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Sep 25, 2022

Brain-Computer Interfaces Could Raise Privacy Concerns

Posted by in categories: computing, neuroscience, privacy

Brain-computer interfaces may have a profound effect on people with limited mobility or other disabilities, but experts say they also introduce privacy issues that must be mitigated.

Sep 25, 2022

Where Does Consciousness Reside in the Brain? New Discovery Helps Pinpoint Its Location

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Science may be getting closer to figuring out where consciousness resides in the brain. New research demonstrates the significance of certain kinds of neural connections in identifying consciousness.

Jun Kitazono, a corresponding author of the study and project researcher at the Department of General Systems Studies at the University of Tokyo, conducted the study, which was published in the journal Cerebral Cortex.

“Where in the brain consciousness resides has been one of the biggest questions in science,” said Associate Professor Masafumi Oizumi, corresponding author and head of the lab conducting the study. “Although we have not reached a conclusive answer, much empirical evidence has been accumulated in the course of searching for the minimal mechanisms sufficient for conscious experience, or the neural correlates of consciousness.”

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Sep 25, 2022

Exploring the Mechanisms Underlying Disorders of Consciousness

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Summary: Study reveals altered brain dynamics in those with unresponsive arousal syndrome, previously known as “vegetative state”, and in those with minimally conscious state.

Source: University of Liege.

A study by the Human Brain Project (HBP), led by scientists from the University of Liège (Belgium), has explored new techniques that may help distinguish between two different neurological conditions in patients with severe brain damage and or in a coma. The results of this study have just been published in open access in the journal eLife.

Sep 25, 2022

Mapping the Human Brain Over a Lifetime

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health, neuroscience

Summary: Researchers aim to map and track cellular changes in the human brain over a lifetime.

Source: UCSD

With a five-year, $126 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a multi-institution team of researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, Salk Institute for Biological Studies and elsewhere has launched a new Center for Multiomic Human Brain Cell Atlas.

Sep 25, 2022

Are We Living in a Simulation with David Chalmers [S3 Ep.12]

Posted by in categories: computing, cryptocurrencies, mathematics, neuroscience, virtual reality

Welcome to another episode of Conversations with Coleman.

My guest today is David Chalmers. David is a professor of philosophy and neuroscience at NYU and the co-director of NYU Centre for Mind, Brain and Consciousness.

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Sep 25, 2022

Super-Men and Wonder-Women: the Relationship Between the Acceptance of Self-enhancement, Personality, and Values

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, employment, genetics, neuroscience, transhumanism

Since the beginning of human storytelling, enhancing oneself to a “better version” was of vital interest to humans. A twenty-first century-philosophical movement called transhumanism dedicated itself to the topic of enhancement. It unites discussions from several disciplines, e.g. philosophy, social science, and neuroscience, and aims to form human beings in desirable ways with the help of science and technology (Bostrom, 2005; Loh, 2018; More, 2013). Enhancement is the employment of methods to enhance human cognition in healthy individuals (Colzato et al., 2021), thereby extending individual performance above already existing abilities. It should thus be distinguished from therapy, which is the application of methods to help individuals with illnesses or dysfunctions in restoring their abilities (Viertbauer & Kögerler, 2019). Although enhancement methods bear psychological implications, there is hardly any psychological research on them. However, as the use of enhancement methods has increased (Leon et al., 2019; McCabe et al., 2014), and with it the demand for official guidelines (Jwa, 2019), it is necessary to examine who would use these methods in the first place, especially because these technologies can easily be misused. Investigating personality traits and values of individuals who want to enhance themselves could not only support suppliers and manufacturers of enhancement technologies in creating guidelines for using enhancement, but also raise more general awareness on which individuals might be in favour of enhancement.

In previous studies investigating the intersection between enhancement and personality traits or values, vignettes were used to describe enhancement methods and to measure their acceptance among participants (e.g. Laakasuo et al., 2018, 2021). Thus, subjects were asked to read scenarios involving the use of a certain enhancement method and then—as a measure of acceptance—judge aspects (e.g. the morality) of the action undertaken in the corresponding scenario (e.g. Laakasuo et al., 2018, 2021). In the present study, we followed a similar vignette-based approach with a variety of different enhancement methods to investigate the link between the acceptance of enhancement (i.e., the willingness to use enhancement methods, hereinafter termed AoE), personality traits, and values. More specifically, we examined the acceptance of the most discussed cognitive enhancement methods: pharmacological enhancement, brain stimulation with transcranial electrical stimulation and deep brain stimulation, genetic enhancement, and mind upload (Bostrom, 2003; Dijkstra & Schuijff, 2016; Dresler et al., 2019; Gaspar et al., 2019; Loh, 2018).

Pharmacological enhancement has received much attention in the media and literature (Daubner et al., 2021; Schelle et al., 2014) and is defined as the application of prescription substances that are intended to ameliorate specific cognitive functions beyond medical indications (Schermer et al., 2009). The best-known drugs for cognitive enhancement are methylphenidate (Ritalin®), dextroamphetamine (Adderall®), and modafinil (Provigil®), which are usually prescribed for the treatment of clinical conditions (de Jongh et al., 2008; Mohamed, 2014; Schermer et al., 2009).

