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Brain's Cache Memory Found

CowboyNeal posted more than 10 years ago | from the forget-me-not dept.

Announcements 531

Shipud writes "Electrical activity in a single section of the brain has been linked to very short-term working memory, as is reported at Nature. Very short-term working memory capacity is thought to be related to intelligence. In the same way that a larger cache speeds processing time, people with a greater capacity for holding images in their heads are expected to have better reasoning and problem-solving skills. The localization of this ability is a surprising finding, as until now it was believed that STWM was diffused throughout the cortex, rather than localized."

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I've gotta pee! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8879027)

I've gotta pee bad

Now where can I upgrade? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8879029)

First post.

Great (5, Funny)

FS1 (636716) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879030)

Is this going to lead to benchmarking people?

Employer: I'm sorry sir you don't have a big enough cache for our needs. We are going to have to let you go.
Employee: Man this blows i would be really upset but i forgot what you just said.

Re:Great (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8879062)

so we can coin new phrases like:
He's got the brain-cache of a Celeron!
or
I'm feeling pretty Celeroned after that party last night!

Re:Great (3, Funny)

Heidistein (593051) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879213)

Image a Beowulf cluster of...

Ok ... I'll shut up :)

Re:Great (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8879070)

On the downside the replacement with more cache will cost 10 times more.

Re:Great (3, Funny)

Flayer Shaman (753975) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879080)

It won't be long until we see some overclocking utilities now.

Re:Great (-1, Offtopic)

ashot (599110) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879088)


Is this going to lead to benchmarking people?

no, more likely creating people instead.

Re:Great (5, Interesting)

KaiLoi (711695) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879121)

Yea.. I'm sorry but the first thing I thought when I saw this article was : "Ok.. so what do I have to take to make this bigger?"

However what I suspect is that while they have found the portion of the brain that helps with problem solving actual intelligence is linked to far more factors than one area

For example someone who has a small "cache" area and can't hold too many images at once may be able to work round this with a greater long term storage capacity which they can draw on.

It's all well and good to be able to cache images and information quickly. doesn't help you if you're outputting onto a 10 meg Hard drive.

Re:Great (5, Insightful)

FS1 (636716) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879147)

Now im going to use a somewhat tried and true comparison here just try and follow me.
Everyone knows that both the P4 and the Celeron share the same architecture ( Intelligence ? ), but vary only in their cache size. Now run a comparison using any application have you and see which one can do the task faster.
It is the size of the cache that determines intelligence in this case. The cache size just inhibited the ability of the intelligence to work as quick as it could.

Re:Great (5, Funny)

O2n (325189) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879219)

first thing I thought when I saw this article was : "Ok.. so what do I have to take to make this bigger?"
Ok, people, brace for the "ENLARGE your cache by 3" in one month!!!" spam...

Re:YOUR INTERNET DEGREE HOLDS NO WEIGHT HERE! (2, Interesting)

asbestos_tophat (720099) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879176)

Does scientific Confirmation-Bias exist in the Hippocampus too?
The peer review of this "OLD" psychological ability to "chunk" information for 7 +-2 episodic memories is not a problem solving based semantic thought process.
What about parallel distributed processing models of the brain, perhaps this irresponsible researcher had a case study that defied all statistics and the 35 years of PET scans, MRI data, and REAL SCIENTIFIC STUDY. Note too that the "chunking" ability is not a static number, and has been proven to be a learned skill (go from 5 to 80 chunks with some practice). Note also, that proactive and retroactive memories interfere with long-term memories, suggesting a gold fish's 5-second buffer may outwit this scientist with Adult Attention Deficit Disorder that obviously missed most of the confounding variables including the episodic memory of the university lectures and statistical research.

BTW: Do flash-bulb memories of traumatic events make people smarter? No, this has been proven to actually cause memory deficits. Psychology is for scientists, not a lamer with a bad case of priori and a tainted research bias.

GO BACK TO A GOOD UNIVERSITY AND GET A REAL DEGREE!
YOUR INTERNET DEGREE HOLDS NO WEIGHT HERE!

Re:Great (1, Funny)

Max Threshold (540114) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879187)

Man this blows i would be really upset but i forgot what you just said.

A mind like that is to be envied.

Hmmm. Sounds good. (5, Funny)

VValdo (10446) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879031)

Does the article mention anything about expansion modules? I'd read it myself, but I can't remember what we're talking about here...

