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How the Brain Organizes Everything We See

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the probably-uses-microsoft-access dept.

Science 83

An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from a UC Berkeley news release: "Our eyes may be our window to the world, but how do we make sense of the thousands of images that flood our retinas each day? Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have found that the brain is wired to put in order all the categories of objects and actions that we see. They have created the first interactive map of how the brain organizes these groupings."

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83 comments

Snappyhole bangers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42390181)

I wanna fuck your snappyhole right off! My cock will turn your asshole into its home and spew forth cum in every direction!

Re:Snappyhole bangers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42390197)

My ass is wide open for you!

Won't help Randall (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#42390185)

Didn't see the 'Velocorapter' voxel. The one for 'American Bison' was pretty easy to spot however (whatever the hell that means).

Interesting, still trying to figure out where Rule 34 fits.

Forget about Rule 34, it is 42 that matters! (1)

Razgorov Prikazka (1699498) | about a year and a half ago | (#42391127)

Wouldn't it be far more interesting to see what the question is behind the answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything?
And when found, can someone tell this to the mice? All the skull-cracking and what not, is not funny at all when your name is Arthur Dent!
Oh, wait.
What?
He is now a hobbit?
That confuses me!

very interesting (2)

etash (1907284) | about a year ago | (#42390209)

one small step for a university, one huge leap for our roadmap towards simulating a brain. Another one recent example of our progress in this was the Spaun brain model ( a small one that is, IIRC 12million neurons ) which was featured on slashdot as well, and also the older blue brain project http://bluebrain.epfl.ch/ [bluebrain.epfl.ch]

I can't wait for the moment ( within 20 years hopefully ) when we will have a full human brain simulation. the possibilities from that point are endless. Maybe our last invention!

Re:very interesting (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year ago | (#42390947)

I don't have a cite handy, but I have heard that in 20 years we'll be able to download the contents of the brain. And you thought you had to worry about google spying on us.

Re:very interesting (4, Interesting)

narcc (412956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42391893)

I have heard that in 20 years we'll be able to download the contents of the brain.

I heard that 20 years ago.

It was just as ridiculous then as it is now. After all, more than 30 years ago it became unreasonable to assume that AGI by algorithmic means was even possible.

I can't wait for the moment ( within 20 years hopefully ) when we will have a full human brain simulation.

Talk to me in 20 years, let me know how that works out.

Re:very interesting (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#42396165)

After all, more than 30 years ago it became unreasonable to assume that AGI by algorithmic means was even possible.

Wait, when was it ever shown that AGI by algorithmic means is impossible? What other method would the brain use to do things if not an algorithm?

You are right about the brain downloading though. Even if it is conceivable that we could possibly someday in the future have the technology to map out all the neurons in a human brain (still incredibly difficult, impossible with today's technology), the idea that we could do so without killing a person is extremely unlikely. And even if we manage to map the neurons, we still won't know the state of all the neurons.

Re:very interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42396533)

Wait, when was it ever shown that AGI by algorithmic means is impossible?

Of course not. The only people who claim that this was shown are either dualists or philosophers desperately trying to stay relevant without actually having to keep up with neuroscience. Regardless of whether it is possible or not, projects like the Blue Brain Project and the Human Brain Project are going to figure out more in the next decades than philosophers have in the past few millennia. Of course the dualists will always reject it regardless of what the science shows but we already ignore those types, so no big deal.

Re:very interesting (1)

narcc (412956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399107)

Start here, work your way forward in time:

cogprints.org/7150/1/10.1.1.83.5248.pdf

Re:very interesting (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year and a half ago | (#42401197)

Thanks, it's a long paper, so I'll take some time to read through it.

Re:very interesting (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year and a half ago | (#42394415)

I don't have a cite handy, but I have heard that in 20 years we'll be able to download the contents of the brain.

Yeah, and flying cars and fusion generators and a lot of other stuff that will probably never happen, too. Personally, I don't take much stock on anyone's predictions for the future.

