A team of Japanese researchers has captured, for the first time ever, a movie which shows how thoughts form in the brain. OK, so it's a thought forming in the brain of a zebrafish. But this is a fundamental leap forward in our understanding of how brains work. The researchers used a new technique to record the footage: a super-sensitive fluorescent probe that detects neuron activity. We see neurons glowing when they're active—and the cascade of light you see in this video is the neuronal response of a zebrafish responding to the presence of its prey.
Tag Archives | Mind
After serving in the Korean War, working at United Nations, and establishing a career as an artist, Ingo Swann devoted himself to cultivating super-sensory powers and attempting to prove their legitimacy. Remote Viewing instructional Services writes:
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Born in 1933, during the 1950s and 1960s, because of psychic potentials partly evident in childhood, Swann became actively interested in occult and parapsychological literature and in a variety of novel mind-development programs for the enhancement of ESP potentials.
Swann’s participation in parapsychology research began in 1969. During the next twenty years he worked only in controlled laboratory settings with scientific researchers. Because of his participation in hundreds of thousands of experimental trials, author Martin Ebon wrote of him as “parapsychology’s most tested guinea pig.”
In 1970-71 Swann experimented with Cleve Backster in attempting to influence plants by mental activity. In 1971-72 psychokinetic experiments involved successfully influencing temperature recorded in a controlled setting.
Swann was also the subject of experiments in out-of-body travel, or psychic perception at a distance.
Ever feel as if you might accomplish far more in a deep, dreamless sleep than awake and walking around? The Telegraph reports:
Alun Morgan, 81, was evacuated to Wales during the Second World War but left 70 years ago. During his time there he was surrounded by Welsh speakers but never learned the language himself. He left the country aged 10 and lived his life in England and recently suffered a severe stroke.
But when Mr Morgan regained consciousness three weeks later, doctors discovered he was speaking Welsh and could not remember any English. It is thought that the Welsh Mr Morgan heard as a boy had sunk in without him knowing and was unlocked after he suffered the stroke. Mr Morgan is now being taught to speak English again.
Via Skeptiko, a fascinating interview with neuroscientist Dr. Mario Beauregard, who argues that, like the transition from classical to quantum physics, a revolution is coming in the way science will no longer perceive humans as being merely “biological robots”:
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What we call the “modern scientific worldview”… is based on classical physics and this view is based on a number of fundamental assumptions like materialism, determinism, reductionism. So applied to mind and brain it means that, for instance, everything in the universe is only matter and energy that form the brain as a physical object, too, and the mind can be reduced strictly to electrical and chemical processes in the brain.
It means also that everything is determined from a material or physical point of view, so we don’t have any freedom. We’re like biological robots, totally determined by our neurons and our genes and so on. And so we’re reduced to material objects and we are determined by material processes.
Via Reality Sandwich, Rupert Sheldrake argues no:
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Materialism is the doctrine that only matter is real. Hence minds are in brains, and mental activity is nothing but brain activity. This assumption conflicts with our own experience.
In his study of children’s intellectual development, the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget found that before about the age of ten or eleven, European children were like “primitive” people. They did not know that the mind was confined to the head; they thought it extended into the world around them. But by about the age of eleven, most had assimilated what Piaget called the “correct” view.
But not all philosophers and psychologists believe the mind-in-the-brain theory, and over the years a minority has always recognized that our perceptions may be just where they seem to be, in the external world outside our heads, rather than representations inside our brains.
My own interpretation is that vision takes place through extended perceptual fields, which are both within the brain and stretch out beyond it.
The risk here is that you'll experience sleep paralysis, a completely normal phenomenon that prevents your body from moving during sleep. Except you'll be awake, which can be somewhat frightening. The extra caveat is that during sleep paralysis the brain can play tricks on you, inducing strong feelings of fear and causing hallucinations of dark and scary figures approaching you.
Could LSD push the brains of our brightest scientists and thinkers to a higher level? The Morning News on the government funded institute which, right before it was shut down, demonstrated just this:
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It was the summer of ’66. At the International Foundation for Advanced Study, an inconspicuously named facility dedicated to psychedelic drug research, an architect and three senior scientists donned eyeshades and earphones, sank into comfy couches, and waited for their government-approved dose of LSD to kick in.
The couched volunteers had each brought along three highly technical problems from their respective fields that they’d been unable to solve for months. In two hours, when the LSD became fully active, they were going to remove the eyeshades and earphones, and attempt to find some solutions…Over the course of the preceding year, IFAS researchers had dosed a total of 22 other men for the creativity study.
Here’s the clincher. The LSD absolutely…helped them solve their complex, seemingly intractable problems.
Suspect that your spouse is enamored with another? For a fee, you’ll be able to get a recording of their dreams to playback and double check. The Telegraph reports:
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The secret world of dreams has been unlocked with the invention of technology capable of illustrating images taken directly from human brains during sleep.
A team of Japanese scientists have created a device that enables the processing and imaging of thoughts and dreams as experienced in the brain to appear on a computer screen.
While researchers have so far only created technology that can reproduce simple images from the brain, the discovery paves the way for the ability to unlock people’s dreams and other brain processes.
A spokesman at ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories said: “It was the first time in the world that it was possible to visualise what people see directly from the brain activity.
“By applying this technology, it may become possible to record and replay subjective images that people perceive like dreams.” The scientists, lead by chief researcher Yukiyaso Kamitani, focused on the image recognition procedures in the retina of the human eye.
However, a group of Scandinavian scientists say they have evidence that hypnotic trances are a real and unique state of consciousness, which cannot be imitated or faked by the non-hypnotized, and which (at least some) hypnotists can activate and deactivate at will using a one-word cue. So be careful out there. Nano Patents and Innovations writes:
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A multidisciplinary group of researchers from Finland and Sweden has found that strange stare may be a key that can eventually lead to a solution to this long debate about the existence of a hypnotic state.
One of the most widely known features of a hypnotized person in the popular culture is a glazed, wide-open look in the eyes. Paradoxically, this sign has not been considered to have any major importance among researchers and has never been studied in any detail, probably due to the fact that it can be seen in only some hypnotized people.