Posted by: grokscience | May 11, 2011

Neural Populations

Classical studies of the brain have relied on recording from single neurons at one time. However, understanding the interactions of multiple neurons requires different approaches. On this program, Konrad Kording discussed recording from multiple neurons in the brain.

Safety in numbers… 😉




  1. Good podcast show in general – format is solid, the 20-30 min episode length is just right. Is there way to know who upcoming guests will be – that information would make it possible to peruse the guest’s work and submit questions or comments that can be used by you to conduct perhaps a more poignant interview.

    OK…. Oprah. Really? The amount of pseudoscience she has supported is going to keep scientists and fact checkers busy setting things straight for decades to come. Promoter of The Secret, the paranormal, psychic powers, new age spirituality, psychoceramic celebrity diets, anti-vaccination, among other things. Oy. Her audience is what, 100 million viewers? I’d call it irresponsible at worst, ignorant and misleading at best. I suppose she does create jobs for scientists who want to transition into journalism (read: translating science to common language and disentangling science from nonsense a la sir Massimo Pigliucci).

    I did very much enjoy this podcast however – I am supportive of interviewing scientists who are conducting research and writing peer reviewed papers in addition to those who pen books. Being a neuroscience person, perhaps I am biased towards such interviews, but it would be interesting to hear whether or not enough background info was presented (or asked for) in order for laypersons to follow along.

    In upcoming episodes I’d love to hear some philosophy of science (don’t be afraid of the “C” word Covic!).

    For the avoidance of doubt, the C word is Consciousness. We can’t avoid it for better or worse and there are some really nutty claims out there that have to be addressed IMO. But maybe you rockin’ Grokers can debate whether or not we should be speaking about it, whether it has any meaning anyway, or whether it is something that will be dissolved a la Wittgenstein’s philosophical problems.


    • I don’t know about the C topic in this context. Given that vast majority of US population identify themselves as religious or spiritual (70% Christian, and anecdotally 29.99% “spritual” in my experience) scientific C topic might detract from the interview such as this. If there’s another one dedicated to scientific C topics, that might be ok. I’d really like to hear that one, maybe discussing stimulating the right temporal lobe and such.

      Ghost in a machine, such an interesting concept. If true, I’d like to grok what makes that ghost, but then that’s just me. Vast majority of the population are afraid to even consider looking into that topic, let alone investigate it.

  2. Yes! Philosophy is good – let’s do it 🙂 With respect to discussing consciousness in particular, it may feel philosophical to neurobiologists, but psychologists don’t shy away from it quite so much. Perhaps we can get one on to discuss the current state of empirical work on consciousness.

    • Maybe Stanislas Dehaene, at least he is attempting to measure and quantify neural activity, based upon the Global Workspace Theory which originated from Bernard Baars. I do not necessarily endorse it (talking about consciousness may be talking about nothing really), but to me it beats the stuff in Neuroquantology journals. Might be an opportunity to attempt to define a boundary between science and philosophy/theory… Not so different from string theory in the sense that a very real debate exists as to whether or not string theory is science or not, since there has not been a novel testable prediction that has come out of string theory.

      There are others working on this theory, using fmri and dti, which may be strategically lured into a discussion. I would suggest using carrots on a string and dark chocolate.


      • I was always curious why we die. In old times, stopping the heart was considered death. Now we can replace the heart. Then if a person is brain dead (no electro-chemical activity in brain), can we restart that engine? Is it really like string theory to do that as in we need particle accelerator the size of a solar systems or galaxies? Somehow, I feel brain science is closer to reality than string theory.

        I can’t wait to buy my freedom so I can study these interesting topics. Working 16 hours 7 days a week leaves no room to do anything else, not even catch up GSS…

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