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#106    Copasetic

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Posted 21 April 2013 - 06:14 PM

View PostMr Walker, on 21 April 2013 - 02:12 AM, said:

If one maps out or observes all the physical processes going on in the eye and brain you will not find the elephant   there.

But of course, in a very real sense you will. You will find a physical recording of a real elephant (which you can extract, reproduce or manipulate ) just as you will find a physical recording of a very real colour red.

I agree with much of what you wrote here MW, but I wanted to point something out here. If by "physical recording" you are alluding to memory then you are incorrect. Our memory does NOT work like a hard drive or blue ray. Memory is an act of creation more than of recall. This is what neurobiology has shown us over the last 10 or so years.

We can show this through an experiment: let me lay it out for you.

You take some lab rats and play them a tone. A beep. Then through the metal of their cage deliver them a small shock. Rats are good learners. The rat quickly learns that the tone represents a threat and whenever the rat hears the tone a threat response is generated.

There is a drug, anisomycin, derived from Streptomyces--a filamentous, "fungi-like" bacteria. If you give this drug to someone or some animal it impairs the formation of new memories. How? It impairs them by inhibiting protein synthesis. No protein synthesis, no new neuron-talk at synapses. No new neuron-talk at synapses, no new memories. So back to our rats; you give the rats some anisomycin and then play the tone and deliver the shock. Do this over and over; drug→ tone→ shock. Now come back later and play the tone. What happens? No threat response. The anisomycin has interfered with the rat's ability to generate a memory and learn from the tone-shock relationship.

So this was the late 20th century view of memories, like you are espousing now. That they are the result of neural connections in the brain, saved to later be recalled like a hard disk.

But not so fast.

Enter more experiments.

Lets say that you play the rat the tone then shock it. Do this over and over. A 100 times. A 1000 times. The rat learns the tone-shock relationship and a threat response is generated to just the tone alone. A memory to be "recalled" whenever the rat hears the tone. Now take this same rat, the one already learned in the art of tone-shock relationships and give it some anisomycin before replaying the tone and delivering the shock. What happens?

When you do this (learned rat→drug→tone→shock) the rat "unlearns" the association between the tone and the shock. Such that if now, at a later date you play the tone for the rat there is no threat response generated. Puzzling isn't it?  If memory is just experiences stored on a hard drive then they ought not be affected by something that inhibits only new memory formation.

So what is happening?

When we recall, we are actually creating in our mind. Memory is an act of creation, not recall. There is no "physical memory" stored in our brain (I hope that doesn't upset you much, I know you're into scifi and their portrayal of memory and where it might go "soon" with technology) anywhere. What's happening when we remember is that ensembles of neurons fire along synapses (via proteins) that were "coded" during the act of "making a memory". Those protein "communication" at those synapses replicate a prior state that lets us generate an experience in our head--Not a past experience, but a simulacrum of the experience those synapses were "coded" for at the time. Which really makes sense when you think about how tetany, gene transcription and neuraxial synapsing occurs (previous post on the subject hereyou might find useful).

Now at this point in the story with your scientific thinking hat on, you like me, might be wondering--How do we know anisomycin (an admitted protein synthesis inhibitor) isn't just causing brain damage to the rats?

Good question.

There is another experiment we can do. Even cooler than that last.

We take some rats. And play them tone 1, lets say a higher frequency tone--Then bam, deliver a shock to our furry little friends. Now play them a second tone, tone 2 (we'll say this one is a lower frequency tone) and bam: deliver a shock to our furry little friends.

Now we have rats that have learned that tone 1 or tone 2 is something to fear. Tone 1 or tone 2 generates a threat response. Now if anisomycin is just damaging the brain, administering it during "recall" should erase both tone 1 and tone 2.

So well take half of our rats, we'll call group A, and give them drug→tone 1→ shock. The other half, group B, get drug→ tone 2→ shock.
If we play group A rats (drug→ tone 1) tone 1, what happens? Nothing. No threat response. If we take those same group A rats and play them tone 2 (the one we left along) it does generate a threat response. Same thing with group B. We play group B tone 2 and what do we get? Nada. Play them tone 1 and what do we get? A threat response.

Ponder on that. We've just selectively "erased" memory in rats with a drug that inhibits the creation of new memory. Isn't that some crazy ****?

If that is making you think of;

Posted Image

I'm right there with you!

The implications of early 21st memory are huge! And if you think about it, it explains a lot about our memories. It explains why "eye-witnesses" make such ****ty witnesses. Because you are not just recalling a hard-coded stored memory. Like (my cousin) Vinny showed:

Posted Image

because our memory is an act of creation--It isn't always accurate. When your brain recreates an experience to "remember", pieces that didn't get protein "coded" the first time are simply made up by the brain to fill out the experience. Was that a red car or a green car that sped away from the scene? Brain: "ehhh we'll go with red" (never mind it was actually blue).

