The Law of Attraction, the Placebo Effect, and the Immune-Brain Connection

iomedical researchers call it “the most replicated experiment in the history of science.” Simply put, the placebo effect is a phenomenon where people who believe they are being treated for… Leer más

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… Leer más

Are children with Angelman syndrome really happy?

This post was updated on April 24, 2019 to incorporate feedback from parents. Names have been changed to protect anonymity. What is health? What is happiness? We generally imagine the… Leer más

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… Leer más

Neurolaw: Combining Neuroscience and Criminal Justice

he number of U.S. judicial opinions citing neuroscience more than doubled in the seven years from 2005 to 2012, according to an analysis in the Journal of Law and the… Leer más

Reverse Engineering the Brain

Can we learn everything about the brain by studying individual brain cells? It started with a simple equation. In 1980, a mathematician named Benoit Mandelbrot working for IBM plotted the… Leer más

You’re Not as Rational as You Think: Political Philosophy and the Science of Irrationality

ognitive scientists have known for decades that humans are inherently irrational when it comes to making economic decisions. This may seem obvious to a good poker player, who will likely… Leer más

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… Leer más

How Neuroimaging Changes Our View of Science & Humanity

Magritte’s comments on our fascination with the unknown rings true not just in artistic surrealism, but also in many of our scientific research endeavors. The human mind is continually fascinated… Leer más

¿Por qué nos hace sentir tanto la música?

Whether you’re listening through tinny iPhone headphones on your morning commute or crying at a John Mayer concert, there is a special place in our hearts for music. But what… Leer más

El máximo experimento de reflexión parte III: Flores para 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… Leer más

El máximo experimento de reflexión parte II: 2001: Una odisea espacial

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… Leer más

El máximo experimento de reflexión parte I: ¿Los androides sueñan con ovejas eléctricas? 

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… Leer más

What Happens If You Stick Your Head in a Particle Accelerator?

What would happen if you stuck your body inside a particle accelerator? The scenario seems like the start of a bad Marvel comic, but it happens to shed light on… Leer más

The Consequences of Illusory Superiority

On January 6, 1995, a large five-foot-six 270-pound middle-aged man robbed two Pittsburgh banks in broad daylight. He didn’t wear a mask or any sort of disguise. And he smiled… Leer más

Learning from Disorder: The Paradox of Information in the Brain

In Dante’s Inferno, the fifth circle of Hell is a place where the wrathful fight each other for eternity.  Similarly, I often consider YouTube comments to be an extracanonical circle… Leer más

Jupiter and Beyond! The Unsung Friendship between Neuroscience and Space Exploration

This weekend, I attended a special event at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratories in Pasadena, CA to celebrate the Juno spacecraft’s July 4th arrival at the planet Jupiter.  Planetary scientists study… Leer más

¿Existe el libre albedrío?

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… Leer más

Gliders, Blinkers, and Pulsars: Complexity and the Game of Life

Previously on Knowing Neurons, we considered self-organized criticality (SOC) and network science (AKA graph theory) as two possible sources of complex behavior in the brain and other physiological systems. As… Leer más

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… Leer más

The Fugue of Life: Why Complexity Matters in Physiology and Neuroscience

People like simplicity. Each decade, corporate logos grow progressively minimalistic, pop songs use ever simpler melodies, and visual art embraces simpler compositions, as Monet gives way to Picasso and Picasso… Leer más

Scale Invariance: A Cautionary Tale Against Reductionism

How long is the coast of Britain?  It doesn’t matter how good your geography is — the answer depends on the size of your measuring stick.  The coast of Britain… Leer más

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… Leer más
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