Date: 2004-03-30 08:50:16
Message Id: 9084
About dreams: First of all, I am curious whether or not Emma saw that boy again or what happened to him. Dreams can be so vivid that a person might not be sure if it happened or not. This unsurity can also occur when a person hears about the story that occured in a dream. If the dreamer has and remembers a vivid dream and tells this to a friend, another who walks by might think the dream actually happened if the conversation is not prefeced with "In my dream...." I know that when I remember a dream (which is quite often) I remember it with a lot of detail which can be quite scary.
Name: Brad Corr
Date: 2004-03-30 09:19:50
Message Id: 9086
Since our discussions about memory, I can't seem to get this image out of my head. I imagine two buckets, one large (subconcious) and one small (Concious ~ I-Box) Both have water in them but the large bucket has a small hole in it. The water represents "everything" How to do things, mainly memory. My buckets used to be separate but now my small bucket is floating in the large bucket, its able to spill into the large bucket and its also able to dip into the large bucket. I'm sure in the near future we'll go through this and my bucket theory will be thrown out the window but memory really intrigues me. The motor symphony theory makes sense to me but what doesn't is the abiliy to store those symphonies. In the real world we put the scores on paper or the music onto a CD, so I assume these would represent our memory. Are there physical neurons associated with memory? Is there a vault of info up there?
Date: 2004-03-30 13:24:37
Message Id: 9088
I know Prof. Grobstein said we would talk about dreams later, but the numerous postings about dreams really sparked my interest. What are you conscious of when you dream? Somehow your senses are still connected-through memeory, I guess-which come out when you dream. You can feel pain in a dream because your body remembers what it feels like. I have even had dreams where I am eating and actually tasting food. I had another dream last week that really illustrates the connections the brain is making during a dream. I was dreaming that I was swimming at the beach and I was walking over these really pinchy rocks. The bottom of my feet started to hurt so I looked and saw I had little cuts on the bottom of my foot from the rocks. This sequence just seemed so logical-I knew that my feet hurt because I was walking on sharp rocks which would produce small cuts. I have been at the beach and walked over pincy rocks that really hurt, so was my brain just using the string of events from the memory or was it taking logical steps and re-thinking an explanation?
Subject: pain perception
Date: 2004-03-30 20:55:13
Message Id: 9096
Here's a question. You know when you are watching a movie or TV and some bloody accident happens and say a person has their arm sawed off or something...why is it that your arm starts hurting? I mean, not all people have that response but of those who do, what is going on in the brain that makes them feel as though they are experiencing pain? Just a question I had while watching G.I. Jane.
Date: 2004-04-01 00:11:42
Message Id: 9106
With the respect to the dream discussion, I have had dreams in the past that have seemed so real that after some time, I can't remember if a memory I have is a dream or actually happened. The events that I dreamed about could have just as easily happened in my life. I can remember specific details of a dream that I had of being at work. I woke up the next morning believing that what I had dreamed the night before had actually happened. I went through several minutes of believing that the dream I had was an actual experience at work until I remembered that I was not at work the night before.
Subject: Sympathy Pain
Date: 2004-04-01 00:17:49
Message Id: 9107
Sarah I think your question is really interesting because I have always thought that this pain you describe is sympathy pain or something of the sort. I think when I hear of a painful injury or witness someone being injured I imagine how much that must hurt. Unlike your description I don't feel the pain as much as cringe from it.
Name: Chevon Deputy
Subject: Its Just an Illusion
Date: 2004-04-01 00:30:19
Message Id: 9108
After Tuesday's class, I was thinking about optical illusions for some reason. Does it have anything to do with the I-Function box? For example, my friend sent me an e-mail that had an outline of Jesus' face. After following the directions, I could see the image of Jesus on the wall. It was actually creepy because throughout the day I would see the image. Is it that my eyes were playing tricks on me or did it have to something to do with my memory?
Name: Student Contributor
Subject: Disconnection of Memories
Date: 2004-04-01 08:43:57
Message Id: 9110
Someone in class the other day was talking about the disconnection of memories, how someone can talk about a traumatic event with a relative amount of calmness and serenity. David Hume called this the difference between experiences and ideas - an experience is something you go through directly, like the pain you feel when you stub your toe, and an idea is the impression that the pain leaves on your nervous system - the memory of the pain, if you will. Hume says that the actual experiences will always be more poignant, more forceful, than the ideas. It makes sense, though - memory is imperfect, impressions change, but the in-the-moment experience is impossible to replace.
