The Hard Problem of Consciousness

You’re lying on a sandy beach on a hot sunny afternoon, enjoying a few hours of much needed laziness. As you open your eyes and confront the vastness of the ocean in front of you, light of 600nm wavelength hits your retina, kindling an impossibly long cascade of events in your brain: a molecule called retinal changes shape, neurons fire action potentials down the optic nerve, arrive at the lateral geniculate nucleus deep in the brain causing more action potentials in primary visual cortex in the back of your head, and so on ad infinitum. At some point, the mechanical wonder of 100 billion neurons working together produces something special: your experience of the color blue. What’s special is not that you can discriminate that color from others; nor that you are aware of it and paying attention to it. It is not notable that you can tell us about it, or assign a name to it. It’s that you have a subjective, qualitative experience of the color; there is something it is like to experience the color blue. Some philosophers call these experiences qualia – meaning “what kind” – but it is not important what kind of experience you are having, just that you are having one at all. Modern science hypothesizes that subjective experience is a product of the brain, but has no explanation for it. Continue reading

Cognitive Science / Neuroscience Blog List (up-to-date)

I’m looking to connect up with some of the other neurobloggers out there. No better way than to give a pingback shoutout, so I’m checking all of the blogs listed on Neurophilosophy’s list from 2007, and removing dead links. If any of you guys are looking for a fresh smattering of neuro blogs to add to your rss reader, dive right in!

Advances in the History of Psychology
All In The Mind
Action For Autism
Addiction & Recovery News
International Cognition and Culture Institute
Asperger’s Conversations
Babel’s Dawn
Björn Brembs
Body in Mind
Brain Hammer
Developing Intelligence
Ginger Campbell, MD
Brain Windows
The Corpus Callosum
Channel N
Dr. Deb Psychological Perspectives
Dr. Helen
Dr. Sanity
Dr. X’s Free Associations
Eide Neurolearning Blog
Figural Effect
Functional Neurogenesis
Improve Your Learning and Memory.
IQ’s Corner
Laura’s Psychology Blog
Meeting of the Mind
Mike Battista
Mind Hacks
my mind on books
Neuroethics at the Core
Neurological Correlates
Neurology Minutiae
Neurologica Blog
neuropathology blog
Omni Brain
On the Brain
Oscillatory Thoughts
Prof Zeki’s Musings
The Psychiatrist Blog
Psychology of Pain
Shrink Rap
Steve’s Blog (OkaySteve)
Talking Brains
The Beautiful Brain
The Mouse Trap
The Nerve Blog
The Neurocritic
The Neuro Times
The Tangled Neuron
Tic Toc Talk: The IQ brain clock
Transmuted Internalizations
Brain Injury Lawyer & Attorney
We’re Only Human
Wiring The Brain

Needless to say, quite a few were removed from Neurophilosophy’s original list. A lot of them were no longer being updated.

Characteristics of Hallucinated Voices in Deaf People

What do hallucinated voices sound like… to deaf people? This post on Mind Hacks was just the right combination of funky weird, and insightful, here’s the blurb:

Mind Hacks: More on hallucinated “voices” in deaf people – “Voices were reported to be nonauditory, clear, and easy to understand. Participants were certain that they did not hear any sound when voices were present. They did not consider questions about pitch, volume, and loudness relevant to their experiences. [...] All participants had experienced seeing an image of the voice signing or lips moving in their mind. Imagery of fingerspelling was also seen but was less common. These images appeared to be subvisual in nature and distinct from true visual hallucinations. They were clearly understood as originating internally and several participants stated that the image could still be perceived with their eyes closed.”