Our Strength Lies in Our Humanity

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.

 

New method classifies brain cells based on electrical signals

Picower Professor Earl Miller teamed up with the lab of former postdoc Markus Siegel at the University of Tuebingen to devise a method for learning more about the different kinds of neurons that can be measured with electrodes.

Read More...

A new way to deliver drugs with pinpoint targeting

Diagram illustrates the structure of the tiny bubbles, called liposomes, used to deliver drugs. The blue spheres represent lipids, a kind of fat molecule, surrounding a central cavity containing magnetic nanoparticles (black) and the drug to be delivered (red). When the nanoparticles are heated, the drug can escape into the body.

Read More...

Finding the brain’s compass

MIT researchers have found a circuit of thousands of neurons in the mammalian brain (blue) traces out a one-dimensional ring during complex navigation behaviors. “In the absence of this ring,” explains Associate Professor Ila Fiete, “we would be lost in the world.”

Read More...

Three Invaluable Ways AI and Neuroscience Are Driving Each Other Forward

Three Invaluable Ways AI and Neuroscience Are Driving Each Other Forward DeepMind’s Demis Hassabis once pointed to the human brain as a paramount inspiration for building AI with human-like intelligence. He’s not the only one. The meteoric success of deep learning showcases how insights from neuroscience—memory, learning, decision-making, vision—can be distilled into algorithms that bestow silicon minds with a shadow of our cognitive prowess. But what about the other way around? This month, the prestigious journal Nature published an entire series highlighting the symbiotic growth between neuroscience and AI. It’s been a long time coming. At their core, both disciplines are solving the same central problem—intelligence—but coming from different angles, and at different levels of abstraction. In AI, scientists look to crack the mysteries of efficient, effective learning mathematically using…

Read More…

Comments Off on Three Invaluable Ways AI and Neuroscience Are Driving Each Other Forward

How brain cells pick which connections to keep

Images from two-photon microscopy track the comings and goings of dendritic spines (key infrastructure for neural connections called synapses) in a mouse brain. Top row: A spine present on day 14 is gone by two weeks later. Bottom row: A spine emerges around day 28 and sticks around.

Read More...

Comments Off on How brain cells pick which connections to keep

Moving Beyond Mind-Controlled Limbs to Prosthetics That Can Actually ‘Feel’

Moving Beyond Mind-Controlled Limbs to Prosthetics That Can Actually ‘Feel’ Brain-machine interface enthusiasts often gush about “closing the loop.” It’s for good reason. On the implant level, it means engineering smarter probes that only activate when they detect faulty electrical signals in brain circuits. Elon Musk’s Neuralink—among other players—are readily pursuing these bi-directional implants that both measure and zap the brain. But to scientists laboring to restore functionality to paralyzed patients or amputees, “closing the loop” has broader connotations. Building smart mind-controlled robotic limbs isn’t enough; the next frontier is restoring sensation in offline body parts. To truly meld biology with machine, the robotic appendage has to “feel one” with the body. This month, two studies from Science Robotics describe complementary ways forward. In one, scientists from the University of…

Read More…

Comments Off on Moving Beyond Mind-Controlled Limbs to Prosthetics That Can Actually ‘Feel’

Exploring the Great Mysteries of Consciousness and Free Will With Annaka Harris

Exploring the Great Mysteries of Consciousness and Free Will With Annaka Harris For thousands of years, humankind has been plagued by to two essential questions: Why do I have this unique voice inside my head? And am I in control of it or am I simply a passenger? The concepts of consciousness and free will are fundamental to the human condition—perhaps the two most crucial operating principles of our lives. And yet, after millennia of philosophical inquiry and scientific progress, we are still confounded by these notions, unable to make many great claims with high certainty. In the latest episode of Singularity University Radio’s the Feedback Loop, we sat down with one of our species’ latest champions fighting to unravel the enigmatic puzzle that is the human mind. Annaka Harris…

Read More…

Comments Off on Exploring the Great Mysteries of Consciousness and Free Will With Annaka Harris

Neuroscientists identify brain region linked to altered social interactions in autism model

SHANK3 (green) is expressed along with a neural marker (NeuN) in the mouse anterior cingulate cortex.

Read More...

Comments Off on Neuroscientists identify brain region linked to altered social interactions in autism model