In fact, taking this further the more you use a specific memory the less accurate it becomes over time. You are in effect recreating a simulacrum of a simulacrum of a simulacrum of a simulacrum. Each time, creation and the current state in your brain alters the "memory"--filling in pieces, changing pieces, etc. That special time you remember eating ice cream on a hot day with mommy when you were 4? Long gone. Whats left is a recreation of an experience that happened long ago.

Applications for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind-esq type modifications are already being clinically experimented with.

Some further reading you may find informative MW;

Fear memories require protein synthesis in the amygdala for reconsolidation after retrieval(original nature publication).

Characterization of fear memory reconsolidation--Journal neuroscience

Anisomycin, a Protein Synthesis Inhibitor, Disrupts Traumatic Memory Consolidation and Attenuates Posttraumatic Stress Response in Rats


The biology of induced memory


#107    Mr Walker

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 10:18 AM

View PostStarMountainKid, on 21 April 2013 - 02:06 PM, said:

Mr Walker,

The elephant is 'out there' physically, the elephant is in the brain as a neurological pattern, but where is the view of the elephant that exists in consciousness? I can see the elephant, but where is the "I" that sees it and where is the image of the elephant that I see?

You can say both the elephant in my consciousness and the "I" that is viewing it are patterns in my physical brain, but this does not explain my conscious experience of the elephant.

A computer with a light sensing device can see the elephant, too, but it has no consciousness of that view. The computer contains a physical pattern of the elephant as does the brain, but that's all it has. If the physical pattern of the elephant in the computer were all that were needed for conscious awareness of the elephant, the computer would be conscious as well.

Our conscious awareness of the elephant is a product of the physical brain, but our conscious experience Itself I think is not a physical phenomenon that can be analyzed by our knowledge of physics.

I think Schrodinger is correct in his statement. We disagree on this point, and I it seems we will not come to an agreement any time soon :).
Your conscious experience of the elephant is a product of the neurology of your brain. so is your conscious experience of the colour red. My point is that every conscious experience is data recorded in your brain and maintains a physical existence as that data record, just like a piece of video tape or a dvd recording.

"YOU" (Ie your sense of self awareness) are that data recording, plus the immediate recording and processing of incoming new data. "Your consciousness" is nothing more than that. It is the abilty to process the data in sophisticated ways that distinguishes us from a mere recording and makes us a form of intelligence.

And so indeed, a computer may well develop a sense of self, or a self awareness like a human, and begin processing data as we do. That is what a true artificial intelligence will be like. These artificial intelligences are probably less than 10 years from being in operation, given present progress and development in this area of science.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#108    Mr Walker

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 10:22 AM

View PostFrank Merton, on 21 April 2013 - 02:09 PM, said:

I know an elephant when I see one.
But do you know how it is, that you know an elephant when you see one? :devil: Do you know why, to your mind, a photo of, and a real, elephant are identifiable as the same entity. Do you understand how individual parts of the brain store and process this knowledge? Do you know why and how you can identify an elephant from clues and cues, without ever actually seeing the animal in itself.

Edited by Mr Walker, 23 April 2013 - 10:26 AM.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#109    Frank Merton

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 10:41 AM

View PostMr Walker, on 23 April 2013 - 10:22 AM, said:

But do you know how it is, that you know an elephant when you see one? :devil: Do you know why, to your mind, a photo of, and a real, elephant are identifiable as the same entity. Do you understand how individual parts of the brain store and process this knowledge? Do you know why and how you can identify an elephant from clues and cues, without ever actually seeing the animal in itself.
You kinda didn't get my point which was just that point.  If I see some bush carefully trimmed to have an elephant's shape, I say it's an elephant, even though it isn't.  My brain is flexible on the subject of what is an elephant, but still I know one when I see one.  I can even find one carefully hidden in a child's picture puzzle if I study it long enough.There is a con in Thailand of leading a baby elephant around begging for money to buy food for it.  I get these people asking me for money for this, and I have no idea what they are talking about: I don't "see" the elephant right next to them and within inches of me until I double-check and suddenly its outline registers in my head.What goes into our eyes and into our optic nerve is only the beginning of the story.  Somehow it usually but not always becomes an experience of "elephant near," and even then the English word "elephant" is not involved, only the experience, until I tell someone about it later (since the people were speaking in Thai, but that word nor the corresponding Vietnamese word -- my native tongue -- none of these has anything to do with the experience itself of elephant-ness).


