Cool Jobs:Andre Fenton | Summary and Q&A

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March 6, 2015
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World Science Festival
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Cool Jobs:Andre Fenton

TL;DR

Professor Andre Fenton discusses his work on understanding the human brain, including illusions, memory storage, plasticity, and mind reading.

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Key Insights

  • 💭 The brain is essential to understanding thought, consciousness, and what it means to be human.
  • 🧠 Illusions demonstrate that our brain's interpretation of reality is subjective and influenced by neural processes.
  • ❓ Memory storage and retrieval depend on the functioning of molecules like PKM Zeta.
  • 🧠 The brain is a plastic organ that changes and learns from experiences.
  • 🫠 Mind reading experiments with rats provide insights into how brain activity relates to thoughts and interpretations.
  • 😨 Developing technologies to record human brain activity in emergency situations can improve patient care.
  • 🧠 Collaboration among different fields, such as biology, biochemistry, and behavioral science, is vital in advancing brain research.

Transcript

you know whenever we study animals or whenever we we build robots whenever we search for intelligence in outer space what we're ultimately doing we're dealing with the brain we're dealing with thought we're dealing with Consciousness every thought you ever had took place within the walls of your head I mean even if you believe that the thoughts exi... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How does the brain interpret illusions, such as the perception of color?

Illusions, like the one demonstrated with the A and B squares, show that our brain's interpretation of reality is not always accurate. When certain cues or factors come into play, our brain can perceive things differently.

Q: What is the role of PKM Zeta in memory storage?

PKM Zeta is a molecule that plays a crucial role in storing information and memories in the brain. By understanding how this molecule operates, researchers can potentially manipulate and enhance memory formation, as well as interfere with pathological memories.

Q: How does the brain change and learn from experience?

The brain is a plastic organ, meaning it can change throughout our lives. Our experiences shape the neural connections within the brain, which in turn influence our perception and interpretation of the world. By studying brain plasticity, researchers like Fenton aim to understand this process better.

Q: How does mind reading work in rats?

Fenton's team conducted experiments with rats on a rotating carousel, mapping their brain activity as they moved around. By recording the electrical signals of their neurons and decoding them, researchers were able to determine what the rats were thinking about in real-time, showing a rudimentary form of mind reading.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Professor Andre Fenton's job involves studying the brain to understand thought, consciousness, and what it means to be human.

  • He explores illusions, such as the perception of color, to understand how the brain interprets and makes sense of the world.

  • Fenton's research focuses on understanding how the brain stores and processes information, particularly in relation to memory and the molecule PKM Zeta.

  • He also investigates brain plasticity and how our experiences shape our interpretations of the world.

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