Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique by Michael S. Gazzaniga
One of the worlds leading neuroscientists explores how best to understand the human condition by examining the biological, psychological, and highly social nature of our species within the social context of our lives.What happened along the evolutionary trail that made humans so unique? In his widely accessible style, Michael Gazzaniga looks to a broad range of studies to pinpoint the change that made us thinking, sentient humans, different from our predecessors.
Neuroscience has been fixated on the life of the psychological self for the past fifty years, focusing on the brain systems underlying language, memory, emotion, and perception. What it has not done is consider the stark reality that most of the time we humans are thinking about social processes, comparing ourselves to and estimating the intentions of others. In Human, Gazzaniga explores a number of related issues, including what makes human brains unique, the importance of language and art in defining the human condition, the nature of human consciousness, and even artificial intelligence.
What Makes A Human Brain Unique? A Newly Discovered Neuron May Be A Clue
But what is it about our genes that makes this organ so distinct from those of others? New research from scientists at the Allen Institute is offering us some insight, discovering that a relatively small number of gene expression patterns seem to predominate in the brain, and that these appear to be common, or conserved, among humans. Furthermore, scientists could then look for deviations from this that could help explain various mental health problems or diseases affecting the brain, like schizophrenia or epilepsy. To look for the existence of expression patterns in the brain, the researchers made use of a bank of open-access data called the Allen Human Brain Atlas. Scouring the genes of six individual brains, the team sought to identify those with consistent expression patterning across different structures, of which were scrutinized.
An international team has identified a kind of brain cell that exists in people but not mice, the team reported Monday in the journal Nature Neuroscience. The finding could help explain why many experimental treatments for brain disorders have worked in mice, but failed in people. Researchers have suggested several other brain cells that might be unique to humans. But these cells have either been found in other species , or the evidence for them has been less convincing. It is still possible that these newly identified neurons will also be found the brains of primates like monkeys or chimps, Lein says. They tell other brain cells when to slow down. Tamas was recording electrical signals from inhibitory neurons taken from the cortex of two men who had died.
Neuroscientists have identified an area of the brain that might give the human mind its unique abilities, including language. The area lit up in.
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Like with fingerprints, no two people have the same brain anatomy, a study by researchers of the University of Zurich has shown. This uniqueness is the result of a combination of genetic factors and individual life experiences. The fingerprint is unique in every individual: As no two fingerprints are the same, they have become the go-to method of identity verification for police, immigration authorities and smartphone producers alike. But what about the central switchboard inside our heads? Is it possible to find out who a brain belongs to from certain anatomical features? Professional musicians, golfers or chess players, for example, have particular characteristics in the regions of the brain which they use the most for their skilled activity. However, events of shorter duration can also leave behind traces in the brain: If, for example, the right arm is kept still for two weeks, the thickness of the brain's cortex in the areas responsible for controlling the immobilized arm is reduced.
His investigations, now more than years old, revealed intricate details of nerve cells in many different animals, including humans—rootlike dendrites attached to bulbous cell bodies, from which extend long, slender axons. A new study, published this week in Cell , shows that in people these antennalike projections also have distinct electrical properties that may help explain how the brain processes arriving information. So Harnett and his colleagues set out to investigate whether the length of dendrites affected electrical signals transmitted through them. With the help of a neurologist, Sydney Cash of Massachusetts General Hospital, they were able to obtain brain tissue that had been removed from epilepsy patients undergoing routine surgery to help allay seizures—a procedure in which physicians routinely remove part of the temporal cortex to get to the hippocampus, a structure deep inside the brain where seizures typically originate. Once the research team obtained the resected tissue, they then hurriedly transported it back to the lab, where they sliced and tested the samples.
Research by Dr Ben Fulcher finds that 'lower animal' brains have the same specialised structures as humans. New research shows that properties thought to be unique to the human brain are also shared by the mouse brain. Researchers at the University of Sydney have analysed intricate whole-brain maps in mice to show that neural architecture varies along the path of information flow in a similar way in mouse and human brains, pointing to fundamental neural mechanisms for information processing. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States , their finding calls into question the uniqueness of human consciousness and the anatomical structures that have evolved to support it. Recent work has revealed the main properties of brain circuits vary along the path that information flows through the human brain. Thanks to a new emphasis on data sharing in modern neuroscience, the research team was able to synthesise diverse high-quality datasets from around the world.