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118

Short answer Yes, men and women's brains are different before birth. Background First off, learning effects versus genetic differences is the familiar nature versus nurture issue. Several genes on the Y-chromosome, unique to males, are expressed in the pre-natal brain. In fact, about a third of the genes on the Y-chromosome are expressed in the male ...


81

Short answer As far as I know, a complete neural map (a connectome) is only available for the roundworm C. elegens, a nematode with only 302 neurons (fig. 1). Fig. 1. C. elegans (left, size: ~1 mm) and connectome of C. elegans (right). sources: Utrecht University & Farber (2012) Background Looking at the least complex of animals will be your best bet ...


80

Short Answer Yes. handedness (or Behavioral Lateralization) has been documented in numerous vertebrates (mammals, reptiles and birds) as well as invertebrates. This includes domestic cats (see Wells & Millsopp 2009). Long Answer There have been numerous studies that have documented behavioral lateralization in many groups of animals including ...


59

The question is relatively broad and one should take into account that the brain not only consists of neurons, but also glial cells (supportive cells) and pre-mitotic neuronal stem cells. Furthermore, as critical fellow-scientists have indicated, developmental stage is very important, as the developing embryonic brain is very different from the adult brain. ...


53

The brain is indeed stacked with blood vessels, as shown in a 3D model in Fig. 1. Fig. 1. 3D-printed model of blood vaculature. Source: Biobots. The blood supply on the surface of a live brain is readily seen during a craniotomy (Fig. 2.) Fig. 2. Surface of the brain. Source: The Sterile Eye. When freshly prepared, the interior of the brain appears ...


34

Brain, indeed, cannot feel pain, as it lacks pain receptors (nociceptors). However, what you feel when you have a headache is not your brain hurting -- there are plenty of other areas in your head and neck that do have nociceptors which can perceive pain, and they literally cause the headaches. In especially, many types of headaches are generally thought to ...


30

What about physical differences from birth? Are there differences in size, regions, chemical composition, etc. from birth? One significant, inherent difference between male and female human brains [from birth & throughout the rest of life] is that male brains are 10-20% larger than female brains. According to a study performed by the United Medical &...


26

Just to get the ball rolling here. This particular aspect of brain evolution is very old. The cross wiring of the hemispheres of the brain seems to be as old as the right and left hemispheres itself. It predates lizards - i.e. hundreds of millions of years ago. It possibly predates right/left dominance and the organ asymmetry which puts the heart on the ...


25

When I was in school it was discussed as an evolutionary survival advantage... If you are attacked from the right side, the left side of the brain is less likely to be damaged and can use the right sided limbs to fend off the attack as opposed to the right side being damaged and less responsive..


25

The organism you are looking for is the nematode C. elegans, which always has the same number of neurons, 302, and has been fully mapped, see WormWeb or you can chase original publications from there. C. elegans is particularly suited for this kind of work because it has a constant number of cells which divide in an entirely predictable order and its neurons ...


22

There are multiple levels of memory, some of which would die immediately, some of which would take some time. So the answer is: it depends; some immediately, some only very slowly. At the highest level, the current neuronal firing state of the brain encodes memory on a very short scale - working memory. The memory held on this level does not have a clear ...


21

Like these questions :) Many of these illusions come from Prof. Akiyoshi Kitaoka, a japanese Psychologist and expert for Gestalt Psychology. On his website you'll find some more fascinating illusions and questions to ask here ;) The illusion above is named Cafe Wall illusion and the newest model to explain those illusions is the contrast-polarity model. ...


21

I will just show the statistics of last attempt to mimic the brain process. In 2011 fastest computer in Japan was launched: K computer OR SPARC64 VIIIfx 2.0GHz Features: Manufacturer: Fujitsu Cores: 705,024 Linpack Performance (Rmax) 10,510 TFlop/s Theoretical Peak (Rpeak) 11,280.4 TFlop/s Power: 12,659.89 kW Memory: 1,410,048 GB (16GB RAM per ...


21

No, it can't be done for a lot of reasons. Here are just a few. 1) Memories are stored in electrical pathways, not the the cells themselves. You don't have 1000 memories in a chunk of brain that contains 1000 neurons. If you don't get the entire pathway, you won't get the memory. 2) Once a nerve is cut, it won't fuse with another cut nerve. All you'll have ...


