I’m interested in whether we can create new senses – An interview with Neuroscientist David Eagleman by Clare Wilson Williams – New Scientist
This is a fascinating interview with David Eagleman. He has been researching on how the brain learns new things. Especially, sensations and inputs that it has never encountered before.
You have to remember, that the brain is an organ that sits in a dark chamber (the skull). It is surrounded by fluid so that in itself, it can not sense or feel anything. It gets all of its information from senses from the outside nerves. Just like a computer, all the processing is done in the central processing unit (CPU). The CPU doesn’t directly interact with anything. It does it through other inputs, such as a keyboard, mouse, microphone etc.
A computer needs a programmer to write the programs for the CPU to understand what these inputs mean. This is unlike the brain. The brain is able to learn and adapt. It can interpret and use this information coming from these inputs. This is could neuroplasticity. David argues that we are only just beginning to understand our brain. More specifically, in how many different and complex ways the brain does this on a constant basis.
If effectively means that almost everything we do and “feel” we learned through interpretation, trial and error. It also means, we are capable to learning to understand almost anything. Everything starts off as being foreign. But, through practice and the brain adapting it becomes our normal.
This is a very exciting prospect that learning is a constant and normal part of who we are as humans. Our brain adaptation requires only 2 things, time and persistence.
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