Neuroscience

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.

 

How dopamine drives brain activity

MIT biological engineers have created a specialized sensor that allows them to track dopamine in the brain using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), as shown in the bottom row. Images in the top row show overall brain activity, as measured by functional MRI.

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Engineers 3D print soft, rubbery brain implants

MIT researchers have 3-D-printed soft electronically active polymers into a number of devices, including a pliable neural electrode, and (shown here) a flexible circuit.

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Scientists Just Proved These Two Brain Networks Are Key to Consciousness

Scientists Just Proved These Two Brain Networks Are Key to Consciousness Consciousness is one of the greatest mysteries of the human species. Where and how does it originate? Why do we have it? Is it even real, or just an illusion? These questions aren’t just hard to answer—even looking for answers is difficult. But scientists are slowly chipping away at them, with teams all over the world carrying out studies on the brain aimed at cracking the consciousness code. One of the most recent studies showed a clear relationship between two brain networks critical to consciousness. In a paper published this week in Science Advances, a team from the University of Michigan described their finding that the default mode network (DMN) and the dorsal attention network (DAT) are anti-correlated, meaning…

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Scientists Linked Artificial and Biological Neurons in a Network—and Amazingly, It Worked

Scientists Linked Artificial and Biological Neurons in a Network—and Amazingly, It Worked Scientists have linked up two silicon-based artificial neurons with a biological one across multiple countries into a fully-functional network. Using standard internet protocols, they established a chain of communication whereby an artificial neuron controls a living, biological one, and passes on the info to another artificial one. Whoa. We’ve talked plenty about brain-computer interfaces and novel computer chips that resemble the brain. We’ve covered how those “neuromorphic” chips could link up into tremendously powerful computing entities, using engineered communication nodes called artificial synapses. As Moore’s law is dying, we even said that neuromorphic computing is one path towards the future of extremely powerful, low energy consumption artificial neural network-based computing—in hardware—that could in theory better link up with…

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How the brain encodes landmarks that help us navigate

MIT neuroscientists have identified a “landmark code” that helps the brain navigate our surroundings.

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A new model of vision

MIT cognitive scientists have developed a computer model of face recognition that performs a series of computations that reverse the steps that a computer graphics program would use to generate a 2D representation of a face.

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The neural basis of sensory hypersensitivity

MIT neuroscientists have discovered a brain circuit that appears to contribute to the sensory hypersensitivity often seen in people with autism spectrum disorders.

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Scientists Jump-Started Consciousness in Monkeys by Pinpointing This Brain Region

Scientists Jump-Started Consciousness in Monkeys by Pinpointing This Brain Region In 1991, a devastating car crash left 32-year-old Munira Abdulla with severe brain injuries and in a deep coma. Doctors thought she had no chance of recovery. Yet her story blew up when, miraculously, her brain somehow “rebooted” nearly three decades later. Although disoriented, she was able to call out her son’s name and engage in familiar prayer rituals. Munira’s case is extraordinary. Regaining awareness after long periods of “minimal consciousness,” where she showed intermittant signs of basic consciousness, is already exceedingly rare. Recovering from a long-term vegetative or completely unresponsive state is nearly impossible. But what if there’s a way to “jump start” a comatose brain? It’s a radical idea. We don’t know how simple electrical spikes in the…

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