Brain Cuttings Review ã eBook ePUB or Kindle PDF

Read ´ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF Å Carl Zimmer

Read ´ eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF Å Carl Zimmer Cientists are developing new theories about every aspect of our minds from the nature of consciousness to the causes of disorders like autism and schizophrenia In Brain Cuttings award winning science writer Carl Zimmer take. A slim volume 115 pages with some interesting sometimes amazing topics Since neuroscience is a rapidly progressing field some content the book was published in 2010 may already be out of date The first half is the best the experiment showing that newborn human babies and monkeys already have a grasp of abstract mathematics was to me the most surprising together with the Hale Berry neuron experiment The sections on fear and the blind mind's eye are less interesting as is the bit about Kurtzweil's singularity's nonsense Still I was fascinated by the brain implants possibilitiesThat the book is dated can be seen in the section that claims that artificial intelligence will not be possible within at least a decade In 2018 the resurgence of software neural networks thanks to faster hardware and plenty of training data also from social networks has resulted in systems that accomplish tasks eg face recognition or diagnosis previously impossible without human help All in all a reasonably interesting read I cannot recommend it also to myself due to it being a bit out of date

Summary Brain Cuttings

Brain Cuttings Review ã eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF Õ The human brain has long been a mystery but twenty first century science is beginning to reveal some of its inner workings With microscopes and brain scans with psychological experiments and breakthroughs in genetics neuroscientists are developing new theories about every aspect o S readers on fascinating explorations of the frontiers of research shedding light on our innermost existence the speed of thought our perception of time the complex flashes of electricity that give rise to fear and love and. A set of essays dealing with different aspects of the brain As usual Carl Zimmer describes some fascinating information It turns out that using Botox is causing some rather interesting social engineering an unintended conseuence The last chapter deals with the singularity and how difficult it is and likely will continue to be to become a cyborg or an enhanced human

Carl Zimmer Å 8 Characters

Brain CuttingsThe human brain has long been a mystery but twenty first century science is beginning to reveal some of its inner workings With microscopes and brain scans with psychological experiments and breakthroughs in genetics neuros. Vignettes of neuropsychology insight into our brain and mindwork Cognitive prosthetics Singularity Onboard iPhones Meh BlechIf a mammal face is an instrument for communication the primate face is a Stradivarius cWhy did one small group of mammals evolve such sophisticated faces The answer probably has to do with the intensely social life of primates Natural selection may have favored primates that could make a wide range of expressions and that could read those expressions in others The right expression could let a primate stare down a rival or cement a bond cWhen we see faces we don’t just recognize them; we also make the same face if only for a moment If you see someone wearing a big grin muscles on your face will start contracting in about a third of a second The same goes for angry faces and sad ones We respond this way whether people are looking at us or at someone else cOberman and a growing number of other psychologists believe that we empathize by mimicking faces By putting ourselves in other people’s places we understand what they’re feeling cWhen humans mimic others’ faces in other words we don’t just go through the motions We also go through the emotions cWe all have minds that extend out into our environments cWe are in Clark’s words “natural born cyborgs” cThe old notion that our brains are governed by a single simple clock is gone for good In its place are many different ways to mark the time multifarious musically elastic and even deceptive in hindsight cA gene is a gene is a gene Two identical stretches of DNA ought to have the same effect on a child regardless of which parent it comes from But sometimes our genes break the rules of high school genetics The effects of dozens perhaps hundreds of genes depend on whether you inherited them from your mother or your father cCrespi and Badcock have identified several other imprinting disorders that have a similar mother father symmetry What is striking about them is that the father leaning disorders tend to produce autistic symptoms The mother leaning disorders tend to produce schizophrenic ones It is possible that autism and schizophrenia themselves are partly the result of conflicts between parental genes cOne of the most striking contrasts between autism and schizophrenia is how they affect the ability to understand others Autistic people have a difficult time figuring out what other people are feeling Schizophrenic people on the other hand sometimes do too good a job They may come to believe that a refrigerator is talking to them for example or that people are conspiring against them cEmpathetic children can see how frazzled they’re making their mothers and how much attention their siblings need Maternal genes should therefore boost our abilities to get inside other people’s heads Paternal genes on the other hand may benefit by reducing these distractions from the business of getting resources from mothers cPsychologists have also discovered ways to increase and decrease mind wandering Jonathan Smallwood a colleague of Schooler’s at Santa Barbara instructed subjects to tap a key every time they saw a new number appear on a computer screen but to hold off tapping if the number was three The uickly the numbers came the less often the subjects’ minds wandered But as people practiced the task and became familiar with it their mind wandering increased Smallwood has also found that mood affects mind wandering If he showed people a short video about a sick dog before they performed the task for example they spent time mind wandering than did a separate group that had watched a comedy clipAlcohol tweaks mind wandering in a particularly interesting way Schooler and his colleagues ran the War and Peace experiment again but this time after serving their subjects some vodka with cranberry juice Drunk readers actually reported less mind wandering than sober people did That does not mean that you should swill vodka if you want a laser focus on Tolstoy’s deathless prose Schooler has shown that there are in fact two kinds of mind wandering mind wandering when you are aware that you’re thinking about something else and mind wandering without awareness He calls this second kind “zoning out” These experiments show that we spend about 13 percent of our time zoning out But when we are drunk that figure doubles In other words boozy subjects report less mind wandering only because they are less aware of their own minds cEach of us has a magnificent hive of billions of neurons in our head joined to each other by trillions of connections cIn the 1930s astronomers began to realize that all the things they could see through their telescopes—the stars the galaxies the nebulas—make up just a small fraction of the total mass of the universe The rest known as dark matter still defies their best attempts at explanation Between our ears it turns out each of us carries a personal supply of dark matter as well cBut once our ancestors began to link their natural instinct for numbers with a new ability to understand symbols everything changed Math became a language of ideas of measurements and of engineering possibilities The rest—the skyscrapers and supermarkets and weddings—were just a matter of derivation c