How Floating in Darkness Takes the Body off the Mind

What happens when your mind disconnects from all outside sensations? First, you undress, put in earplugs, and step into a floatation tank, the water warmed to the temperature of your… Read more

Understanding Visual Illusions Can Make Us More Empathetic

Philosophers and neuroscientists agree that if there is an objective reality, human beings can’t perceive it: philosophers refer to objective reality as a perception independent of any conscious awareness. Neuroscientists… Read more

Measuring Consciousness in Bits

Consciousness is an ambiguous concept. It can mean a lot of different things, depending on the context. For example, I can say that I am conscious of something, as in,… Read more

[Podcast] Uploading the Human Brain

n a brand new episode of the Knowing Neurons podcast, we explore the concept of “mind uploading”. How would something like a mind upload really work?… Read more

Consciousness: The Final Frontier

When I walk through my kitchen, I smell fresh food and feel warmth radiating off of it. These internal, subjective experiences are called qualia. I assume that my refrigerator, my… Read more

Is Neuroimaging Just Modern Phrenology?

You might have heard the term ‘phrenology’ thrown around, usually in the context of pseudoscience and racism. Or, if you’ve heard discussions about the Quentin Tarantino movie Django Unchained, it… Read more

Will Artificial Intelligence Fall in Love?

In a few months, millions of viewers will return to Westworld, the HBO original series about artificially intelligent androids inhabiting a Western theme park. The show, based on a 1973… Read more

Chaos Rules All

ature is so predictable. Or is it? On Monday, August 21, 2017, thousands will travel to see the first total solar eclipse in the contiguous United States since 1979. Peering… Read more

The Ultimate Thought Experiment Part III: Flowers for Algernon

In Part II of this series, we considered artificial intelligent in the context of Arthur C. Clarke’s novel and Stanley Kubrik’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey. In Space Odyssey, intelligence… Read more

The Ultimate Thought Experiment Part II: 2001: A Space Odyssey

In our previous post, we considered the Philip K. Dick novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? in the context of a thought experiment: a thinking tool used by scientists… Read more

The Ultimate Thought Experiment Part I: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Let’s imagine something crazy. What if each person in China was ordered to simulate a neuron in a brain, making an enormous “China brain?” Every participant in this grand experiment… Read more

Can Neuroscience Explain the Mandela Effect?

Would you trust a memory if it felt as real as all your others? And other people confirmed they remember it, too? What if the memory turned out to be… Read more

Does Free Will Exist?

It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon. Professor Freeman is enjoying the Southern California weather on Professor Domino’s patio. Domino: Will it be Coke or Pepsi, Dr. Freeman? Freeman: That’s an easy… Read more

How Do We Know? The Value of Scientific Models.

Last month, astronomers announced the prediction of a new giant planet in our solar system dubbed Planet IX, a genuine ninth planet with ten times the mass of Earth.  The… Read more

Double Book Review: The Emperor’s New Mind and Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

“A barber (who is a man) shaves all and only those men who do not shave themselves. Does he shave himself?” If you can’t solve the above riddle, don’t worry… Read more

Ghost in the Machine: The Neuroscience of Consciousness

Some questions cannot be addressed by science.  Like parallel universes, the consciousness of others is not something that can be directly observed, measured, or experienced.  Rene Descartes famously said, “I… Read more