20

First of all, I would like to point out that making analogy between digital computers and the brain is often very misleading. That being said, my answer is, some scientists believe so, some don't. Several things to consider: Some neural systems are not spiking. C. elegans for example has a nervous system that is entirely analogue. Human nervous system ...


19

If you zoom in on the image, you can see that it is not just composed of black vertical lines, but also has pixels with different gray tones in the white areas. When you move your head sideways, you perceive the gray tones more. If you were to remove the black lines, you could see the face clearly. Initially I thought that by blurring the gray shapes when ...


18

Its not clear that this is true. Working with animals has been a little disconcerting over the past 50-60 years. In the distant past, I think most evolutionary anthropologists and their like bought into the idea that humans were completely uniquely intelligent and spiritual. But the more we try to define human sensibilities apart from other animals, the ...


16

The idea that we only use 10% of our brain capacity is a myth. There is a great article at wired.com that discusses the myth and it's history. There is really no reason to evolve an entire brain of which only 10% is used. One great point that they make is that minor brain damage can cause devastating effects, not what you would expect if you had 90% ...


16

I believe there are types of water snail with 8 distinct neurons in a ganglia, there's a bit of information here: molluscs.at. The cell bodies of the neurons are massive, visible under a standard dissecting microscope, so they were popular among early electrophysiologists. I guess there are probably more neurons around the snail, but it's certainly one of ...


15

You would need to live a long, long, long, long time for this to become remotely problematic. Your question seems to suppose that a memory is "stored" by a neuron, and since neurons have mass, then the more memories we have the more our brains will weigh. Actually, neurogenesis is pretty rare in the adult brain--most of the cortex is fixed, and new neurons ...


15

You are correct in that the neurons themselves do not sense pain. However, the brain contains layers of coverings, blood vessels, the scalp and some muscles. All of these other structures have pain receptors. The coverings of the brain are called meninges and consist of the dura, arachnoid and pia. The dura in particular has a lot of pain receptors and may ...


15

There's a very big difference between doing the calculations needed to simulate the human brain (or any animal brain - we can do a fairly decent job on C. elegans), and doing computations. While a basic leaky integrate & fire model is fairly simple, to accurately simulate a single neuron in real time takes a pretty fast computer. See e.g. these links ...


15

The way neuroscientists currently think about storage in the brain, it doesn't make any sense to think about "duplicate" data but rather about the "robustness" of a given memory to interference or confusion, which increases with consolidation and reconsolidation of memories or can degrade over time. Repeated exposure can contribute to the robustness of a ...


14

The situation is definitely an extremely complex one, and you should probably forget about having an exact equation to define it. When talking about the effects of a substance on the organism there are several factors to take into account. These are generally put together under the term pharmacodynamics. Some of the factor to take into account are: The ...


14

Regarding your question about losing synapses; yes, synapses are regularly lost in a process called Synaptic Pruning. From the Wikipedia article: A decrease in synapses is seen after adolescence reflecting synaptic pruning, and approximately 50% of neurons during development do not survive until adulthood. Pruning is influenced by environmental factors ...


14

It is a phenomenon known as room amnesia, some research has shown that your brain may use physical barriers like the room and doorways as a way to compartmentalize thoughts. One article summarizes it here: The researchers say that when you pass through a doorway, your mind compartmentalizes your actions into separate episodes. Having moved into a new ...


14

If you split a human early enough (in the first weeks after fertilization), you can get monozygotic twins. Other than that, you are in the field of science fiction and we cannot safely answer such question on a science website. I am not sure your question will be accepted in its current format but you may try WorldBuilding.SE. And if you like fantasy ...


13

It's less a problem of speed and more of raw photon count. Assuming a brightly lit day, the bullet will move so fast that it doesn't reflect enough photons to register against the background. High speed images of bullets usually involve a very bright flash (and other controlled settings) for the camera to pick it up. (Also, a very short flash helps the ...


13

Is there a significant difference in calorie burn? No. The brain, while only making up 2% of our body weight, accounts for ~20% of our energy use at rest. That's because the brain, being critical for survival, is a very high-maintenance organ. At rest, the membrane potentials of all neurons - firing or at "rest" - need to be controlled/maintained. Of all ...


12

The temporal lobe is in the temporal region of the head, near the temples of the skull, hence the name. It's name does not relate to it's biological function, it is mainly involved in processing language, visual memories, and emotions. The medulla oblongata is one region of the brain that deals with a lot of the "tempo" type functions (tempo as in keeping ...


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