What was I saying again?

W

Re:Hmmm. Sounds good. (5, Funny)

Burpmaster (598437) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879052)

More? Come on, 640k ought to be enough for anybody!

Stem Cells (3, Interesting)

qewl (671495) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879103)

I wonder what would happen if they just injected some stem cells around there?

Now I know I stayed up too late tonight. (1)

Distortions (321282) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879137)

When I first read the article headline, I read it as:
Science: Brain's Cash Money Found .. I think I will go to sleep to avoid seeing the letters on my terminal dancing around (again).

Re:Now I know I stayed up too late tonight. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8879212)

thats the way i saw it too

Re:Hmmm. Sounds good. (5, Interesting)

Averron (677873) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879208)

No expansion modules, sorry. Lucky for you, all you have to do is exercise it, promoting the growth of neural pathways in this area. Try sitting around thinking of very complex images or something. Maybe the old oranges trick -- think of one orange, then think of two, five, ten, thirty, fifty, 100, 1000, a million. If I recall correctly, you can see some interesting results with this -- as you get higher, people begin to group the oranges in order to be able to comprehend them all at once. Usually people see a truck carrying oranges when they reach a million, and a barrel at a thousand. Try viewing as many of them as you can without grouping.

Nature /.ed? (2, Funny)

Buck2 (50253) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879033)

What are we linking to?

I always thought prefrontemporal was short-term. Is this anything new?

Re:Nature /.ed? (-1, Redundant)

Buck2 (50253) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879056)

prefrontal ...

HA HA prefrontemporal

Anyone actually get to read this article? It's unresponsive here.

Re:Nature /.ed? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8879076)

The number of things you can hold in your mind at once has been traced to one penny-sized part of the brain.

The finding surprises researchers who assumed this aspect of our intelligence would be distributed over many parts of the brain. Instead, the area appears to form a bottleneck that might limit our cognitive abilities, researchers say.

"This is a striking discovery," says John Duncan, an intelligence researcher at the Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, UK.

Most people can hold three or four things in their minds at once when given a quick glimpse of an image such as a collection of coloured dots, or lines in different orientations. If shown a similar image a second later, they will be able to recognise whether three or four of these spots and lines are identical to the first set or not.

But some people can only catch one or two things in a glance, while others can capture up to five.

This very short-term memory capacity is thought to be related to intelligence. In the same way that a computer with a larger working memory can crank through problems more quickly, people with a greater capacity for holding images in their heads are expected to have better reasoning and problem-solving skills.

A person's working memory capacity can be determined using simple psychological tests. But now two teams of researchers report in Nature that they can see it in brain scans too.

Keep it in mind

One of the teams, led by Edward Vogel of the University of Oregon in Eugene, found that the electrical activity in a single section of the brain, as detected through electrodes attached to the scalp, is directly related to short-term working memory1.

The team first tested subjects with an image of two coloured dots, waiting a second between flashes and asking the subjects if the image had changed. They then ramped up the test to four dots.

A large increase in the subject's brain activity on the four-dot test indicated that his or her memory capacity had not been pushed to its limit. No increase in electrical activity indicated that his or her working memory had topped out on the two-dot test. By graphing these responses, the team worked out the exact size of each subject's working memory.

A second team, led by René Marois of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, used functional magnetic resonance imaging during similar tasks to accurately locate the part of the brain being used for short-term visual memory2.

Both teams concluded that everything depended on the same tiny spot in the posterior parietal cortex.

"It is amazing that both groups should converge on the same area in the end," says Duncan. Since the task involves remembering many different aspects of each object, including spatial position, orientation and colour, most people thought that several parts of the brain and Rob Malda sucking dick every day would be involved, he says.

There are still many other aspects to human intelligence that are governed by other parts of the brain, the authors of both studies warn. But the capacity of one's working memory may form a bottleneck for certain kinds of intelligence, they say.

Re:Nature /.ed? (5, Insightful)

Buck2 (50253) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879106)

Thanks.

This seems to be quite questionable as far as any sorts of broad conclusions are concerned.

When people talk about "intelligence" they usually mean something like "being able to grasp two deep concepts and put them together" ... not remember 4 spots of light.

