Science Interviews

Interview

Tue, 19th Feb 2013

Experience, Perception and Emotion

Professor Cori Bargmann, New York

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Now we finish off with something else that has been keeping a neuroscientist up all night, her wonder and amazement at how our brain computes information to give us our perception of the world.

Cori -   Hi.  I'm Cori Bargmann from the Rockefeller University in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in New York in the USA. 

Burning questionsOne of the things that amazes about the brain is that every day, your brain encounters a different situation that youíve never seen before, and maybe has never been seen before by anyone in the world, and yet, your brain can make sense of it.  There are infinitely many worlds and your brain takes all of those worlds and turns them into a logical, coherent series of events.  We donít know how to teach a computer how to interpret every possible event that could ever arise in the world.  You can even imagine writing a computer programme that would programme in every situation, every combination of people, every combination of the weather, and the place, and the car, and the situation you find yourself in.  And yet, your brain solves that problem effortlessly and turns it into a constant and sensible perception of the world. 

So, I'm really interested in understanding how the brain can interpret infinitely many environments and generate infinitely many perceptions and emotions, and thoughts and behaviours.  And thatís why I'm a neuroscientist and I study the brain.

Hannah -   That was Professor Cori Bargmann from Howard Hughes Medical Institute, New York, describing how all at infinite colliding situations perception and emotions.

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