Just thought I'd add that to the forum
Date: 2004-04-01 18:45:57
Message Id: 9122
Not only is remembered pain or dream pain (for me anyway) harder to remember because it is not so immediate, mechanisma also exist within your brain specifically to erase it. I am thinking of childbirth, where women prodice cannibates (marijuana-like substances) in their brains, which cause them to forget the pain of childbirth. Without this, women would never have second kids.
And on the topic of free will versus seemingly free will. Someone said that they have free will because they can imagine themselves having done something else than what they did in a given situation. However, you did NOT do something else, you did what you did. There is no proof, therefore, that you COULD have done anything else in that situation given your mental state and your individual brain.
Another story on percieved free will. There is a type of wasp who lays her eggs in a paralysed caterpillar for her children to eat when they hatch. She proceeds methodically, finding a suitable caterpillar, paralyzing it with her venom, dragging it back to her hole, leaving the caterpillar at the entrance to her hole and going inside to make sure it is still safe and empty, coming back out and dragging the caterpillar in to lay her eggs on.
BUT, if you wait until she has gone into her hole to check, and you move the caterpillar an inch, she will drag the caterpillar back to the entrance of her hole and go back inside to check. She will do this forever if you keep moving the caterpillar. What seemed to be willed behavior is revealed as a loop, programmed in.
How much of our behavior consists of loops like this? Perhaps even some we believe we have control over is one, and part of our brain is assuring the I-function that it is in control in order to maintain sanity?
Just some thoughts
Name: Brad Corr
Date: 2004-04-01 19:49:33
Message Id: 9124
We learned about decerebrate posturing today in class, as, I believe, a response of the nervous system. This sparked some knowledge I remember from being an EMT, and looked it up in my book.
There are three levels of signs and symptoms of head injury. This injury can occur due to trauma or such things as intracranial hemorrhaging or stroke. In the first level blood pressure rises, pulse slows, pupils may become constricted but still be reactive and ventilation begins to exhibit Cheyne-Stokes Breathing. The patient does not respond to verbal stimuli but may initially try to localize and remove painful stimuli. As the problem progresses the patient will only withdraw from pain stimuli and exhibits decorticate posturing. This is flexion of the upper extremities with the lower extremities rigid and extended. This stage of injury is usually reversible with a prompt surgical intervention removing intracranial pressure.
At level two, the blood pressure continues to rise, the pusle becomes slower, pupils become fixed and unreactive, and breathing rate of fast shallow difficult panting occurs. The patient also exhibits decerebrate posturing. This is an extension of the upper extremities with the lower extremities rigid and extended. If level two arises the patient will probably never function normally again.
At level three, the patient becomes flacid, BP drops, HR becomes rapid, and a pupil may "blow" on the same side as the hematoma, or swelling. Breathing may become erratic or absent.*
I'm not exactly sure if this is opposite to what Paul Grobstein was saying in class because decerebrate pusturing is pretty much a last resort response to try and salvage the CNS. However, it seemed to me that he was describing decorticate posturing in class with upper extremity flexion. In either case I'm not sure I clearly understand the reversal from decorticate to decerebrate...But I could get you to the hospital safely if I see it!
*-This info is from The Basic EMT; 2nd Edition. McSwain, Norman E. and Paturas, James L..
Name: Brad Corr
Subject: Red Nucleus
Date: 2004-04-01 20:46:13
Message Id: 9125
Alright, So I found an answer to my problem which obviously brought up ten more questions.
The causes of decorticate vs. decerebrate is damage to the upper motor neurons of the Pons above (decorticate) the red nucleus vs. damage of the motor neurons in the upper midbrain below (decerebrate)the red nucleus. Apparently the exact function of the red nucleus are not well known but it is believed they are highly associated with skilled motor neuron limb movement, especially flexion and extension. A good image of the location of the Red nucleus "Ruber" in the motor neuron path is on
This info goes way beyond our knowledge but its a start at figuring it all out.
Name: Shirley R.
