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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

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outline
Outline
  • Phobias
  • Phantom Limbs
  • Prosopagnosia and the Capgras Delusion
  • Synesthesia
  • Memory
  • Consciousness
phobias
Phobias

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

phantom limbs
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
phantom limbs6
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
prosopagnosia and the capgras delusion
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
prosopagnosia and the capgras delusion9
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 has been replaced by an identical-looking impostor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)
slide10
Neurological condition in which stimulation in one cognitive pathway causes stimulation in another
  • Examples:
    • Symbol --> color or spatial location
    • Sound --> color
    • Symbol --> personality
slide12
“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
slide14
“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
slide16
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?
memory
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
memory19
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.
memory disorders
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.
consciousness
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
consciousness22
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
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