#110    Mr Walker

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 10:52 AM

View PostCopasetic, on 21 April 2013 - 06:14 PM, said:

I agree with much of what you wrote here MW, but I wanted to point something out here. If by "physical recording" you are alluding to memory then you are incorrect. Our memory does NOT work like a hard drive or blue ray. Memory is an act of creation more than of recall. This is what neurobiology has shown us over the last 10 or so years.

We can show this through an experiment: let me lay it out for you.

You take some lab rats and play them a tone. A beep. Then through the metal of their cage deliver them a small shock. Rats are good learners. The rat quickly learns that the tone represents a threat and whenever the rat hears the tone a threat response is generated.

There is a drug, anisomycin, derived from Streptomyces--a filamentous, "fungi-like" bacteria. If you give this drug to someone or some animal it impairs the formation of new memories. How? It impairs them by inhibiting protein synthesis. No protein synthesis, no new neuron-talk at synapses. No new neuron-talk at synapses, no new memories. So back to our rats; you give the rats some anisomycin and then play the tone and deliver the shock. Do this over and over; drug→ tone→ shock. Now come back later and play the tone. What happens? No threat response. The anisomycin has interfered with the rat's ability to generate a memory and learn from the tone-shock relationship.

So this was the late 20th century view of memories, like you are espousing now. That they are the result of neural connections in the brain, saved to later be recalled like a hard disk.

But not so fast.

Enter more experiments.

Lets say that you play the rat the tone then shock it. Do this over and over. A 100 times. A 1000 times. The rat learns the tone-shock relationship and a threat response is generated to just the tone alone. A memory to be "recalled" whenever the rat hears the tone. Now take this same rat, the one already learned in the art of tone-shock relationships and give it some anisomycin before replaying the tone and delivering the shock. What happens?

When you do this (learned rat→drug→tone→shock) the rat "unlearns" the association between the tone and the shock. Such that if now, at a later date you play the tone for the rat there is no threat response generated. Puzzling isn't it?  If memory is just experiences stored on a hard drive then they ought not be affected by something that inhibits only new memory formation.

So what is happening?

When we recall, we are actually creating in our mind. Memory is an act of creation, not recall. There is no "physical memory" stored in our brain (I hope that doesn't upset you much, I know you're into scifi and their portrayal of memory and where it might go "soon" with technology) anywhere. What's happening when we remember is that ensembles of neurons fire along synapses (via proteins) that were "coded" during the act of "making a memory". Those protein "communication" at those synapses replicate a prior state that lets us generate an experience in our head--Not a past experience, but a simulacrum of the experience those synapses were "coded" for at the time. Which really makes sense when you think about how tetany, gene transcription and neuraxial synapsing occurs (previous post on the subject hereyou might find useful).

Now at this point in the story with your scientific thinking hat on, you like me, might be wondering--How do we know anisomycin (an admitted protein synthesis inhibitor) isn't just causing brain damage to the rats?

Good question.

There is another experiment we can do. Even cooler than that last.

We take some rats. And play them tone 1, lets say a higher frequency tone--Then bam, deliver a shock to our furry little friends. Now play them a second tone, tone 2 (we'll say this one is a lower frequency tone) and bam: deliver a shock to our furry little friends.

Now we have rats that have learned that tone 1 or tone 2 is something to fear. Tone 1 or tone 2 generates a threat response. Now if anisomycin is just damaging the brain, administering it during "recall" should erase both tone 1 and tone 2.

So well take half of our rats, we'll call group A, and give them drug→tone 1→ shock. The other half, group B, get drug→ tone 2→ shock.
If we play group A rats (drug→ tone 1) tone 1, what happens? Nothing. No threat response. If we take those same group A rats and play them tone 2 (the one we left along) it does generate a threat response. Same thing with group B. We play group B tone 2 and what do we get? Nada. Play them tone 1 and what do we get? A threat response.

Ponder on that. We've just selectively "erased" memory in rats with a drug that inhibits the creation of new memory. Isn't that some crazy ****?

If that is making you think of;

Posted Image

I'm right there with you!

The implications of early 21st memory are huge! And if you think about it, it explains a lot about our memories. It explains why "eye-witnesses" make such ****ty witnesses. Because you are not just recalling a hard-coded stored memory. Like (my cousin) Vinny showed:

Posted Image

because our memory is an act of creation--It isn't always accurate. When your brain recreates an experience to "remember", pieces that didn't get protein "coded" the first time are simply made up by the brain to fill out the experience. Was that a red car or a green car that sped away from the scene? Brain: "ehhh we'll go with red" (never mind it was actually blue).

In fact, taking this further the more you use a specific memory the less accurate it becomes over time. You are in effect recreating a simulacrum of a simulacrum of a simulacrum of a simulacrum. Each time, creation and the current state in your brain alters the "memory"--filling in pieces, changing pieces, etc. That special time you remember eating ice cream on a hot day with mommy when you were 4? Long gone. Whats left is a recreation of an experience that happened long ago.