Date: 2004-04-02 12:29:17
Message Id: 9129
Well, while reading over the forum area it was exciting to read everybody's ideas on dreams, motion sickness and memories. I, like many of you, am amazed at the fact that people seemed to "forget" painful memories. I believe this is so becuase it a mechanism that allows you to live a semi-normal life. Why or how does it happen-I have no idea. The brain must know what memories to put away because it knows when memories alter the state of your body. When I remember negative memories- i disconnect myself. In this way I am able to think about them and reflect. If I were to put myself back in that painful memory then I would re-live it and I know that would not be good.
Also, i was wondering what everybody thought of "deja-vu" (not sure how to spell it!). What happens when we have a deja-vu episode? Are we remembering part of a dream or we remembering a past occurrance? Most people believe that deja-vu are dreams that we remember at that certain point. But that would mean that we dream about the events that will occur daily? I just dont know!
Name: maria s-w
Subject: memories ect
Date: 2004-04-03 19:59:00
Message Id: 9141
I find it interesting that some people can block out painful memories given that I'm at the opposite end of the spectrum. I am extraordinarily poor at distancing myself from memories that were at one time upsetting. In fact, if I think seriously about an event that was painful or hurtful or upsetting, it doesn't feel like the echo or the shadow of the experience...emotionally and even physically it feels that it's happening again. I suppose another way to say all this is that my memories of experiences don't dim with time...I don't have good boundaries between the "me" that had an experience in the past and the "me" of right now. I don't know if this has anything to do with being ADD. In my case ADD causes me to experience the world in a very immediate way and I've wondered if the overly intense nature of my emotions are due in part to the fact that I experience them with the same context-less immediacy that tends to characterize my interactions with the world at large. I've come to suspect that these over-the-top reactions (and uncomfortably vivid recollections) are at least due in part to the fact that I don't experience emotions in a larger context that might mitigate their intensity.
Date: 2004-04-03 20:26:44
Message Id: 9142
In class we discussed the topographically organized primary motor cortex, and it reminded me of something my uncle used to do. When I was young and used to complain of stomach aches, my uncle would burn the tip of a needle and press the tip of the needle lightly beneath my thumbnail until my skin broke. Once the blood started flowing, my stomach ache would strangely subside. I am curious if the basis of acupuncture lies in the topographical organization of the primary motor cortex.
Date: 2004-04-04 11:45:18
Message Id: 9145
It is amazing to me what our body accomplishes unconsciously. It makes sense that we have self-maintaining feedback loops for homeostatic purposes such as temperature regulation, or even body weight, but I was surprised how much of our motor functions occur in similar loops. It makes me wonder just how much of our actions we have conscious control of. Do these unconscious loops extend to aspects of ones personality? Are some people introverts and others extroverts due to slightly differing neural designs?
Date: 2004-04-05 13:08:48
Message Id: 9169
I think that the posts people have been making about traumatic memory are really interesting.
There are two other similar phenomena that I am curious about. One, Someone mentioned that some people who experience a very traumatic event can later talk about it without getting emotional, but isn't it often common for a person in that situation to speak as if they were not the person effected? I have heard it described as using a "dead" voice, where there is no emotion whatsoever in their voice or body language, is this true?
The other question I have is similar, I have a friend who was abused when she was younger, but now when she remembers the experience she says that she never felt like she was in her body she was always floating above it, so what causes people to have an "out of body" experiences when suffering from trauma?
Date: 2004-04-05 15:11:02
Message Id: 9172
I think our examination of conscious and subconscious control of CNS function should be applied to animalia in general. We cannot discern the existance of an I-function in other animals, but we have now established the idea of "purpose" and "choice" without an I-Function (Paul's words, not mine.) If purpose and choice are not limited to animals (and CNS) with I-Functions, and assuming that other animals do not have I-Functions, they can however be sentient because of the concerted way that their CNS "chooses" to react to maintain homeostasis, find food etc.,
Name: Natalie Merrill
Subject: traumatic injury/memory
Date: 2004-04-05 16:26:34
Message Id: 9173
Many people have been talking about traumatic experiences (and we touched on this in the past as well) and the connection to memory. I wanted to mention my experience:
Last fall break, I was playing football with my sister and managed to fall and dislocate/break my elbow. It popped out and when I landed on it, and I remember thinking that I had gone down too far. I didn't feel any pain and didn't immediately notice my injury as I was wearing long sleeves, but when I went to stand up I couldn't keep my body up. I sat down and turned my head and lifted my sleeve and my family nearby gasped at the sight of the distorted limb.