Re:very interesting (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#42394517)

Like I said, it was some prediction I'd heard, IANAScientist. 'They' have succeeded in downloading less than half of a mouse's brain, so, maybe not in our lifetime, sometime down the road, downloading a person's thoughts and memories will be the reality/norm.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allen_Brain_Atlas [wikipedia.org]

Re:very interesting (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year and a half ago | (#42404207)

When it comes to brains I'm a layman as well, but I know computers down to the logic gates and they don't work anything like a brain. For one thing, digital computers generate rounding errors; what's one divided by three? What's the exact value of pi? A brain can lay three pencils on the table and say one is exactly 1/3 of the pile, while a digital computer will say it's 33.33333333333% and still is inaccurate. A computer can't do fractions, but fractions come easy to brains.

A digital computer is an abacus with billions of wires and one bead per wire. How many beads does it need before it becomes self-aware?

When they replay that mouse's thoughts on a screen and a speaker I'll be impressed. Until then, not one little bit. Thought consists of many different types of synapses and neurons that rewire themselves, as well as many different chemical reactions (dopamine, serutonin, glutimates, etc). Good luck modeling every single chemical reaction in every single molecule.

Re:very interesting (1)

crispytwo (1144275) | about a year and a half ago | (#42392333)

human brain simulation mostly be like this:
'what am I going to wear to the party?'
'I hope they like me.'
'Is someone hearing my thoughts?'
'who did this to me?'

My brain (0)

ozduo (2043408) | about a year ago | (#42390343)

Puts boobs top of the list

Re:My brain (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42390997)

Puts boobs top of the list

Technically speaking, large mammary glands are just an evolutionary trick to get the male of the species to..., Whoa! Would you get a load of those Ta-Tas!!!...

Ahem, uh, where was I, oh yeah. Female breasts are really just mounds of fat tissue... Aw jeez, those are NICE!!

So Kant Was Right (2)

HippopotamusX (2628523) | about a year ago | (#42390383)

These a priori categories exist, and are proven empirically.

Re:So Kant Was Right (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42390477)

This does not prove the categories are a priori. There were only 5 subjects who all had similar history (upbringing in the modern western world). That is not empirical evidence, at best it is a suggestion.

Re:So Kant Was Right (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42390525)

This does not prove the categories are a priori. There were only 5 subjects who all had similar history (upbringing in the modern western world). That is not empirical evidence, at best it is a suggestion.

Wait, what? Of course it's science. It's brain science. In fact it's brain science and neuroscience. It says so on /. right in the submission's tag.

Re:So Kant Was Right (1)

HippopotamusX (2628523) | about a year ago | (#42390607)

This does not prove the categories are a priori. There were only 5 subjects who all had similar history (upbringing in the modern western world). That is not empirical evidence, at best it is a suggestion.

You've added a sociological dimension, so you must be speaking of the a posteriori.

Re:So Kant Was Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42390679)

No, I am talking about the quality and quantity of the evidence and how that does not proof anything, empirical or otherwise.

Re:So Kant Was Right (2)

Gorobei (127755) | about a year ago | (#42390765)

This does not prove the categories are a priori. There were only 5 subjects who all had similar history (upbringing in the modern western world). That is not empirical evidence, at best it is a suggestion.

The fact that "moving machines" is an important category pretty much dispels the notion of "a priori categories." Or maybe there are two or so a priori eigenvectors, the next two are significant for local culture, the next 7 or so describe each person's unique expertise/skills.

Re:So Kant Was Right (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#42394969)

Try understanding what they're doing and you'll realize it doesn't back up your sentence at all.

Zombie Christmas! (0)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a year ago | (#42390427)

Brains, brains, brains!

George Orwell was an optimist... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42390577)

.. even he didn't foresee the ability of your masters being able to literally read your mind like a book.

Please ask google and apple to support webgl (-1, Troll)

iamhassi (659463) | about a year ago | (#42390707)

I tried to look at the map but it said android and ios is not supported? Ummm... I don't think these guys are very bright if they're creating new web content that doesn't support 500+ million devices out there, and putting a message asking users to ask Google and Apple to support some obscure webgl thing furthers my belief that these guys are morons. There's tons of options that work great on Google and Apple, there's no reason to create new content that you know doesn't support it and then tell users it's their fault. It's like creating new highways that are only 3 feet wide and posting signs saying please ask car manufactures to make smaller cars.

