How the brain builds new thoughts

first_img ‘Deep pragmatism’ as a moral engine But how are such thoughts constructed? According to one theory, the brain does it by representing conceptual variables, answers to recurring questions of meaning such as “What was done?” and “Who did it?” and “To whom was it done?” A new thought such as “Biden beats Putin” can then be built by making “beating” the value of the action variable, “Biden” the value of the “agent” variable (“Who did it?”), and “Putin” the value of the “patient” variable (“To whom was it done?”). Frankland and Greene are the first to point to specific regions of the brain that encode such mental syntax.“This has been a central theoretical discussion in cognitive science for a long time, and although it has seemed like a pretty good bet that the brain works this way, there’s been little direct empirical evidence for it,” Frankland said.To identify the regions, Frankland and Greene used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan students’ brains as they read a series of simple sentences such as “The dog chased the man” and “The man chased the dog.”Equipped with that data, they then turned to algorithms to identify patterns of brain activity that corresponded with “dog” and “boy.”“What we found is there are two regions in the left superior temporal lobe, one which is situated more toward the center of the head, that carries information about the agent, the one doing an action,” Frankland said. “An immediately adjacent region, located closer to the ear, carries information about the patient, or who the action was done to.”Importantly, Frankland added, the brain appears to reuse the same patterns across multiple sentences, implying that these patterns function like symbols.“So we might say ‘the dog chased the boy,’ or ‘the dog scratched the boy,’ but if we use some new verb the algorithms can still recognize the ‘dog’ pattern as the agent,” Frankland said. “That’s important because it suggests these symbols are used over and over again to compose new thoughts. And, moreover, we find that the structure of the thought is mapped onto the structure of the brain in a systematic way.”That ability to use a series of repeatable concepts to formulate new thoughts may be part of what makes human thought unique ― and uniquely powerful.“This paper is about language,” Greene said. “But we think it’s about more than that. There’s a more general mystery about how human thinking works.“What makes human thinking so powerful is that we have this library of concepts that we can use to formulate an effectively infinite number of thoughts,” he continued. “Humans can engage in complicated behaviors that, for any other creature on Earth, would require an enormous amount of training. Humans can read or hear a string of concepts and immediately put those concepts together to form some new idea.”Unlike models of perception, which put more complex representations at the top of a processing hierarchy, Frankland and Greene’s study supports a model of higher cognition that relies on the dynamic combination of conceptual building blocks to formulate thoughts.“You can’t have a set of neurons that are there just waiting for someone to say ‘Joe Biden beat Vladimir Putin at Scrabble,’ ” Greene said. “That means there has to be some other system for forming meanings on the fly, and it has to be incredibly flexible, incredibly quick and incredibly precise.” He added, “This is an essential feature of human intelligence that we’re just beginning to understand.” Let’s start with a simple sentence: Last week Joe Biden beat Vladimir Putin in a game of Scrabble.It’s a strange notion to entertain, certainly, but one humans can easily make sense of, researchers say, thanks to the way the brain constructs new thoughts.A new study, co-authored by postdoctoral fellow Steven Frankland and Professor of Psychology Joshua Greene, suggests that two adjacent brain regions allow humans to build new thoughts using a sort of conceptual algebra, mimicking the operations of silicon computers that represent variables and their changing values. The study is described in a Sept. 17 paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.“One of the big mysteries of human cognition is how the brain takes ideas and puts them together in new ways to form new thoughts,” said Frankland, the lead author of the study. “Most people can understand ‘Joe Biden beat Vladimir Putin at Scrabble’ even though they’ve never thought about that situation, because, as long as you know who Putin is, who Biden is, what Scrabble is, and what it means to win, you’re able to put these concepts together to understand the meaning of the sentence. That’s a basic, but remarkable, cognitive ability.” Related Harvard psychologist describes a nuanced approach to conflict in new book last_img read more

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Gold Coast mega mansion Villa Blue Waters sells for more than $9 million

first_imgWhile the sale price hasn’t been disclosed, it is understood Villa Blue Waters sold for more than $9 million with a superyacht included in the sale.The property, which regularly features throughout Mr Torrens’ Instagram account, comes with a 60m concrete, commercial-grade pontoon that can take a 200ft yacht among its luxury features.“It’s got the biggest residential pontoon in Australia for a superyacht,” Mr Torrens said.After buying 3 Brittanic Cres in 2013 for $3.45 million, the Torrens family spent a small fortune rebuilding it from scratch. MORE NEWS: Tom Williams’ unlikely career change Mr Torrens said his family had already moved out of the property they had called home for the past five years.“It hasn’t really felt like it’s happening,” he said.“Normally we celebrate Christmas there so it’s a bit of an eerie feeling.”Villa Blue Waters, which has 1950sq m of land and 59m of water frontage, first hit the market in 2016 and has been on and off ever since.The highest sale on the Sovereign Islands is $11.05 million for a property at Sir Lancelot Close that changed hands this year.A beachfront mansion at Mermaid Beach that sold for $12 million holds the 2018 highest sale crown. Villa Blue Waters at 3 Brittanic Cres, Sovereign Islands has sold in a deal reportedly worth more than $9 million.LUXURY boat broker Grant Torrens has sold his family’s Gold Coast mega mansion in a deal worth more than $9 million.His son Mitchell Grant Torrens said the extravagant Sovereign Islands property sold through their brokerage company Torrens Luxury Collection. Unwind at Villa Blue Waters. What a pool! Luxury boat broker Grant Torrens (centre) and his son Mitchell at the “Ultimate Event” at Villa Blue Waters. Some of the fixtures included Swarovski crystal doorknobs and 24-carat gold Versace tapware.The residence comes with a commercial-size granite cocktail bar, Italian marble entertaining area and teppanyaki cabana centred around a resort-style, pool and spa.“The family home has been such a gathering spot for us to entertain family, friends and VIP clients,” Mr Torrens said.One of the garages even features black marble floor tiles and is purely for displaying luxury cars.Villa Blue Waters has also been used for photos shoots for fashion labels Camilla and Versace and was on Foxtel’s I Own Australia’s Best Homes. MORE NEWS: Why Coast waterfront properties are so popular The property comes with a commercial-grade pontoon.More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa13 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag2 days ago The bar! Welcome to luxury. Entertain in style. A bathroom in Villa Blue Waters. One of the bedrooms. The basement car park.last_img read more

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