Friday, August 17, 2007

Top 10 Unsolved Mysteries of the Brain

By David Eagleman
Source: Discover Magazine

Of all the objects in the universe, the human brain is the most complex: There are as many neurons in the brain as there are stars in the Milky Way galaxy. So it is no surprise that, ­despite the glow from recent advances in the science of the brain and mind, we still find ourselves squinting in the dark somewhat.

But we are at least beginning to grasp the crucial mysteries of neuroscience and starting to make headway in addressing them. Even partial answers to these 10 questions could restructure our understanding of the roughly three-pound mass of gray and white matter that defines who we are.

  • 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?


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