105 posts · 59,001 views
Previous experiments have looked at unconscious decision making. A new paper (citation below) confirms those experiments and adds more information. The authors are looking at the hypothesis that extrastriate and prefrontal neural regions are active during the encoding of decision information and continue to process that information during a subsequent distractor task. “It is [...]... Read more »
Creswell, J., Bursley, J., & Satpute, A. (2013) Neural Reactivation Links Unconscious Thought to Decision Making Performance. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1093/scan/nst004
A month ago, I posted (here) on a paper reported in ScienceDaily. (citation below) I had not read the paper but commented on a quote of the author, included in the ScienceDaily item, which to me implied a dated understanding of a division between perception and cognition. The authors have kindly sent me a copy [...]... Read more »
Comparing human brains (and to a lesser extent all primate brains) to other animals like the mouse, we have many more, much bigger and much more complex astrocytes. Astrocytes have contributed to our larger brain by an order of magnitude more than neurons have. Astrocytes make contact and ’surround’ synapses; one human astrocyte can encompasses [...]... Read more »
Han, X., Chen, M., Wang, F., Windrem, M., Wang, S., Shanz, S., Xu, Q., Oberheim, N., Bekar, L., Betstadt, S.... (2013) Forebrain Engraftment by Human Glial Progenitor Cells Enhances Synaptic Plasticity and Learning in Adult Mice. Cell Stem Cell, 12(3), 342-353. DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2012.12.015
Back in 1993 this diagram was published, but the paper I am looking at was published in 1998 by Llinas and others (citation below); it contains the same diagram.
Here is the abstract:
Attempting to understand how the brain, as a whole, might be organized seems, for the first time, to be a serious [...]... Read more »
A commenter to this blog a couple of months back, Boris, got me thinking and looking at the detail of thalamus activity. Particularly the inhibitory signals seemed to be a bit of a mystery.
In the next few postings, I am going to look at a couple of papers that shed light on this aspect of [...]... Read more »
Min, B. (2010) A thalamic reticular networking model of consciousness. Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling, 7(1), 10. DOI: 10.1186/1742-4682-7-10
A recent paper by C. Sergent and others has been commented on by R. Kentridge (citations below). They showed that attention to the visual space where a stimulus was, but is now gone, can bring that stimulus into consciousness. This retroperception effect can occur as late as 400 ms after stimulus presentation ends.
Here [...]... Read more »
Sergent, C., Wyart, V., Babo-Rebelo, M., Cohen, L., Naccache, L., & Tallon-Baudry, C. (2013) Cueing Attention after the Stimulus Is Gone Can Retrospectively Trigger Conscious Perception. Current Biology, 23(2), 150-155. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.11.047
Kentridge, R. (2013) Visual Attention: Bringing the Unseen Past into View. Current Biology, 23(2). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.11.056
A recent paper (citation below) by a Canadian group led by J. Kam has looked at the effects of mind wandering on motor adjustments during a task. Among other interesting results, they indicate that the top-down control of attention is complex and not a single process. Nothing is ever as simple as it first appears.
In [...]... Read more »
Kam, J., Dao, E., Blinn, P., Krigolson, O., Boyd, L., & Handy, T. (2012) Mind wandering and motor control: off-task thinking disrupts the online adjustment of behavior. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00329
It is almost inconceivable that a biological function would be dedicated to the past rather than the future of an organism. The only use for knowledge of the past is to prepare for a ‘good’ future by: learning from past experience, using the past to predict the future, judging choices by past outcomes, imagining possibilities [...]... Read more »
Schacter, D., Addis, D., Hassabis, D., Martin, V., Spreng, R., & Szpunar, K. (2012) The Future of Memory: Remembering, Imagining, and the Brain. Neuron, 76(4), 677-694. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.11.001
The prefrontal cortex can select a rule to deploy in a particular situation. How is this done? The group of neurons that deploy a rule oscillate in synchrony when that rule is to be used. This synchrony explanation is becoming quite common. Synchrony is what produces functioning groups of neurons. Buschman at al have looked [...]... Read more »
Jensen, O., & Bonnefond, M. (2012) Prefrontal alpha- and beta-band oscillations are involved in rule selection. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2012.11.002
Buschman TJ, Denovellis EL, Diogo C, Bullock D, & Miller EK. (2012) Synchronous oscillatory neural ensembles for rules in the prefrontal cortex. Neuron, 76(4), 838-46. PMID: 23177967
This paper (citation below) starts with the assumption (call the modal view) that, “It is not surprising then that the modal view holds that the semantic processing of multiple-word expressions and performing of abstract mathematical computations require consciousness (reason: they are human skills). In more general terms, sequential rule-following manipulations of abstract symbols [...]... Read more »
When we attempt to find the word for something, related words are also accessed (as in word association, priming, freudian slips, and simple errors). But these related words are of two types, taxonomic and thematic:
Across all types of speakers and all manner of testing, semantic naming errors overwhelmingly reflect taxonomic relations; that is, the [...]... Read more »
Schwartz, M., Kimberg, D., Walker, G., Brecher, A., Faseyitan, O., Dell, G., Mirman, D., & Coslett, H. (2011) From the Cover: Neuroanatomical dissociation for taxonomic and thematic knowledge in the human brain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(20), 8520-8524. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1014935108
I dealt with this paper, citation below, when it came out last May. But now Deric Bownds Blog (here) links to it. I am revisiting the paper, not in full – for that see the previous post (other post).
