Monkeys don’t solve problems in quantum mechanics

Do we see reality as it is?
Donald Hoffman
TED. March 2015
http://www.ted.com/talks/donald_hoffman_do_we_see_reality_as_it_is

The relationship between brain activity and conscious experiences is still a mistery.
Some experts think that we can’t solve this problem. Because we lack the necessary concepts and intelligence.
We don’t expect monkeys to solve problems in quantum mechanics.

from the playlist:
http://www.ted.com/playlists/384/how_your_brain_constructs_real

Marketing modulates pleasantness (2008)

Marketing actions can modulate neural representations of experienced pleasantness
PNAS, January 22, 2008, 105(3): 1050-1054
Hilke Plassmann, et al.
http://www.pnas.org/content/105/3/1050.full

Despite the importance and pervasiveness of marketing, almost nothing is known about the neural mechanisms through which it affects decisions made by individuals.
We propose that marketing actions, such as changes in the price of a product, can affect neural representations of experienced pleasantness.

We tested this hypothesis by scanning human subjects using functional MRI while they tasted wines that, contrary to reality, they believed to be different and sold at different prices.

Our results show that increasing the price of a wine increases subjective reports of flavor pleasantness as well as blood-oxygen-level-dependent activity in medial orbitofrontal cortex, an area that is widely thought to encode for experienced pleasantness during experiential tasks.
The paper provides evidence for the ability of marketing actions to modulate neural correlates of experienced pleasantness and for the mechanisms through which the effect operates.

Keywords: orbitofrontal cortex, modulation by marketing actions, neuroeconomics, taste

cited by:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/10/23/358324106/don-t-mock-these-organic-food-experts-for-praising-mcdonald-s

related:
https://franzcalvo.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/perceptive-expectation

https://franzcalvo.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/facebook-emotional-contagion-without-awareness

https://franzcalvo.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/we-deny-being-affected-by-things-that-do-influence-us

How Do We Predict the Future …

How Do We Predict the Future: Brains Rewards and Addiction  
Terry Sejnowski
The Salk Institute
Series: “Grey Matters” [6/2005]
University of California Television (UCTV)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlPgPlcXPq8

how by its nature the human brain is susceptible to the effects of addictive substances.

cited by:
Learning How to Learn
by University of California, San Diego
on Coursera.

To sleep: perchance to learn

The dreaming brain can produce complex language output.

To sleep: perchance to learn
Robert Stickgold
Nature Neuroscience  (September 2012) 15, 1322–1323
http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v15/n10/full/nn.3223.html

Not only can the sleeping brain perceive sensory information, it can learn from this information, leading to changed behaviors the next day: it can come to associate a sound with a pleasant or unpleasant odor and react, both while still asleep and after waking, with a deeper or shallower breath. But classic ‘sleep learning’ remains just a dream.

related:
Sounds during sleep may help you remember
2009
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120573613

Pathological pain and the neuroimmune interface

Pathological pain and the neuroimmune interface
Peter M. Grace, et al.
Nature Reviews Immunology  14, 217–231 (2014)
http://www.nature.com/nri/journal/v14/n4/full/nri3621.html

Reciprocal signalling between immunocompetent cells in the central nervous system (CNS) has emerged as a key phenomenon underpinning pathological and chronic pain mechanisms.
Neuronal excitability can be powerfully enhanced both by classical neurotransmitters derived from neurons, and by immune mediators released from CNS-resident microglia and astrocytes, and from infiltrating cells such as T cells.

In this Review, we discuss the current understanding of the contribution of central immune mechanisms to pathological pain, and how the heterogeneous immune functions of different cells in the CNS could be harnessed to develop new therapeutics for pain control.

Given the prevalence of chronic pain and the incomplete efficacy of current drugs — which focus on suppressing aberrant neuronal activity — new strategies to manipulate neuroimmune pain transmission hold considerable promise.

Pain In The Back? Learn Not To Feel It

Pain In The Back? Exercise May Help You Learn Not To Feel It
January 13, 2014
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/01/13/255457090/pain-in-the-back-exercise-may-help-you-learn-not-to-feel-it

One reason invasive treatments for back pain have been rising in recent years, Deyo says, is the ready availability of MRI scans. These detailed, color-coded pictures that can show a cross-section of the spine are a technological tour de force. But they can be dangerously misleading.

“Seeing is believing,” Deyo says. “And gosh! We can actually see degenerated discs, we can see bulging discs. We can see all kinds of things that are alarming.”

That is, they look alarming. But they’re most likely not the cause of the pain.
Lots of people who are pain-free actually have terrible-looking MRIs.

Research is showing that the pain often has nothing to do with the mechanics of the spine, but with the way the nervous system is behaving, according to Dr. James Rainville of New England Baptist Hospital in Boston.

“It’s a change in the way the sensory system is processing information,” says Rainville, who is a physiatrist, or specialist in rehabilitation medicine. “Normal sensations of touch, sensations produced by movements, are translated by the nervous system into a pain message. That process is what drives people completely crazy who have back pain, because so many things produce discomfort.”

original articles:
Overtreating Chronic Back Pain: Time to Back Off?
J Am Board Fam Med January-February 2009, 22 (1): 62-68
Richard A. Deyo
http://www.jabfm.org/content/22/1/62.full.pdf+html