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The Strange Workings of the Brain






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The Strange Workings of the Brain. Outline. Phobias Phantom Limbs Prosopagnosia and the Capgras Delusion Synesthesia Memory Consciousness. Phobias. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ta-FGE7QELQ. Phantom Limbs. Sensation that missing limb is still present Often painful
The Strange Workings of the Brain

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Slide 1

The Strange Workings of the Brain

Slide 2

Outline

  • Phobias

  • Phantom Limbs

  • Prosopagnosia and the Capgras Delusion

  • Synesthesia

  • Memory

  • Consciousness

Slide 3

Phobias

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ta-FGE7QELQ

Slide 4

Phantom Limbs

  • Sensation that missing limb is still present

  • Often painful

  • Can sometimes be controlled, sometimes act on their own accord

  • Not necessarily the same as missing limb

    • Missing arm felt “6 inches too short”

  • Related to mapping of body onto brain

  • Mirror treatment

Slide 5

Cortical Homonculus

Slide 6

Phantom Limbs

  • Sensation that missing limb is still present

  • Often painful

  • Can sometimes be controlled, sometimes act on their own accord

  • Not necessarily the same as missing limb

    • Missing arm felt “6 inches too short”

  • Related to mapping of body onto brain

  • Mirror treatment provides visual feedback

Slide 7

Mirror Box Treatment

Slide 8

Prosopagnosia and the Capgras Delusion

  • Prosopagnosia: inability to recognize faces

    • Can follow from traumatic brain injury

      • Usually associated with damage to fusiform gyrus (part of temporal lobe)

    • Different forms:

      • Apperceptive: severe, can’t even tell gender of person, ‘faces make no sense’

      • Associative: can’t make links between face and person

    • Subject may have emotional response without conscious recognition

Slide 9

Prosopagnosia and the Capgras Delusion

  • Capgras Delusion: person holds a delusion that a friend, spouse, parent, etc. has been replaced by an identical-looking impostor

  • Thought to be like reverse of Prosopagnosia

    • Conscious ability to recognize faces, but without automatic emotional response

  • Can be caused by traumatic brain injury

    • Possibly due to disconnection between temporal cortex (facial recognition) and limbic system (emotions)

Slide 10

  • Neurological condition in which stimulation in one cognitive pathway causes stimulation in another

  • Examples:

    • Symbol --> color or spatial location

    • Sound --> color

    • Symbol --> personality

Slide 12

  • “T’s are generally crabbed, ungenerous creatures. U is a soulless sort of thing. 4 is honest, but… 3 I cannot trust… 9 is dark, a gentleman, tall and graceful, but politic under his suavity”

  • Can test for synesthia

    • 1 in 23 people have mild synesthesia

  • Likely due to cross activation of different brain regions

Slide 13

Testing for Synesthesia

Slide 14

  • “T’s are generally crabbed, ungenerous creatures. U is a soulless sort of thing. 4 is honest, but… 3 I cannot trust… 9 is dark, a gentleman, tall and graceful, but politic under his suavity”

  • Can test for synesthia

    • 1 in 23 people have mild synesthesia

  • Likely due to cross activation of different brain regions

Slide 16

  • Synesthesia can be beneficial to those effected

    • Can aid memory – we’ll see this in a bit

    • Many artists have synesthesia

  • Synesthetes are truly gods among men

    • Famous Synesthetes include: John Mayer, Pharell and Eddie Van Halen!!!

  • Some think that synesthesia can be related to the development of language

    • Kiki or Booba?

Slide 18

Memory

  • Impressive capacities for memory:

    • Solomon Shereshevsky

      • Russian dude active in the early 20th c.

      • Could reproduce incredibly long lists of sounds, words, formulas, etc. without error after indefinite amounts of time

      • Diagnosed with 5-fold synesthesia

        • Music  color, touch  taste, etc.

      • Would memorize things by placing them in imaginary landscape

        • Might forget something if he couldn’t find it in this landscape

Slide 19

Memory

  • Impressive capacities for memory:

    • Shass Pollak: Jewish mnemonists who memorized more than 5,000 pages of 12 books of Babylonian Talmud

    • A pin would be placed on a word, let us say, the fourth word in line eight; the memory sharp would then be asked what word is in the same spot on page thirty-eight or fifty or any other page; the pin would be pressed through the volume until it reached page thirty eight or page fifty or any other page designated; the memory sharp would then mention the word and it was found invariably correct.

Slide 20

Memory Disorders

  • Henry Gustav Molaison (H.M.)

    • Anterograde amnesia: can’t form new memories

    • Bad epilepsy  brain surgery, removed parts of medial temporal lobes

    • Lost ability to form new long term memories

    • Could still learn new motor memories, but wouldn’t remember having learned them

  • K.C.

    • Intact semantic memory, no episodic memory

    • “unable to describe an event that took place in school that specifically included him; however, he knows that he went to school, and he retains the knowledge that he gained there“

  • Clive Wearing

    • Memento syndrome as result of Herpes simplex

    • ‘Waking up’ every 20 seconds

    • 8:31 AM: Now I am really, completely awake.9:06 AM: Now I am perfectly, overwhelmingly awake.9:34 AM: Now I am superlatively, actually awake.

Slide 21

Consciousness

  • Physical theory for consciousness

    • Some argue that consciousness must be a quantum phenomenon

  • Orchestrated Object Reduction (Orch-OR)

    • Formulated by Roger Penrose and an anesthesiologist

    • Godel’s theorem  brain can go beyond axioms/algorithms

      • Theorem relates to un-provable-ness of theorms

Slide 22

Consciousness

  • More Penrose

    • For non-algorithmic physics, look to quantum theory

    • Collapse of wave function is probabilistic

    • “states are proposed to be selected by a 'non-computable' influence embedded in the fundamental level of spacetime geometry at the Planck scale.”

    • Plato: pure values and forms exist in abstract realm

    • Penrose: this realm is the Planck scale

    • Suggests that brain contains these isolated quantum systems – possibly in microtubules inside neurons

Slide 23

  • THE END


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