Brainless Myths

Brainless Myths

Brainless Myths

What I have just said of the network, on its structure and, above all, on the fact that all the parts of the central nervous system make up a part of it, proves the anatomical and functional continuity between nerve cells.

(Golgi 1906)

​https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/brain-myths

In this post the dialogue is realised by an interaction of virtual characters, for more information please check the page “Virtual characters

John

There are some really silly myths about the brain 🤣 

Today 15:41   

Cho

I know, whenever I teach an intro class that’s what my first lecture is about 😄

Today 15:42

John

We’ve got some oldies in there, for context, like the Reticular Theory

Today 15:43

Cho

I must confess I don’t know that one … 🤨                                  

Today 15:43

John

Oh, this is from the 19th century, before we could clearly make out single neurons and synapses ..

Today 15:44   

John

people like Golgi thought it was one giant network without gaps

Today 15:44   

Cho

Wow, I did not know that …  😯                                                      

Today 15:45

John

We use some of the old misconceptions to show that people seriously believed stuff we now know is nonsense 

Today 15:44   

John

so that the readers might get that some of the things they seriously believe …

Today 15:44   

Cho

… may very well turn out to be nonsense as well. 😊                

Today 15:45

John

We do all the classics: left vs right, male vs female, the brain works like a computer, etc.

Today 15:45   

Cho

That last one is so very annoying! Lots of students think that. 😊    

Today 15:46

John

We actually don’t go into the whole “artificial neural network” thing, but just point out that the brain isn’t organized like the PC on your desk.

Today 15:47   

Cho

That’s helpful, but as long we keep talking about “intelligent” machines, the metaphor will keep working both ways.

Today 15:47

John

Maybe we could point out something like that in the article too …

Today 15:48   

Cho

I’d like to add a myth, if you don’t have it yet: mirror neurons  

Today 15:48

John

Aren’t they real? 😄

Today 15:49   

Cho

Sure, but they’ve been overhyped and people tried to use them to explain anything and everything

Today 15:49

John

I see. You’re right, I remember there were a lot of publication linking them to empathy, autism, learning any physical skill, etc.

Today 15:50   

Cho

That’s what I mean: hype. They exist and are interesting, but can’t explain everything.

Today 15:51

John

OK, good one, I’ll check with the other writers and likely add a paragraph about that. ☺️

Today 15:51   

… Continue to read the conversation between John and Cho 
on Saturday 05th June…

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Little Big Brain

Little Big Brain

Little Big Brain

The cerebellum contains
80% of the brain’s neurons, but constitutes only

10% of brain mass

Brain Behav Evol. 2018; 91(3): 158–169

​https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/489943

John and Cho are talking about the following article:
Woman of 24 found to have no cerebellum in her brain

In this post the dialogue is realised by an interaction of virtual characters, for more information please check the page “Virtual characters

John

So we know the brain isn’t just “neurons”

Today 15:41   

Cho

Indeed, there are many different types, with different functions      

Today 15:42

John

Describing the brain as “neurons” would be like describing the body as “cells” 🤭

Today 15:43   

Cho

Exactly, well said!  😉                                                                                 

Today 15:43

John

So we do talk quite a bit about various types of neurons and Glia cells

Today 15:44   

Cho

Very good, that should be informative                                                   

Today 15:44

John

What should we mention besides Interneurons , pyramidal cells , and rosehip neurons ?

Today 15:44   

Cho

Oh, but you’re forgetting all about the cerebellum! Purkinje and Golgi cells  

Today 15:45

John

Oops! You’re absolutely right, we were too much focused on the cerebrum 😊😊

Today 15:45   

Cho

That’s what most people do, they assume “brain” is actually just the two main hemispheres                                                                      

Today 15:46

John

Thanks for reminding us there’s more 😊

Today 15:47   

Cho

No problem  😉                                                                                          

Today 15:47

John

But we’re not going to go into too much detail about the brainstem in this article

Today 15:48   

Cho

Fair enough, can’t do everything  😉                                                      

Today 15:48

John

We do mention that the brain is mostly fat and water … 🧠

Today 15:49   

Cho

Well, that’s not very helpful …  most types of cells are ..                     

