The ancients believed that the ‘I’ in the mind is a reflection of the body. Just as athletes and sports people develop muscle memory, the bodymind retains the imprints of experiences that shape your memories, emotions and desires, which in turn form the basis of your conscious and sub-conscious choices and actions. Who you are is a reality of your own making.
Aside from drugs, sleep deprivation, extreme physical experiences or direct physical interference, nothing or no one can reach into your head and make you do or believe something against your will – all your beliefs and actions are a result of choices you make, knowingly or unknowingly, based on long held beliefs or reasoned, considered thought. The world is not simply and only something ‘out there’, you construct a view of and feelings about something ‘out there’ and make sure it suits the feeling you want or allow yourself to have about it at that moment and in that situation.
Neuroscience is a fast developing field that explores this aspect of who we are.
A very good guide is Neuroscience of Self and Self-Regulation by Todd F. Heatherton
As a social species, humans have a fundamental need to belong that encourages behaviors consistent with being a good group member. Being a good group member requires the capacity for self-regulation, which allows people to alter or inhibit behaviors that would place them at risk for group exclusion. Self-regulation requires four psychological components. First, people need to be aware of their behavior so as to gauge it against societal norms. Second, people need to understand how others are reacting to their behavior so as to predict how others will respond to them. This necessitates a third mechanism, which detects threat, especially in complex social situations. Finally, there needs to be a mechanism for resolving discrepancies between self-knowledge and social expectations or norms, thereby motivating behavior to resolve any conflict that exists. This article reviews recent social neuroscience research on the psychological components that support the human capacity for self-regulation.
- These Scientists Just Completed a 3D ‘Google Earth’ for the BrainThese Scientists Just Completed a 3D ‘Google Earth’ for the Brain Human brain maps are a dime a dozen these days. Maps that detail neurons in a certain region. Maps that draw out functional connections between those cells. Maps that dive deeper into gene expression. Or even meta-maps that combine all of the above. But … Read MoreRead more
- Key brain region was “recycled” as humans developed the ability to readA new study from MIT neuroscientists offers evidence that the brain’s inferotemporal cortex, which is specialized to perform object recognition, has been repurposed for a key component of reading called orthographic processing — the ability to recognize written letters and words.
- Role of REM Versus Non-REM Sleep on LearningNew research evaluates which sleep stage is most important for learning: REM or non-REM. In the new study investigators looked at two mechanisms. Does sleep improve learning by enhancing skills while people snooze, or does the sleep benefit arise from reinforcing those skills in the brain so that they’re less likely to forget them? The … Read MoreRead more
- Towards ‘Eternal Sunshine’? New Links Found Between Memory and EmotionTowards ‘Eternal Sunshine’? New Links Found Between Memory and Emotion Nearly a decade ago, I almost drowned. As an amateur scuba diver, I recklessly joined a group of experts for a deep—much deeper than I was qualified for—dive at night. Already exhausted from swimming my gear from shore, within minutes after I descended I lost … Read MoreRead more
- Ila Fiete studies how the brain performs complex computationsIla Fiete, an associate professor of brain and cognitive sciences at MIT, uses computational and mathematical techniques to study how the brain encodes information in ways that enable cognitive tasks such as learning, memory, and neural representation of our surroundings.
- Mapping the brain’s sensory gatekeeperThese cross-sections of the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) show two distinct populations of neurons, labeled in purple and green. A team of researchers from MIT and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard has now mapped the TRN in unprecedented detail.
- A new way to control experimentation with dreams“Dormio takes dream research to a new level, interacting directly with an individual’s dreaming brain and manipulating the actual content of their dreams,” says Robert Stickgold, director of the Center for Sleep and Cognition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
- Neural vulnerability in Huntington’s disease tied to release of mitochondrial RNAMIT neuroscientists have linked the vulnerability of neurons in Hungtington’s disease to the release of mitochondrial RNA and an associated immune system response. In this image, on the right are neurons from a Huntington’s model mouse showing much more PKR (a marker of immune response to mitochondrial RNA) in green than neurons on the left, which are from a healthy mouse.
- Seemingly similar, two neurons show distinct styles as they interact with the same muscle partnerThe left side shows a "tonic" neuron (stained green) growing to just one muscle on the right of the panel. In the next panel, one can see a "phasic" neuron (also stained green) connecting to more than one muscle.