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (5, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#42390929)

Here, for the browser deficient:

Warning:This page uses WebGL, an experimental web technology. It will not work in all browsers or on all platforms. For the best experience we recommend using Google Chrome, maximizing the size of your browser window, and closing other running applications (this viewer takes quite a bit of RAM).

It's data intensive and would likely turn your iPhone into a spot welder for the second or two it would take to trash the battery. Some things need REAL COMPUTERS(TM) to work well.

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (1)

iamhassi (659463) | about a year and a half ago | (#42391587)

considering the iPhone 5 has a gigabyte of ram and the equivalent processing power of a 3ghz p4 I'm sure it'll be fine, people forget how powerful this little phones are

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42391859)

Only Apple has the privilege to create a web rendering engine on iOS. So you're stuck waiting for Apple to make a version of Safari that allows WebGL applications to make use of this "gigabyte of ram and the equivalent processing power of a 3ghz p4".

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (1)

narcc (412956) | about a year and a half ago | (#42391907)

To be fair, WebGL works just fine for iAds.

I understand that you can enable it after a jailbreak as well.

I don't know why Apple refuses to enable it -- Android and BlackBerry tablets don't seem to suffer at all from having that particular feature.

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about a year and a half ago | (#42392501)

Web-based 3D gaming. They wouldn't get a cut.

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (5, Informative)

jamesshuang (598784) | about a year and a half ago | (#42391107)

Hi, I actually programmed the software that displays the brain. Let's make this clear -- this is a full blown scientific visualization software. We actually use this in our day to day research. It conveniently allows a layperson to view it on their browser, but that was not the original intention. You wouldn't run a nuclear power plant using your iphone, and we don't do our research using tablets.
Second of all, I am a graduate student making 30k a year. I programmed this in my spare time as a service to my lab. If you pay me to write it for android and ios, i'd gladly do so. But I'm not paid enough to listen to ugly flames like this :-p

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42391423)

Pay attention to the post title: he's not flaming you, he's flaming Google and Apple.

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42391525)

Read the actual post. The flame is clearly aimed at the developers of the visualization software, not at google or apple.

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (0)

iamhassi (659463) | about a year and a half ago | (#42391591)

Read the actual post. The flame is clearly aimed at the developers of the visualization software, not at google or apple.

Correct, I'm flaming the developers for being so short sighted and naive

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | about a year and a half ago | (#42392327)

What is shortsighted about using the best tech available if it's available to you, for stuff *you* need to do; and then *also* making that usable for people who also have the tech available?

And do you have the faintest idea how extreme the speed differences and WebGL and canvas can be? There is just no contest. I'd rather have something usable that runs even on my mother's laptop, than something completely useless that runs "everywhere".

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42392775)

Read the actual post. The flame is clearly aimed at the developers of the visualization software, not at google or apple.

Correct, I'm flaming the developers for being so short sighted and naive

Then you're an idiot.

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (1)

Sardaukar86 (850333) | about a year and a half ago | (#42391433)

Thank you, thank you thank you thank you for this post. It seems there's always some dilettantish comment ready to be made from the cheap seats; acerbic, uneducated and entitled criticism by the inept and lazy aimed at people like yourselves who are prepared to innovate and do something useful and interesting with their time.

Oh and thanks, iamhassi, for your positive armchair encouragement. I'm sure if I was the skilled researcher responsible for this software I'd be falling over myself for the opportunity to share the results of my future work on Slashdot, with comments like yours to spur me on.

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (0)

iamhassi (659463) | about a year and a half ago | (#42391631)

If you don't want to do the job then don't, someone else will do the research and get the credit, but doing a job half-assed and bitching that it's google and apple's fault their website wasn't setup right is asinine

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (1)

Sardaukar86 (850333) | about a year and a half ago | (#42391725)

If you don't want to do the job then don't, someone else will do the research and get the credit, but doing a job half-assed and bitching that it's google and apple's fault their website wasn't setup right is asinine

Your attitude that this is a 'half-assed job' is the problem I'm referring to right there. There's always plenty of your type ready to shit on other people's work at a moment's notice.

