Neurobiology

Pharyngula

Category archives for Neurobiology

The mirror test is a well known indicator for some degree of self-awareness: surreptitiously mark an animal’s face, show it a mirror, and see if it recognizes that the reflected image is of itself by whether it reaches up to touch or remove the mark. We see that behavior and infer that the animal has…

Who’s conscious?

A recent meeting of neuroscientists tried to define a set of criteria for that murky phenomenon called “consciousness”. I don’t know how successful they were; they’ve come out with a declaration on consciousness that isn’t exactly crystal clear. It seems to involve the existence of neural circuitry that exhibits specific states that modulate behavior. The…

A poll on kitty experimentation

There is an extremely common sort of experiment to understand plasticity of the developing brain. These are important experiments to understand an important phenomenon: the brain does not simply unfold ineluctably to produce a fully functional organ, but actually interacts constantly with its environment to build a functioning organ that is matched to the world…

Near-death, rehashed

The story so far: Mario Beauregard published a very silly article in Salon, claiming that Near-Death Experiences (NDEs) were proof of life after death, a claim that he attempted to support with a couple of feeble anecdotes. I replied, pointing out that NDEs are delusions, and his anecdotal evidence was not evidence at all. Now…

I was compelled to post this

I said I didn’t want to say anything about free will, and I still don’t, but Massimo Pigliucci weighed in, and Jerry Coyne responded, and so did Sean Carroll, and of course I created a free will thread for everyone else to talk about it, so I guess there’s a fair bit of momentum behind…

It’s another update on the bloggin’ students in my Neuroscience course, and what they’ve been thinking about. dorsal neural tube and mirror neurons ESP Asymmetry and genes and coffee Mind reading software MS and aneurysms Cell migration and the amygdala Delamination and more synesthesia Sleep Oxytocin Cocaine and cupcakes Rev. Frost will write something soon…

I gave them an exam, that’s what. That and long boring lecturings at 8am on pattern formation in the nervous system. But otherwise, I’ve had them blogging, so we can take a peek into the brain of a typical college student and see what actually engages them. Neural stem cells. Zeta inhibitory peptide. Aquaporin. Time…

I can draw a box

As long as it isn’t too complicated and you don’t expect much detail or fidelity to a model. So watch this guy. He can draw Rome. (via Noggin Bloggin’) (Also on FtB)

I’ve got my neurobiology students blogging — all I ask is that they write something relevant to understanding how brains work. Let’s see where their minds are at this week, shall we? Peer pressure. Cute cuddly animals. Video games. Alzheimer’s disease. Rat tickling. Smoking and Alzheimer’s. Cephalopod brains. Moral dilemmas. Membrane chemistry. Lies! Evasive flies.…

Wiring the brain

This story is some kind of awesome: For those who don’t want to watch the whole thing, the observation in brief is that color perception is affected by color language. The investigators compare Westerners with our familiar language categories for color (red, blue, green, yellow, etc.) to the people of the Himba tribe in Africa…