After getting it set at the hospital, for the next several days I was plagued with the image of myself falling. Again and again I would see it, and each time it would cause me to cringe. It was as if I were reliving the moment - possible because of the lack of pain I initially felt. Still, when I recall my injury I can vividly remember the initial experience of falling and thinking "that wasn't right..."
Two things about this are interesting to me: the lack of pain I initially felt, and my memory of the event. I remember little else, except the initial fall and my brain's ability to play that back over and over again never ceases to amaze me.
Date: 2004-04-05 18:34:10
Message Id: 9176
I thought that Kristen raised an interesting question of whether or not aspects of our personalities could result from unconscious loops. In general, I wonder if it is possible for us to "think" unconsciously, if there is even such a thing. With respect to personalities, I know a few people who seem to be completely oblivious to that which is "socially acceptable." I know that this could be done deliberately, but for the select few for whom it is not, what unconscious processes reduce (or for that matter cause) an individual's ability to receive cues from any social situation that will lead to a suitable response? Is there any way to determine why it is that a person unconsciously and automatically reacts to almost anything in a socially awkward way? Where do the points on the spectrum between diagnosable disorder and personality trait lie? I think it is interesting because for everything that we may say without thinking, or even "think" without thinking, there seems to always be that lack of consciousness, where fault (or at the very least general unacceptability) goes unrecognized by the individual herself unless someone brings it to her attention. How do "we" decide whether our patterns of social behavior should be conscious or unconscious? Revisiting my initial question regarding unconscious thought, is it the I-fn that makes that decision for us and if so, how do we not know about it?
Date: 2004-04-05 19:51:21
Message Id: 9177
In response to what Erica said, about receiving cues from social situations, I don't think anyone can say exactly what causes a person to be socially awkward, but I've done some research on a disorder called autism- and an inability to interpret social cues is one major aspect of that disorder. There's a theory that people with autism lack what's called a "theory of mind", in varying degrees, depending on their level of autism (autism can range from non-verbal and mentally retarded, to so mild it's not diagnosed for years). A theory of mind is one's ability, basically, to recognize that other people have minds like one's own- to be able to draw conclusions about a person's mental state based on their outward behaviour. Anyway, it's typical for people to start developing this ability at a very young age, around the age of 3, I believe. So a complete inability to recognize social cues- an inability to understand what is and isn't socially acceptable, could be caused by a dysfunction in your theory of mind.
And also in response to Erica- "Where do the points on the spectrum between diagnosable disorder and personality trait lie?" - That's a very very neat question, so I'm going to give my opinion. My gut reaction is that it would often not be possible to distinguish between the two. The word "disorder" is a difficult one. All that it truly means, ultimately, is that a person varies from the norm. Varies so much from the norm that it's noticeable, and sometimes debilitating- but still... If a disorder affects a person's personality, like autism (there are plenty of others, I'm sure. I just say autism because I'm slightly obsessed with it.), the person's "true" personality would be the one created by the disorder. If the disorder were cured, somehow- then the person's personality would change. The true personality traits would not have been revealed by the cure- they would've been changed. Personality is a very fluid thing. It's a product of the nervous system, and if a disorder affects the nervous system, the personality produced will be affected as well.
There was an Oliver Sack's story about a man with Tourette's syndrome, that that reminds me of- the disorder was a part of him, a part of his personality, and he got very upset after he was medicated and the symptoms of the disorder left him. The medication had taken away too much of what he was- had changed his personality.
Subject: pain, dreams and disorientation
Date: 2004-04-05 20:03:10
Message Id: 9178
Lots of interesting discussion threads going on..
