What the Neocortex Does

Gary Forbis GaryForbis at email.msn.com
Thu Aug 10 21:47:19 EST 2000

"Ray Scanlon" <rscanlon at wsg.net> wrote in message news:39930875.0 at ns2.wsg.net...
> "Gary Forbis" wrote: in message
> > "Ray Scanlon" wrote:
> > > When observing the brain, the neuroscientist sees neurons in varying
> degrees
> > > of excitation. When looking at a brain in abstract thought, he wonders
> > > whether this abstract thought is a consequence of the activation of the
> > > reticular nucleus of the thalamus (the neurons that comprise the ...).
> This
> > > activation of the RNT halts sensory input on its way to the neocortex
> and
> > > allows the neurons of the cortex to activate free of  sensory input. He
> > > wonders which neurons activate the RNT and which others deactivate the
> RNT.
> > > And is deactivation of the RNT  what we mean when we speak of "coming to
> a
> > > decision"?
> >
> > That's pretty cool.  I doubt the deactivation of the RNT is what we mean
> > when we speak of "coming to a decision" because I interspersed rereading
> > of the prior paragraph with thinking without coming to a decision.  I
> guess
> > I came to a decision in the sense of deciding to reread the paragraph (if
> > that was a decision and not just a behavior, no conscious decision was
> > reached but the behavior was observed.)
> Why "doubt it"? Do you have some other circuitry in mind? All mammalian
> brains have a thalamic reticular nucleus (I believe; I could very well be
> wrong!). When the TRN releases a motor program, presently being held up in
> the V.A.-V.L. complex of the thalamus, a motor act ensues. The dog
> hesitates. The dog moves. He has decided.
> Possibly you are thinking of the soul (mind). That is the subject of an
> entirely different tale told by the religionists. The brain belongs to
> science; the soul (mind) to religion. Let us stick to the brain.

Nope.  I'm thinking of the brain.

An analogy.

An automated door may open when a person is near but a person needn't
enter every time the door is opened.

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