Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Cognitive brain function, physics

Humans can learn, and have the capacity to solve problems.  Solutions exist to fix Pacifica for the benefit and progress of our entire community. 

Science Daily News/Carnegie Mellon University, 4/12/16. "Scientists discover how the brain repurposes itself to learn scientific concepts."

"Summary: The human brain was initially used for basic survival tasks, such as staying safe and hunting and gathering. Yet, 200,000 years later, the same human brain is able to learn abstract concepts, like momentum, energy and gravity, which have only been formally defined in the last few centuries. New research has now uncovered how the brain is able to acquire brand new types of ideas.

 ....  The research showed for the first time how learning physics concepts is accomplished by repurposing neural structures that were originally used for general everyday purposes. More specifically, the brain is able to learn physics concepts because of its ability to understand the four fundamental concepts of causal motion, periodicity, energy flow and algebraic (sentence-like) representations.

....  Brain systems that process rhythmic periodicity when hearing a horse gallop also support the understanding of wave concepts in physics. Similarly, understanding gravity involves visualizing causal motion, like an apple falling from a tree; energy flow uses the same system as sensing warmth from a fire or the sun; and understanding how one concept relates to others in an equation uses the same brain systems that are used to comprehend sentences describing quantities.

'This is why humans have been able to move ahead and innovate -- because we can use our brain for new purposes,' Marcel Just (scientist) said. "Human brains haven't changed much over a few thousand years, but new fields like aeronautics, genetics, medicine and computer science have been developed and continuously change. Our findings explain how the brain is able to learn and discover new types of concepts.

These findings are examples of the many brain research breakthroughs at Carnegie Mellon. CMU has created some of the first cognitive tutors, helped to develop the Jeopardy-winning Watson, founded a groundbreaking doctoral program in neural computation, and is the birthplace of artificial intelligence and cognitive psychology. Building on its strengths in biology, computer science, psychology, statistics and engineering, CMU launched BrainHub, an initiative that focuses on how the structure and activity of the brain give rise to complex behaviors."  Read article. 

Reference, the Abstract. Carneigie Mellon University/Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging/ Robert A. Mason and Marcel Adam Just, pdf pages 9.  Note: graphic is from this Science Daily article.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

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