Modern humans have existed for perhaps 100.000 years, and more than 100 billion have already lived and died. We assume that they all experienced a sense of self similar to yours.
The brain accomplishes an extremely complex task in bringing about the appearance of a unified world.Constructions: In the Beta phenomenon a bright spot is flashed, and is immidiately followed by a similar spot somewhere else on the screen.
Consider, for example, that light travels much faster than sound, yet visual stimuli take longer to process than noise. Putting together these different speeds means that sights and sounds from an event usually becomes available to our consciousness at differnet times (only sights and sounds from 10 metres away are available at the same time). That means the apparent simultaneity of hearing a voice and seeing the speeker's lips move, for example, has to be constructed by the brain.
Our experience of the world resembles a television broadcast with a timelag; Conscious perception is not ''live''. This on its own might not be too much cause for concern, but in the same way the TV time lag makes last-minute censorship possible, our brain, rather than showing us what happened a moment ago, sometimes constructs a present that has never happened.Body Constructions: Sometimes, the brain might even make a construction, where the self is not placed within the body. According to Olaf Blanke, brain lesions might cause certain out-of-body experiences.
The brains ability to integrate various sensory stimuli plays a key role in locating the self in the body.Social Constructions: A self might reach out to other selves. I.e. our relationships with others are also important for the self:
According to philosopher Thomas Metzinger, understanding how the brain performs this step is the first step in understanding how the brain put together our autobiographical self - the sense we have of ourselves as entities that exist from a remembered past to an imagined future.
The idea that sense of self drives, and is driven by, our relationships with others makes intuitive sense. We can't have relationships without having a self?Indeed, ''the social me'' evidence continue to mount (See the NewScientist article).
Our five senses - sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell - seem to operate independently, as five distinct modes of perceiving the world. In reality, however, they collaborate closely to enable the mind to better understand its surroundings.Data integration is obviously key to a healthy mind.
We can usually differentiate the sights we see and the sounds we hear. But in some cases, the two can be intertwined. During speech perception, our brain integrates information from our ears with that from our eyes. Because this integration happens early in the perceptual process, visual cues influence what we think we are hearing. That is, what we see can actually shape what we hear.
See the McGurk Effect.
The Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology has changed the name of schizophrenia from seishin bunretsu byo, or Mind-split disease, to togo shitcho-sho, or Integration disorder.And we certainly need healthy minds to make sense of the world around us.
Of the virtually unlimited information available in the world around us, the equivalent of 10 billion bits per second arrives on the retina at the back of the eye. Because the optic nerve attached to the retina has only a million output connections, just six million bits per second leave the retina, and only 10.000 bits per second make it to the visual cortex.According to Raichle, a Default Mode Network in the brain helps different regions of the brain to react in concert to stimuli:
After further processing, visual information feed into the brain regions responsible for forming our conscious perception. Surprisingly, the amount of information constituting that conscious perception is less than 100 bits per second. Such a thin stream of data probably could not produce a perception if that were all the brain took into account; The intrisic activity must play a role.
Yet, another indication of the brain's intrinsic processing power comes from counting the number of synapses, the contact points between neurons. In the visual cortex, the number of synapses devoted to incoming visual information is less than 10 percent of those present. Thus, the vast majority must represent internal connections among neurons in that brain region.
Orchestrator of the Self:Raichle has showed that the brain's energy consumption is increased by less than 5% of its baseline energy consumption while performing a focused mental task. These experiments showed that the brain is constantly active with a high level of activity even when the person is not engaged in focused mental work. Research thereafter focused on finding the regions responsible for this constant background activity level.
The Default Mode Network is thought to behave something like an orchestra conductor, issuing timing signals, much as a conductor waves a baton, to coordinate activity among different brain regions.
This cuing - among the visual and auditory parts of the cortex, for instance - probably ensures that all regions of the brain are ready to react in concert to stimuli.
We performed experiments that led to the discovery of a neuron in the hippocampus of one patient, a brain region known to be involved in memory processes, that responded very strongly to different photographs of actress Jennifer Aniston, but not to dozens of other actors, celebrities, places and animals.During the experiments, it was as if the neuron in its firing patterns tells us:
I know it is Jennifer Aniston, and it does not matter how you present her to me, whether in a red dress, in profile, as a written name or even if you call her name out loud.Interestingly:
The neuron, then seems to respond to the concept - to any representation of the thing itself. Thus, these neurons may be more appropriately called concept cells instead of grandmother cells (reacting to the image of your grandmother in any shape or form).
