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AndyMittelman's picture

chemical signals and learning


            Like Saba mentioned earlier, I am excited to learn more about the role of proteins in our perception of the world. The more bio I learn, the more it seems that everything is about proteins. You made a point that seems particularly true to me- “There can be so much going on and taking place in a room that we would never know about.” Could the role of (or lack of) proteins explain why some people are particularly perceptive in some regards but less in tune with others?

The description of neuronal signals as a computer does seem a little overwhelming to me at first. I have a hard time internalizing the “hard wiring” we have inside our heads. I still cannot fully accept that our cognition is caused by these rather primitive-looking chemical synapses. If inhibition is a chemical process, when we experience a sedating effect that is just a chemical sequence occurring within us. This actually seems somewhat empowering—if we could train ourselves to more fully control the chemical processes within us, we could cause significant shifts in our body (ie mood, physical state, etc). Similarly, I wonder if it will someday be possible to “learn” just from a rapid flow of information into our bodies or via injection (I’m thinking of when Trinity learns how to fly a helicopter in 5 seconds during “The Matrix”). Would it really be such a good thing if we had such cognizant control over our nervous system? As Schmeltz pointed out, this might lead to the potential for over-control, wherein every action is overly-calculated. At this point, I’m not sure we’d really be human anymore!

            On a side note, I’m super thrilled to see that Carrie and Emily have also adopted the logo of the best sports team around.


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