11 posts · 2,539 views
Postgraduate student blogging about neuroscience/psychology/general science research, and anything else that interests/amuses/annoys him.
How does spinal cord injury affect your sense of self?
Does the absence of sensory and motor feedback from the limbs as a result of spinal cord injury (SCI) affects the body scheme. As well as measuring disruption of the body scheme and a sense of body ownership using the rubber hand illusion (RHI), Lenggenhager et al. also looked at whether SCI produces a sense of disembodiment and depersonalisation using the Cambridge Depersonalisation Scale (CDS), as the authors suggest there is increasing evidence that the foundations of the sense of self lie in the systems that represent the body.... Read more »
Lenggenhager B, Pazzaglia M, Scivoletto G, Molinari M, & Aglioti SM. (2012) The sense of the body in individuals with spinal cord injury. PloS one, 7(11). PMID: 23209824
Knowing where your body is and what shape it is seems like a pretty essential part of performing tasks involving spatial awareness, which is pretty much everything that involves the outside world. So we must have a pretty reliable and accurate sense of the shape and location of our body parts, right?
Wrong.... Read more »
Longo, M., & Haggard, P. (2010) An implicit body representation underlying human position sense. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(26), 11727-11732. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1003483107
In their 2004 review, Maravita and Iriki ask: “What happens in our brain when we use a tool to reach for a distant object?” In order to move around and interact with the world, some have suggested that we combine a best guess at the size and shape and position of body parts into an up-to-date representation. Does wielding a tool that extends or modifies our interaction with the world affect our body representation? Maravita and Iriki present three strands of evidence that suggest it does.... Read more »
When you look down at your body, you probably have a fairly strong sense that what you are looking at is actually your body (barring neurological conditions such as somotoparaphrenia, which can cause patients to disown their body parts). But just how reliable is that sense of ownership?... Read more »
Kilteni K, Normand JM, Sanchez-Vives MV, & Slater M. (2012) Extending body space in immersive virtual reality: a very long arm illusion. PloS one, 7(7). PMID: 22829891
Visual illusions are useful in that they tell us something about how the visual system works. Negative after images are thought to be the result of the light sensitive neurons in the retina adapting to an unchanging input. When they eyes are moved from the image to a blank page, the adapted neurons transmit a weak signal, but non-adapted neurons are still responsive, and send out a strong signal. In the case of the US flag above, the green stripes tire out the green receptors, producing an complimentary red after image. However, negative after images aren’t entirely driven by retinal activity.... Read more »
Ito H. (2012) Cortical shape adaptation transforms a circle into a hexagon: a novel afterimage illusion. Psychological science, 23(2), 126-32. PMID: 22207643
Although traditionally neurons were considered to release only one neurontransmitter, there is increasing evidence that some neurons can release multiple neurotransmitters. Part of the evidence has been different types cellular machinery needed to produce different neurotransmitters were found in the same cell. This could have been a biological accident - proteins for production of the 'wrong' neurotransmitter being made in error. However, if this behaviour was accidental, I'd expect it to happen either uniformly or randomly throughout the brain. What I wouldn't expect from an accidental process is a selective pattern of distribution. But this is what we find.... Read more »
Stuber GD, Hnasko TS, Britt JP, Edwards RH, & Bonci A. (2010) Dopaminergic terminals in the nucleus accumbens but not the dorsal striatum corelease glutamate. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 30(24), 8229-33. PMID: 20554874
“Are you blind?! That was never offside!” The man in the stands has spotted something and the ref’s visual ability is called into question. But just how well do referees see? And do poor referees have bad eyesight? Science to the rescue!... Read more »
Ghasemi, A., Momeni, M., Rezaee, M., & Gholami, A. (2009) The Difference in Visual Skills Between Expert Versus Novice Soccer Referees. Journal of Human Kinetics, 22(-1), 15-20. DOI: 10.2478/v10078-009-0018-1
Ghasemi A, Momeni M, Jafarzadehpur E, Rezaee M, & Taheri H. (2011) Visual skills involved in decision making by expert referees. Perceptual and motor skills, 112(1), 161-71. PMID: 21466089
Tis the season! Seeing as Euro 2012 Poland-Ukraine has started, I thought I’d see if I could find some football psychology/neuroscience papers to get back into the blog. So here is ‘Kits, colours and confusion: a pilot study of vision and football’.... Read more »
Georgeson M, Lampard J, & Georgeson J. (2005) Kits, colours, and confusion: a pilot study of vision and football. Perception, 34(5), 633-7. PMID: 15991699
The brain is an incredibly complex system. A carefully controlled experiment might be able to give us information about a specific function in a specific situation, but it is somewhat artificial. By creating a simple ‘brain’, and embedding it in a robot with the ability to detect and react to its surroundings, we can begin to understand how the brain reacts in a more natural and dynamic way. This is exactly what research groups around the world, including a group at the University of Reading headed by Kevin Warwick have done. . . . → Read More... Read more »
Warwick, K., Xydas, D., Nasuto, S. J., Becerra, V. M., Hammond, M. W., Downes, J., Marshall, S., & Whalley, B. J. (2010) Controlling a mobile robot with a biological brain. Defence Science Journal, 60(1), 5-14. info:other/0011-748X
Warwick, K. (2010) Implications and consequences of robots with biological brains. Ethics and Information Technology, 12(3), 223-234. DOI: 10.1007/s10676-010-9218-6
I’m just reading a paper on the response properties of monoamine neurons, and it starts out with a few points of consideration for electrophysiological recording of neurons in vivo. I thought I’d relay them here.
The evidence that you are recording from a given type of neuron (dopaminergic, serotinergic etc.) is almost always indirect. It is usually . . . → Read More... Read more »
JACOBS, B. (1986) Single Unit Activity of Brain Monoamine-Containing Neurons in Freely Moving Animals. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 473(1 Neurochemical), 70-77. DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.1986.tb23604.x
The BBC News Sci/tech section recently ran a few stories about neuroscience and technology that I considered to be a bit oversold. There was one article in particular I wanted to write about: Brain works more like internet than ‘top down’ company. The article refers to a recent study in PNAS that used injections of [...]... Read more »
Thompson, R., & Swanson, L. (2010) Hypothesis-driven structural connectivity analysis supports network over hierarchical model of brain architecture. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1009112107
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