extroverts brain tends to push them towards seeking out novelty, taking risks and enjoying unfamiliar or surprising situations more than others. The amygdala is responsible for processing emotional stimuli, which gives extroverts that rush of excitement when they try something highly stimulating which might overwhelm an introvert.

How Much Of Our Brains Do We Use

Is it true that we use only 10% of our brain? Or is it purely a myth propagated for over a century to an extent that we believe it to be factual? Is it a fact, as highlighted in Lucy that using 100% of our brain is extremely dangerous? So what amount do we exactly use?

Itâs confusing, right? But not to worry. You are not alone.

The science of our brain is a flaky one. But in between all those studies lies some truth. The truth that we intend to highlight in this article. But before we repeat regurgitated myths, how about a few fun facts about the brain? That could help us get close to the truth, right? Cool.

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Is There Such A Thing As Being Left

Well, your brain definitely has a left side and a right side . Each hemisphere controls certain functions and movement on the opposite side of your body.

Beyond that, the left brain is more verbal. Its analytical and orderly. It takes in the small details, and then puts them together to understand the whole picture. The left brain handles reading, writing, and calculations. Some call it the logical side of the brain.

The right brain is more visual and deals in images more than words. It processes information in an intuitive and simultaneous manner. It takes in the big picture, and then looks at the details. Some say its the creative, artsy side of the brain.

Theres a popular theory that people can be divided into left-brained or right-brained personalities based on one side being dominant. Left-brained people are said to be more logical, and right-brained people are said to be more creative.

After a two-year analysis , a team of neuroscientists found no evidence to prove this theory. Brain scans showed that humans dont favor one hemisphere over the other. Its not likely that the network on one side of your brain is substantially stronger than the opposite side.

As with most things relating to the human brain, its complicated. While each hemisphere has its strengths, they dont work in isolation. Both sides contribute something to logical and creative thinking.

How Does The Human Brain Work And How Much Do We Know

How Much Of Our Brain Do We Actually Use

Join us on a journey deep into the brain, the mind, and the self, as Professor Berlin reveals the startling and exciting recent findings of cutting-edge neuroscience. How does your brain accomplish spontaneous creativity? How much self-control or free will do we really have? And what does the future hold, once brains begin to integrate with neural prosthetics? Get to know your dynamic unconscious mind, a bigger part of who you are than you could ever guess, with Dr. Berlin as your guide.

Learn More About How The Brain Works

For more lectures about the human brain check out the rest of Professor Heather Berlins lectures in our video library. for One Day University Membership today for unlimited access to hundreds of talks and online lectures.

Heather Berlin / Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

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Mechanisms Of Pavlovian Conditioning

An extensively studied example of Pavlovian conditioning involves the emotion of fear. Rats show fear by freezing, for instance, after being given a shock . Normally, a moderate intensity tone does not produce fear however, if a shock is given whenever the tone is given, the tone becomes a cue . Once this happens, the cue given alone will produce freezing.

Some Key Neurotransmitters At Work

Neurotransmitters are chemicals that brain cells use to talk to each other. Some neurotransmitters make cells more active while others block or dampen a cell’s activity .

Acetylcholine is an excitatory neurotransmitter because it generally makes cells more excitable. It governs muscle contractions and causes glands to secrete hormones. Alzheimers disease, which initially affects memory formation, is associated with a shortage of acetylcholine.

Glutamate is a major excitatory neurotransmitter. Too much glutamate can kill or damage neurons and has been linked to disorders including Parkinson’s disease, stroke, seizures, and increased sensitivity to pain.

GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps control muscle activity and is an important part of the visual system. Drugs that increase GABA levels in the brain are used to treat epileptic seizures and tremors in patients with Huntingtons disease.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that constricts blood vessels and brings on sleep. It is also involved in temperature regulation. Low levels of serotonin may cause sleep problems and depression, while too much serotonin can lead to seizures.

Dopamine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter involved in mood and the control of complex movements. The loss of dopamine activity in some portions of the brain leads to the muscular rigidity of Parkinsons disease. Many medications used to treat behavioral disorders work by modifying the action of dopamine in the brain.

