Is it possible to read someone's mind?

Brian zhil at online.no
Sun Jun 10 09:08:31 EST 2001


Hello John,
This is the EXACT post I was asking for, deep and thoughtful, thank you !!

"John H" <john at faraway> skrev i melding news:3b22f48b_2 at news01.one.net.au...
> Speculative ideas can be fun, I generate a dozen or so each week. I also
> know that these can be damn annoying for other people. If you have an
> interesting speculation consider the following:
>
> 1. Someone has thought of it before, you just haven't read enough.
> 2. Someone has thought of it before, and knows why it is a stupid idea.
> 3. No-one has thought of it before, consider seeing a psychiatrist.

How about dividing no.3 in a and b, like:
a)The thought is theoretically possible, but it requiers much time and
research.
b)The thought is NOT possible even theoretically, and it's a waste of time
speculating.
Of course I know 1 and 2, but that's why I mused and asked if anybody
knew of any kind of research that would illuminate this speculation.
Your posting proved that.

> If you genuinely believe you have a decent idea, do some work on it, read
> the relevant research, bring this into your argument(not formal
referencing,
> just enough to indicate that the data does exist) so that people can see
you
> have done some research and are prepared to put in an effort to
substantiate
> your own ideas. If you're not prepared to do this you can't expect others
to
> work hard on your speculations.

But I didn't expect to get so much ridicule............

> I follow this heuristic with my ideas: 90% are bad, 9% are good, 1% merit
> deep investigation. Ideas are easy, proving the same is another matter
> altogether.

I agree.

> I learnt the hard way, when I first came to bionet.neuroscience, now
> returned after an extended absence, there were numerous quality neuros
here
> to help me along (F Lefever, D Sternberg, M Jones, N Medford + a few
more).
> Unfortunately the kook show factor overwhelmed bionet.neuroscience and so
> many of these fine minds went away. A great loss to me because I have
> limited
> access to such minds and relied heavily on this forum to sharpen and
deepen
> my neuro thinking. If you're amateur like myself you're going to need
help,
> nothing is easy here. Get used to copping flak, its inevitable and you
learn
> quicker that way. The final goal is to find your mistakes before anyone
> does, but that doesn't happen as often as I would like. We need each other
> for that.

I'm an amatuer like yourself, but with an education in electronics - I got
carried
away by the possibilities of extension with the brain-machine interface that
Yin
is interested in commercializing.

> As to visual training, from vague memories:
>
> Some fascinating experiments were conducted in which blind individuals
were
> fitted with a plate on their back. This plate contained hundreds of tiny
> knobs that touched the skin to create a specific pattern representing a
> letter or whatever. Through this mechanism the individuals could be
trained
> to 'see' the pattern.

I've read the same thing that you wrote here.

> There are currently some very experimental trials in visual replacement.
One
> case I vaguely remember is that of an individual fitted with a tiny video
> camera in the eyesocket. This was attached to a series of electrodes
> implanted into the rear of the skull for primary visual stimulation. The
> news report on this said the scientists claimed this will enable a person
to
> see eventually. My problems with this are:

I saw it on a program, were they simulated how the individual would 'see'.
It was a 4x4 vision and the 'pixels' could have either black or white
'values'.
They said they were going to improve on it, but if you just stick the
electrodes into the brain; you're limiting your possibilities.
I don't want limitations.

> 1.
>
> The primary visual cortex is but one of multiple processing modalities.
> Upstream of this are the 'higher' visual areas, the dorsal and ventral
> streams which deal with specific aspects of vision (place and
identification
> I think), and then there's the frontal eye fields, and the prefrontal
cortex
> also has a role in visual memory and attention(read some beautiful studies
> by Goldman Rakic on that!). Full vision is not recreating a picture in the
> mind. I don't know what it is, but it is not that. Simultaneous
entrainment
> of all the relevant neural regions is my best guess but that says nothing
> and is a given ... .

