Thursday, 16 August 2007

10 Unsolved Mysteries Of The Brain

Understanding the complexity and capability of the human brain presents one of the major challenges of the 21st century and for the development of the knowledge economy. Given that the 3 pound mass that is the average human brain contains more neurons than there are stars in the Milky Way suggests we have a long way to go.

A recent article by David Eagleman’s in Discover magazine gives a fascinating insight into neuroscience by discussing the 10 major challenges faced by those attempting to unravel the mysteries of the brain. The list is:

1. How is information coded in neural activity?
2. How are memories stored and retrieved?
3. What does the baseline activity in the brain represent?
4. How do brains simulate the future?
5. What are emotions?
6. What is intelligence?
7. How is time represented in the brain?
8. Why do brains sleep and dream?
9. How do the specialized systems of the brain integrate with one another?
10. What is consciousness?

Reading this list is fascinating, not least because Eagleman’s list describes issues which are both conceptual and empirical.

Mind Hacks suggested that:

…brain research relies as much on conceptual developments as laboratory work is one reason why philosophers are so important to cognitive science…

For those of us working in HR and organisational psychology our challenge is to equip ourselves and our clients with what Robyn McMaster calls

…practical brain based tactics that optimize satisfaction and output at work…


Robyn McMaster, PhD said...

Hi Scott, though we're learning so much more, and can build on it, I sense some of the conundrms here will remain so for years to come.

Some people may know a bit when it relates to emotions or intelligence, but we have much further to go.

Thanks for the link

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