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Oh The Places You’ll Know

Energy use aside then, does the brain store any abstract knowledge about itself? Well, as a physicalist I believe that everything we know and experience has a physical basis in the brain. If you agree with me, then that means your brain physically contains everything you know about brains! Figuring out where and how this sort of information is stored is still a major question in neuroscience, but we have some leads. For example, its thought that memories are initially processed in the hippocampus – a little curvy bit deep in your brain, so named because it looks kind of like a seahorse .

The Hippocampus located within the Human Brain. Adapted from Gray’s Anatomy, Plate 739. Source Wikipedia Commons

Later, memories are probably transitioned to wide-spread storage all around the brains surface . This process is called consolidation, and its one of the main things thought to happen during sleep. Now that Ive told you this, its possible that these facts are sitting in your hippocampus as you read this! In some way, your hippocampus may be representing the idea that it looks like a little seahorse! Wherever that idea might end up encoded in the long run, for the moment we can say that at least one small part of your brain really knows something about itself.

Left: Human Hippocampus. Right: Seahorse.Both: Humanity’s boundless ability for thinking one thing looks like another thing. Prepared by Laszlo Seress, 1980. Source: Wikipedia Commons

Wireless Hot Spots In Your Head

How much of the brain do we use? What are some important things we need to know about our brain?

Cognitive functions such as reasoning and learning use a number of distinct brain regions in a time-sequenced manner. Anatomy alone the neurons and nerve fibers cannot explain the excitation of these regions, concurrently or in tandem.

Some connections are actually wireless. These are electric near-field connections, and not the physical connections captured in tractographs.

My research team has worked for several years detailing the origins of these wireless connections and measuring their field strengths. A very simple analogy of what is going on in the brain is how a wireless router works. The internet is delivered to a router via a wired connection. The router then sends the information to your laptop using wireless connections. The overall system of information transfer works because of both wired and wireless connections.

In the case of the brain, nerve cells conduct electrical impulses down long threadlike arms called axons from the cell body to other neurons. Along the way, wireless signals are naturally emitted from uninsulated portions of nerve cells. These spots that lack the protective insulation that wraps the rest of the axon are called nodes of Ranvier.

The nodes of Ranvier allow charged ions to diffuse in and out of the neuron, propagating the electrical signal down the axon. As the ions flow in and out, electric fields are generated. The intensity and structure of these fields depends on the activity of the nerve cell.

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Exercise Can Reorganize The Brain And Boost Your Willpower

Sure, exercise is good for your body, but what about your brain? Well apparently theres a link between exercise and mental alertness, in a similar way that happiness and exercise are related.

A lifetime of exercise can result in a sometimes astonishing elevation in cognitive performance, compared with those who are sedentary. Exercisers outperform couch potatoes in tests that measure long-term memory, reasoning, attention, problem-solving, even so-called fluid-intelligence tasks.

Of course, exercise can also make us happier, as weve explored before:

If you start exercising, your brain recognizes this as a moment of stress. As your heart pressure increases, the brain thinks you are either fighting the enemy or fleeing from it. To protect yourself and your brain from stress, you release a protein called BDNF . This BDNF has a protective and also reparative element to your memory neurons and acts as a reset switch. Thats why we often feel so at ease and things are clear after exercising and eventually happy.

At the same time, endorphins, another chemical to fight stress, are released in your brain. The main purpose of endorphis is this, writes researcher McGovern:

These endorphins tend to minimize the discomfort of exercise, block the feeling of pain and are even associated with a feeling of euphoria.

Debunking The 10% Myth

  • Ph.D., Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University
  • B.A., Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University
  • B.A., Cognitive Science, Johns Hopkins University

You may have heard that humans only use 10 percent of their brain power, and that if you could unlock the rest of your brainpower, you could do so much more. You could become a super genius, or acquire psychic powers like mind reading and telekinesis. However, there is a powerful body of evidence debunking the 10 percent myth. Scientists have consistently shown that humans use their entire brain throughout each day.

