Mapping the brain with our human prejudices instead of admitting its self evident mechanical simplicity
The "visual cortex" is not a visual cortex - just a cortex, dude!
Peter Klevius: If you have two driveways to your house but only use one and therefore only call that one your 'driveway', the other one would still function as a driveway if needed. Likewise, if it was eroded by a sinkhole and hence useless as a driveway you wouldn't necessarily have even noticed it.
More or less meaningless names such as 'lobes' (based on cranial bones) and 'visual cortex' (based on the statistical fact that injuries in this area affects learned vision) contribute prejudices due to cultural, not factual, understanding.
The right hand of humans is not made for writing although statistics may (still) lure you to believe so. Nor is the left hand made for writing also people may use it for writing.
Peter Klevius extremely brief EMAH brain tutorial on visionThe brain is basically a smell organ that was the first evolutionary development of a nerve string. This is why our nose is the only sense organ directly connected to our brain. All other functions, such as for example vision and hearing have to be relayed via Thalamus.
It takes a baby months of living/programming before it can visually recognize a face. However, its hearing has already developed far ahead of vision before it was born, simply because it used to live in a non-visual environment full of sounds.
So there are no ready made representations etc in the brain, only an enourmous
writable "disk" and a two way monitor (Thalamus) on which your life reflects the changing imprints in your brain. I.e. what constitutes your inescapable awareness or "consciousness" if you like.
Some vision research:
Josef P. Rauschecker: In one task, volunteers wore stereo headphones while in the fMRI machine, and they reported where in space the variety of sounds they heard came from. In the other test, they wore piezo-electric vibrators on each finger, and the goal was to report which finger was being gently stimulated.
"We found that the visual cortex in the blind was much more strongly activated than it was in the sighted, where visual cortex was mostly deactivated by sounds and touch," Rauschecker says. "Furthermore, there was a direct correlation between brain activity and performance in the blind. The more accurate blind people were in solving the spatial tasks, the stronger the spatial module in the visual cortex was activated.
"That tells us that the visual cortex in the blind takes on these functions and processes sound and tactile information which it doesn't do in the sighted," he says. "The neural cells and fibers are still there and still functioning, processing spatial attributes of stimuli, driven not by sight but by hearing and touch. This plasticity offers a huge resource for the blind."
Peter Klevius: There's no black hole in the"visual cortex" of individuals blind from birth, simply because the neurons can process any information.
Face recognition took six months for a 12 year old girl (called S.R.D.) who was born blind
Vision Following Extended Congenital Blindness Yuri Ostrovsky, Aaron Andalman, and Pawan Sinha S.R.D. was born blind, and remained so until age 12. She then underwent surgery for the removal of dense congenital cataracts. Weevaluated her performance on an extensive battery of
visual tasks 20 years after surgery. We found that although
S.R.D.’s acuity is compromised, she is proficient on mid-
and high-level visual tasks. These results suggest that the
human brain retains an impressive capacity for visual
learning well into late childhood
Records of S.R.D.’s visual acuity immediately following her
surgery do not exist, but she still wears the same pair of eye-
glasses 20 years later (12 diopters, 1.5 cylindrical in the left
eye). Recent tests at the eye clinic in Ahmedabad indicate that
her prescription is appropriate, and her best corrected acuity is
20/200. After S.R.D.’s surgery, her mother explicitly taught her
objects around the house. According to the mother, S.R.D.
learned to recognize her siblings and parents 6 months after
surgery, and after a year could name objects around the house
purely by sight. Overall, S.R.D. exhibited a high level of proficiency on most of our form and face perception tests. We did observe some differences in her performance relative to control subjects. Changes in face illumination
sometimes led to misidentifications in face recognition tasks,
she relied on head orientation rather then eye position for gaze
estimation, and she had longer reaction times for shape-
matching tasks. (Although we did not record reaction time for
most of the tests because of the variabilities introduced by the
need to translate instructions and responses, we noticed that on
average S.R.D. took a few seconds longer than normal on the
From the scientific perspective, our results suggest that the
visual cortex retains its plasticity even across several years of
highly compromised visual experience. This forces a rethinking
of the conventional notion of developmental critical periods and
also opens up some interesting questions regarding changes in
cortical organization that might accompany the observed in-
crease in visual proficiency.