Applications for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind-esq type modifications are already being clinically experimented with.

Some further reading you may find informative MW;

Fear memories require protein synthesis in the amygdala for reconsolidation after retrieval(original nature publication).

Characterization of fear memory reconsolidation--Journal neuroscience

Anisomycin, a Protein Synthesis Inhibitor, Disrupts Traumatic Memory Consolidation and Attenuates Posttraumatic Stress Response in Rats


The biology of induced memory
I do not argue with what you say, just add that hard drive or dvd can be altered modified etc.

Memories begin with storage on a single neuron. They swap to another neuron as new data is added. So, for example, a picture/image of an apple when first seen, is stored on a single neuron. Then when we learn the word for apple the name, plus image, is transferred to a new neuron.Then it gets more complicated, as the mind makes linkages in local networks adding data perceptions associations extrpolations intuitive jumps applyingpatenr recognition filling in missing data etc etc to that image of an apple.

And it can do this with abstract things such as love or romance as well. Yes memory can be lost both temporarily and permanently. Yes "artificial" or constructed memories can be created and implanted in a mind and yes, as dynamic recordings, memories alter over time.

My point was this The memory has PHYSICAL existence even if it alters and changes. I was not arguing for the permanence of memory only the physicality of it A tape can be burnt and the data lost, but while it exists the data has a physical form Same with thoughts and memories. They are very physical things, not metaphysical ones.

Ps Nice to hear from you again, and i enjoyed your input. I wil certinly read those links  right now. I just love this stuff. Interesting isn't it though, how some peole possess almost photographic or eidetic memory? How some people can recall every second of their life going back over decades, and how almost any humancan be trained to have much more accurate, and near perfect recall. Our memory storage is potentially (neurologically/biologically) excellent; It is how we look after and treat the memories in our "data banks" which determines their accuracy afer a period of time.

I think i have mentioned earlier how, in  third year university with a little efort and the inspiration of president JF Kennedy, i trained my mind to a photographic recall of several hundred foolscap pages of hand written notes from my politics lectures, so that in my mind I could see and read through every sentence full stop etc in perfect accuracy, turning pages as I went, in my mind.

During an end of year, 3 hour exam, I answered the questions by "reading through" those notes in my mind as clearly as if they were in front of me, and thus gained a distinction.

After several years of teaching I could still do the same with notes from my uni days, as i taught subjects on the board. ie i could just 'turn on"  in my mind pages of information i had read or studied on any topic, from the vikings through to byzantine architecture or sentence construction.

As a member of various boards and councils, if i paid full attention to the proceedings, I could  relate back, verbatim, general business, reports, motions, proposers, seconders etc for months afterwards, and remember all the basic information for years. So I am a little dubious about the  unreliabilty of human memory in potential, althought I recognise problems with it in practice, because so few people are trained to use it effectively.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#111    Mr Walker

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 11:16 AM

View PostFrank Merton, on 23 April 2013 - 10:41 AM, said:

You kinda didn't get my point which was just that point.  If I see some bush carefully trimmed to have an elephant's shape, I say it's an elephant, even though it isn't.  My brain is flexible on the subject of what is an elephant, but still I know one when I see one.  I can even find one carefully hidden in a child's picture puzzle if I study it long enough.There is a con in Thailand of leading a baby elephant around begging for money to buy food for it.  I get these people asking me for money for this, and I have no idea what they are talking about: I don't "see" the elephant right next to them and within inches of me until I double-check and suddenly its outline registers in my head.What goes into our eyes and into our optic nerve is only the beginning of the story.  Somehow it usually but not always becomes an experience of "elephant near," and even then the English word "elephant" is not involved, only the experience, until I tell someone about it later (since the people were speaking in Thai, but that word nor the corresponding Vietnamese word -- my native tongue -- none of these has anything to do with the experience itself of elephant-ness).
NO you would say it was a bush shaped to look like an elphant.  Surely?

And  while I cant accurately (or fairly) comment on your vision, there must be something wrong with it if you cannot see  a baby elephant right next to you.  I get the concept of names and language. You would not identify the animal as "elephant" but in your native tongue and then have to translate the name into a second language.

But this could not interfere with your abilty to see and recognise the creature itself, or you would keep bumping into elephants in the streets because they were "invisible" to you. How do you mean you  do not "see" something that is right in front of you?

