The Sentry (Bob Reynolds) and the Brain

Optogenetics. It sounds like genes being lit up in neon colors, like a flashy Las Vegas sign. But what is it really? Optogenetics is a technique that takes advantage of proteins found in certain algae species that respond to different wavelengths of light. This algal response to the wavelengths includes opening a channel (called a … Continue reading The Sentry (Bob Reynolds) and the Brain

Technique Thursday: Computational Modeling

With neuroscience and computer science bleeding into one another, there are a number of ways that computer programming can help in understanding the brain. This can be achieved via computational modeling. Computational modeling is the intersection of math, physics, and computer science that is used to study the behavior of complex systems via computer models. … Continue reading Technique Thursday: Computational Modeling

Seance Sunday: A Mechanical model of human learning and memory Part 1

This week's Séance Sunday will be on a paper by D. E. Broadbent. The paper begins with the proposition that people hate model building. The paper's purpose is to describe a very basic model of the human perceptual system. The above figure is the simple model for attention. Needed are a Y-shaped tubes and some … Continue reading Seance Sunday: A Mechanical model of human learning and memory Part 1

Techniques Thursday: Memory Sleuth: How to tell a memory is false

In light of an earlier article I wrote on the vulnerability of memories, and how false memories can be planted in our minds, I decided to write an article on how to tell a memory is false. Consider Madrigal (yes, it's the name of a book character, from Dreams of Gods and Monsters if you … Continue reading Techniques Thursday: Memory Sleuth: How to tell a memory is false

Manic Monday: Loftus lost in the Mall

We've heard about how false memories can be "planted" in someone's mind. For example, people can be convinced they committed a crime they never did commit--in just a few hours! Others have been convinced they were raped, or molested as children. In 1999, Dr. Elizabeth F. Loftus conducted a study that greatly impacted our understanding of … Continue reading Manic Monday: Loftus lost in the Mall