Today 15:49

John

… to introduce our next article topic: myths about the brain 🧠

Today 15:50   

Cho

Ah!   Yes, I see why you would mention it then 😄                               

Today 15:51

John

“We only use 10% of our brain”

Today 15:51   

Cho

🙄🙄🙄                                                                                                       

Today 15:52

… Continue to read the conversation between John and Cho 
on Saturday 29th May…

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A Brainful of Consciousness

A Brainful of Consciousness

A Brainful of Consciousness

Consciousness

…This is the castle keep, the central redoubt, the core essence of true mentality, many will argue, and it has so far escaped any plausible reconstruction in neurocomputational terms

​Churchland 1994, 212

John and Cho are talking about the following article:
Early Ideas on the Localization of Vital Functions

In this post the dialogue is realised by an interaction of virtual characters, for more information please check the page “Virtual characters

Cho

So here is a list of examples of people who thought they could find the exact spot where consciousness is located in the brain

Today 15:40

Cho

Longet thought it would be in the corpus callosum, Drelincourt in the cerebellum, Lotze and Herbart in the pons

Today 15:41

John

Cool! We didn’t have Lotze and Herbart, I think I might add those …

Today 15:41   

Cho

Be sure to check in with my student, she might have more information for you                                                                     

Today 15:42

John

Certainly, I’ll acknowledge her in the article if I use her paper 😊

Today 15:43   

Cho

Good! They all tried to put consciousness in some unique, asymmetrical part of the brain                                                            

Today 15:43

John

Yeah, like Descartes with the pineal gland 😊

Today 15:44   

Cho

There still are people trying to do that, you know. Churchland wrote a whole Book about it                                              

Today 15:44

John

I don’t think we have him in the list … 🤔

Today 15:44   

Cho

He proposed that consciousness would be located in the intralaminar nucleus                                

Today 15:45

John

I’ll jot that down now, can you mail me the precise reference later?

Today 15:45   

Cho

Sure, no problem. 😊                                                                                

Today 15:46

John

This has been very helpful!

Today 15:47   

Cho

So what’s next?  😊                                                                                    

Today 15:47

John

We’ve got an article on what the brain is actually made of

Today 15:48   

Cho

Oh, good one, people make the weirdest assumptions about that  

Today 15:48

John

Yes, they do!

Today 15:49   

Cho

Like it would all just be neurons …  😊                                                   

Today 15:49

… Continue to read the conversation between John and Cho 
on Saturday 22nd May…

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The Mental Node

The Mental Node

The Mental Node

My view is that this gland is the principal seat of the soul, and the place in which all our thoughts are formed.

…The reason I believe this is that I cannot find
any part of the brain, except this, which is not double.

Descartes 29 January 1640

John and Cho are talking about  Consciousness 

In this post the dialogue is realised by an interaction of virtual characters, for more information please check the page “Virtual characters

John

Hi Cho, can I ask your help for something?

Today 15:38   

Cho

Sure John, what’s up? 😊                                                                          

Today 15:40

John

I’m working on a series of articles on the brain for a magazine …

Today 15:41   

Cho

Nice! 😊                                                                                                       

Today 15:41

John

… and I just wanted to do some fact-checking

Today 15:42   

Cho

OK, what can I do for you?                                                                        

Today 15:42

John

So the first article is about consciousness

Today 15:43   

Cho

Oh, interesting, I recently had a conversation with a student about that                                                                       

Today 15:43

John

Good, so the topic is whether we can localize consciousness in the brain 

Today 15:44   

Cho

Ha, I don’t think so!                                                                                    

Today 15:44

John

That’s the conclusion of the article as well, but we want to show why people weren’t crazy to think that it could be done

Today 15:44   

Cho

Fair enough, but what are you basing that on?                                     

Today 15:45

John

Well, we start in the 19th century when people like Flourens were trying to find the “vital node”

Today 15:45   

Cho

I remember reading about that in an intro class, he just started cutting in the brainstem of rabbits!                                    

Today 15:46

John

Yep, to see what would happen, until he found one spot where the animal stopped moving completely

Today 15:47   

Cho

My kids would kill me if I did work like that …  😄                                

Today 15:47

John

Sure, stuff like this isn’t really justifiable anymore, but he thought he had found something really fundamental

Today 15:48   

Cho

My student had a whole list of people trying to find something like that by various means                                                

Today 15:48

John

Interesting! Do you remember who? We might include some more examples …

Today 15:39   

Cho

Sure, let met pull up the paper she wrote …  😊                                  

Today 15:49

… Continue to read the conversation between John and Cho 
on Saturday 15th May…

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