5000 Synapses in the Width of a Hair

How much change in the brain makes a difference in the mind? That's the issue raised by a very interesting comment regarding my previous blog, "The Brain in a Bucket." So I've taken the liberty of posting the comment here (hoping that's OK in blog etiquette; still learning as I go), and then responding. Here it is: I was pondering your statement that long term meditators show a thickening in certain areas of the brain. As I understand it, the volume of the skull is fixed in adults. This would … [Read more...]

The Brain in a Bucket

Have you ever seen a real brain? I remember the first time I saw one, in a neuropsych class: the instructor put on rubber gloves to protect against the formaldehyde preservative, popped the lid off of a lab bucket, and then pulled out a brain. It didn’t look like much, a nondescript waxy yellowish-white blob rather like a sculpted head of cauliflower. But the whole class went silent. We were looking at the real deal, ground zero for consciousness, headquarters for “me.” The person it … [Read more...]