On dreams: From personal experience, I often experience disorientation while i'm sleeping and/or dreaming. If i remember correctly, I think this disorientation, or the sensation that I'm suddenly falling usually occurs when I'm not dreaming (but i'm not sure about this). Afterwards, I jolt awake, reassessing my situation to realize that I am not in fact falling, and that I am merely lying on my bed. Obviously there is some kind of fluid shift in our semicircular canals which results in this sensation of disorientation, but why does this randomly occur during sleep, when we are already in a position to alleviate motion sickness? Also, can dreams trigger the onset of this falling, or disorientation? This is extremely fascinating because it would suggest that dreaming is a more physical process than we imagine it to be. Since our bodies are essentially locked in a certain position during REM sleep, it makes it seem even more incredible that this sensation arrives spontaneously.
Pain: Pain has always been a really intresting topic for me, especially as an athlete. Coaches and trainers always stress the difference between "pain" and an "injury," defining an injury as the body's inability to perform a certain function because of damage incurred. However, athletes tread such a fine line between the two. They are often encouraged to treat injuries as just "pain," and that they must gut it out for the sake of the team and the game. Once we suffer an injury, and experience the associated pain, I think that this painful experience leaves a residual memory that makes it difficult to recover mentally. For example: I suffered an injury a could of weeks ago where i experienced extreme pain. I altered my workouts in order to rehab this injury, and it took me a long time until I tried doing my "normal" routine again. Every time i experienced pain, no matter how small, I had it set in my mind that i was still "injured." I think it is common to find that athletes or anyone can mentally psych themselves out into thinking that they are hurt, or feeling pain. It seems logical that the longer one is hurt for, the harder it is to return to the normal routine because one may be afraid the injury is still present. If whatever sensation of pain we experience is "real," than how can we differentiate between someone that might be a hypocondriac (they are always afraid they are hurt, or always have some sort of experience of pain) or someone who is really hurt? Medicine comes in here to show us via xrays or tests if there is really an injury, but what if there is no "injury" and pain is still felt?
Date: 2004-04-05 20:28:52
Message Id: 9180
I think the notion brought up in the forum about unconscious loops and its possible application to our behavior very interesting. If what we learned about set-points and loops can extend to our personalities, is there an unconscious "set-point" that is the nucleus for our behavior – weather it be socially acceptable or not? If there is this nucleus, can it change? If so, can the I-funciton play a role in its evoluation, is the individual aware that they behave differnt, or does that awareness come by way of others commenting about the change externally "My, you have gotten so mature"?
I thought of this scenario in terms of a card game. We are dealt the cards and given rules to play the hand – what we do with the cards (how we play them) is up to us. Within the given rules our possibilities are endless, however, we can only do so much due to our dealt hand. Could it be possible that the loops and unconscious set-point are the dealt cards and given rules – things we are unaware of and have no possibility of controlling? And our I-function is our conscience attempt to do the best with what we are given? If people are dealt different hands or given different rules, they will act differently than others in the same situation. If this is the case, is it possible for the situation to be flipped in that people realize that they are not acting in a socially acceptable way, but not have any idea as how to change it? Is it possible for the I-function to be aware of what is happening – and that something may be different – but have no idea as to what is specifically wrong? Can you alter "set-points" permanently? Is change possible? In the case of kids growing into teens, and teens becoming adults, what makes people emotionally mature – is it a change in "set-point"? What role does the I-function play in terms of mental growth and awareness?
Name: Amy Gao
Subject: disease-affected personality disorder
Date: 2004-04-05 22:23:38
Message Id: 9184
In response to what Anjali said on personality induced disorder:
My cousin was diagnosed with bipolar disorder a few years back. He would forcibly wash his hands and take showers several times a day, and he became this person who cannot hold solid conversations with people because his approach to life became depressive and nihilistic from the depression that accompanied his disorder. Fortunately, with proper medication and therapy over the course of a couple years, he was able to gradually overcome the disorder and now has a much more healthy and positive look on life and is an accomplishing student at school.
I think that the bipolar disorder had affected his personality and the ways that he do things; but once the disease had been properly treated, he was able to continue on with his life without the negativity that had resulted from the disorder.
Subject: The Nervous System's Memory
Date: 2004-04-05 23:31:07
Message Id: 9187
This is going back to a discussion we had a couple of weeks ago, but I was just thinking about the idea of our I-box knowing/remembering something versus our nervous system knowing/remembering. I remember someone in class discussing the fact that, if woken up during the night, they immediately experience the fear associated with a burglary that took place years earlier. But what determines whether an individual's central nervous system "remembers" an event? And why does it seem to vary from person to person? The fact that there does seem to be a variation regarding whether the central nervous system remembers or forgets something suggest that there is so much more going on than we are able to realize...
