Proust was a neuroscientist

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  • Publicado : 11 de octubre de 2010
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Excerpts from “Proust was a neuroscientist” by Jonah Lehrer.

“…Goud has gone to show on that the amount of neurogenesis is itself modulated by the environment, and not just by our genes. Highlevels of stress can decrease the number of new cells; so can being low in a dominance hierarchy (the primate equivalent of being low class). In fact, monkey mothers who live in stressful conditions givebirth to babies with drastically reduced neurogenesis, even if those babies never experienced stress themselves. But there is hope: the scars of stress can be healed. When primates were transferred toenriched enclosures –complete with branches, hidden food, and a rotation of toys- their adult brains began to recover rapidly. In less than four weeks, their deprived cells underwent radicalrenovations and formed a wealth of new connections. Their rates of neurogenesis returned to normal levels. What does this data mean?. Is the mind never beyond redemption?, or, can no environment extinguishneurogenesis?. What similes would you state in order to clarify the data already obtained?”.

“… Our sense of smell is particularly vulnerable to this sort of outside influence. Since many odorsdiffer only in their molecular details –and we long ago traded away nasal acuity for better color vision- the brain is often forced to decipher smells based upon non-olfactory information. Parmesan cheeseand vomit, for example, are both full of butyric acid, which has a pungent top note and a sweetish linger. As a result, blindfolded subjects in experiments will often confuse the two stimuli. In reallife, however, such sensory mistakes are extremely rare. Common sense overrules our actual senses. If our “common sense” overrules our senses, what do you think it happens when we reach a mistakenfeedback upon others?. Do you think this fallibility is due to our mental biases and beliefs?”.

Excerpt from “The Audacity of Hope” by Barack Obama.

“… In sum, my mother viewed religion through...
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