This video series is presented for educational and enlightenment purposes only. The series was created by the Cassiopeia Project.
The Cassiopeia Project - making science simple!
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What do we know about the inner workings of the human mind? Surely everything that humans do from designing skyscrapers to composing symphonies... is not the product of simple cellular interactions. And yet it might be...because everything that humans do (or think or feel) is the result of the basic units of brain structure - the neurons.
The human brain contains more than a hundred billion neurons. Just like a single ant could never build an anthill, a single neuron can't think or feel or remember. A neuron's power is a result of its connections to other neurons. Each neuron is connected to as many as a thousand of its neighbors. These trillions of connections provide the playing field upon which the complex activity of the brain takes place. Each neuron can turn its neighbors on or off depending on the signals it sends, and the resulting stable patterns of neuron firing represent memories...and images... and thoughts.
We don't yet understand the relationship between neural activity and mental experience. We don't know what the precise pattern of a memory or an image or a thought looks like. We don't yet know how to read the cerebral "code" of the neurons. But progress is being made. We can now watch exactly how various stimuli and memories cause the firings of hundreds of neurons. Perhaps these techniques will allow us to work our way UP from the activity of a few neurons to see the structure that emerges from the whole.