- A mechanical way to stimulate neuronsA scanning electron microscope image of cultured neural cells shows the team’s newly developed nanodiscs (colored area) arrayed along the cell surface, where they can exert enough force to trigger a response.
- How the Brain Builds a Sense of Self From the People Around UsHow the Brain Builds a Sense of Self From the People Around Us We are highly sensitive to people around us. As infants, we observe our parents and teachers, and from them we learn how to walk, talk, read—and use smartphones. There seems to be no limit to the complexity of behavior we can acquire … Read MoreRead more
- Findings weaken notion that size equals strength for neural connectionsWithin a microscope image of neurons from the hippocampus region of a rodent brain (left), a zoomed-in section (red square) of a neuron’s dendrites shows spines (right) where many synaptic connections with other neurons reside.
- Couch Potato No More: How the Benefits of Exercise Transfer to the BrainCouch Potato No More: How the Benefits of Exercise Transfer to the Brain Brain aging is reversible. How? Why? And how much can we rejuvenate an already aged brain? Those were the one conviction and three questions that guided me throughout my post-doctoral work at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Yes, this isn’t … Read MoreRead more
- COMMANDing drug delivery3D renderings of simulated multi-bolus delivery to various brain structures (striatum, amygdala, substantia nigra, and hippocampus) show one to four boluses.
- Flatworms muscle new eyes' wiring into their brainsFluorescent image of the visual system of the planarian Schmidtea Mediterranea. Visual axons and photoreceptor neurons shown in cyan, guidepost-like cells shown in magenta.
- A Highway to Smell: How Scientists Used Light to Incept Smell in Mice
- How worms move: Dopamine helps nematodes coordinate motor behaviorsUsing a new kind of microscope that closely tracks every movement, researchers seeking to study how organisms coordinate movement behaviors compiled a compendium of 100 reference postures that encompass the range of typical C. elegans poses.
- Producing a gaseous messenger molecule inside the body, on demandPhoto shows the device the team developed. The tube at top is connected to a supply of the precursor material, sodium nitrite, which then passes through a channel in the fiber at the bottom and into the body, which also contains the electrodes to stimulate the release of nitric oxide. The electrodes are connected through the four-pin connector on the left.
- A focused approach to imaging neural activity in the brainUsing a new calcium indicator that accumulates in the cell bodies of neurons (boxes at right), MIT neuroscientists are able to more accurately image neuron activity. Traditional calcium indicators (boxes at left) can generate crosstalk that blurs the images.
- Like a treasure map, brain region emphasizes reward locationWhen keeping track of location a particular region of the brain, the lateral septum, pays special attention to where the reward is located, compared to another region, the hippocampus, that tracks location without that same bias.
- Scientists Used Dopamine to Seamlessly Merge Artificial and Biological NeuronsScientists Used Dopamine to Seamlessly Merge Artificial and Biological Neurons In just half a decade, neuromorphic devices—or brain-inspired computing—already seem quaint. The current darling? Artificial-biological hybrid computing, uniting both man-made computer chips and biological neurons seamlessly into semi-living circuits. It sounds crazy, but a new study in Nature Materials shows that it’s possible to get … Read MoreRead more
- Study sheds light on a classic visual illusionAn MIT-led research team has discovered evidence that a classic visual illusion called simultaneous brightness contrast, such as the one seen here, relies on brightness estimation that takes place in the retina, not the brain’s visual cortex. In this image, the two small discs appear to have different brightness despite having identical luminance.
- Amazingly Detailed Map Reveals How the Brain Changes With AgingAmazingly Detailed Map Reveals How the Brain Changes With Aging If a brain is our Earth, then we, as inhabitants, are individual brain cells. Just as our human relationships and connections can nudge, push, or dramatically shift societal values and consequences, the connections between neurons form intricate networks that dictate the outcome of your mind. … Read MoreRead more
- Study finds path for addressing Alzheimer’s blood-brain barrier impairmentIn Alzheimer’s disease, the blood-brain barrier can become disrupted by the accumulation of amyloid protein, especially in people who carry a genetic variant called APOE4. This 3D rendering of an APOE4-carrying engineered blood vessel shows heavy accumulation of amyloid protein (green).
- Animals That Can Do Math Understand More Language Than We ThinkAnimals That Can Do Math Understand More Language Than We Think It is often thought that humans are different from other animals in some fundamental way that makes us unique, or even more advanced than other species. These claims of human superiority are sometimes used to justify the ways we treat other animals, in the … Read MoreRead more