I've read the experiment about the man in a gorilla suit whom no one "saw" because they had been asked to conentrate on other things But I do not believe the people in tat expriment  did not "see" the "gorilla". The nature of the experimant and the questions asked afterwards created a false result,  in that while the obsrveres saw the gorilla they discounted its existence for the purpose of the experimnt due to the set up of the exoeriment. I guess you could be doing this due to the nature of the con being employed but personally it is beyond my comprehension I see what is there and i do not see what  is not there. Of course a lot of the time i am not LOOKING, and so dont see everything, but if i look and concentrate, then I see everything that exists within the capapbiites of my optic nerves etc to do so.

I know this because of many experiments with this ability both at university and as an educator. It only takes a part of a second  for me to accurately see, identify an remember accurately something in my vision. Ii will admit that often I am the only person in a room of 50 to a hundred who can do this in the beginning of such a session, while sometimes one or two others manage the same thing. But this is not about my vison but about training in seeing.

Ever since i read rudyard kipling's books as a preschooler  (especially about the great game) i was fascinated with the skill of remembering accurately, and spent time learning how to do so This certainly also overlaps with my ability to read quickly and accurately. I could, for many years; "see', know and remember, a whole page of text just  by looking at it or a second or two. I can still read a  full novel in a lunch hour but it is not enjoyable. My point here is that,  if I can do this, it is  something ALL humans can do with training and time/practice.

Edited by Mr Walker, 23 April 2013 - 11:19 AM.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#112    Frank Merton

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 12:27 PM

Yes, if asked for more detail, I would say it is a bush; but to a simple "what is it?" the experience is of an elephant first and a bush second.

I was making two points, one about the experience "elephant" and another about the word in any given language.  You have no idea how you can miss seeing something that is completely out of place, and elephants are out of place on Bangkok sidewalks, even though this is Thailand.  There is nothing wrong with my night vision, although like everyone else, I tend to stop seeing color, so something like an elephant does blend in better.  However, the experience was noteworthy for the very reason that I was looking right at it, and it did not register.  There was no "elephant" experience.  The qualia "elephant" was not there until my mind said to me, "They are talking about an elephant, where is it?" and suddenly the qualia "elephant" was in my head and I saw it.


#113    Copasetic

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 10:06 PM

View PostMr Walker, on 23 April 2013 - 10:52 AM, said:

Memories begin with storage on a single neuron. They swap to another neuron as new data is added.

I'm not sure if you didn't read what I wrote or just didn't understand it. This is what I was pointing out to you though, that you are incorrect. Memories aren't "stored" on a neuron, not even a single one. That again, is a long ago view of memory. We know that isn't how memory works because of experiments, improvements in technology and neuroimaging. There is no memory stored in your brain at all, when you "remember" something you are recreating an experience in your head.

View PostMr Walker, on 23 April 2013 - 10:52 AM, said:

So, for example, a picture/image of an apple when first seen, is stored on a single neuron. Then when we learn the word for apple the name, plus image, is transferred to a new neuron.Then it gets more complicated, as the mind makes linkages in local networks adding data perceptions associations extrpolations intuitive jumps applyingpatenr recognition filling in missing data etc etc to that image of an apple.

No, that isn't correct. That isn't how associative learning happens. If you follow the link I provided to a prior post of mine, I actually tell you how associative learning happens as we understand it currently.

View PostMr Walker, on 23 April 2013 - 10:52 AM, said:

My point was this The memory has PHYSICAL existence even if it alters and changes. I was not arguing for the permanence of memory only the physicality of it A tape can be burnt and the data lost, but while it exists the data has a physical form Same with thoughts and memories. They are very physical things, not metaphysical ones.

Wrong, that is the crazy thing we've learned in the last 10 years. You are behind on what we understand of memory. In my brain there isn't a physical memory stored somewhere of that time I rode the roller coaster when I was 10. What there is, is neural synapses which fire when I recall that memory. Those synapses fire producing an experience in my head to one similar to that "memory" I was recalling.

Memory is an emergent property of various connectomesin the brain. You can't take a needle and stick it in any one spot in the brain or any one neuron and say; "ah-ha, this is where such and such memory lives". Long term recall is a synthetic process that simulates an experience that relies on those brain areas responsible for original qualia of said experience.

For example. If I recall a rose; I "remember" what a rose looks like, smells like and feels like. If you stick my head in an fMRI during this recall you see a brain that is actually experiencing a rose. Not a brain "recalling" a rose. To "remember" a rose, my brain creates an experience of a rose in my head. Olifactory neurons fire along synapses that link up with those firing from the visual cortex that fire from those residing in the postcentral gyrus of the parietal lobe(where somatosensory input, ie; touch, proprioception, temperature etc is experienced) just as they were as if I were actually experiencing a rose.

