Neurophilosophy

Archives for January, 2010

Human grid cells tile the environment

HOW does the brain encode the spatial representations which enable us to successfully navigate our environment? Four decades of research has identified four cell types in the brains of mice and rats which are known to be involved in these processes: place cells, grid cells, head direction cells and, most recently, border cells. Although the…

“WHEN a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour,” said Albert Einstein, “it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute, and it’s longer than any hour.” Einstein was describing one of the most profound implications of his Theory of General Relativity – that the perception…

OUR ability to use and manipulate numbers is integral to everyday life – we use them to label, rank, count and measure almost everything we encounter. It was long thought that numerical competence is dependent on language and, therefore, that numerosity is restricted to our species. Although the symbolic representation of numbers, using numerals and…

Viewing headless bodies causes face adaptation

VIEWING a stimulus for a prolonged period of time results in a bias in the perception of a stimulus viewed afterwards. For example, after looking at a moving stimulus for some time, a stationary stimulus that is viewed subsequently appears to drift in the opposite direction. These after-effects reveal to us the properties of our…

Desire influences visual perception

WE tend to assume that we see our surroundings as they really are, and that our perception of reality is accurate. In fact, what we perceive is merely a neural representation of the world, the brain’s best guess of its environment, based on a very limited amount of available information. This is perhaps best demonstrated…