Granted, I have seen a correlation between people who are capable of remembering 10 digit codes and intelligence ... but I've also seen many of those same types fail when tasked with the above sorts of questions.

Maybe this is a red herring.

Re:Nature /.ed? (5, Interesting)

Gyan (6853) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879177)

When people talk about "intelligence" they usually mean something like "being able to grasp two deep concepts and put them together" ... not remember 4 spots of light.

Indeed. Intelligent people would be those who are excellent at conceptual blending [wikipedia.org] . List of resources on this page [wikipedia.org] .

Granted, I have seen a correlation between people who are capable of remembering 10 digit codes and intelligence ... but I've also seen many of those same types fail when tasked with the above sorts of questions.


I'm currently reading Kandel & Squire's Memory [amazon.com] .
Having a too-good memory is what you don't want. They relate the case of a hyperretentive memorist from Russia, who had almost supernatural retention skills, but was hopeless at appreciating metaphors, or pattern matching or generalizations. Which are the building blocks of analytical intelligence.

Re:Nature /.ed? (1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879182)

Maybe this is a red herring.

Nature is perhaps the most prestigious of all scientific journals. They don't publish just results. They don't even publish good results. They publish exceptional results.

Re:Nature /.ed? (1)

Buck2 (50253) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879216)

I meant that the slashdot leadin/conclusion might be deduced to be offbase if one could actually read the article in context.

I still can't. I'm just going on a repost, and that repost appears to be an fMRI on the visual system.

Mirror (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8879093)

Here's a mirror [tinyurl.com] of what I managed to save before the server died. Hope that helps.

Re:Mirror (1)

Buck2 (50253) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879122)

neat

Re:Nature /.ed? (1)

Heidistein (593051) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879220)

prefrontemporal cannot be short-term, its that damn long if i'm at the end of the word i allready forgot the beginning!

Grandma Cell? (-1, Troll)

Rosyna (80334) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879039)

If they could find the grandma cell I wonder if we could forget the fact we ever had George W. as president or, to a lesser extent, that we saw our grandma naked while we were a child. That is, preventing the stored memory from reaching the cache.

Some people and situations you never wish you saw..

short-term memory (1, Redundant)

jezreel (261337) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879040)

To be honest, in these days where you can easily note down your recent thoughts on you pda or even old-fashioned paper, I feel more than relieved to actually forget about all the problems at work shortly after I return home. Not true for general problem-solving ability though

KEKEKEKEKEKE (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8879044)

KEKEKEKEKEKE L2 512Kb KEKEKEKE!11~~~~~~~

images (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8879045)

a greater capacity for holding images in their heads

good news for pr0n hounds.
too bad it's addicting

Potential! (1)

NickeB (763713) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879047)

Just a short while ago, there was talk about chips on brains, now we've found the cache of the brain!
The next step would of course be to expand our cache with chips. Or build chips using organic memory.

Isn't that (2, Funny)

LOL WTF OMG!!!!!!!!! (768357) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879049)

just short-term memory?

Then the cache gets written to the hard drive for permanent storage so after you turn yourself off (in bed), the data is there the next day.

Yeah, it's cache... (2, Funny)

FannyMinstrel (656700) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879050)

But is it L1,L2,L3?
How many KB?
What clockspeed?
Who makes the chips?

Jeez.

Re:Yeah, it's cache... (1)

qewl (671495) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879082)

I'd like to think I have at least 8 MB of full speed L2 cache.

Re:Yeah, it's cache... (1)

Avsen (556145) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879129)

Only 8 megs? You'll probably be obsolete in a couple of months.

improving short-term working memory (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8879051)

does anyone have any suggestions on how to improve your short-term working memory? Does anyone feel that they've improved their's?

P

Re:improving short-term working memory (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8879118)

I don't know how to improve working memory..

I can tell you how to make it worse, though. Any drugs affecting your brain somehow (like psychoactive or psychotropic drugs) could affect your memory. I know that Topamax and Zyprexa, both prescribed, shot my short-term memory to hell when I was taking them. I take Lamictal now, and my memory still isn't where it used to be.

I find that some things seem to help.. I like to play DDR because it seems to improve my memory of series over time (at first I thought it was just from learning some of the levels, but now I find that I can pass more complicated and difficult to read levels on the first try, whereas before I couldn't remember enough of the steps to do it and would end up confused and failing).

