The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: The secret behind human consciousness?  (Read 3426 times)

Offline siochi

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 49
    • View Profile
The secret behind human consciousness?
« on: 25/01/2011 16:54:27 »
I am participating in the google global science fair, and the theme of my project is "The Human Consciousness" .


I start my project with an assumption that the human brain is incapable of producing any free thought, and that all its action and thoughts are a reaction of its genes, environmental condition, and external stimulation.

Later, I compare the human brain to a computer system, the only difference being that the human brain is a far much complex and sophisticated instrument than any computer invented by human. I also state that the human brain has untapped capabilities, and cannot utilize the total of its processing capability. At this point, I compare the operating system of computer with the human consciousness, and state that they are basically the same things. As the computer operating system works on different platforms,and languages, so does the human brain. The human brain can continuously shift from the various forms of platforms, and languages (auditory, visual,etc).

Then, I proceed by saying that the human brain is able to visualize things by the process of internal stimulation. Internal stimulation is the process in which the human brain (cerebrum) produces electrical signals which are identical to the signals that the brain receives from the sensory organs. So, in order for the brain to imagine an apple, the part of the brain responsible for internal stimulation will send out electrical signals which will closely match with the signals that the brain would receive from the eye.

After this, I state that the human brain is able to come up with new innovative ideas because of the three elements present in the brain
1) Database (a storage of events and incidents; Memories)
2) Interpretation (the part of the brain which stores information about the emotions that a person has for a particular thing)
3) Logic (an entity that is formed by experience. In other words, it is the gist of all the experience that a human had.)

Using the above three entities, the human brain is able to think. For example, if a human being wants to think about an apple, then the database would supply the brain with the knowledge of what an apple is, and then the interpretation would trigger the feelings that he possess for the apple, and then, the logic would clarify other properties of the apple.

At this point, I state that all the ideas that human being think of ( all the inventions, discoveries,etc) are the product of the what the human perceives i.e. what the senses perceive. It is impossible for the human brain to imagine anything that other than what the senses perceive. For a person with no senses since birth would not be able to imagine anything, since he doesn't posses the essential database component.
Another interesting property of the above hypothesis is that the human brain is able to break an idea into subcomponents, and deal with it individually. This leads to the production of ideas even without thinking of the whole object.

I would like to suggest a thought experiment at this time to make the above thing clear.

Imagine we didn't have the sense of sight, would it have been possible for us to think in terms of colour? Maybe, after a long time, and after a lot of development in science, the humans would have been able to think about light as an electromagnetic wave, but this idea itself would have born from the the idea of sound wave, in other words, from  the preexisting knowledge.

After this, I step up on the next level, and use the above information to produce some practical results.

One way I suggest to use the above information is by creating new neural connections.
I intend to lead an experiment by hypnotizing a person, and then presenting him with about 10 different scents. I would ask him to breathe deeply into each scent, and then make a mental note of the scents as 1,2,3,etc. After this, then I would ask him to recall the smell of the scent #1, #2,#3, etc. I would continue with this method for a little while, and after sometime, bring him back to consciousness.

The result I expect is that his brain activities would boost as new neural connections were made during the experiment, and that the processing capability of the brain has increased greatly. An estimated 10%-20% improvement in the brain's capability is expected.



Is there any hole in my hypotheses? Are any of my assumptions, hypothesis, ideas incorrect? Please let me know.

bye
« Last Edit: 25/01/2011 17:52:25 by siochi »


 

Offline imatfaal

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2787
  • rouge moderator
    • View Profile
The secret behind human consciousness?
« Reply #1 on: 25/01/2011 18:52:19 »
Good Stuff; I don't agree with a lot of it, but I understood the argument and it is persuasively written. 

Your experiment would need huge pre-implementation research and planning - possibly, if it was at school, including ethical supervision.  Even if you are merely presenting a possible experiment (that a fully equipped university dept would be able to manage) you should include various sections. For a start you need to have a control group, ethical issues analysis, theoretical basis, and review of previous work.

