Archive for January, 2015

Explanatory gap

Posted by

The Computational Explanatory Gap James Reggia, Derek Monner & Jared Sylvester :: Journal of Consciousness Studies, 21, No. 9&10, 2014, pp. 153-78 :: www.imprint.co.uk/jcs.html Summary and review of the above paper INTRODUCTION: The durability of the explanatory gap between neural processing and consciousness is seen as surprising given the successes of neuroscience in recent decades. Models of cognitive processing still require external direction, which is exactly what the conscious Read more […]

Irregular cortical firing

Posted by

Useful dynamic regimes emerge in recurrent networks Srdjan Ostojic, Ecole Normale Superior, Paris :: Nature Neuroscience, Vol. 17, No. 4, April 2014 :: www.nature.com/neuro Summary and review of the above paper Time-varying patterns of spatiotemporal activity in the brain underly most human activity. Increases in synaptic strength are seen as producing a shift from a small computational potential to high computational potential. Excitation and inhibition cancels out most of the time; however, Read more […]

Subjective decisions

Posted by

What’s better for me? :: Fundamental role for habenula in subjective decision biases Colin Stopper & Stan Floresco, Brain Research Centre, University of British Columbia :: Nature Neuroscience, Vol. 17, No. 1, January 2014  Summary and review of the above paper  The lateral habenula (LHb) had traditionally been seen as an ‘aversion centre’. The LHb’s neurons respond to aversive events or the lack of expected rewards. However, in this study, the LHb is seen as being important as Read more […]

The specious present

Posted by

Once upon a time Laura Spinney :: New Scientist, 10 January 2015 :: www.newscientist.com Summary and review of the above article INTRODUCTION: The brain is shown to assemble the experience of the specious present from inputs arriving at a variety of times. It is seen to use its inputs to make very short timescale predictions about the future, providing the evolutionary advantage of quicker reaction times. Unusually for something published in a popular science magazine, there is also a challenge Read more […]

Time and the brain

Posted by

Temporal synchrony and gamma-to-theta power conversion in the dendrites of CA1 pyramidal neurons Sachin Vaidya & Daniel Johnston, University of Texas :: Nature Neuroscience, Vol. 16, No. 12, December 2013 Summary and review of the above paper Gamma and the slower theta oscillations combine to synchronise neural activity related to the hippocampus. The relative timing of this neural firing is regarded as a temporal code. A neuron in the CA1 region of the hippocampus can receive inputs via Read more […]

Penrose revisited

Posted by

One thing that is interesting here is the is the durability of Penrose’s ideas. These were often decried by famous-for-a-day scoffers in the 1990s, but are now still referred to, or revived, when some of the original scoffers may be long forgotten. Here a popular science magazine reviews experiments relative to Penrose’s idea for quantum gravity. ‘The Secret Life of Reality’ by Michael Brooks, based on Roger Penrose, Cisco Gooding, Bill Unruh, Dirk Bouwmeester and other physicists as published in the New Scientist, January 3 2015.

Quantum biology

Posted by

LIFE on the EDGE Jim Al-Khalili & Johnjoe McFadden, Surrey University (2014) Summary and review of the above book INTRODUCTION: This book is important in trying to bring a serious discussion of quantum biology to a lay audience. The continuing need to bring quantum biology into the mainstream is indicated by the sceptical tone of some of the book’s reviewers and the still sparse start-class article provided on Wikipedia. The main drive of the book is to indicate that quantum coherence Read more […]