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Showing blog posts tagged with "Brain"

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Decision Making and the Brain

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On Thursday, January 20, neuroscientist Paul Glimcher of New York University and Rob DeSalle, curator of Brain: The Inside Story, will discuss the interdisciplinary field of neuroeconomics and how the brain enables humans to evaluate decisions, categorize risks and rewards, and interact with each other. Glimcher, whose books include Neuroeconomics: Decision Making and the Brain and Foundations of Neuroeconomic Analysis, recently answered a few questions about the discipline.

What is neuroeconomics?

Neuroeconomics is a highly synthetic and interdisciplinary effort to understand how both humans and animals make decisions.

What role does neuroeconomics play in our daily lives?

Decisions — the events that neuroeconomists seek to understand and predict — are embedded every aspect of our lives: what to have for breakfast, who to marry, or where to invest our retirement accounts. We make these choices effortlessly, but how? Over the last decade the basic outlines of the answer to that question have begun to become clear and the answers are surprising, exciting, and at times even troubling. It now seems clear that every day, at every action, our brains unconsciously compute and store the values of every event that befalls us. So I would have to say: neuroeconomics is our daily lives.

Tags: Brain

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Brain Tweetup Roundup

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“Tweeting is a lot like the nervous system,” Curator Rob DeSalle told the crowd that gathered on Wednesday, January 12 for the first-ever Tweetup at the American Museum of Natural History—a comparison all the more appropriate coming from DeSalle, who curated the Museum’s interactive exhibition Brain: The Inside Story.

The evening kicked off with an after-hours tour of the exhibition, where Tweeters got a look inside a dancer’s brain, tried connecting neurons, and attempted to speak foreign languages. There was also time to talk with DeSalle and co-curator Joy Hirsch.

After refreshments, tweeters headed behind the scenes to learn about the brains of other creatures from Museum scientists and to get a peek at Museum collections. Christine Johnson, a curatorial associate in the Division of Invertebrate Zoology, discussed group decision-making and chemical triggers in ants. Ronald Clouse, a post-doctoral researcher, presented specimens of crustaceans and a few echinoderms while discussing how some of these simple organisms make sophisticated decisions.

To see all the tweets about the event, look for the hashtag #AMNHTweetup or check out the photos on Flickr-and stay tuned for information about upcoming Tweetups at the American Museum of Natural History.

Tags: Brain

Podcast

Podcast: Brain Master Class

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The human brain is sometimes described as the world’s most complex structure. Today, advances in biochemistry and new technologies that allow us to watch the brain in action are revealing more than ever before.

In this podcast, the scientists behind the special exhibition, Brain: The Inside Story, present a master class on all things brain. Join the discussion on topics ranging from neural evolution to the latest in brain-imaging technology.

Speakers, in order of appearance, include neuroscientist psychoanalyst Maggie Zellner of The Rockefeller University; Rob DeSalle, curator in the Division of Invertebrate Zoology at the American Museum of Natural History; and Joy Hirsch, director of the Program for Imaging & Cognitive Sciences at Columbia University.

Recorded at the Museum on December 16, 2010.

Podcast: Download | RSS | iTunes (2 hours, 4 mins, 149 MB)

Tags: Brain

brainbeat

Brain Beat: Animal Brains

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By examining the neural wiring and structure of animal brains, researchers can gain insight into the workings of the human brain, sometimes described as the world’s most complex structure. (The 100,000 neurons of a fly’s brain are easier to track and catalog than the human brain’s one hundred billion.) In the Museum’s current exhibition Brain: The Inside Story, visitors can learn more about the difference — and similarities — between human and animal brains.

Visitors will have also have the chance to view and compare the brains of different animals on Saturday, January 15, at the family-friendly program BRAINFest! The Museum’s Sackler Lab will offer kids and families the chance to learn about how genes work in the brain and look at neurons under a microscope.

In the meantime, check out these recent stories on animal brain research that also provides insight into the human brain.

Tags: Brain

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