Neuroplasticity

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Grossenschwamm, Nov 17, 2011.

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  1. Grossenschwamm

    Grossenschwamm Well-Known Member

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    This has been one of those ideas being kicked around by psychoanalysts and neurologist for a few years, and now it seems there's enough evidence to back it up;
    Changes in thought patterns physically rewire a person's brain. Actually teaching yourself to do things differently will change how your brain works.
    It's been seen in people who were previously thought to be dependent on medications to maintain their negative symptoms, such as for depression and schizophrenia. These people actually figured out a way to change how they thought about their illness and either conquer it or reduce the severity of symptoms, in both cases reducing the need for medication. This will ultimately change how psychiatric issues are dealt with in the future, so long as pharmaceutical companies don't try to shove their hackneyed "It's a chemical imbalance and our pill is the only way to manage the disease" schlock. This explains people with autism or asperger's who've been able to matriculate themselves into society. What they've done isn't just something learned, a new routine - it's a literal change in connections between neurons in their brains. It's not perfect, but it ends up working a lot better than what they were born with.
    Now, I thought about this, and if it becomes mainstream thought, people who are against homosexuality will use it against gay people. The whole "I was born this way, so I can't change who I'm attracted to!" argument won't work because people have been shown to even reduce symptoms of physical differences in their own brains. Now, it's really all up to the person; if your mental condition or neurological disorder causes problems that potentially disable you, try to change (and I'm not saying that I think homosexuality is a condition in any way).
    I know that homosexuality was taken out of the DSM a while ago, but that doesn't change the stance of the opposition. This is both a blessing and a curse.
     
  2. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    If it turns out that sexuality can be altered with a few mental exercises then we can just train everyone to be bisexual, and that will solve most of the world's problems.

    I don't think it will work like that though. It's probably that the kind of social behaviours they're talking about are all mostly learned anyway, so this is just a slightly round-about way of developing them. Whereas altering a hard-wired innate behaviour will be much more difficult.
     
  3. Grossenschwamm

    Grossenschwamm Well-Known Member

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    That's just it, though;
    All forms of autism, even illnesses like schizophrenia, are things that were previously thought to be hard-wired in a person's brain and something impossible to change. This came to be as a result of the idea that the brain functions like a computer, and is an immutable machine.
    However, this new thinking maintains the computer function, but allows for a certain degree of malleability within the physical aspect of the brain. A much more tangible example is this young girl. She's just as smart as anyone else, and is currently working to regain complete control of her left side. She's much, much more functional than anyone thought possible, and at first it was thought to be a result of childhood resilience. Now, it's recognized as neuroplasticity.
    It's recently been shown that autistic people have many more neurons in the prefrontal cortex than "normal" people (67% more on average), which leads to their hypersensitivity to the world around them and difficulty in properly dealing with social situations. They have larger brains, but due to the amount of cells they can't always form proper connections between them to cope with the outside world. This leads to many autistic children being very withdrawn. In people who've adapted, however, the brain has rewired itself to function nearly the same way as an NT would. it's not a perfect assimilation, but it works well enough.
     
  4. Crypton

    Crypton Member

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  5. Grossenschwamm

    Grossenschwamm Well-Known Member

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  6. Crypton

    Crypton Member

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  7. TheDavisChanger

    TheDavisChanger Well-Known Member

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    Young girls are the best tangible examples.

    This discussion of homosexuality reminds me of the article on introversion I shared, and I would hope that the view of homosexuality itself would change on a larger scale.

    While potentially true, "I was born this way" can sound a bit like an excuse for one's homosexual behavior, and with this neuroplasticity, it may have become a weak excuse. I'd prefer for people to view homosexuality as a valid tendency and not something that needs to be changed through neuroplasticity. It was be like somebody telling another person to train his brain to prefer reading books to viewing movies because reading books is "better."
     
  8. Smuel

    Smuel Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I'd recommend starting with them.
     
  9. Grossenschwamm

    Grossenschwamm Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    He knows what's up.
     
  10. ytzk

    ytzk Well-Known Member

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    I'm reading through the new book on the subject: The Brain That Changes Itself, and the implications are staggering.

    There is a chapter on how pornography is reprogamming people to want more abusive and degrading sex, but no mention of homosexuality.