I go with that, because it makes sense.
We have 3D-vision, not 2D vision; never doubted that.
Just wondered if the VC could be re-trained, or possibly extended with
stem-cells reprogrammed by vectors to serve as neuron-cells.
Thus the reference to C.J.A.Ring and E.D.Blair

> 2.
>
> Downstream (relative to retina) the optic nerves send projections to
> superior collicus (for saccade control among other things I think), the
> lateral geniculate nucleus, and with respect to the latter retains retinal
> geometry, as does happen in the primary visual cortex.
>
> It is interesting that I have not seen any followups to the above
> experiment, my guess they are having all sorts of problems. With this
> external stimulation of the visual cortex how can visual attention be
> oriented? What about colour? Does the stimulation of the visual cortex
only
> create the broadest possible geometric patterns(hence the early promise)
and
> never allow for fine discrimination? Will the individuals ever be able to
> truly locate visual objects in geometric space?

I think they hit the wall, because they were limiting themselves.
A video-camera gives only a 2D-image while the eyes is more complicated.
They have to develope a video-camera that gives 3D-information; which is
not impossible, but difficult at best.
I don't claim that I have the solution, but one solution would be to
develope
a video-camera are working like the eye.
Not linear as video-cameras today, but 'rounded' if you know what I mean.

> 3.
>
> Japanese scientists have overcome the above problems by inserting tiny
light
> sensitive devices into the retina and these then fire up retinal
ganglionic
> assemblies. Now that is a real possible solution but again we are a very
> long way from achieving the degrees of resolution that individual retinal
> cells achieve (down to 7 photons). My guess is that the greatest promise
for
> this technology will be for those born blind at birth, but then one would
> have little time to have the device fitted because the visual cortex will
> 'shut down' and stay that way even after intensive stimulation (Hubel's
> 'monocular' cats).

The solution would be to reprogram these cells by inserting vectors made
specifically for the VC.

> -----
>
> Echolocation
>
> I cannot reference this but remember reading of a 15 year old blind boy
who
> could ride his push bike around the block via echolocation. Apparently it
> does happen with some blind people though rarely to that level of
> proficiency. My spin on this is:
>
> The auditory cortex exists primarily in two layers, its processing is
aimed
> at identifying sound source and frequency. However, in blind individuals
> there is a gradual recruitment of some visual processing areas for sound
> processing. This visual cortex is ideally designed for geometric and
spatial
> properties of objects. The stimulation of the visual cortex via sound
> probably leads to downstream activation of the dorsal or ventral stream,
> thereby allowing for much greater discrimination in sound processing.
>
> Consider synaethesia (spelling!), where sensory modalities overlap - eg.
> sounds generate colours. It is believed that babies experience this, and
the
> studies on the Russian mnemonic(Luria's patient) indicate this as he
appears
> to be one of the VERY FEW people who accurately recalls very early
childhood
> experiences(at circa age 5 we forget most of our childhood). At this time
> the brain has not delinaeated the various sensory modalities, that takes
> time. In some individuals this process never quite finalises.
>
> Consider 'gaze tinnitus' where if an individual stares in a certain
> direction then tinnitus ensues. This may relate to ocular nerve
projections
> to auditory cortex (there is research indicating that tinnitus arises in
the
> auditory cortex, not the cochlea itself). The brain is not as neat and
tidy
> as all those diagrams suggest ... .
>
> Consider the recent fascinating work of Ed Taub, wherein by forcing
> individuals to use their paralzyed limb some recovery of function could be
> achieved.
>
> Clearly then sensory modalities are far more flexible then we are
accustomed
> to think. However, I cannot see the value in directly acting on the brain
to
> extend visual awareness for different frequencies. We have technology that
> can do that and do it much more powerfully and safely than mucking around
> with brains. Furthermore, such a technology would overload the brain, even
> if we could generate the expanded wavelength receptivity it would probably
> be at the cost of other modalities. There's no free lunch in the CNS and
> don't give me that 'but we only use 10% of our brain so why not ... . A
> myth, if you keep loading up the brain with too many tasks you'll probably
> end up with excitatory amino acid induced apoptosis and necrosis. Ask any
> poor chronic epileptic ... . Particularly re hippocampus (highest
> concentration of NMDA receptors) and the PFC.
>
> In complete contradiction to my first subject I have not researched this.
> Off the top, speculative. Go for your life everyone!
>
>
> John H.

Great thoughts, but I have never thought that the brain limits itself (10%).
That doesn't make sense.
Who in his/her right mind would limit his/her capabilities ?
Anyway -I have to ask you if you know this for a fact - is it in the VC
the 3D-visualation/modelling exisits ?

Thanks for great post, BTW
Mvh
Brian





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