The accepted view of reality holds that human beings exist in the context of a vast physical universe “out there.” I doubt this description because there are no color, sound, textures, patterns, scent, and beauty – nothing of this kind in the natural world. All these qualities from the fragrance of jasmine to the sting of a honey bee and the taste of honey are produced by human beings, essentially the same as photon quanta of light has no color, such qualities are only in the biology of perception and the organs or capacities for perception that are subtle and, in a sense, invisible. There are capacities for inner seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and so on that have to do with the perception of the inner realm. There are capacities for intuition, direct cognition, synthesis, discrimination, and so on. All of these capacities are fueled by the substance of essence…These organs or capacities are connected to various energetic centers in the body that animate both the body and the human mind.
The existence of the physical universe “out there” and our participation in such a universe must be seriously questioned!
Neurobiologists at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology in Vienna examined how the brain is able to cluster external stimuli into stable categories. Neurobiologists found the answer in the distinct dynamics of neuronal circuits. The journal Neuron published the results in its current issue. How do we manage to know a friend’s face, regardless of the light conditions, the person’s hairstyle or make-up? Why do we always hear the same words, whether they are spoken by a man or woman, in a loud or soft voice? It is due to the amazing skill of our brain to turn a wealth of sensory information into a number of defined categories and objects. The ability to produce constants in a changing world feels natural and effortless to a human, but it is extremely difficult to train a computer to perform the task.
At the Institute of Molecular Pathology in Vienna, neurobiologist Simon Rumpel and his post-doc Brice Bathellier have been able to show that certain properties of neuronal networks in the brain are responsible for the formation of categories. In experiments with mice, neurobiologists produced range of sounds and monitored the activity of nerve cell-clusters in the auditory cortex. They found that groups of 50 to 100 neurons displayed only a limited number of different activity-patterns in response to the different sounds.
Neurobiologists then selected two basic sounds that produced different response patterns and created linear mixtures from them. When the mixture ratio was varied continuously, the answer was not an incessant change in the activity patterns of the nerve cells, but rather a sudden transition. Such dynamic behavior is indicative of the behavior of artificial attractor-networks that have been suggested by computer scientists as a solution to the categorization problem. The findings in the activity patterns of neurons were endorsed by behavioral experiments with mice. The animals were trained to distinguish between two sounds. They were then exposed to a third sound and their reaction was trailed. Whether the answer to the third tone was more like the reaction to the first or the second one, was used as an indicator of the similarity of perception. By looking at the activity patterns in the auditory cortex, neurobiologists were able to predict the reaction of the mice.
The findings that are published in the current issue of the journal Neuron, demonstrate that discrete network states provide a medium for category formation in brain circuits. Neurobiologists suggest that the hierarchical structure of discrete representations might be essential for elaborate cognitive functions such as language processing.