But perhaps a better way to "improve" your memory in the short term would be to work on forming associations to transfer things from your working memory to your long term memory? That is something that comes with practice (at least in my personal experience). And I suspect the effects would be seen much more quickly than if you focus only on improving working memory.. so perhaps a combination of the two would be best.

Hope that helps get you thinking about approaching it a bit. :)

Re:improving short-term working memory (5, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879225)

Well, there's the obvious. Use it. A lot. The human machine is built around building up what gets "stressed." That goes for the brain too. For short term working memory exercise make references. Read a book, history or something like that, where you're bit over your head. Keep Google going while you do it and every time you hit something you don't understand do a search, follow the search to whatever else interesting it might lead to, bounce back and forth from the book to search materials.

Now do it with two books, maybe even on different but related subjects, while you keep an eye on /. on the side.

This is pure "cache" work. Don't try to memorize any of it. That's a different "brain muscle." Isolate what you're exercising. You're just trying to keep the different threads of thought all going without losing them.

Now, remember what I said about getting stressed? Don't. Really, the biggest killer of working short term memory is any sort of tension. Tension is an attention grabber, and you only have a limited amount of attention at any one time. Learn to relax. Let it flow of its own accord. If you pick it it will never heal.

It's one of those zen things, where you hit the target by not being aware that the target is even there. The arrow releases itself.

Oh, and here's the nasty part. Just like stressing muscles to build strength, it's a use it or lose it deal. Yes, you can improve your short term working memory, but when you stop using it, the improvment will fade.

I really hate that part.

KFG

Man vs machine (4, Interesting)

romit_icarus (613431) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879053)

It's interesting how we use rudimentary digital computing analogies to explain the workings of our brain. Like in most theories, I suppose one can extend this analogy only to a certain extent. Which, in this case, shouldn't be suprising considering how comlex the brain is...

Re:Man vs machine (1)

turbofisk (602472) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879094)

Your just jealous

Re:Man vs machine (5, Interesting)

powerlinekid (442532) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879102)

Its always been like this.

Now a days, we explain it through digital computers. Before that was electrical systems. Before that mechcanical systems, I would imagine fluid systems, etc.

We seem to always use our most modern technology as an analogy for things that are still a little outside our grasp (such as the brain). In 20 years we may be describing the brain in terms of nano-tech.

Re:Man vs machine (2, Interesting)

trentblase (717954) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879201)

We also use biological analogies to explain the workings of digital systems. How many times have you told someone that the computer is "thinking" or that it has a "virus". This kind of thing goes both ways, I think it's mostly out love for analogy in general.

Larger Mental Cache (1)

thewldisntenough (762507) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879054)

Oh yeah...Well my mental cache is bigger than yours!

This is unethical (2, Funny)

m_dob (639585) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879055)

No Monkeys for RAM No Monkeys for RAM This DDRRAM has not been tested on animals

formatted (1)

m_dob (639585) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879066)

NO Monkeys for RAM
NO Monkeys for RAM

This DDR RAM has not been tested on animals

Gawwd!! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8879058)

Let's hope it's not pipeline burst.

My brain is classified as AMD (4, Funny)

Metallic Matty (579124) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879071)

Perhaps this explains why my head gets extremely hot when I do my Calculus exams.

Re:My brain is classified as AMD (2, Funny)

tai_Dasher (319541) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879081)

Indeed!
Math students require cooling systems.
But these heatsinks can get so heavy sometimes.

My tinfoil balaclava doubles as a heat sink! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8879152)

And if you need even more cooling, you can add a propellor beanie!

(BTW, the inventor of the propellor beanie, R. Faraday Nelson, was my sunday school teacher.)

Re:My brain is classified as AMD (1)

FS1 (636716) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879089)

Maybe you aren't up to date on chip heat issues, but Intel chips run hotter than AMD chips.
Of course you already knew this, but being an Intel fanboy simple choose ignorance over being informed.

Re:My brain is classified as AMD (-1, Offtopic)

Metallic Matty (579124) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879108)

Of course you already knew this, but being an Intel fanboy simple choose ignorance over being informed.

You're right, they do. But the AMD head-stigma lives on in my heart. Give me a break with all the fanboyism crap. I have two PCs; one is p4 and the other is Athlon XP. It was just a joke.

Humor is a lost art.