These neurons have to fire repetitively to activate "higher functioning" (they aren't necessarily higher functioning, but I'm trying to describe this in laymans terms) neurons, like those in the frontal cortex which codify different sensory integration. Once you get a strong enough "signal" things from your long term memory are brought into the working memory and your "awareness". (Caveat: working memory and long term memory don't always necessarily work together, for example procedural memory (that perfect golf swing you have) bypasses working memory largely thanks to purkinje tracts leaving the cerebellum).

Back to the rose: we've created an experience of the rose in our head. Yes that experience is plastic, in regards to the "rexperience" or memory we create. By that I just mean "rose-experiences" are additive overtime to that long term memory of a rose . At no point though, do we have an actual physical image of a rose stored in our head.

View PostMr Walker, on 23 April 2013 - 10:52 AM, said:

Ps Nice to hear from you again, and i enjoyed your input. I wil certinly read those links  right now. I just love this stuff.

Thanks. I'm doing pediatrics right now so I've got a little more spare time than usual between all the well-child checks (/emote puke), although I got to I&D a giant abscess today and my team is letting me write up a super rare presentation we had with a bilateral calcanial osteomyelitis turned fasciitis. Look for it in a jpeds or peds infect dis jour near you :yes:

View PostMr Walker, on 23 April 2013 - 10:52 AM, said:

Interesting isn't it though, how some peole possess almost photographic or eidetic memory? How some people can recall every second of their life going back over decades, and how almost any humancan be trained to have much more accurate, and near perfect recall. Our memory storage is potentially (neurologically/biologically) excellent; It is how we look after and treat the memories in our "data banks" which determines their accuracy afer a period of time.

Yes it is interesting. I think though, you'll find that most people claiming to have eidetic memory actually don't. Its probably as rare as an IQ that busts 200. Most people that claim this or with really great memories have actually just trained themselves knowingly or unknowingly with mnemonic memory techniques. And yes, it does help and you can recall a ridiculous amount of information with it. I used lots of memory techniques while studying for the first step of the medical licensing exam--I scored high enough that my score would be personally identifying :w00t: (not that step 1 is a memorization test, its certainly a critical thinking and integrative learning test, but you need an extremely large knowledge base to bust the numbers). For example, in-utero sequences (like Potter's sequence) I would "recall" with sequencing of my fly-casting casts.

Anyway, getting side tracked. If you look into it, the science that is, you'll find that most "eidetic" claims aren't actually true when people get tested.

View PostMr Walker, on 23 April 2013 - 10:52 AM, said:

I think i have mentioned earlier how, in  third year university with a little efort and the inspiration of president JF Kennedy, i trained my mind to a photographic recall of several hundred foolscap pages of hand written notes from my politics lectures, so that in my mind I could see and read through every sentence full stop etc in perfect accuracy, turning pages as I went, in my mind.

During an end of year, 3 hour exam, I answered the questions by "reading through" those notes in my mind as clearly as if they were in front of me, and thus gained a distinction.

After several years of teaching I could still do the same with notes from my uni days, as i taught subjects on the board. ie i could just 'turn on"  in my mind pages of information i had read or studied on any topic, from the vikings through to byzantine architecture or sentence construction.

Quite the memory you have!

View PostMr Walker, on 23 April 2013 - 10:52 AM, said:

As a member of various boards and councils, if i paid full attention to the proceedings, I could  relate back, verbatim, general business, reports, motions, proposers, seconders etc for months afterwards, and remember all the basic information for years. So I am a little dubious about the  unreliabilty of human memory in potential, althought I recognise problems with it in practice, because so few people are trained to use it effectively.

You can be dubious, that is certainly in your capacity as an opinion-holder. The facts however, care little for our opinions and human memory is often unreliable. Though I think its important to distinguish that parts of human memory are unreilable. For instnace, you might recall that robbery very well as an overall event, but the details such as our suspects "green car" actually being blue often escape us. What's more is that our brains go to great lengths maintain consistency in our recreated experiences--making up parts we don't actually know and letting us believe we do know them. That is, what the facts show at least. Take it for what it is.

Edited by Copasetic, 23 April 2013 - 10:19 PM.