You're bitter, just because. I can understand how someone like you might see that as a valid reason to demand your money back from the developer. Thanks for your contribution!

If not WebGL then what else instead? (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42391871)

So what's the full-assed way to display an interactive 3D visualization using web standards?

Re:If not WebGL then what else instead? (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | about a year and a half ago | (#42392355)

There is WebGL and there is WebGL... The full-assed way is to do it all in the pixel shader, drawing just two triangles. Whenever I come across that and don't get any of it, I'm thinking "now that's just being an ass" :(

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42391895)

The reason for Sardaukar86's mood is his trolling and defeat http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3339513&cid=42391603 [slashdot.org]

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (1)

ninlilizi (2759613) | about a year and a half ago | (#42395819)

Just, wow.
I don't normally meet somebody so stupid I feel compelled to say so.

But you are the dumbest person I've met on the internet since that guy shouting from the rooftops about Linux being code stolen from Microsoft.

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42391885)

Sardaukar86's upset this holiday due to his trolling and defeat http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3339513&cid=42391603 [slashdot.org]

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (-1, Flamebait)

iamhassi (659463) | about a year and a half ago | (#42391611)

"I don't get paid enough to do the job right" is the worse excuse ever

If you can't do the job I'm sure there's a programmer in India that would be happy to do your job for less pay

Outsourcing sucks, but it's your attitude that has made it so popular

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42392663)

You are confused. The job is NOT the visualization. The job is doing the research and publishing the results. The visualization is something extra that is not being paid for. If you want a different visualization, you pay for it.

Not to mention that as others have said, sometimes having better performance is more important than having it work on your toys.

WebGL for free, iOS for pay (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42394645)

If the WebGL version were free and the iOS version were a paid app to recover the cost of hiring a programmer in India, would that be an acceptable solution?

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (1)

theurge14 (820596) | about a year and a half ago | (#42394509)

I wonder what part of the brain decides which Android vs iOS team to be on, and which related part of the brain flames scientists for not catering to their choice of mobile platform when making webpages.

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42395833)

Thank you for doing this work. It's artistically beautiful. Love the semantic trees!

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (0)

conspirator23 (207097) | about a year and a half ago | (#42399175)

I programmed this in my spare time as a service to my lab. If you pay me to write it for android and ios, i'd gladly do so. But I'm not paid enough to listen to ugly flames like this :-p

Simple solution James. Release the source. Most of the knee-jerks will ignore it, but I would be surprised if you didn't get at least a couple useful optimizations passed back up to you. It's amazing too how many knee-jerk whiners crawl back into the woodwork when they are confronted with a little empowerment.

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42391319)

OK genius, let's see YOU do it.

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (-1, Troll)

iamhassi (659463) | about a year and a half ago | (#42391661)

OK genius, let's see YOU do it.

Why? Why fix their mistake? They were paid for it and decided not to do it. That's a poor excuse too "if we don't do out jobs right you should do our jobs for us!" Like a child throwing a temper tantrum, breaking dishes on purpose to get out of washing dishes.

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42392067)

Would you rather it be exclusive to PCs running web browsers capable of WebGL (and not work on iOS) or be exclusive to iOS (and not work on PCs at all)?

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (3, Insightful)

oculusprime (1250270) | about a year and a half ago | (#42392361)

You seem to be missing something. These people are scientists. They get paid to publish papers. You can get the paper from Neuron, where it was published. (You can find it elsewhere too if you look.) The online viewer was just gravy, they didn't get paid to do it, they don't get any direct science benefit from it (no ad $ or citations). As a previous poster noted, this uses WebGL which isn't yet available on IOs. Given that most real science is done on real computers, and that his viewer is likely targeted primarily at real scientists, your complaint seems odd.

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42393279)

Wow, nerd rage. His job isn't to entertain iOS and Android whiners with 3d brain models.

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42392909)

It's like creating new highways that are only 3 feet wide and posting signs saying please ask car manufactures to make smaller cars.

They are called bike lanes or bike paths, and they do have signs telling people to use smaller vehicles.

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (2)

epine (68316) | about a year and a half ago | (#42396795)

The whole reason we have slashdot is that people don't categorize through the same myopic self-interest. We all have a different myopic self-interest.