Name: Akudo Ejelonu
Date: 2004-04-06 00:03:01
Message Id: 9189
Why is it that I tend to remember the things that I want to forget and forget the things that I want to remember/
Subject: Intense Memories
Date: 2004-04-06 00:43:25
Message Id: 9192
Quite a few people have commented on the fact that memories seem to lessen the intensity with which an emotion was originally felt. But aren't phobias an example of how the memory of a traumatic event can augment the initial sensation felt? When I was four or five, my uncle took me to the beach and pretended that he was going to through me into the waves. I remember him laughing while he was holding me and must have known that he was teasing but I was terrified he'd drop me and I'd drown. Still, the little bit of unease I must have felt at the time, got translated into a horrible fear somewhere in my memory. When I went to the beach a few weeks later with my family, I refused to go anywhere near the water....On a similar note, I've always been amazed by actors who realistically portray incredibly emotional scenes upon command. Imagine being able to reproduce the anguish felt over a friend/family member's death having never had that experience? Doesn't it seem like they would have to dip into their memories, pull out a sensation of sorrow/pain, and then adapt/magnify it?
Name: Katina Krasnec
Subject: Dreams and Memories
Date: 2004-04-06 01:47:04
Message Id: 9194
When talking about memory, one must talk about school and studying. I myself have varying states of motivation in which to study, but why is it that cramming is so effective? Isn't the short term memory only able to hold 7 to 9 "objects" in place until it moves to the long term? (This explains why phone numbers are seven digits!) What does studying a week before do to help improve it, even if it's still relatively close? What's would one think would be the "best way" to retain the most memory?
As for dreams, because of numerous experiences within my life I believe, I often experience violent dreams in which there would be a physical pain in my dream. In this dream, I could feel the pain inflicted, and if or when I woke up, often times the pain would still linger, and not be explainable by anything that could occur when sleeping. What explains this? Are dreams and motor nervous system somehow connected? Would my belief that traumatic events can cause this be true?
Lastly, what about when your limbs fall asleep? How does that effect what you percieve as your "own body?"
Name: Mridula Shankar
Subject: Visual system and pain perception
Date: 2004-04-06 02:55:35
Message Id: 9195
Natalie's post about her fall and initial lack of pain made me think about the degree to which pain perception relies on feedback from the visual system. I once pricked the side of my head with a nail while doing a physics experiment in high school and didn't feel a thing until I saw blood gushing out of the wound. (I think it had probably struck an artery and hence the large amounts of blood.) It was only until I actually saw the blood that my head started throbbing and that I began to feel the sensation of pain. It is interesting that inputs from the visual system create heightened responses of fear, pain and anxiety and that the images created of events that cause these emotions are largely responsible for a number of related disorders.
Where do feelings of pain originate from? Is it created by the "I-function" in response to specific stimuli or can one feel pain independent of the working of the I-function.
Date: 2004-04-06 03:40:51
Message Id: 9196
In response to Mridula's comment on pain. I have stories that relate closely to hers. However, recently I began running and noticed that a lot of my joints were aching. I wonder if there are some sort of distinctions between the types of pain. I would never expect my knees and ankles to hurt me, but yet I still feel pain. One reason I can think of is just that the brain is receiving mixed signals from these areas and decides to pass it off as pain.
Date: 2004-04-06 06:24:40
Message Id: 9197
In response to the postings about dreams, I have an interesting experience to put out there. I went to a party this one evening after a very long week of much work and limited sleep. After I finally did go to bed, when I woke up the next morning, I had a dream about the party from the previous night. The strange thing, however, is that the dream was very realistic and it blends in very well with the events of that evening. It came to the point where I could not make a distinction between which of my memories had actually happened and which came from the dream. What's also interesting is that I am one of those people that rarely ever remember their dreams, so for me to remember this so clearly and effectively was very surprising. What had happened in my system that night? Was it because I was so exhausted?
Send us your comments at Serendip
| Course Home Page
| Course Forum | Brain and
Behavior | Serendip Home |
© by Serendip 1994-
- Last Modified:
Thursday, 03-Oct-2013 13:48:49 EDT