What are brain waves? It’s no wonder the term sounds like science fiction. In the 1920s, a German psychiatrist embarked on a highly personal quest to discover the supposed medium of telepathy. By placing electrodes on the human scalp, Hans Berger found waves of electrical brain activity using a tool called electroencephalography, or EEG. Physicists had recently shown that electromagnetic waves could propagate through space to carry information. If the brain had its own waves, could they transmit thoughts to others like a radio broadcast?Continue reading
For the first time in over a decade, a new Star Wars film is upon us, and if you’re like the staff of Knowing Neurons, your nucleus accumbens is firing off dopamine as fast as it can! Oh, what’s that you say? Lightsabers, Star Destroyers, and the Force have nothing to do with neurons, action potentials, and brain waves? Ah … I find your lack of faith disturbing.
Each night, you place your head on your pillow, close your eyes, and, barring insomnia, you lose consciousness of the world around you, drifting into blissful oblivion. Eventually, you reawaken, only to hallucinate in a paralyzed body. These hallucinations are called dreams. Why do dreams happen, and what function do they serve? Although these are simple questions, the purpose of dreaming (and to a large extent, sleep itself) is far from understood.Continue reading