Sep 24, 2022

Immune System for Your Mind Against Disinformation with Lee McIntyre

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Booting biology systems readouts.
Bio-monitors on.
Choice.
Graph five… engage.
Change brain wave parameters.
Brain wave pattern altered.
Prepare brain stem injection.
Initiate brain stem.
Insertion complete.
Synaptic reaction positive.
Change brain wave parameters.
Initiate second level.
Insertion complete.
Initiate brain stem.
Brain wave pattern altered.
Warning.
Shut down theta stimulation.
Warning.
Endocrine, adrenal, increasing to fatal levels.
System shutdown.

Sep 24, 2022

Neuroimaging study suggests mental fatigue helps preserve the chemical integrity of the brain

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, education, neuroscience

Strenuous cognitive work leads to an accumulation of glutamate in the prefrontal cortex, according to new research published in the journal Current Biology. The new findings suggest that mental fatigue is a neuropsychological mechanism that helps to avert the build up of potentially toxic byproducts of prolonged cognitive activity.

“Nobody knows what mental fatigue is, how it is generated and why we feel it,” said study author Antonius Wiehler, a member of the Motivation, Brain and Behavior Lab at Pitié Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris. “It has remained a mystery despite more than a century of scientific research. Machines can do cognitive tasks continuously without fatigue, the brain is different and we wanted to understand how and why. Mental fatigue has important consequences: for economic decisions, for management at work, for education at school, for clinical cure, etc.”

The researchers were particularly interested in the role of glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter that is involved in a variety of cognitive functions, including learning and memory. In addition, glutamate plays a role in controlling the strength of synaptic connections. Too much or too little glutamate can lead to neuronal dysfunction, so it is critical that this neurotransmitter is tightly regulated.

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Sep 24, 2022

Four New Brain Areas Involved in Many Cognitive Processes Mapped

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Summary: Researchers have mapped four new areas of the human anterior prefrontal cortex that play critical roles in cognitive processing. Two of these newly mapped areas are larger in females than in males.

Source: Human Brain Project.

Researchers of the Human Brain Project (HBP) have mapped four new areas of the human anterior prefrontal cortex that plays a major role in cognitive functions. Two of the newly identified areas are relatively larger in females than in males.

Sep 24, 2022

Neurophysiological correlates of automatic integration of voice and gender information during grammatical processing

Posted by in categories: neuroscience, sex

Other ERP studies have reported diverse neurophysiological responses to inconsistencies between the message meaning and the speaker’s representation, typically manifest as a modulation of the N400 and/or P600 components15,16,17. Different patterns of ERP results reported in these studies are likely related to the nature of the mismatch manipulations used. For instance, whereas the P600 component is typically associated with a reanalysis/repair of syntactic incongruences and grammatical violations18, in experiments modulating the speaker’s voice it can also be elicited by the violations of the stereotypical noun roles in the absence of grammatical incongruencies as such (e.g., “face powder” or “fight club”, produced by male and female voices, respectively16) as well as the general assumptions based on the pronoun processing during sentence comprehension19. In contrast, the semantically-related N400 effect has been typically found for the semantic-pragmatic incongruences (e.g., “I am going to the night club” by child’s voice17).

Interestingly, these ERP effects offer support to two models of pragmatic language comprehension—the standard, two-step model and the one-step model. The two-step model claims that listeners compute meaning first, in isolation, and that the communicative context is considered at the second stage (speaker’s information, in particular16,20), as reflected in the late P600 responses. More recent findings showed, however, that this pragmatic (extralinguistic) integration is likely happening in a single-step manner already during semantic processing, as reflected in the N400 effect17,21. Nevertheless, other studies also reported the overlap of both processing stages, showing an N400 effect elicited by expectation error and a late P600 effect for overall reanalysis of this expectation22.

Understanding how gender information is integrated by the listeners is particularly important when one considers the differences in how different languages signal grammatical gender. In some languages, such as in English, Finnish or Mandarin, overt grammatical gender marking is almost completely absent. Many other languages, such as Slavic languages, explicitly mark grammatical gender in nouns, verbs, and adjectives, often in a complicated interdependent manner. Russian is one of such languages, offering an optimal testbed for investigating linguistic and extralinguistic gender integration. As far as we know, there is only one study addressing this question in a Slavic language: using Slovak, Hanulíková Carreiras23 found that, during an active-listening task, the integration of speaker-related information and morphosyntactic information occurred rather late during complex sentence processing. Additionally, a conflict between the speaker’s and the word’s genders (e.g., “I– \(stole_{MASC}\) plums” in female voice) was reflected in the modulation of the N400 component. Given that N400/LAN modulations have been consistently found for morphosyntactic violations, in particular for number, person, and gender agreement, as well as in phrase structure violations (e.g.,24, see also for review25), this result may suggest that extralinguistic information is directly integrated during online (morpho)syntactic processing (such as speaker’s sex converted into subject’s gender in (morpho)syntactic processing). However, N400 is also known to be related to conscious top-down controlled integration of linguistic information24,26. Indeed, in the study described above, the participant’s overt attention to the stimuli was required, and the effect generally appeared rather late in the comprehension processes. Thus, the question of whether such findings reflect the involvement of genuine online parsing mechanisms or secondary post-comprehension processes (such as repair and reanalysis24,27) still remains unsolved. Importantly, syntactic parsing has been shown to commence much earlier and to take place in a largely automatic fashion, as demonstrated in studies focused on early left-anterior negativity (ELAN) or syntactic MMN. In particular, ELAN modulation around 200 ms or earlier has been reported during outright violations of the obligatory structure, reflecting an automatic early analysis of the syntactic structure like phrase structure errors28,29,30,31, and it is considered to reflect the brain’s response to the word category violations.

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