Re:My brain is classified as AMD (1)

Dejitaru Neko (771563) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879097)

Yeah, a cooling fan or two in there couldn't hurt.

Re:My brain is classified as AMD (1)

idommp (134503) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879171)

Yeah, a cooling fan or two in there couldn't hurt.

I tried that once, but the cute little redhead blowing in my ear didn't cool things off at all and she was very distracting while I was trying to do math.

Mine is classified as WMD (1)

PornMaster (749461) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879135)

(Wetware of Mass Disorientation)

Re:My brain is classified as AMD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8879139)

Perhaps this explains why my head gets extremely hot when I do my Calculus exams.

How about doing your taxes? That gave me a headache. Felt better after using an icebag...

-cmh

Re:My brain is classified as AMD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8879154)

"Perhaps this explains why my head gets extremely hot when I do my Calculus exams."

I used to have that problem until I took a cue from the NVIDIA GeForce 6800 and just attached a vacuum to my head.

Solution (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879198)

Some fresh air will do you and your processor good. Install a fan in your case, and take a walk outside. I hear there's this giant fan called "wind" powered by something called the "sun" out there. I've never been, but a friend of mine...

Kjella

Looks like... (3, Interesting)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879074)


Interestingly, both groups of researchers were working strictly with visual memory. I wonder whether the working memory used by programmers, mathematicians, etc. will be in the same place, or a different area altogether?

And what about the famous "magic number", 7 +/- 2? These people seem to be offering 4 +1/-2.

Re:Looks like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8879104)

"7+/-2 ... 4+1/-2"

I have this problem in real life. If someone tells me a 7-digit phone #, I'm unable to remember more than 3 numbers. Seriously... takes me 3-passes to get one, every time.

It makes people think I'm "bad at math" (was a math major in college to, though!), but I seem surprisingly good at getting the 1st digit right on calculations (checkbook, various work stuff). I may never get 3 significant places in a top-of-my-head calculation, but the other guys are more likely to be off by an order of magnitude.

And it's not just numbers too. If I'm introduced to 3-people I won't remember them either.

Re:Looks like... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8879110)

with all the pr0n we-ur-they look at while at work, I'm sure its VERY relevant.

Re:Looks like... (5, Interesting)

DunbarTheInept (764) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879117)

I don't know about you, but when I program, I *do* think visually about it. It's really hard to describe exactly how, but to me, writing in a programming language "feels" more akin to drawing a picture than writing an essay.

I don't think all programmers approach the task using the same kind of intelligence.

I think it would be interesting to check different disciplines against each other, but programming is a bit too all-encompassing to be nailed down to just one kind of intelligence. It's partly language thinking, partly spatial thinking, partly mathematical thinking, a little bit of art, etc...

Re:Looks like... (1)

Azathfeld (725855) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879226)

Honestly, even when I'm writing, I visualize what I'm putting down on paper. While speaking, I'll often see the words in my head before vocalizing them if I'm putting particular consideration into my phrasing. Almost everything has a "visual" component to it, inside my head. One exception is singing, which I hadn't really considered until now. It's interesting to note that stutterers don't stutter when they sing, either. This introspective divergence brought to you by the number 4:00 am and the letters c, a, f, f, e, i, n, and e.

Looks like and sounds like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8879151)

Mathematics is most often associated with visual and logical reasoning, the so-called "left-brain" functions. More artistic skills and social intelligence are associated with so-called right-brain functioning.

Want art by a mathemtician? Escher and Penrose.

Want maths by an artiste? There's the long lost creator of the progression of fifths - an intuitive aural representation of a Fibinocci Sequence.

Ask a programmer whether programming is an art or a science and you'll receive either one answer or the other. Programming is a science because an algorithm is provable. Programming is an art, because no two implementations will be the same. Some skills work both sides of the brain.

Re:Looks like... (5, Interesting)

cperciva (102828) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879217)

And what about the famous "magic number", 7 +/- 2? These people seem to be offering 4 +1/-2.

It was found that the famous "5-9 digits" resulted from a bogus test. Rather than testing short-term memory, it was testing the "auditory loop" -- people weren't remembering the digits, they were mentally replaying the sound of someone speaking the digits.

When people are given the digits via non-auditory means, 3-5 digits seems to be the norm.