Listening with the"visual cortex"
People who are born blind may use the part of the brain associated with vision to process language, say MIT scientists.
"Brain regions that are thought to have evolved for vision can take on language processing as a result of early experience," the researchers write in the Proceedings of the National Academy.
Klevius: Who thought?! Not Klevius and his EMAH theory from 1992.
Studies have shown that people who have been blind since birth also use the visual cortex located in the brain's occipital lobe during verbal tasks such as reading Braille, and have good verbal long-term memory.
But it was unclear if the visual cortex processed complex language such as sentences in the same way as the classic language regions in the brain.
To test whether the visual cortex could take on more complex language tasks, the brains of 22 sighted people and 10 people who were blind from birth or an early age, were scanned while they listened to a brief verbal passage. They then answered questions.
The researchers also scanned another group of 17 sighted people and 11 who were blind since birth. The material included sentences, a list of words, a sentence containing nonsense words, and a list of non-words.
It was found that the left visual cortex of the blind participants was active during sentence comprehension, even when the tasks were more demanding.
Marina Bedny: "The idea that these brain regions could go from vision to language is just crazy. It suggests that the intrinsic function of a brain area is constrained only loosely, and that experience can have a really a big impact on the function of a piece of brain tissue."
Peter Klevius: The EMAH theory, first published in book form 1992, has been available on the web for a decade and easily searchable. In fact, the first five years it was on the top of Google and Yahoo searhes under 'consciousness' and 'AI' etc. It has also been clearly linked from almost every Klevius page covering anthropology, human evolution, sociology etc. Strange that you are so unaware of it Marina. Take a quick look at it, swallow your human prejudices and you will see no "craziness" at all in the fact that there's no specialized "visual cortex".
The most detailed brain scans "the world has ever seen" wil not reveal anything about how the brain works
Scientists say they have published the most detailed brain scans "the world has ever seen" as part of a project to understand how the organ works.
The aim of the project is to determine how a person's brain structure influences their talents and behaviour.
The project leader, Prof David Van Essen of Washington University in St Louis, told BBC News that sharing the data with the international community of researchers would spur rapid advances in brain science.
However, if we want to understand how the brain works one may refer to EMAH:
The brain is a memory card programmed and constantly updated through living. It's not preprogrammed!
In conclusion one might propose a rethinking of the conventional hierarchy of the brain. What we use to call "higher levels", perhaps because they are more pronounced in humans, are in fact only huge "neural mirrors" for the real genius, thalamus (and its capability of two-way communication with extensions in the cerebrellum, spine, nerv ends etc), i.e. what has sometimes been interpreted as part of the "primitive" system.. In other words, one may propose a view describing the "gap" between humans and animals as a quantitative difference in the amount/power of cerebral "mirroring" and communication with thalamus, rather than as a distinct qualitative feature. Nothing, except our "emotions", seems to hinder us from making a "human machine". And because these very "emotions" are lived experiences (there is, for example, no way to scientifically establish what could be considered "emotions" in a fetus) nothing, except the meaninglessness in the project itself, could hinder us from allowing a machine to "live" a "human life".
So what about human rights for a computer (Honda's Asimo robot) loaded with all possible human "emotions"?
Is Asimo human or Klevius inhuman? Is death what ultimately unites humans? So what abt a hypothetical memory card containing a lifetime of experience? Or a fetus with hardly no experience at all? A thoroughly honest approach towards others combined with negative human rights seems to be the only acceptable framework for being really human. This approach hence excludes segregation as well as "monotheist"* religions (but see Klevius definition of religion).
read more on EMAH (the Even More Astonishing Hypothesis)!