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Howard Corley
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"2017-03-04 03:41:37"
What Is Reality? The Human Brain - Fascinating Brain Documentary (Consciousness & Universe)
\\the most complex thing we've discovered in the universe is the human brain years I've been trying to understand how what happens 3 pounds of jelly like material somehow be communist boss you'll matters to us our beliefs and our hopes everything we are happens in here for me one mystery that absolutely fundamental what is reality what if I told you that this world around us this richly textured world were all just an illusion struck it in your head nnst if I said that the real world Snopes metal pace no sound what if I said there's no color if you could perceive reality as it really is out there wouldn't recognize at all I want to show you the brain takes in information sifts through it to find patterns and uses it to build a multi sensory color show when that is your reality in the world my sense line in with now owns and smells it seems obvious that reality is just I was there there's a person there's a cab all I have to do is show up and my sense is what we experience it all but there's a twist to the story let me show you some to take a look at it's middle square here does that look more similar to the lights where the dark well looks like a white square area you might be surprised if I move it now it looks like a dark square no my goodness well I thought yeah you have a guess as to why there is that we should hear what seems like there's a shadow so it makes this darker that's exactly right your brain is trying to understand the colors of things irrespective of the lighting in the shadows somehow it's not about what's hitting your auto used by your brain's interpretation that's Richard just by some older now this is about more than just a visual illusion it's about a fact that central to our lives perception of reality has less to do with what's happening out there and more to do with what's happening in here to understand what's going on you first need to know how information from the world around us gets into the brain it feels as if sights and sounds justice dream in through are always in our years but imagine climb inside a human skull step into the school beside there's no way from blade sounder smells to get directly in here this is a sealed chamber so brain sits in darkness and silence it's in total isolation your brain is never seen the outside world but somehow you experience it now this might seem straightforward because we have portals the outside world like your eyes and ears these are just piping in sights and sounds stead photons of light or air compression waves user getting converted into the common currency of the brain electrochemical signals these signals travel through dense networks of brain cells called neurons there are 100000000000 neurons Cuban brain and in every second of your life each one of these descending tens or hundreds of electrical pulses to thousands of other neurons and somehow all of this activity produces your sense of reality so whether it's the bark of a dog or the smell of coffee or a view of a beautiful sunset it's only to be the same stuff in here and this stuff of reality how does the brain turn it into something meaningful well it does it by sifting through the nonstop stream of incoming data to find patterns which it then symbols into a reality it's an operation which is the product of millions of years of evolution so efficient so powerful that it's work seems effortless instantaneous take as an example site the active scene feels so natural that it's hard to appreciate the vast sophisticated machinery running under the hood for us to see clearly many different systems need to be operating in concert it's about more than just the eyes the best way to understand this is to look at the extraordinary case of a man who lost his sight and then was given the chance to get it back I lost my sight when I was 3.5 years old as the result of a chemical explosion and oddly it didn't seem like it was a big deal I guess is a 3.5 year old my world according to vision was not as well established as it would be for somebody who lost their vision later in life took over 40 years whiteness Mike may pioneering stem cell treat that would repair the physical damage that the explosion caused to his eyes cameras were there to witness the moment when for the first time bandages came off doctor Goodman does the cornea transplant and he peels back the bandages you get small way off and there's this whoosh of light and bombarding of images on the mile high holy smoke in surgical terms the operation was a total success what's across the room over to Mike it wasn't there was something wrong all the sudden you turn on this flood of visual information it's overwhelming my brain is just going about Josh so that's how the world proceeded one image at a time seeing cars as they whizzed by and I would see a sign ahead of us and look like we're gonna smack right into it in fact it's a sign over the freeway and when I can run into with 100 and that was only the first hour it's going to get worse when Mike got home you put for blind boys together all roughly the same height and I looked at them I can tell you which to remind don't go away I'm not finished looking at you mmhm Mike's new eyes were functioning perfectly they were sending signals to the brain just like yours and mine too