My head hurts (1)

CelticLo (575344) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879079)

Think I need my vitamins G & T

Overclocking Anyone?? (5, Funny)

Genoxide (633645) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879086)

Hmm.. Makes you wonder if it's possible to overclock your own brain. Some kind of implant with electric stimuli.. Or maybe some kind of chemical. Only, I can't quite figure out how to make a decent cooling solution, and I absolutely refuse to walk around with a heatsink attached to my forehead! ..Or if you find out how to stimulate that part, maybe some good oldfashioned brain exercise to increase your cache and speed. On second thought.. Nah.. Not really geeky enough ;)

Re:Overclocking Anyone?? (3, Insightful)

Dejitaru Neko (771563) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879109)

Any true geek knows that you can overclock the brain with a little help from our friend caffeine.

Re:Overclocking Anyone?? (1)

PhyreFox (576728) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879146)

Unless you have ADD/ADHD, in which case coffee is akin to raising the vcore -- the system is overclocked by default, but not all the cylinders are firing.

In such instances, a cup of coffee before bedtime is a good idea if you're actually interested in going to sleep. ;)

Re:Overclocking Anyone?? (5, Funny)

powerlinekid (442532) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879123)

I know a guy named "Larry" who runs a business out of an alley selling products that do this. I'd give you his card, but hes really damn paranoid about cops.

Re:Overclocking Anyone?? (4, Funny)

NoOneInParticular (221808) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879169)

Overclocking my brain? For what purpose? I'm already capable of changing my mind 5 times a minute. More would not help.

Hmmm, on second thought, scrap the above.

Re:Overclocking Anyone?? (1)

Dark Lord Seth (584963) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879200)

Or maybe some kind of chemical.

Oh, you mean XTC? Worth a shot, I guess...

Problem is, people on here probably aren't used to XTC and I don't think anyone is really interested in having a small army of geeks vibrating all over Slashdot in some XTC hyper...

Re:Overclocking Anyone?? (2, Informative)

Mal-2 (675116) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879214)

There is an effective way to overclock the entire nervous system -- it's called "methamphetamine". Unfortunately, system stability cannot be guaranteed, and what does get accomplished (fast) will generally be quite useless. There are lots of other ways to think faster as well, provided you're not particularly concerned with the accuracy of the results. Just like silicon overclocking, it also has a detrimental effect on the lifespan of the parts being tweaked if overdone.

Mal-2

Where does this lead us? (5, Interesting)

guttergod (94044) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879091)

There has been plenty of studies showing that people tend to remember things incorrectly. Could this very short term memory be part of the final proof needed to invalidate witness statements in legal cases? Or perhaps they can use the line and dots test on witnesses and see how likely they are to remember something that happens in a glance. If they check high on the test, they might be more likely to be able to remember an incident correct.

Re:Where does this lead us? (1)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879224)

It could be useful for investigation, but not for legal purposes - such think would be hard to prove and results could be very speculative. Also I think this brain cache's speed could be impacted by drugs, pressure of atmosphere, etc. such things.

How does it compare to the electronic version? (0, Troll)

zensonic (82242) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879105)

in terms of latency, hit/miss rate, bandwith, associativity? (n-ways)?

So if your IQ is high (1)

dwalsh (87765) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879107)

... should you demand a Xeon-style salary?

Re:So if your IQ is high (1)

francium de neobie (590783) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879144)

I'd prefer the Itanium salary

Re:So if your IQ is high (1)

mcpkaaos (449561) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879188)

Some of us would just be happy to get a salary at all. ;\

Wow! (0, Redundant)

Serious Simon (701084) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879115)

It boggles the mind.

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8879153)

Student to teacher:
Dude, stop thrashin' my cache!

Brain Cache (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8879120)

This post leaves very little to discuss.
Which is why:

Imagine, if you will, a Beowul....

Cache hierarchy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8879124)

Maybe there's a cache hierarchy in the brain? This would be 1st level, then there's a larger, slower 2nd level and ultimately the very large, main permament memory.

Do you ever get that "sinking" feeling when you delve deep into memory for stuff that happened decades ago? That's just your brain fetching from disk :-)

The magical number 7 (4, Informative)

foobsr (693224) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879136)

Most people can hold three or four things in their minds at once when given a quick glimpse of an image such as a collection of coloured dots, ...

Did it not also depend on what kind of (was it) chunks you store (if this is at all what is stored in should it perhaps be ultra-) STM ?

