September 23rd, 2006



Decisions, Uncertainty and the Brain

For over three hundred years, the Cartesian reflex has served as the fundamental paradigm for understanding how the nervous system connects sensation and action. Faithful to this paradigm, scientists have sought to associate neural events with elements of this simple model. Contemporary neurobiologists, for example, have labeled neural activity in occipital cortex as sensory, and in posterior-frontal cortex as motor, in much the same way that physiologists at the turn of the century labeled activity in peripheral nerves.
Recently, however, our research has begun to identify classes of signals in a number of brain areas that do not appear to fit neatly into this reflexological paradigm. These results raise the possibility that the Cartesian neurobiological approach, through which nearly all physiological studies of brain function have been undertaken, may be inadequate. Our work over the past several years has been aimed both at testing the limits of this traditional paradigm and at developing an alternative approach for studying the physiological basis of mind.

Glimcher Lab for Sensory-Oculomotor research, New York University


Paul W. Glimcher and Nancy Kanwisher (2006) Cognitive neuroscience (Editorial overview) -- Current Opinion in Neurobiology full-text pdf

Paul Glimcher argues that economic theory may provide an alternative to the classical Cartesian model of the brain and behavior.
The new science of decision making. It's not as rational as you think -- Newsweek (2006)


Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel Interview :

What are the big unanswered questions in neuroscience?
I think we need to understand how sensory information is translated into action. We need to understand how unconscious mental processes develop. Where do they occur? What are the processing steps? What is the nature of decision making? Of free will? Can we get a vantage point on consciousness?

How close are we to understanding consciousness?
I think we have not made much empirical progress. But I think we have made a fair amount of conceptual progress. The work of Gerald Edelman and Antonio Damasio and of Christof Koch and Francis Crick has been influential in getting people to think about these problems in a useful way.

What do you think researchers will find consciousness to be?
Oh, my gosh. I have no guesses. I think it's a very deep problem, and I don't really have any original ideas about that.

про гипотезу Кэндела см.

(no subject)

Earth's gravity map:
с т.з. взаимодействий с другими телами Земля далеко не шар.

Because Earth is not a perfect sphere, the pull of gravity is stronger in some places than in others. It's also in a constant state of change, moving with Earth's mantle, falling sea levels, and even tropical storms.
Even the tiniest rises and dips in Earth's gravity push two identical satellites together or pull them apart, generating a map so precise it can chart monthly changes in Earth's crust and seasonal ocean currents.


Earth's Fourth Dimension

Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment mission , better known as GRACE, was launched in 2002 by NASA and the German Aerospace Center.

GRACE Gravity Map Image Gallery