Three aspects seem very important: the difference between the state of consciousness and the contents of [...]... Read more »
Langsjo, J., Alkire, M., Kaskinoro, K., Hayama, H., Maksimow, A., Kaisti, K., Aalto, S., Aantaa, R., Jaaskelainen, S., Revonsuo, A.... (2012) Returning from Oblivion: Imaging the Neural Core of Consciousness. Journal of Neuroscience, 32(14), 4935-4943. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4962-11.2012
Most people know that the best and fastest way to learn something is to have excellent and instant feedback. In fact it is almost impossible, maybe always impossible, to learn something without any feedback. In general, we cannot control anything that does not provide feedback and we are much better at learning to [...]... Read more »
Ros, T., Théberge, J., Frewen, P., Kluetsch, R., Densmore, M., Calhoun, V., & Lanius, R. (2012) Mind over chatter: Plastic up-regulation of the fMRI salience network directly after EEG neurofeedback. NeuroImage. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.09.046
Because I can mirror-write, I had to read the article in The Psychologist (citation below) by McIntosh and Della Sala on the skill. They look at much of the evidence for two theories: mirror-writing has a motor source, and it has a perception source. Of course, I could not help but compare their [...]... Read more »
RD McIntosh, & S Della Sala. (2012) Mirror-writing. The Psychologist, 25(10), 742-746. info:/
I have often thought that there was a problem with the measurement of self-awareness in animals. For some time self-awareness has been identified with self-recognition and self-recognition with the mirror test.
So far the mirror recognition test has been passed by humans, bonobos, chimpanzees, orangutans, gorillas, dolphins, oras, elephants and magpies. It has sort of, [...]... Read more »
Let’s go through this again. A Patrick Haggard paper gives us the bare list. The Libet paper from 1983 was the first evidence that decisions are not made consciously.
In this experiment, participants are asked to make a simple voluntary action, such as a key press, whenever they feel like it. Brain activity is measured throughout, [...]... Read more »
Intentional binding is an interesting effect. The perceived interval between an voluntary action and its effect is shorter if there is a sense of agency involved. Berberian, Sarrazin, Blaye and Haggard (see citation) have investigated this effect.
They used an aircraft mockup with stages: conflict detection, command decision (how much to change heading), command implementation [...]... Read more »
Berberian B, Sarrazin J-C, Le Blaye P, & Haggard P. (2012) Automation Technology and Sense of Control: A window on Human Agency. PLoS ONE. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0034075
How deep is our ignorance of the brain? We have just had another surprising discovery that shows how little we know. There is a whole physiological system in the brain, the size of the brain’s vascular system (all the arteries and veins in the brain) and the importance of the lymphatic system for the rest [...]... Read more »
Iliff JJ, Wang M, Liao Y, Plogg BA, Peng W, Gundersen GA, Benveniste H, Vates GE, Deane R, Goldman SA.... (2012) A Paravascular Pathway Facilitates CSF Flow Through the Brain Parenchyma and the Clearance of Interstitial Solutes. Sci Transl Med. info:/10.1126/scitranslmed.3003748
Researchers (Philippi and others) have investigated a patient with extensive damage in a location that has been suggested as the source of self-awareness to evaluate that hypothesis. (see citation below). The patient, known as R, has bilateral damage to the insula, anterior cingulate and medial prefrontal cortices. Some believe these areas are essential for basic [...]... Read more »
Philippi CL, Feinstein JS, Khalsa SS, Damasio A, Tranel D, & et al. (2012) Preserved Self-Awareness following Extensive Bilateral Brain Damage to the Insula, Anterior Cingulate, and Medial Prefrontal Cortices. PLoS ONE, 7(8). info:/10.1371/journal.pone.0038413
A review article by Suthana and Fried (citation below) has just been published on the nature of medial temporal lobe neurons. It is very informative.
The medial temporal lobe (MTL) includes the hippocampus, entorrhinal cortex, perirhinal cortex, parahippochampal cortex, and amygdala. It is associated with memory but not perception.
The ability to form new episodic memories, [...]... Read more »
Nanthia Suthana, & Itzhak Fried. (2012) Percepts to recollections: insights from single neuron recordings in the human brain. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16(8). DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2012.06.006
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