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Sci Am -- Mind (Special Edition)

PosTMOd

Well-Known TRIBEr
Awesome reading...

http://www.sciam.com/special/toc.cfm?issueid=17&sc=singletopic

Studying how the mind and brain work sounds like it ought to be about as futile as trying to grab handfuls of air. Yet psychology, neuroscience and related fields have made amazing progress. This special issue introducing Scientific American Mind reviews just a sliver of the discoveries that investigators from around the globe have made about the workings of our inner lives.

The breadth of subjects tracks the vastness of thought. Several of our authors grapple with supremely tough questions: How does the gray matter in our skulls give rise to self-awareness? How can we have free will if our brains are bound by predictable mechanisms? How does memory work? Other articles describe how new genetic and biochemical findings elucidate causes of mental illness but also pose ethical quandaries. They illuminate mysteries of sensory perception. They explore how understanding of mental function can help us deal with mundane issues, such as solving problems creatively or making our arguments more persuasive. And a few celebrate the strange, unexpected beauties of the human condition.- The Editors
 

PosTMOd

Well-Known TRIBEr
Fast Facts

The Nature of Consciousness

1. Recent laboratory work indicates that consciousness is processed in many different brain areas. If researchers can define the neuropsychological basis for consciousness, then scientists may be able to replace the endless philosophical debates with empirical descriptions about whether the brain and mind are the same or different entities.

2. The difference between the brain and consciousness may be the way in which information is accessed. If access is via an internal perspective--such as experiencing the sun's warmth on one's skin as pleasant--the processes are within consciousness. If access is via external perspective--observing other people looking up at the sun and smiling--the processes are neuronal.

3. But if mental activities equate with brain processes that follow predictable rules, then we cannot claim to have freedom of will. Our behaviour would be determined by the rules governing our neurons.

4. Freedom requires a self--a person--that can determine itself; this determination distinguishes a free action from one that occurs by rote. The self is a kind of core containing the most fundamental personality traits and convictions that define a human being.
 

shylock_one

TRIBE Member
I was thinking about starting a thread about this, but I'll put it here instead.

If you haven't already, also check out the 2003 Reith Lectures, entitled, The Emerging Mind .

It's a five part lecture series by Professor Ramachandran. Each lecture is 30 minutes (with a 10 minute Q&A period) and is available on streaming realaudio (or you could read the transcripts). I've only listened to the first two so far, but they're very fascinating. I'll probably take a listen to the third lecture sometime tonight where Dr. Ramachandran tackles the issue of art and the brain.
 

PosTMOd

Well-Known TRIBEr
^^^ Awesome... I'm so happy to have a few days to myself here... TV is on, reading a magazine, reading lectures, reading tribe...

I wish I could get paid for my information addiction...
 

PosTMOd

Well-Known TRIBEr
I love this... 2nd lecture from the above...

"One common fallacy is to assume there is an image inside your eyeball, the optical image, exciting photoreceptors on your retina and then that image is transmitted faithfully along a cable called the optic nerve and displayed on a screen called the visual cortex. Now this is obviously a logical fallacy because if you have a screen and an image displayed on a screen in the brain, then you need another little chap in there watching that image, and there is no little chap in your head. And if you think about it, that wouldn't solve the problem either because then you'd need another little guy in his head looking at the image in his brain and so on and so forth, and you get an endless regress of eyes and images and little people without really solving the problem of perception. "
 
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