#114    Mr Walker

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 01:16 AM

I have a couple of practical problems withte science if it is as you describe it first id simply doesnt fit my own expericne I CAN do the things i claim (oand could do the even more relaibly inmy past when i was interested in them )  Because i amnot organically differnt to any other humanthen tha tability must lie within the parameters of normal humanity. Second If wha toyu say is true then why are modern scientists still working on technlogies based on the older view of neurology Ie that memoeries can be physiclaly stored For example there is a lot of work on the creation and elimination of memories to reduce post traumtic shock in military veterans Allowing the modern  understnading of memoery is correct it would appear it alters nothing First memory is a physical entity. Second,memory can be stored, recorded, altered etc.
Of course we create memories on demand. For example last night i dreamed about my parent's house some 40 years ago. I knew it was a dream. I remarked to my self how accurate my memory (an allusion to our dialogue yesterday) was. i reconstructed our kitcehn exactly as it was at that time. I reconstructed my grandmother in perfect detail including her voice. In fact one part of my mind said "you realise grandmas been dead for 30 years?" Another part remarked "Yes of course. Remarkable recall isnt it, but dont tell her she's dead, it will only upset her"
So based on our postings my mind reconstructed my grandmother perfectly, along with every detail of our kitchen, my mother, father(also dead) and other people in the room. Those memories may well not have existed as stored memories but they iare inmy mind somewhere, allowing it to put them together with absolute accuracy. (I can compare them  to photos  of the time if i need to verify this)

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#115    Copasetic

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 02:29 AM

View PostMr Walker, on 24 April 2013 - 01:16 AM, said:

I have a couple of practical problems withte science if it is as you describe it first id simply doesnt fit my own expericne

That's why we do science though, cause we can't intuit how it all works :yes:

View PostMr Walker, on 24 April 2013 - 01:16 AM, said:

Second If wha toyu say is true then why are modern scientists still working on technlogies based on the older view of neurology Ie that memoeries can be physiclaly stored For example there is a lot of work on the creation and elimination of memories to reduce post traumtic shock in military veterans

I actually covered this in my first post. It actually makes "memory modification" easier in a sense. There has been some case studies and small trials using protein inhibitors and beta-blockers to selectively erase traumatic memories. It isn't erasing a "physical" storage of the memory, rather your ability to recreate the experience in your head.

View PostMr Walker, on 24 April 2013 - 01:16 AM, said:

Allowing the modern  understnading of memoery is correct it would appear it alters nothing First memory is a physical entity. Second,memory can be stored, recorded, altered etc.

No it can't. Not human memory at least. And repeating it doesn't make it true. Again, a memory isn't stored in a neuron or a group of neurons or anywhere in the brain--Its recreated each time you recall it.

View PostMr Walker, on 24 April 2013 - 01:16 AM, said:

Those memories may well not have existed as stored memories but they iare inmy mind somewhere, allowing it to put them together with absolute accuracy. (I can compare them  to photos  of the time if i need to verify this)

Exactly. There isn't a stored image in your mind. Or a stored scent. Or a stored touch. There is the experience of those things which you can recreate. If we stuck your head in an fMRI when you "remembering" those experiences and stuck your head in an fMRI during those experiences your brain would look essentially the same.

--Off topic: you doing okay MW? You worry me when I see your typing get all hectic like the above. I've taken far to much neurology not to worry when I see changes like that

Edited by Copasetic, 24 April 2013 - 02:32 AM.


#116    Mr Walker

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 09:04 AM

View PostCopasetic, on 24 April 2013 - 02:29 AM, said:

That's why we do science though, cause we can't intuit how it all works :yes:



I actually covered this in my first post. It actually makes "memory modification" easier in a sense. There has been some case studies and small trials using protein inhibitors and beta-blockers to selectively erase traumatic memories. It isn't erasing a "physical" storage of the memory, rather your ability to recreate the experience in your head.



No it can't. Not human memory at least. And repeating it doesn't make it true. Again, a memory isn't stored in a neuron or a group of neurons or anywhere in the brain--Its recreated each time you recall it.



Exactly. There isn't a stored image in your mind. Or a stored scent. Or a stored touch. There is the experience of those things which you can recreate. If we stuck your head in an fMRI when you "remembering" those experiences and stuck your head in an fMRI during those experiences your brain would look essentially the same.

--Off topic: you doing okay MW? You worry me when I see your typing get all hectic like the above. I've taken far to much neurology not to worry when I see changes like that

LAst concern  first. I am fine Even had my flu' shot. I have a damaged cartilege on my sternum which makes life a little painful but i can displace that pain. Cognitively i great shape Even been doing some mind gym exercises to stimulate the brain cells.

The reason my last post was not proof read and corrected is prosaic. i am on school holidays. I had to take my wife shopping at our regional centre 50 klicks away, and she was threatening to divorce me if I didn't get off the computer, so i had  to send without drafting.

I type like crazy, then go back and correct later, to try and keep up with my mind/thoughts.

I was thinking about our conversation while driving.  I don’t disagree with modern science on the mind as you explain it  given that I have a lot of trust in science, but; the brain must store indefinitely very accurate templates of every thing it sees and experiences. Certainly it may call up and recreate those templates on demand but they have to BE there for the brain to do this.

As i explained about my dream, it provided photographic accurate imagery of my grandmother and other people, as well as a room that hasnt existed for over 30 years.  it included the wear and tear on the lino., the faded patches on the kitchen  table and the mole on my grandmother's cheek. I haven't looked at a picture of these things for over a decade, although they exist and i can check them for accuracy.

