Category Archives: Things on the mind

Thoughts on the mind, 6/28

Apparently during Einstein’s autopsy, the pathologist stole Einstein’s brain instead of placing it back in the skull. I didn’t realize there was such skulduggery involved (sorry). Anyway, now they find that Einstein had an abnormally large number of astrocytes and oligodendrocytes in his brain. I guess maybe that’s interesting?

Broca’s area is not the seat of syntax.

Testosterone gets the short end of the stick – it’s oestrogen we have to blame.

Creative people are just like schizophrenics, because they both have relatively fewer D2 receptors in thalamus. D2 receptors perform a lot of roles: in the striatum they are strongly associated with addiction and obesity (seemingly from here). Many diseases give potential benefits (neurodiversity), which is probably why things like Tourette’s persist (better timing or self-control or something?).

Birds can give us insight into how neurogenesis happens at differing rates. Here is some more information on neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus. Finally, here are some nice visualizations of calbindin and zinc transporter expression in mouse hippocampus.

Amnesiacs frequently give new insight into how memory works. It is thus exciting to find someone with a new type of amnesia – ’50 first dates amnesia’.

Someone was covering a seminar on the neuroscience of honeybees (and various invertebrates)! I think I’m in heaven.

Reviewing a paper that reports stable cortical maps for non-body functions, with an aim toward neuroprostheses.

From the same blog, here is coverage of a paper examining feedback control. Here’s the important quote:

Thus, the conclusion is that when you have uncertainty in your predictive system, you actually change your cost function while you’re learning a new internal model. I find this really interesting because it’s a good piece of evidence that uncertainty in the predictive system feeds into the selection of a new cost function for a movement, rather than the motor system just sticking with the old cost function and continuing to bash away.

These movable micromotor brain implants are going to be really, really nice when they’re usable.

Leave a comment

Filed under Things on the mind

Things on the mind, 5/30

Can you eat bacteria to boost ‘brain power’ (personally, I keep my brain power level on HIGH at all times)? But be wary of books about your brain on food.

Life without a cerebellum isn’t all bad. The pons isn’t all it’s cracked up to be either.

Syntax processing may not be in Broca’s area. Instead, evidence is accumulating that it’s in the anterior temporal lobe. So what’s the connectivity between the two areas like?

Chimps prefer to copy from those who are more prestigious

When the onlookers were given tokens of their own, they were far more likely to stick them in the box favoured by the older, high-ranking female, whether it was striped or spotty. As groups, they opted for her choice on around 70% and 90% of the time. As individuals, they also showed the same favouritism.

Examining data on autism and myelination, this blog post proposes a connection with creativity and psychosis.

Bipolar disorder sufferers commonly shows circadian rhythm disfunction. What’s the evidence that bipolar disorder is actually a circadian rhythm problem?

Cool study on event causality and how it relates to perceived time compression.

Again on creativity: dopamine receptor (D2) levels in the thalamus correlate negatively with ‘creativity scores’. I hadn’t fully realized there were dopamine receptors in thalamus. Where do the projections arise from? It looks complicated.

Attentional bias is related to gaydar?

Record spikes on your iPhone. Too cool.

Is depression linked to (lack of) neurogenesis? They use a CREB-deficient mouse in a kind of reverse-depression test.

Hub neurons have been identified in hippocampus, and they’re primarily GABAergic. They also have extensive axonal arborisations and low response latency. An old (~1 year) paper, but important for our understanding of the graph structure of the brain. If neurons are described by a small world network, you need hub neurons.

New lessons from sensory representations in auditory cortex. Subthreshold maps were more ordered than suprathreshold maps. I think this is in opposition to visual cortex where subthreshold responses are more broadly tuned, and spiking activity drastically narrows the activity. Or am I wrong?

What happens when you mutate genes required for proper bilateralization? Unsurprisingly, messing with the axons that connect across the midline causes motor difficulties.

Does TMS live up to the hype?

I just watched La Jetee which is a pretty amazing movie. Find it on youtube or get it legally (or torrent). It’s worth half an hour of your time.

Leave a comment

Filed under Things on the mind

Things on the mind, 5/20

Social onychophorans! Don’t say you’re not excited. These worm-like creatures exhibit complex social behaviors with a strict hierarchy.

Do it like you dopamine it. Distinctions between phasic and tonic dopamine, and how that affects behavioral responses.

Noisy genes and the limits of strict determinism. Why are monozygotic twins not phenotypically identical? How noise in the system disrupts expression.

How charisma affects the brain. In an experiment pairing Pentecostals or secular subjects with a non-christian/christian/christian with “healing powers”, the Pentecostals had decreased activation in the executive network – specifically, dlPFC, mPFC, inferior temporal cortex, tempoparietal junction, and lOFC. This is similar to reports from hypnosis studies.

In honor of Ada Lovelace day, a post on Emily Noether, mathematical badass

Leave a comment

Filed under Things on the mind