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Sam Beebout's picture

Beyond thinking about the

Beyond thinking about the difference in the structure of the brain from animal to animal and the influence that has on behavior, I am interested in the way in which the structure of brains differs from person to person.

I was most interested in the observation that 99.9% of neurons are interneurons so that Dickinson's argument for the constructedness of our surroundings, the creation of experiences in our brain, seemed to be supported. There is the additional observation, then, that all of the neurons in the neocortex are interneurons.

Somebody asked on last week's forum what the purpose of memory is. I always think about the quote that you only ever see the same thing once, and the idea that from that point on every observation, even of the exact same thing, will be through the lens of the experience before that. In this way, if this statement is correct (and the ratio of interneurons to sensory/motor neurons suggest that it may be) then our experiences are always simultaneously memories. 

The neocortex is unique to mammals, and in class last week we started a conversation about what distinguished mammals with a neocortex from other animal groups. Is there a more balanced ratio between sensory and motor neurons and interneurons in animals whose nervous systems do not have a neocortex? 



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