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Archive for the ‘Consciousness’ Category

Babies who had heard the recordings showed the neural signal for recognizing vowel and pitch changes in the pseudoword, and the signal was strongest for the infants whose mothers played the recording most often. They were also better than the control babies at detecting other differences in the syllables, such as vowel length. “This leads us to believe that the fetus can learn much more detailed information than we previously thought,” Partanen says, and that the memory traces are detectable after birth.”This is a well-respected group and the effects are really convincing,” says Patricia Kuhl, a neuroscientist at the University of Washington in Seattle. Combined with previous work, she says, these results suggest “that language learning begins in the womb.”

via Babies Learn to Recognize Words in the Womb | Science/AAAS | News.

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Nanoscientists have developed an array capable of sensing touch with the same sensitivity as a human fingertip. The technology could be used to create smart skin for robots.

 

via Smart skin has the same sensitivity as human fingertips Wired UK.

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via Transparent Brain Imaging Will Accelerate Research 10 to 100 Times | Think Tank | Big Think.

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Brain to Brain interface in real time. It has happened. Now what?

via BBC News – One rat brain ‘talks’ to another using electronic link.

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Depression induced or cured within 10 seconds in rats by turning on or off neurons that release dopamine in the ventral tegmental area of the brain with the help of optogenetics (previously changing neurons to make them be turned on or off by focusing light on them). 10 seconds is shorter than the time that antidepressants usually take to work, which is some weeks. Treatment with magnesium may work within one week, and could be combined for best results with vitamin D, vitamin B12, folic acid, and omega-3.

via Stimulating dopamine-releasing neurons in the ventral tegmental area immediately extinguishes depression in mice. | MIT Technology Review.

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Sleep Snob Technology is self-hacking at its best. 

“Sleep tracking is in vogue. You can buy gadgets shaped like headsets, bracelets, and thumb drives even under-mattress sensor pads that will track a whole constellation of sleep indicators—body temperature, movement, electrical activity in your brain—as you slumber.

The Lullaby, a prototype tracker built at the University of Washington goes one step further. It doesn’t just show when you weren’t resting well, it helps you understand why your Zs were thrown off. It tracks your sleeping environment, picking up things like room temperature, ambient light intensity, background noise—and matches those up with biological sleep signs mapped by the wrist-worn Fitbit. An IR camera takes a photograph of the sleeping subjects every 15 seconds, adding a staggered video log to sleep data being collected. Over a morning cup of coffee, on a tablet app, a user can flick through data gathered the previous night.”

via A Know-it-all Sleep Tracker | MIT Technology Review.

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“Now, it should be noted that the researchers aren’t trying to emulate a complete honey bee brain, but rather two specific and complex functions within it, namely vision and sense of smell.”

“By isolating and modeling these particular functions, the researchers hope to provide their flying robot with the cognitive power required to perform basic tasks — and without a set of pre-programmed instructions. It is hoped, for example, that the robotic bee will be able to detect particular odors or gasses in the same way that real bee can identify certain flowers.”

via New project aims to upload a honey bee’s brain into a flying insectobot by 2015.

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The system was still able to identify which animal had been named, despite being trained with patterns generated for English words. For example, the word “horse” and its Dutch equivalent “paard” gave rise to the same brain pattern, suggesting that the activity represented the word’s meaning – the concept of a horse. 

However, the brain patterns that Correia identified were unique to each person. Brains are like faces – the eyes, nose and mouth are all in the same place, but the details can be different, says Davis. “The meanings might be stored in the same area, but the actual neurons would be idiosyncratic.” To read someone’s mind, a machine would first need to learn that individual’s unique representation of each word. “You would have to scan a person as they thought their way through a dictionary,” says Davis.

via Mind-reading scan locates site of meaning in the brain – health – 16 November 2012 – New Scientist.

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Scientists have taken a step forward in helping to solve one of life’s greatest mysteries – what makes us human?
via New brain gene gives us edge over apes, study suggests.

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Scientists have figured out a way to read our dreams. It is in the preliminary stages, but the knowledge base will continue to expand. Although it seems pretty simplistic, it is a phenomenal step in an understanding of what our unconscious mind is up to during the one-third of our lives spent in slumber. Many people report infrequent memories of dream content, while some report no memory whatsoever. 

via Scientists read dreams : Nature News & Comment.

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UCLA researchers have�discovered that�the activity of a brain region known to be involved in learning, memory and Alzheimer’s disease behaves as if it’s remembering something during sleep, even under anesthesia — a finding that counters conventional theories about memory consolidation during sleep.

His team found that the entorhinal cortex showed what is called persistent activity, which is thought to mediate working memory during waking life — for example, when people pay close attention to remember things temporarily, such as recalling a phone number or following directions.

“The big surprise here is that this kind of persistent activity is happening during sleep, pretty much all the time.” Mehta said. “These results are entirely novel and surprising. In fact, this working memory-like persistent activity occurred in the entorhinal cortex even under anesthesia.”

The findings are important, Mehta said, because humans spend one-third of their lives sleeping and a lack of sleep results in adverse effects on health, including learning and memory problems.

via The sleeping brain behaves as if it’s remembering something | KurzweilAI.

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Researchers disguised rapid- and slow-changing sounds within background noise. Participants were asked to indicate whether they could hear the noise by pressing a button using alternately their right hand then their left hands.

Those responding with their right hand heard the rapidly changing sounds more often than when using their left hands while the slowly changing sounds were heard more often when using the left hand.

“The left hemisphere likes rapidly changing sounds, such as consonants, and the right hemisphere likes slowly changing sounds, such as syllables or intonation,” explains Turkeltaub on the GUMC website.

“It’s really pretty amazing. Imagine you’re waving an American flag while listening to one of the presidential candidates. The speech will actually sound slightly different to you depending on whether the flag is in your left hand or your right hand.”

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Perhaps our brains are not equipped to get the Big Picture. Maybe they evolved to deal with only a narrow spectrum of reality, focused on day to day reality just enough to keep us going. Maybe at this point our brains are not capable of comprehending the incomprehensible.

Perhaps the question of our origin and of ultimate reality doesn’t need to be answered to find wellbeing. What if freedom lies instead in the capacity to live with not knowing? What would it feel like to be utterly at home, in the midst of the mystery?

 

via Being Human A-Z | Being Human.

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P
eople aren’t really stupid.

These people are not stupid. These people were well educated and intellectually groomed. Stupid isn’t the right word for these people.

These people were susceptible. Their individual and collective egos were reaching up towards an ideal which held them as superior beings.

I proffer that this type of egoic reaction is somewhat involuntary. Many are able to resist the enticement of superiority, or worship, of self-aggrandizement, but eventually all but the rarest of creatures gives way and wallows within the hope of it.

I think it is a security vulnerability in the software of the human brain. Just as we rush to prepare patches to shore up the vulnerabilities on our technological counterparts, so, too, could we rush to prepare a patch for this paradigm shifting vulnerability which has been repeatedly exploited throughout history by those who have a clear understanding of how it works.

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Physicists Are Building Their Own Version of the Matrix’s “Red Pill”

According to Silas Beane and his team at the University of Bonn in Germany, a simulation of the universe should still have constraints, no matter how powerful. These limitations, they argue, would be observed by the people within the simulation as a kind of constraint on physical processes.

So, how could we ever hope to identify these constraints? Easy: We just need build our own simulation of the universe and find out. And in fact, this is fairly close to what the physicists are actually trying to do. To that end, they’ve created an ultra-small version of the universe that’s down to the femto-scale.

via Physicists say there may be a way to prove that we live in a computer simulation.

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