I tried to look at the map but it said android and ios is not supported? Ummm... I don't think these guys are very bright if they're creating new web content that doesn't support 500+ million devices out there, and putting a message asking users to ask Google and Apple to support some obscure webgl thing furthers my belief that these guys are morons.

Nokia N900 -- WebGL is available in the stock microB browser from the PR1.2 firmware update onwards.

BlackBerry PlayBook -- WebGL is available via WebWorks and browser in PlayBook OS 2.0

Firefox for mobile -- WebGL is available for Android devices in unstable builds since early 2011.

The Sony Ericsson Xperia range of Android smartphones have had WebGL capabilities following a firmware upgrade.

Opera Mobile 12 final supports WebGL (on Android only).

The very first thing I'm going to look for is cognitive cleft of can't/won't. It'll be somewhere near penis size, which should be hard to miss if they included in their leader reels any Bourne or Bond or Bay.

The airlines and credit card companies are busy trying to brainwash the masses that Team Cool is first in line for every feature attraction. After soaking this up, it must come as a huge and unwelcome surprise to find Team Clue in the express lane when the feature attraction is momentous enough to separate the men from the boys.

The second thing I'm going to look for is the locus of trolls who culminate with a car metaphor. It'll be somewhere right beside superior glow.

Re:Please ask google and apple to support webgl (1)

randyleepublic (1286320) | about a year and a half ago | (#42398557)

No, it's more like pointing out that if you want to see the view from some mountain peak, 1. You are going to have to hike to the top of the peak. 2. You probably want to buy a pair of hiking boots to use on the hike. Complaints from a dumb ass in a car about the millions of car owners that are denied accesss to the view are ridiculed or ignored, and rightly so!

Loading brain... (1)

12WTF$ (979066) | about a year ago | (#42390895)

Is my connection slow or is it the morning after before coffee...?

Re:Loading brain... (1)

oculusprime (1250270) | about a year and a half ago | (#42391025)

You need a RECENT version of chrome or firefox to get this to work. If you haven't updated lately it will load forever.

Newer than the newest (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#42391963)

By "recent" do you mean something newer than the latest release-channel version of Firefox for GNU/Linux (Firefox 17.0.1, which is up to date as of right now according to mozilla.org) or the latest version of Chrome for Android (Chrome 18.0.1025469)?

Fishy (1)

nietpiet (836036) | about a year ago | (#42390903)

Re:Fishy (1)

oculusprime (1250270) | about a year and a half ago | (#42391037)

And because some bad Soviet physicists believed in polywater, should we disregard all physics? Cognitive neuroscience is just like any other area of science, there is bad work and good work. You can get the paper at http://gallantlab.org/ [gallantlab.org] and check it out for yourself...

The truth is out there (1)

slick7 (1703596) | about a year and a half ago | (#42391657)

If you want to know how the brain is wired, read Trance formation of America by Cathy O'Brien.

Reminds me o Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (1)

luckytroll (68214) | about a year and a half ago | (#42391865)

So when can we use this to induce selective amnesia?

No necessarily how "we" see (4, Insightful)

itwasgreektome (785639) | about a year and a half ago | (#42392013)

I imagine this would be mapped from the brains of "like" individuals- not necessarily of the same sex, race, etc, but usually from one geographic area. The problem with is that maybe this is not how all brains "map" learned things, but maybe a result of western thinking/education. Perhaps native Americans, who might view trees as just as close to humans as pigs are, might have quite a different "mapping." It would be interesting to see if this was a result of how our education system is (Western species/classification) geared rather than how our brains actually group things (as in, perhaps it is a manifestation of our education system rather than inherent organizational heuristics in the brain).

Re:No necessarily how "we" see (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42393029)

You should learn some neuroscience, it is cross culture and cross 'race'; in many cases cross species. This shouldn't be surprising, as we share so much DNA. This is maping, it's how our brains associate complex patterns. I think it should be obvious that most mammals and indeed most living things today should process shapes the same way. Why would it differ? Save for insects we see the same way, our brains developed with the same eyes, I don't see why brain mapping should be different.

