Archive for December, 2006|Monthly archive page

The Tenth Dimension

Ever wonder how many dimensions exist? Ever read the wonderful book “Flatland: A romance of many dimensions” by Edwin Abbot?

This animation presents clearly and consicely the theory of Ten Dimensions, which is (to my best understanding) at the basis of String theory and M-theory. It is actually not very relevant to this blog, except that it shows how a simple logic stream can give beautiful and unexpected results.

Free Will – another opinion

Jonah Lehrer from The Frontal Cortex believes that free will exists. I can’t say that the post’s information has much relation to that topic, but he does bring about some interesting notes about the plasticity and chaos in the human brain.

Regarding free will, in order to claim that there exists free will, we need to claim that there exists some “I” which can have this will. Each and every one of us claims that they have this “I” (in fact, it is the only thing a person can be sure of), but since we can’t even prove that it exists for another person (or animal), how can we give it traits such as “free will”?

Mirror neurons and Autism

It has been lately shown that mirror neurons deficiency is related to autism. This is an interesting development.

Mirror neurons are traditionally accepted as responsible for mirroring actions, i.e.: If you see a person eat with a spoon, you will immediately know how to eat with a spoon yourself (monkey see monkey do). It does make sense that there is also a relation to feeling mirroring, perhaps via the motor stream – see a sad face, make a sad face yourself, feel sad, understand that the other person is sad. At some point the action step can perhaps no longer be required – action perceiving and feeling can be wired with no need for actual action, recall Pavlov’s dog.

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Do we have free will?

It is a common notion that humans inherently have free. But do we really? see for instance how a person became a sexual offender due to a brain tumor, this and another case can be found on video (video included) here. Also it has been shown that people decide to move only after their brain’s motor areas prepare for a movement.

But even more intriguing is the fact that a personality can change drastically due to various reasons . Chemicals can alter our perception of the world, behavior, feelings, intelligence, and eventually our decision making. Knowing all this, how could we ever claim to have free will? To what extent is it an illusion? And what meaning is there to our “personality” if it can be changed by external means?

Oftentimes, religious philosophers claim that our soul goes to heaven or hell or somewhere else. There is no way to counter the claim that a non-physical soul exists, but if this soul has no inherent memory, no real control of it’s actions, and no perception of the world – all actions are performed physically in the brain – then what does it have? And what interest do we have in it’s endeavors post vite?

Change blindness or “the coolest experiment ever”

Chris from Mixing Memory describes
the coolest experiment ever, about change blindness, the most common tool of any stage magician: When the audience are concentrated on one thing, they won’t notice changes in other areas. Experiment is none the less astounding.

Intro to the brain – a video lecture series

A nice introduction to the workings of the brain

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Happiness, Algebra and problematic assumptions

Maybe here you will find happiness?

Positive thinking

The brain is an adaptive machine. It has been shown that meditation (specifically one that focuses on sensations) can increase the size of brain regions associated with attention and perception. Likewise, it can be assumed that living your life with focus on different things could lead to increasing in various areas of the brain. This actually coincides well with the self organizing theories mentioned in a previous post about the conscious observer.

How do you live your life? Do you focus on the things that you want to develop? Or do you constantly focus on the negative aspects – problems, unfulfilled desires, etc.? Which parts of your brain do you activate more and thus grow?


Why don’t you just try thinking faster?

Have you seen my conscious observer?

Recent findings in NeuroScience strongly imply that there is no central point of consciousness in the brain. This is because different parts of the brain deal with different actions in a disjoint manner, i.e.: While there is heavy processing of visual perception, there is no activity in the “introspective” area of the brain, and vice versa. This shows us that there is no central “observer” in the brain, but rather we experience different things due to brain activity in different regions.

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