To do this, the information about the room has to be stored somewhere for it to be recalled and recreated. Certainly, many things can block access to such data (as occurred temporarily with my father when he suffered transient global amnesia in his fifties, and lost all recall of his life from about 18 to fifty.) This memory all returned to him within a few hours (about 9 in total) but he then permanently lost the memory of his experiences (going to hospital etc) over those few hours)  


Certainly it may be possible to prevent the mind recreating the memory (although this is not how trauma specialists describe the process. ) They talk about "removing" or excising the memories of traumatic events so it as if they never existed for the patent. Thus, just as if you could not recall it, you have no memory of ever experiencing the traumatic event.  


So, if modern science explains those realities, I can accept it.  It may be simply a different way of using language and explaining things.  The darpa funded work on memory i am talking about is not from the last century but is on going. The last documentary I saw on it was a couple  of years ago, when the scientists said they could already excise a specific memory from a  trauma patient's mind and that, in a short time, they would have the abilty to artificailly create and insert another memory construct.

I chose not to believe that the brain does not store past experiences with sometimes photographic quality  You can not create something from nothing. In order to create a present mind image of a past experience, you must have access to past images to do this.  You are talking about creative imagination which can do what you are describing. I can construct an image of any imaginary object or concept using my mind (well actually I personally cannot do this while conscious, only while unconscious, but most humans can) But a person blind from birth, or from a very young age, with no record of any images stored in their mind, can not generally, even dream in images, and cannot recall or create any either. Thus the memory of past images must  first exist for the mind to recreate them in the present time. A human being cannot create them from the basic ability of the mind alone.

Hey wait a minute I read the articles The first one talks about retrieval of stored memories and how this can be inhibited. So memory is stored.

The one on induced memories talks about deliberately inducing  traumatic memories then eliminating them  (perhaps by blocking them in future memory) but still it explains that the memories are in storage and  can be induced.

The article on fear memory consolidation is a little more complex butis still discussing how consolidated memories respond to drug treatment.

In each article the underlying understanding is that humans DO have consolidated or stored memories but that retrieval of those memories can be temporarily or permanently affected by drug treatment. That is precisely what I have been arguing.  What am I missing?
Ps I knew i had read this recently. Heres the synopsis and then the link to the article

MIT researchers have shown, for the first time ever, that memories are stored in specific brain cells. By triggering a small cluster of neurons, the researchers were able to force the subject to recall a specific memory. By removing these neurons, the subject would lose that memory.


The main significance here is that we finally have proof that memories (engrams, in neuropsychology speak) are physical rather than conceptual. We now know that, as in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, specific memories could be erased. It also gives us further insight into degenerative diseases and psychiatric disorders, which are mostly caused by the (faulty) interaction of neurons. “The more we know about the moving pieces that make up our brains,” says Steve Ramirez, co-author of the paper. “The better equipped we are to figure out what happens when brain pieces break down.”

http://www.extremete...ividual-neurons

This was published about one year ago. Nothing wrong with my mind after all. Whew! :innocent:

Edited by Mr Walker, 24 April 2013 - 09:42 AM.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#117    danielost

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 02:40 AM

I didn't all the above.  But, how can you reconstruct something if it isn't stored some place.  I do agree with the concept of the memory changing through out life.

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#118    White Crane Feather

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 02:05 PM

Copas explanation was cool. And it's interesting to know that we reconstruct memories each time.

But I gotta say, no matter how much you monkey with proteins and nurons or whatever and claim that memories are not actually stored, I can still sing the star spangled banner, I know 10+5=15, I can quote movies, draw a map to my child hood house, catch trout with my bare hands, teach and perform martial arts, and bazillion other things. These things are accurate information. It's stored up there some how. My brain might be recreating the experience, but if there is anykind of accuracy to it the experience is built upon stored information.

Edited by Seeker79, 26 April 2013 - 02:06 PM.

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#119    Frank Merton

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 02:24 PM

I would like to think that memories are stored in some non-physical way, some spirit mechanism, so that they survive the brain's death.  Unfortunately, conditions like Alzheimer's disease make that hard to defend.


#120    Mr Walker

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 01:49 AM

View PostFrank Merton, on 26 April 2013 - 02:24 PM, said:

I would like to think that memories are stored in some non-physical way, some spirit mechanism, so that they survive the brain's death.  Unfortunately, conditions like Alzheimer's disease make that hard to defend.

Yes living with, and caring for, my wife's parents for 5-6 years as they suffered from progressive altzheimers and eventually died, firmed up my opinion about  memory and thought being an organic process of the brain.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.




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