We should consider the fact, that a typical person remembers no more than 10.000 concepts. And this is not a lot in comparison to the billion nerve cells that make up the medial temporal lobe.and
Neurons in the medial temporal lobe just do not care about different instances of the same concept. They fire to the concept itself no matter how it is presented.
Concept cells, that resides in the hippocampus, and the medial temporal lobe in general, might not be necessary for a person to recognize Jennifer Aniston, but it might be critical for translating what is in our awareness, triggered by sensory inputs or internal recall, into long-term memories that will later be stored in other areas in the cerebral cortex.Concepts may be the basis for the creation of episodic memory:
If two concepts are related, some of the neurons encoding one concept may also fire to the other one. This hypothesis gives a physiological explanation for how neurons in the brain encode associations. The tendency for cells to fire to related concepts may indeed be the basis for the creation of episodic memories (such as a particular sequence of events during a cafe encounter, or the flow of consciousness, moving spontaneously from one concept to the other.Indeed:
Concept cells link perception to memory; they give an abstract and sparse representation of semantic knowledge. The people, places, objects, all the meaningful concepts that make up our individual world. They constitute the building blocks for the memories of facts and events of our lives.Mindfulness:
Mindfulness techniques are most likely to alter and strengthen many brain networks and processes. Several studies suggest, for example, that such exercises shift the mind from a narrative mode of viewing the self, in which the central character in the story is you, to a more experimental view, in which you observe the unfolding of your thoughts, feelings and sensations over time. Other studies indicate that emotional changes or calming of stress- induced physiological symptoms may drive phychological improvements.Indeed, it might be just the thing needed to make sense of it all ...
Goal-setting is a natural function of the brain.Much of Brian Maynes talk might not be entirely new territory for most people.
Making a decision starts a subconscious process that transforms the decision into a deed.
Learning the most effective way to set goals is the number one prerequisite for success in any endeavour, for any individual, team, or organisation.
Have you ever been so stressed out you can't think straight?But, obviously, Brian Maynes talk was more about low level good advice, rather than brain chemistry, even though the two are obviously connected.
Crunch time, trying to make a rational decision and you can't even clearly see the problem? This happens when there is too much cortisol in the brain.
Then the brain cannot properly make and store new thoughts and memories because it is overwhelmed by cortisol.
On the other hand: Optimum levels of serotonin in the brain is essential to maintain a feeling of well-being. So stay away of chronic stress, poor nutrition, yo-yo diets, emotional turmoil and even job-related stress...
7. Involve to Evolve.Starting by raising awareness on what is actually going on right now ...
6. Maintain a positive focus.
5. Become Fully Response-Able.
4. Be on Purpose.
3. Find Balance.
2. Develop Possibility Consciousness.
1. Raise your awareness.
1. Dream = What do you want?See Free Templates.
2. Order = Which goal is the priority?
3. Draw = Create right-brain imagery.
4. Why = Identify your motivating reasons.
5. When = Over what period of time?
6. How = What actions will be needed?
7. Who = Whose help will you require?
Wakefulness leads to a net increase in synaptic strength, and sleep is necessary to reestablish synaptic homeostasis.In PubMed Tononi and Cirelli writes:
1. Wakefulness is associated with synaptic potentiation in several cortical circuits;In NewScientists cover-story (February 2nd, 2013) Liam Drew writes:
2. Synaptic potentiation is tied to the homeostatic regulation of slow-wave activity;
3. Slow-wave activity is associated with synaptic downscaling;
4. Synaptic downscaling is tied to the beneficial effects of sleep on performance.
The hypothesized link between sleep and synaptic homeostasis is supported by several lines of evidence and leads to testable predictions.
There is now much evidence to support what is now known as the ''Synaptic Homeostasis Hypothesis''.So, there might actually be a reason why we sleep... :-)
In humans, brain scans show that our grey matter uses more energy at the end of the working day than at the start...
Giulio Tononi and Chiara Cirelli have shown that in rodents and fruit flies, synaptic strength increases during wakefulness and falls during sleep. The pair have also shown that when people learn a task that uses a specific part of the brain, that part generates more intense slow waves during subsequent sleep.
This kind of downscaling is best done ''offline'', says Tononi.
''You can activate your brain in all kinds of ways, because you don't need to behave or learn.''
Simon Laub (Let me Google that for you).