Plastic Neuroscience: Studying what the brain cares about

hand-brain

Drawing on Allan Newell’s “You can’t play 20 questions with nature and win,” this article proposes that neuroscience needs to go beyond binary hypothesis testing and design experiments that follow what neurons care about. Examples from Lettvin et. al. are used to demonstrate that one can experimentally play with neurons and generate surprising results. In Continue reading…

How Flowcharts Got into the Brain

Colby-SimNeuroses copy

NSF Scholar’s award for Diagramming Brains, Minds and Computers Together. This project, supported by the Biology & Society initiative between the Science, Technology & Society Program and the BIO directorate at NSF, examines the role of flowcharts in neurosciences. Flowcharts are commonly used today in computer science, psychology, and neuroscience. Despite the near ubiquity of diagrams Continue reading…

Neuroexistentialism

CyborgMouse

[Excerpts:] Parsing the neuronal sensorium is already to dismantle through analysis that which we imagine to be a comprehensive totality. If our sensorium is the sensing package that constitutes our participation in the world, then it follows that this assemblage of sensory inputs defines our boundaries, making the world present to us and by subtraction making Continue reading…

»Teach Affecting Attention, Material Thought

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ANT210 Affecting Attention, Material Thought Instructor: Joe Dumit  Time: Fall 2011   The encounter between two disciplines doesn’t take place when one reflects on the other, but when one discipline realizes that it has to resolve, for itself, a problem similar to one confronted by the other. – Gilles Deleuze In this course we will Continue reading…

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»The Biomarx Experiment

PillDollar

“We want to maximize the number of new prescriptions…” “We want to identify people at risk at the earliest possible point…” Pharmaceutical marketers want to maximize the number of prescriptions in order to maximize profits. They see clinical trials as investments whose purpose was to increase sales of medicines, “Important clinical studies to conduct from Continue reading…

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»Picturing Personhood: Brain Scans and Biomedical Identity

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By showing us the human brain at work, PET (positron emission tomography) scans are subtly–and sometimes not so subtly–transforming how we think about our minds. Picturing Personhood follows this remarkable and expensive technology from the laboratory into the world and back. It examines how PET scans are created and how they are being called on Continue reading…

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