Despite the evidence, the 10 percent myth has inspired many references in the cultural imagination. Films like “Limitless” and “Lucy” depict protagonists who develop godlike powers thanks to drugs that unleash the previously inaccessible 90 percent of the brain. A 2013 study showed that about 65 percent of Americans believe the trope, and a 1998 study showed that a full third of psychology majors, who focus on the workings of the brain, fell for it.

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Can We Ever Know The Human Brain

This supercomputer is bringing us one step closer to real-time simulation of the human brain.

  • Scientists still dont fully understand the complexities of the human brain
  • Supercomputers are used to simulate the brain in order to investigate its mysteries
  • Neuromorphic simulations will allow scientists to better understand brain function and neurological diseases

The human brain is one of the most complex things in the universe. With more than 100 billion interconnected brain cells and 100 trillion synapses between nerve cells, the brains inner workings remain a mystery to even the most knowledgeable experts.

Inspired by the brain

Its a system with an organization of many scales, from molecular to cellular to the network level. Then you have neurotransmitter systems at a more global level as well, says Sacha van Albada, leader of the Theoretical Neuroanatomy group at the Jülich Research Centre in Germany.

We dont really know which level or levels are important for understanding certain phenomena, like how the brain performs calculations or for certain neurological diseases.

However, one way researchers are trying to better understand this intricate organ is by developing ever more efficient conventional and neuromorphic supercomputers that approach the speed of the brain. By simulating the exchange between neurons, these powerful computers can help scientists understand what makes the brain tick.

Read more:

The Connectome Wiring Diagramm Of The Brain

How much will this hurt? Brain waves may hold the answer

Ten out of 950 neurons reconstructed in a block of mouse retina, imaged using serial block-face electron microscopy . Spheres indicate cell bodies .

For this reason, the scientists are developing new methods to help them decipher the connectome. Their models for this are mice: recently, they examined the circuitry of areas in the retina as well as in the cerebral cortex and found that nerve cells in the so-called entorhinal cortex are organised like a transistor: before a nerve cell can activate another cell, it contacts an impeding cell and its own activity is therefore inhibited.

Using these kinds of circuit diagrams, scientists want to learn how the brain works. At Max Planck Institutes, they are already working to explain the principles of information processing. Currently, they are focusing on brains that have a simpler structure and contain fewer nerve cells and fibres than the human brain. Mice are one such model case for neuroscientists. As mammals, they have a brain which is structured and functions similarly to a human. By using it, researchers can investigate everything from the fundamental functioning of nerve cells to the circuitry within the cerebral cortex.

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You Can Make Your Brain Think Time Is Going Slowly By Doing New Things

Ever wished you didnt find yourself saying Where does the time go! every June when you realize the year is half-over? This is a neat trick that relates to how our brains perceive time. Once you know how it works, you can trick your brain into thinking time is moving more slowly.

Essentially, our brains take a whole bunch of information from our senses and organize it in a way that makes sense to us, before we ever perceive it. So what we think is our sense of time is actually just a whole bunch of information presented to us in a particular way, as determined by our brains:

When our brains receive new information, it doesnt necessarily come in the proper order. This information needs to be reorganized and presented to us in a form we understand. When familiar information is processed, this doesnt take much time at all. New information, however, is a bit slower and makes time feel elongated.

Even stranger, it isnt just a single area of the brain that controls our time perceptionits done by a whole bunch of brain areas, unlike our common five senses, which can each be pinpointed to a single, specific area.

When we receive lots of new information, it takes our brains a while to process it all. The longer this processing takes, the longer that period of time feels:

The same thing happens when we hear enjoyable music, because greater attention leads to perception of a longer period of time.

Why Does The Myth Continue

Somehow, somewhere, someonestarted this myth and the popular media keep on repeating this falsestatement . Soon, everyone believes the statementregardless of the evidence. I have not been able to track down the exactsource of this myth, and I have never seen any scientific data to supportit. According to the believers of this myth, if we used more of ourbrain, then we could perform super memory feats and have other fantasticmental abilities – maybe we could even move objects with a single thought. Again, I do not know of any data that would support any of this.

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