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New Brain Slideshow 2018

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Slideshow for TED-style talk on TOK Retreat

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New Brain Slideshow 2018

  1. 1. All your…
  2. 2. YOUR BRAIN
  3. 3. Contained in... • 3 pounds of squidgy, whitish, buttery gloop… • 1500ml • 3 times bigger than any ape or Australopithecus
  4. 4. 86 billion neurons (fire in patterns) Each with up to 5000 dendrites (branches); allows thousands of synaptic connections in 3d space WE DO NOT HAVE A CONVINCING OVERARCHING THEORY FOR HOW IT WORKS (YET)…
  5. 5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAIQeTeMJ-I
  6. 6. YOUR BRAIN IN A JAR
  7. 7. Smart ape Embodied
  8. 8. Mind on the hoof: 4Fs
  9. 9. Embedded in a specific culture SOCIAL/LANGUAGE
  10. 10. Ultraviolet
  11. 11. Psychedelic Umwelt of hyperspectral color and polarized light
  12. 12. Tactile
  13. 13. Sensory
  14. 14. Infra red
  15. 15. Olfactory
  16. 16. subsonic sound
  17. 17. Auditory – Echolocation (SS)
  18. 18. •What is it like to be a bat?
  19. 19. Extended phenotype TECHNOLOGY
  20. 20. SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENTS: EXTENDING OUR SENSORY RANGE
  21. 21. X-RAY CRYSTALLOGRAPHY
  22. 22. MICRO WAVE TELESCOPE IMAGE OF A FAR GALAXY
  23. 23. JS/Q
  24. 24. Neuroscience—a golden age Like the ocean: unchartered territory
  25. 25. Interesting bits
  26. 26. Adolescent brain
  27. 27. Big in birds!
  28. 28. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5F7snIJ-is
  29. 29. Synapse
  30. 30. Baby brain Same the number of neurons as adults only 20% of adult size! Very few connections; and more compactly spaced
  31. 31. Like a ship coming out of the fog • Newborn • 4 weeks • 8 weeks • 3 months • 6 months
  32. 32. SYNAPTIC DENSITY PEAKS AT AGE 2 There is a rapid proliferation and overproduction of synapses during infancy. Two year olds have an astonishing 50% more connections than in adults!
  33. 33. Followed by “synaptic pruning” that eventually brings the overall number of connections down to their adult levels. This process is most exuberant during the first few years of life, AND extends well into adolescence and young adulthood.
  34. 34. Neural pruning metaphor…
  35. 35. Neural Darwinism
  36. 36. Selection 1. More connections produced than needed 2. Competing for limited nutients and O2 3. Neurons that fire together wire together 4. Use or lose… brain constructs itself by the logic of evolution and embryology; not analogous to a manufactured computer
  37. 37. INFERENCE MACHINE • What if? Living in the subjunctive tense? • Scientific method: wet-wired… All babies are scientists? • Curiosity/Creativity? All Kids are artists? • Who do we think we are? • Living in stories…making it up as we go along (on the fly)?
  38. 38. TAKE HOMES 1. Embodied and embedded 2. Constructed self (brain) based on experience Neural Darwinism: connections that “fire together ‘wet-wire’ together” 3. Neuroscience in its infancy (excited about new discoveries– especially imaging) 4. Brain is not strictly analagous to a computer. Do we think who we are?

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