Re:No necessarily how "we" see (0)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#42395087)

You're the one who should study neuroscience.

You seem to forget that we construct a model of the outside world. This description varies between cultures. Top down processing ensures that you don't "see" what is out there in reality, you see a model your brain deems to be 'correct' given data quantity and processing constraints.

Another way to think about it is in terms of audio. An audio codec designed to encode only the necessary information for an english speaker to decode spoken english will not work equally across different languages. Language affects how we interpret the world which in turn affects how we reconstruct and give meaning to the world.

Analog Not Digital (1)

PacRim Jim (812876) | about a year and a half ago | (#42392737)

It is untrue that our brain "makes sense of the thousands of images that flood our retinas each day." In fact, what floods our retinas is a single continuous image, a gestalt delimited only by the shifting field of view as well as blinking, sleeping, etc. Milliseconds later, our brain slices and dices this image, discarding most of it as extraneous to our survival.

Re:Analog Not Digital (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#42395129)

Not quite. There is no such thing as a single continuous image in reality. What floods our retinas is wave after wave of photon showers.

Re:Analog Not Digital (1)

PacRim Jim (812876) | about a year and a half ago | (#42397299)

But only if one observes it, according to Young's double-slit experiment. Right?

This is a noisy map of brain activity, not meaning (1)

tgv (254536) | about a year and a half ago | (#42393027)

The relations represent analysis of fMRI scans. Something like: if the subjects all have the same pattern of activation for object A and object B, then these objects must be related. While I don't deny that semantic relations in our brains must almost certainly have some physical correlate, the reverse doesn't hold: e.g., a "voxel", the smallest unit being measured, easily contains 10,000 neurons, so a lot of different patterns of processing cannot be distinguished. Also, fMRI measurements are very noisy, and using just 5 people is going to make that look like correlations. Most likely, these patterns are the artefacts of the visual learning process.

I do see use of this kind of method though: if you've got reliable activity patterns for a large group of people, you can try to make sense of the patterns in another experiment, or in a subject that wasn't classified yet, and it may help tackle other problems.

Brain and semantic mapping (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42393049)

I am working on teaching mathematics using object-oriented thinking. It will be interesting to see what happens when learns arithmetic, algebra etc., and is the brain accessing the domain knowledge in which the mathematical models are used or just the mathematical model abstracting it from the natural language and then reinterpreting the result in the natural language? It seems that those who learn to ignore the domain knowledge and abstractly represent the relationship in arithmeitc or algebraic model and then express the result in a natural language succeed in learning mathematics. Such application and investigation will be very useful to change the way learn and teach mathematics.

A linguist is now out of a job (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about a year and a half ago | (#42394177)

Take that, Noam Chomsky! //wondering about Ray Kurzweil too...

Re:A linguist is now out of a job (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42398479)

Just to clarify: Ray Kurzweil may be described as a lot of things, but one thing he is not is a linguist.

Frank C. Keil Did This In the 70's! (1)

littlewink (996298) | about a year and a half ago | (#42394671)

Re:Frank C. Keil Did This In the 70's! (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year and a half ago | (#42396079)

It's interesting, and while not profound, at least it cements in the sciences a basic understanding of how the data is organized.

The brain organizes things? (1)

davidwr (791652) | about a year and a half ago | (#42395333)

Who knew???

Impressive! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42397799)

I am blown away! This is some of the most impressive brain imaging I've seen.

Very good. (1)

HHealthy (2803519) | about a year and a half ago | (#42408201)

This I a very well done job. It is not often that research takes the easy while correct path to explain something while using appropiate statistics and self-explaining representations. Those claiming that brains differ, well, yes, but I haven't seen too many thinking with their thalamus...In fact those little differences may be the most important. Do you remember when those ancient Mengeles removed brain parts to try to achieve "behavioural"improvements? Well think of using a correct map and an IgG-toxin instead of a butcher knife. Besides its "interesting" achievements this has real applications. You want to distinguish is someone has been positively reinserted into the society, well give him, or better said his brain, the chance to prove it. You are taking psicological help? lets check the progresses! For funding, research and peer finding please refer to the non-profit Aging Portfolio.
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