On your argument - you are taking much of your intuition and preconceptions and using them as your base to move forward.  Now this might be necessary to an extent - but I think you are losing a lot of interesting and perhaps 'investigatable' ground by not engaging with the basic questions and moving straight onto a physical experiment (which would be very difficult).  That the human brain is purely reactive - I think you would then say it must be purely deterministic - is a great topic for debate and very deep thought; to have this as axiomatic is to lose much.  It also means that any results that you do obtain (and its a big assumption that you can obtain results) can be instantly challenged by disagreeing with your fairly hefty axioms. 

There are quite a few real research scientists on this site and hopefully one of them can wade in with some practical advice.   
 

Offline siochi

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 49
    • View Profile
The secret behind human consciousness?
« Reply #2 on: 26/01/2011 03:52:20 »
I don't know if this is possible, but what if I prove that the human possess no free will? Will it raise other philosophical, theological issues?

One way I think about free thinking is that all that human do or perform is because of the senses. The information that the senses provide the brain with it further improved, changed, modified by the brain, and this leads to thought. If it is so, then thoughts are directly dependent on the external environment.

Another way I think about it is by saying that the human brain is able to think about things that it knows. The human brain knows only about those things that its senses has made it aware about. Thus, thinking is directly connected to what the senses perceive, i.e. the external environment.

I have a couple of other ideas and philosophies, such as incomplete awareness of self, which leads to this belief that we have a conscious will, and a few others.

 

Offline siochi

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 49
    • View Profile
The secret behind human consciousness?
« Reply #3 on: 26/01/2011 04:06:45 »
And yeah, I am dropping my idea of performing a real physical experiment. I don't think I have the much needed resources to perform it, neither will the experiment correctly verify my approach the brain and its working.

On the other hand, and so was your advice, I am aiming at the other impacts of my theory, and what and how could it be used to understand the other psychological phenomena.

 

Offline CliffordK

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6321
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • Site Moderator
    • View Profile
The secret behind human consciousness?
« Reply #4 on: 26/01/2011 07:16:04 »
A lot of good thoughts.

There are a lot of similarities, and differences with computer models of human thought and consciousness.

Keep in mind the "Neural Network" model of the human brain.

Essentially one has about 100 billion very simple "processors" called neurons which have massive parallel connections to other neurons in the brain. 

With vision, the light is detected by photoreceptors (rods&cones) that essentially give dots of information.  However, within a couple of levels of integration, one finds cells that can respond to lines, edges, movement, and basic shapes. 

Computer vision is usually sequential, going through levels of instructions to look for various features.  Or, perhaps simulating a neural net by coding various memory locations as the progressive integration levels, and weighting their output with a virtual synapse.

You will also encounter two types of processing.

Bottom Up.  This is stimulus driven, for example, as we said with vision, basic line & edge detection, perhaps more integration up to the proverbial "Grandmother Cell" which is coded to recognise and respond your grandmother (although this level of integration is probably not performed by a single cell or cluster of cells).

Top Down.  This is driven by expectation of what will be happening.  For example, it gives stability to your visual system.  With the vision example.  Think of a visual puzzle. 



Is this an "young woman" or an "old woman"?  Or just patterns on paper?

The image begins as a cluster of black and white dots.  Then lines, edges, shaded areas.  Then is interpreted as either a young or an old woman.

This expectation of either young or old then becomes overpowering and it becomes difficult to see it as anything else.  This would then be the "top-down" effect which drives the expectation of what you are seeing, and, perhaps the expectation of actually finding an image beyond a simple black and white outline. With practice you can change the viewpoint.

If you are looking across a field, you need some type of stability in the image to tell if what you're seeing is a Lion or housecat, or perhaps something else.

Likewis wit writng I cud leve out sevral leters and u cud reed it ok.

Although, it becomes very difficult for a computer to read the sentence with the missing letters.  New spelling checkers are doing probabilistic searches and doing much better.

I'm not sure about the ease of hypnotism.  I think it is done, but it isn't quite as stunning as what one sees on TV.  Your idea of "priming" has been well discussed, although I'm not sure if it has come up with hypnotism. 

Smells can be difficult.  Some people have little declarative association with the smells.  At least in a sense.  Sitting here, I could not tell you what a rose smells like.  However, if presented with a rose, I might be able to recognise it.  On the other hand, I might just confuse it with a daisy.

