The Fugue of Life: Why Complexity Matters in Physiology and Neuroscience
Brain Basics / Did You Know? / Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders

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

People like simplicity. Each decade, corporate logos grow progressively minimalistic, pop songs use ever simpler melodies, and visual art embraces simpler compositions, as Monet gives way to Picasso and Picasso gives way Rothko.  This zeitgeist, summarized as “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” shapes our perceptions of physiology in interesting ways.  The thumping of a beating … Continue reading

Double Book Review: The Emperor’s New Mind and Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
Brain Books

Double Book Review: The Emperor’s New Mind and Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

“A barber (who is a man) shaves all and only those men who do not shave themselves. Does he shave himself?” If you can’t solve the above riddle, don’t worry — nobody can.  The above riddle is an example of a self-referential paradox.  Self-reference is problematic in logic because it allows for many such paradoxes. … Continue reading

Is the Brain Smarter than a Computer?
Interviews with Neuroscientists / Neuroscience Technologies / Videos

Is the Brain Smarter than a Computer?

Knowing Neurons is proud to present our inaugural entry in a new series of YouTube videos!  In this episode, Joel asks, “Is the brain smarter than a computer?”  With Joel as our tour guide, we embark on a journey through neurobiology, psychology, supercomputing, quantum physics, and even philosophy, all the while stopping on the street to … Continue reading

Mapping Brain Connectivity Using Graph Theory
Did You Know? / Neuroscience Technologies

Mapping Brain Connectivity Using Graph Theory

Have you ever wondered why the same brain regions are often implicated again and again in many tasks and behaviors?  For instance, the prefrontal cortex is implicated in so many cognitive tasks that citing its involvement, per se, is hardly more illuminating or meaningful than throwing up one’s hands and saying, “It happened in the … Continue reading

Seeing Invisible Colors: Part II
Brain Basics / Sensation and Perception

Seeing Invisible Colors: Part II

In a recent Knowing Neurons piece, we explored the exotic visual abilities of other animals, while lamenting the limitations of human color vision.  In this article, we stretch those limits and celebrate some peculiarities of trichromatic color vision. Recall that a typical person has color receptors (cone cells) for red, green, and blue wavelengths of … Continue reading

Screensavers of the Brain: The Science of Dreaming
Did You Know? / Sleep

Screensavers of the Brain: The Science of Dreaming

Each night, you place your head on your pillow, close your eyes, and, barring insomnia, you lose consciousness of the world around you, drifting into blissful oblivion.  Eventually, you reawaken, only to hallucinate in a paralyzed body.  These hallucinations are called dreams.  Why do dreams happen, and what function do they serve?  Although these are … Continue reading