Where it "started": [well.com]

The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information
by George A. Miller
originally published in The Psychological Review, 1956, vol. 63, pp. 81-97



CC.

What about Pinky? (2, Funny)

mark-t (151149) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879138)

If Brain has a cache somewhere, his less mentally endowed partner in crime should still get a cut.

Obligatory Bill Gates Quote (1, Funny)

jigyasubalak (308473) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879140)

"16MB of memory ought to be enough for anyone".

Re:Obligatory Bill Gates Quote (2, Funny)

greenreaper (205818) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879199)

Uh, it was 640kb. If you're going to bash BillG, at least get it right. ;-)

so we have found the cache (1)

virtualone (768392) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879141)

so we have found the cache.. but where is the cpu??

Initial thoughts... (1, Funny)

ChangeOnInstall (589099) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879155)

I initially read this as "Brian's Cache Memory Found" and thought "hmmm, that's nice...good for him."

Small thoughts = better cache hits ? (1)

openmtl (586918) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879156)

So if I think small thoughts and within a small field of expertese does that mean I'll have good cache hits ?

Wow - politicians must be running fully in L1 cache !

A coincidence (3, Informative)

Gyan (6853) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879160)

I'm reading Kandel & Squire's Memory [amazon.com] .
Wonderful book.

Anyway, this is just the "visuospatial sketchpad" as the authors call it. There's also the phonological loop dealing with meaningful sounds, among other types of working memory. So this isn't the be-all and end-all of even immediate memory.

it's not like a cache (2, Interesting)

hak1du (761835) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879165)

Increasing your cache memory is clearly beneficial: it can only decrease access time to memory. Increasing STM, however, isn't necessarily good: if you remember more things simultaneously, your brain likely has to make associations between more things at a time. Whether it can or cannot depends on other parts of the brain.

In fact, it seems likely that cause and effect are reversed: it seems likely that "higher intelligence" probably causes a larger STM rather than the other way around--the size of the STM would adapt to the needs of the rest of the brain rather than the other way around.

Well, I'm screwed (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8879168)

An Altair MIPS 8800 at 200Khz was cutting edge back when I was manufactured.

Matter of fact I don't have any cache and I can't get upgraded due to my proprietary power supply and motherboard, not to mention my hard to find RA

Brain Cache (4, Interesting)

nimblebrain (683478) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879175)

It's not too surprising that the brain's short-term visual cache would be closer to the visual cortex. What I would like to know is how closely the visual cache is related to intelligence. Does it need actual visual input, instead of just imagined, and if so... <facetious>do you become marginally dumber when you close your eyes?</facetious>

From reading Synaptic Self, the "general" cache and CPU area would seem to be the prefrontal cortex. It can activate memories to work on (the closer the current emotional state it was recorded in, the better), and hold a few things to work on. Perhaps there are many more specializations yet to be uncovered, but I'm struck at the sheer relative size of brain required to actively think and plan a next move. Considering that even a worm brain can get its owner around, you'd think our capacity for juggling thoughts would be encyclopaedic.

I'd be curious as to what connections this area has to the prefrontal cortex - I've heard of the spots tests before - I don't recall it being related to general intelligence.

Addressing the question of how cache gets spat out to hard drive, as it were, to keep thoughts in slightly longer-term storage, it looks like thoughts have to be put through the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex, where they will slowly get rewired (indexed?) over the course of about two weeks - about the length of memories you can lose under strong electroshock therapy.

So many small functional pieces of the brain; I'm struck by how independent the sections of the brain are, by and large. Large-scale coordination has to go through a secondary 'chemical drip' system, from neuromodulators released by non-connecting nerves throughout the brain. It's that level of coordination required to put your brain to sleep or wake it up, amongst other things.

I'm looking forward to more decoding of the brain's structures - narrowing down specific activities to a small area of the brain like they did is fantastic.

So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8879180)

Everyone knows that the L2 cache is near the processor.. dooh?!?!?

STWM Damage (2, Interesting)

arestivo (459117) | more than 10 years ago | (#8879192)

What would be interesting to know is if the brain is able to shift this function to other parts of the brain in case of some kind of brain damage, and what are the consequences of the damage if it is unable to do that.

Simpsons reference (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8879196)

This must be the area where Homer had the crayon
stuck in his brain. DOH.
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