but he couldn't see his son's in any meaningful way I had no face recognition whatsoever not when he'd been totally ploy Mike was a Paralympic skier put his first sight of attempted skiing was a complete failure what I skied for the first time because of my depth perception difficulty I had no time to figure out the difference between for dark things on the white snow a person a tree shadow or a whole years all like still leads his guide dog get around she can light motion identify colors but he struggles to gauge how far away things or he still can't read the expressions on his son's face you can't read words on a page I would make story gives us lips of all the elements that have to be in place brain to construct a visual reality many regions of the brain are involved in vision they specialize in the ask that motion edges colors face right somehow the brain weaves all of this together unifies form what we experience image in Mike's case decades of blindness because these regions of his brain to be you can over for other tasks like hearing in touch they just weren't available for him to use even when he was given a pair of new ideas we often get our best view of how the brain operates when that operation is disrupted €20 sometimes disrupt things deliberately Brian is pardon experiment being conducted by Alyssa brewer at university of California all many times on the whole armor volunteers we hear these goggles for the time their brains are forced to cope with the new view of the world extra magically altered but these have inside are 2 prisms that take the whole visual world and flip it so whenever you see normally in the left of the world now doing the right thing to world such a move for the world you're gonna have a problem figure out where things are as you see them on one side to reach for them on the opposite side world looks like this when I'm seated yes it's a straightforward change it's also massive mind mash visual data streaming in through my eyes no longer makes any intuitive sense and I'm struggling so yeah because the world is left right flips ... I I know cognitively I'm supposed to reach out to the other direction but of course I have a lifetime of training telling you to reach out in the you know directions so I feel like it's gonna take a little getting used to placing my hand in the original field yeah absolutely never reach up this way and this yeah even though it consciously trying to get it right yeah yeah I can't help but respond in a certain way yeah not that no welcome to the prison world course this is all new to me but Brian's been wearing his goggles for a week so how well has his brain adapted very difficult to figure out which way to go at 30 motor system feeling of touch defending in one direction on visuals that confronting and other drugs Ryan is doing well unlike meet I have to consciously reconstruct my reality this morning my brain could rely on automated interaction but now we can't interestingly I have broken out of sweat and I'm hot and I'm super dizzy and nauseated well you know if you break I'm so sorry illness office again okay Baja all what has really nausea NDA going going on the main down here and see how you guys doing navigating your way through a special map that's they're your third outgoing or the fact Brian I thought that was very good in my head start so how do I get as good as Brian it happens intuitively to get my hands cross reference what I see with what I can touch the in fact all my senses come into play this is what Brian's been doing for the last 7 days and the result is that his brain is now starting to I hope that new visual input automatically but means not so we getting better at making conscious the whole reality is changing to I you take those subjects often called upon them for 2 weeks I find that it about a week to start behaving normally start being able to figure out how to interact with the world of constructing a new reality around them knew when dealing with these and perception and they say that initially they can tell there's a new left an old left and you write an old right about a week and they even use a concept which right and left for the old ones the new ones so it's like the whole special map of the world is altering and by 2 weeks and they would write well bead without a problem to Oliver walking task reaching tasks ... and then they moved about wills action takes about a day to go back to normal behavior what this exposes for me is how much effort the brain goes through to construct our world because normally you're walking through the world and it feels like there's reality out there but in fact there's so much work happening behind the scenes to allow that reality the happy seeing requires an intensive training program but new recruits come on board every day we call them the bees what when do these reach out to touch what's in front of them they're not just learning what objects feels like they're learning how to see they're establishing pathways in the brain that'll be used for the rest of their lives I vision is a whole body experience all the data coming in from our eyes only means something if we can cross reference it the front door you weren't able to interact with the world if you couldn't work out through feedback what the sensory information meant in theory you never be able to see this cross referencing doesn't stop when were fully grown it continues throughout our lives what we touch influences how we see taste is affected by our sense of smell our site informs how we hear our senses depend on each other in a reality is built by comparing the streams of data when they're woven together we get our perception of this moment it's an astonishing feat to pull off but there's one factor which really adds complication timing all those streams of sensory data are processed by the brain at different speeds for our reality to be constructed they have to be synchronized what do I mean by this well the easiest way for me to show you is right here at a race track that I when there's a loud sound it feels as though you react to it instantly you don't watching sprinters in slow motion we can see that there's a gap between the gun going off and their start I Dimitri to make this gap as small as possible I but your biology who's this limits processing that sound and sending out signals to the muscles to move will take around 2 tenths of a second the in that time really can't be improved on in a sport where thousands of a second can be the difference and winning and losing seems surprisingly slow were so why do we use a pistol to start sprinters everyone knows that light travels faster than sound smart I use a light test to show you in the top screen were triggered by a light in the bottom screen were triggered by the gun you can see that when our store is triggered by a flash of light we respond more slowly it takes 40 milliseconds longer to process why because the visual system is more complex it's bigger it involves almost a third of the brain so while all of the electrical signals inside the brain travel at the same speed once related to site go through more processing and that takes time I it's and this isn't just about hearing and seeing every type of sensory information a different amount of time to process you'll react slower to a touch on the foot then one on the hand the astonishing thing is that our brains hide all this when I clap my hands everything seems synchronized why well your brain is pulling off fancy editing tricks what it takes to be reality is actually a delayed version that collects up all the information from the senses before it decides on a story of what happened and that means you live in the past by the time you think the moment now occurs it's already long gone to conjure the reality from all that sensory information your brain needs around half assed that's neat unbridgeable gap between an event occurring in your torches experience in that a lot of things need sometimes it's easy to assume that there's a single spot in the brain that takes care of this or that function like an area from memory work generosity or empathy but in fact the vast networks of the brain are so much more complex than that think of the brain like a city or if you look out over a city and ask where is the economy located see that there is no single answer to that instead the economy emerges as an interaction of all the elements and so it is with reality the raw materials of perception are gathered buyer sensory receptors they're turned into electrical signals and transported around our brains along super highways of neurons process they become or reality some parts of the brain city specialized in vision other districts care about hearing some about touch and so on and even with unisex like vision you have streets that specialize colors or edges or motion but it just like in the city no neighborhood operates in isolation instead the life of the city depends on the interaction between residents at all different scales somehow out of all of this interaction emerges your personal reality Ndola the the brains ultimate construction it's based on all the streams of data from our senses bought it it's not dependent on them how do we know because when you take it all away reality doesn't stop just gets stranger this is how could she'll built on the principle of isolation between its inmates in the rest of society stood not only stone walls cold dangerous waters of the San Francisco Bay prisoners were completely and deliberate we cut off and there was one place inside the prison where that's seclusion went even further a this is the whole prisoners who were sent here were completely isolated from the outside world they had no interactions with people there was no sound in there was no lights Robert Lee was sent to Alcatraz in 1954 for armed robbery he was known by the nickname cold blue Luke everybody involved or cold the darkness a bad place some guys can take that I mean they were in there additional little as punishment for smashing up his settle you sent to the whole for 29 straight days you know how you would act when you got in there the one find out exclusive door if there's just nothing there pitch black but it didn't stay that way for long starved of input looks brain started to produce its own reality I remember the glove next trip one artist reverberation flying a kite but I got through it real there goes my what Luke felt was something that's also been reported by other prisoners kept in the same conditions arrived of new sensory information they said they went beyond dreaming or teacher you can just imagine pick they saw all this testimony goes to the heart of the relationship between the outside world brain and what we call reality to understand it we need to look more deeply into the visual system or this is the thalamus one of the brain's major junctions most sensory information connects through here on its way to the outburst the brain cortex so data collected from the eyes stops here before going to the visual cortex now you do expect a heavy flow of information from the thalamus to the visual cortex and there is but they're sick times as much traffic flowing in the opposite direction and not dwarfs the amount coming in from the office and that suggests that in any one moment what we experience as seating relies less on the light streaming into our eyes and more on what's already inside our heads everyone brands are on anchored from external data they continue to generate their own injury in other words remove the world and the show still goes on we all have currently generated reality credible as it may sound this world lives inside your brain but it's constantly updated by information from our senses the moment to moment what we experience isn't what's really out there instead it's a beautifully rendered simulation this is a surprising way to understand how you see the world called the internal model and it's vital to our ability to function as I walked down the city street I seem to automatically know what things are without having to work out the details for example I don't have to work out the details with this rectangular metallic thing it is war this giant green fluffy thing behind me at work this huge object with reflective pains on it for this thing with 4 appendages my brain makes assumptions about what I'm seeing based on my internal model and that's been built up from years of experience of walking city streets just like this one mmhm stood of using my senses to rebuild my reality from scratch every moment I'm comparing sensory information with a model that have already constructed updating it refining correct our brains are so good at doing this that were normally unaware of it sometimes under certain conditions we can see the process at work look at this hollow mask of Einstein's face your brain tells you what's coming out and even when you know it's an illusion can't help but fall for it I what you're seeing is the internal model not the raw information that's coming in from your audience your internal model is built on a lifetime of experience with faces that stick out when you're confronted with one that's hollow your model simply sees what it expects to see mmhm visual cortex sends its internal expectations to thalamus and the thalamus compares those to what's coming into the office difference between the 2 is what the thalamus sends back so the cortex can update its model thanks to the internal model the world out there remained stable even when I'm moving let me show you what I mean so imagine that I really love the scene behind me and I want to go ahead and captured so I can do it later song in your head videotape the scene and I'm checking out all the buildings okay and known to play this back not surprisingly the resulting video is nauseating so what is this video look so terrible given that when I look at the buildings my eyes are making the same jerky movements although you're not generally aware of it your eyes move about 4 times a second but your internal model operates under the assumption that the world outside is stable so my eyes are taking a video they're simply gathering bits of data update this city that's already inside my head having an internal model helps me make sense of my environment and that's its primary function to navigate the world 3 dozen bother picking up every detail just enough to get us through but it plays the trick of making us feel as though we've seen it all as another famous experiment shows in the 19 sixties the Russian psychologist Paul Iorga's used this painting called the unexpected visitor in an experiment he devised a way to track the online movements of volunteers who were seeing it for the first time I Jennifer hello minuscule put his glasses on we're going to be run what he did I volunteers have a few seconds to take in the image all you know look at this painting I want you to gather what's going on in the scene we can watch in real time exactly where each person's eyes go tell me what you think is going on in the spinning I think the man in the brown that's an expert there one brief look is enough for the brain to model the picture but just how detailed is that model how many children better too okay to go in the back of the painting and ask that question again oppo quite different how many children are there I consider it 3 everyone who'd seen the painting thought they knew what was in it but my specific questions highlighted blanks at the brain had never filled in because the details weren't needed how many paintings are on the wall in the house maybe 2 or 3 okay go ahead look back finance 100000000 yeah map and then another and then there's a 7 on the other wall and then one small one in the map okay there's a time this is not the failure of the brain it doesn't try to produce a perfect simulation of the world the internal model is a hastily drawn approximation and more details are added on a need to know basis when you look at the paving the first time you saw sort of a rough draft of what was going on and when I ask you specific questions you had to go and answer those by looking by turning your attention on specific parts of the painting and only then did you actually see it simply singer always on an object is no guarantee of senior but there's something else were unaware of happening every time we look at any pick person or thing any time we look at all we might think of color as a fundamental defining quality of the world around us afterall it's everywhere but here's the startling the outside world color doesn't actually exist when electro magnetic radiation hits an object some of it balances often is captured by our eyes we can distinguish between millions of combinations of wavelengths it's only inside our heads that any of this becomes color add to that the fact that the wavelengths we can't detect for only a small part of what's out there mmhm you experience reality as it's presented by your senses and it doesn't typically strike you that things can be very different what we've been talking about so far is what we call the visible spectrum of light which is a spectrum of wavelengths that runs from what we call Reds of violets but it turns out that this movie constitutes agreement high noon fraction of the electromagnetic spectrum in fact less than 110 0 thousands so all the rest of the spectrum including radio waves microwaves and X. rays and gamma rays all of this stuff is flowing through our bodies right now they were completely unaware of it because we don't have any specialized biological receptors to pick up on it so what this means is that the heart of reality that we can see is totally limited by our biology and this isn't just about site all our senses are only picking up a small part of the information that's out there I I there so for a dog he's turned into a whole world of scent molecules that I'm not this experience of smell is as rich as my experience of vision in the blind and deaf world of to check the important signals are temperature and body odor achieved Welling bats it's all about air compression waves that allow them to echo locate but no one is having an experience of objective reality of the world that really truly exists instead each creature perceives only what it has evolved to proceed and this is about variation between species before each experiencing a personal reality constructed inside our brains how do I know that my reality is at all like yours most of the time it seems as if we operate along the same line as if you and I agree with blue sky is as if the sound of a dog bark provokes the same sort of response in both of us I the but there's a small group of people whose perception is measurably different from ours for me anytime I see a letter or a number or think of a word or say someone's name there is a lot of color succeeded without Canada is one of 6000 people I've studied who have synaesthesia I study synesthesia because it's one of the few conditions in which it's clear that someone else's reality is different from mine that makes it obvious that how we perceive the world is not one size fits all in my mind I associate this letter with its own color so for example the letter a is always read he is always blue see is always orange every time so they never changed but what's interesting is when they're formed into words in different orders that configuration of the callers changes in knocking the sort of interesting so is the word cannot my name it looks like a sunset it's yellow feeding in to read feeding into kind of a career like clouds almost and then goes back to read into yellow these experiences come about because of the simple fact that inside the brain all sensory information is made from the same stuff electrochemical sick but synaesthesia is the result of cross talk being sent 3 areas of the brain if the blurred borders between city district since these are shows us that even my new changes in brain wiring can lead to a different reality there are different kinds of synesthesia some people perceive weekdays to have locations in space some pieced words others see music and every time I meet someone who has this kind of experience it's a reminder person to person brain to brain our experiences of reality can be quite different for a small section of the population that difference can be extreme and terrifying we all know what it's like to have dreams at night to have bizarre when bidden thoughts that take us on journeys sometimes journeys that we suffer through what we wake up were lucky enough to be able to compartmentalize that to say okay that was a dream and this is my waking life I just imagine what it would be like if these were more more inter twined it was more more difficult to tell them apart from one another built the houses were communicating with me you are special your especially bad repent stop go interpreter I did not hear these words but I heard them assaults put in my head that I knew they were the houses slaughter not my fault I think that explosions are being set off in my brain and I'm afraid that it's gonna hurt other people not just me I once had a fantasy that my brains were going to leak out of my ears and drowned what is actually Helen Sachs is a professor of law at the university of southern California he's been experiencing schizophrenic episodes since she was 16 years old it's scary it's unpredictable it's sort of interesting because they're different theories about psychotic symptoms for some people are just random firings of neurons I do think they tell the truth about your psychic reality so when I say I killed hundreds of thousands of people with my thoughts as just another or cake an extreme way of saying I'm talking about personal frontier is still not fully understood put it involves chemical imbalances in the brain it's cause problems in the sending and receiving of signals thanks to medication and therapy Ellen has been able to lecture and teach for over 25 years so when you were at the bottom in one of your worst psychotic episodes too good to be reality I really believe what's happened I think is happening is happening it's terrifying it's like I'm waking nightmare confusion is our images violence terrors I wouldn't wish it on anyone that said ... everybody's reality is constructed right here filter it through your beliefs and values and issues ... and this is true for people who have mental lists and for people who don't have been told this is all spectrum mmhm reality just person to person and more than that it changes from moment to moment there are times in all our lives we can seem hands intensified the even the one great constantly we all think we share and what should never change somehow becomes stretched and stewarded I'm talking about time time is something that we rarely stop to consider but our brains experience of time is often quite strange it doesn't always seem uncertain situations that time is running at an even pace sometimes it runs more slowly or more quickly when I was 8 years old fell off of the roof of the house about this height and the full seem to me to take a very long time but when I got to high school and learn physics and I calculated how long in the fall actually take and it turns out it was only 8 tenths of a second so that set me off on a quest to understand why didn't seem to take so long and what does this tell me about our perception of reality many people have reported the sensation during moments of terror professional wingsuit flyer Jeb Corliss experienced it in an extreme way but and because he falls for a living the event he describes should on multiple cameras on this day I decided to aim for a target like set of balloons and coming in balloons I was flying towards balloons and as I was coming into the black balloon I've misjudged high impact laughs solid granite at 120 miles an hour I seconds elapsed between the moment that job hit the rock at the moment he pulled his ripcord he broke his leg and both ankles in the fall in the world from jobs perspective those 6 seconds seem to last a long time you got 2 options one is you can not pull and you know just be dead right now was like really quick simi painless you know over fast it or you can pull it out get a fair shake your head impact a second time and then bleed to death while waiting for rescue these 2 separate thought processes felt like minutes of time it feels like you're operating so fast that your perception of everything else seemed to slow down everything just gets stretched war what was really happening in jobs brain I designed an experiment to find out it depended on inducing extreme fear in people by dropping them from 150 feet in the air they felt with the digital display strapped to their wrist its numbers were changing at a rate faster human vision can normally handle sexual time did slow they would be able to read the numbers but no one could so why did Joe recall this accident is happening in slow motion it was a time distortion on a level I've never experienced before I learned later that they rescue took about 2.5 hours what at the time it felt like weeks I didn't feel like minutes or hours or even days it fell like Philip Linley Trinity's it felt like for a book mmhm the answer seems to lie how far memories are made in a critical situation an area of the brain called the amygdala kicks into high gear comment here's the resources of the rest of the brain forcing everything to attend the situation at hand when the amygdala is in play memories are laid down with far more detail than under normal mmhm these memories are richer and more vivid if you're ever in a similar situation you have more information at your disposal to work out how to stay alive but there's a fascinating because when the events are replayed in her memory they appear to have taken a longer time chips time distortion something that happened retro of the memory that wrote the story of his reality the brain is the universe's ultimate storyteller we believe whatever our brains serve up to us reality we take for granted choirs intensive training to interpret the world funny to process sensory information so we live in the past I and because all the information ultimately just electrical signals sorted match rendered impacted reality something created inside our head or bring scopes are reality using the narrow trickle of data that it can gather through the senses and from that trickle it tells a story about our world it's possible that every brain tells a different narrative it was 7000000000 human brains wandering the planet trillions of animal brains no one is tapped into the full picture each brain carries its own unique model world around us that is what we experience we have no choice so what is reality whatever your brain tells you it is uhhuh next time on the brain I'm going to explore a fundamental about our lives what makes you you I spent many years of my life trying save for the mystery brain and yet I'm still in the log every time I hold one and that's because although this mortal of biology seems alien to us how is on this 3 pound we're in is made up of hot billions of cells 0 connections these cells fire trillions of electric every so your life somehow all this way biological stuff souls the experience being what shapes who do you recall I'm going to explore how you work late shapes your brain right shapes your life //

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