    Autism is described in detail, and may be summed up as 'indiscriminite neural firing caused by sensory white noise in infancy'. The cure lies in going over everything (syllables, concepts, skills etc.) very slowly in order to connect the neurons more discriminately.

    There are plenty of stories of people, injured or retarded, who recover by practising their weaknesses dilligently, but the real breakthrough, imo, is in cybernetics.

    The brain lends itself to installing new hardware. Cochlear implants and artifical limbs, for example, as well as devices simulating vision and balance, can all be 'read' by the brain and integrated into the sensory universe which we create in our minds.

    This actually validates the claims of the isolated wierdoes who used to claim that they were picking up radio stations through their metal fillings.

    There are also implications for brainwashing people, using the brain chemicals naturally produced in love and learning.

    Theoretically, this science could lend itself to curing homophobia or homosexuality, but really, that's pretty trivial compared to curing the blind or my planned race of cybernetic supermen.
     
  11. FrostyMixi

    FrostyMixi Member

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  12. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    I don't like the cold dead eyes of Gross's dog puppet.
     
  13. Grossenschwamm

    Grossenschwamm Well-Known Member

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    That's because they're the eyes of a cat. That's dead.

    I'm not sure I follow. People can get a cybernetic prosthesis that allows them to see or hear and integrate it as if it had always been there, and somehow this validates people walking around on the sidewalk with lumps of metal over hollows in teeth saying those lumps are allowing them to pick up the country music top 100/orders from the CIA?
    Unless you're implying those fillings were actually tiny radios audible only to the carrier, then I'm not sure what to make of it.
     
  14. ytzk

    ytzk Well-Known Member

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    I'm not going to dignify that with a response, since now you're talking to me as though I'm Xyle.

    Well, I never!
     
  15. Jojobobo

    Jojobobo Well-Known Member

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    This made me lol, a lot. In fact it's going to be my new signature. *Poof*

    On a more serious note, what implications does this have for CBT? I'm sure in my one and only more telling post I mentioned I had OCD, so that's why I'm curious. I guess you could say that the development of my OCD is sort of like my brain re-wiring itself incorrectly, or at least that's what I think most aptly describes it, and hence why this thread interests me.
     
  16. Grossenschwamm

    Grossenschwamm Well-Known Member

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    I just want to see how it works out. There are definitely anecdotal accounts of people hearing AM radio stations through fillings in their teeth when their mouths are dry and they're close to the stations. The way this works is similar to how people used crystal receivers to listen to radios before the advent of FM frequencies. The crystals had a metal antenna and a ceramic coating, which ends up being similar to a tooth with a filling. The crystal interior...I dunno. It's right here. The reason I asked you about it is because fillings weren't designed to do stuff like that, and you're comparing them to cybernetic ears being integrated within a person's senses. There was even an episode of House where a patient came in complaining of phantom voices, and the voices turned out to be related to their fillings.
     
  17. Grakelin

    Grakelin New Member

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    Gross, your threads are indistinguishable from the spambots now.
     
  18. Grossenschwamm

    Grossenschwamm Well-Known Member

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    Grakelin, your fibers are uncannily resemble from the robot overlords currently. Have a handbag.
     
  19. ytzk

    ytzk Well-Known Member

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    The mechanism is that the brain will work to make sense of anything sensible coming to it from any source.

    Hypothetically, a brain receiving AM radio waves both from the radio through the ears as well as from the fillings via the nerves of the mouth, could rewire itself to interpret those radio waves as sound. It is only theory that I put forward, but not long ago, there was no explanation for people hearing radio through their teeth. They were without exception considered insane.
     
  20. Grossenschwamm

    Grossenschwamm Well-Known Member

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    Technically, any EM frequency has a sonic frequency analogue, so perhaps what was happening with these people, as what occurred with the crystal receivers, is that the EM waves induced a sympathetic vibration that directly corresponded to the information being transmitted via radio waves. The jaw is adjacent to the eustacean tubes, which allow drainage of excess fluid from the middle ear. Perhaps these vibrations were picked up in this way and transmitted directly to the cochlea. All the ear drum does is allow for vibrations to be transmitted from the outer ear through to the inner ear via a fluid medium. If the fillings could stimulate a vibratory response in the middle ear fluid, they could perhaps bypass the normal external mode of hearing and cause a radio station to be heard.
     
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