As far as your light analogy.
We can only see a very narrow spectrum of light. 
Yet there exists a broad spectrum of light from infrared to ultraviolet, as well as X-Rays and Radio Waves.
So, if I think of UV or IR, I think of it in the terms of the colors that I can actually see.  In fact, what we see as colors (red, blue, etc) perhaps is just a method for our brain to make sense of and give contrast to the different wavelengths of the light spectrum. 

Your vision is from the perception given from the rods (essentially black and white), and cones (colors).  Some people have fewer functional cones (thus partly colorblind).  At one time, most people were believed to have 3 distinct types of cones, and thus seeing colors as the combination of the shades of 3 primary colors (light wavelengths).  There is some more recent discussion whether some, or perhaps most, women actually see 4 primary colors (tetrachromats).  Your partly colorblind person still can see colors and shades, and might not even realize what they are seeing is any different than what everyone else sees. 

 

Offline siochi

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 49
    • View Profile
The secret behind human consciousness?
« Reply #5 on: 26/01/2011 10:37:56 »
I believe that there is a certain part of the brain that is reserved by every sense, and since we only think in terms of either sound or picture, that only uses about 2/5 of the total amount of brain capability available at that level of consciousness.

If somehow we could use 5/5 of the total amount of brain capability then it would not only boost the brain's ability to process thing, but will also ease the managing of memories, and we would be able to use a larger part of our brain.

The way I suggest this thing is by invoking the part of the brain which is responsible for invoking the sense of internal stimulation for smell, taste, kinesthetic.

 

Offline imatfaal

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 2787
  • rouge moderator
    • View Profile
The secret behind human consciousness?
« Reply #6 on: 26/01/2011 13:39:39 »
again your opening premise is controversial - I will dig out the link but the percentage of the brain used is very vague and it seems a fallacy to peg it very low.  I think Steve Fish wrote about it on these boards.  And many sensations are mapped to similar areas or use the same pathways. 

to succeed in your endeavour I think you need to keep a few things in mind - lots of research has been done in this area and you need to find someway of keeping abreast of the important bits (very difficult to do this, even when you are full time and have use of university library), be ambitious and bold in your ideas but conversely try to work within your limitations, design an experiment that seems ludicrously simple (because it will turn out to be quite complicated in the real world). 
 

Offline siochi

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 49
    • View Profile
The secret behind human consciousness?
« Reply #7 on: 27/01/2011 11:39:47 »
again your opening premise is controversial - I will dig out the link but the percentage of the brain used is very vague and it seems a fallacy to peg it very low.  I think Steve Fish wrote about it on these boards.  And many sensations are mapped to similar areas or use the same pathways. 

to succeed in your endeavour I think you need to keep a few things in mind - lots of research has been done in this area and you need to find someway of keeping abreast of the important bits (very difficult to do this, even when you are full time and have use of university library), be ambitious and bold in your ideas but conversely try to work within your limitations, design an experiment that seems ludicrously simple (because it will turn out to be quite complicated in the real world). 


thank you. I would surely work on your advice. I am really glad that I discussed it over here.

 

Offline yor_on

  • Naked Science Forum GOD!
  • *******
  • Posts: 12001
  • Thanked: 4 times
  • (Ah, yes:) *a table is always good to hide under*
    • View Profile
The secret behind human consciousness?
« Reply #8 on: 18/02/2011 12:31:20 »
As with Clifford's example a lot of the brain activities seems to involve types of pattern recognition in different aspects. That is a hellishly difficult thing for any computer to do today, and those that try fail more often than they succeed as far as I know. Also it seems that the brain is analogue in its treatment of 'input' meaning that it is not a computer as we understands it. It treats information holistically, creating patterns as needed and often surprising you with the ideas and associations you get.

Our modern computers are all digital and sequential as I know of, that is, one thing at a time. That it to us may seem as it does several things at the same time is just a result of the ordering of 'things to do' by the software developers in conjugation with how the hardware is constructed/developed, like a PS3 contra your 'normal' PC for example uses more graphic processors 'simultaneously' in streams but with its output always coming one bit at a time to your screen. Look for example at how the eye presents you with 'color' to see :)
« Last Edit: 18/02/2011 12:39:03 by yor_on »
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

The secret behind human consciousness?
« Reply #8 on: 18/02/2011 12:31:20 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums