Neurons in human skin perform advanced calculations...

#1
http://www.medfak.umu.se/english/about-the-faculty/news/newsdetailpage/neurons-in-human-skin-perform-advanced-calculations.cid238881?

"Neurons in human skin perform advanced calculations, previously believed that only the brain could perform. This is according to a study from Umeå University in Sweden published in the journal Nature Neuroscience"

"Perhaps the most surprising result of our study is that these peripheral neurons, which are engaged when a fingertip examines an object, perform the same type of calculations done by neurons in the cerebral cortex. Somewhat simplified, it means that our touch experiences are already processed by neurons in the skin before they reach the brain for further processing, says Andrew Pruszynski."

Seems like it might be interesting to some forum members.
 
#2
http://www.medfak.umu.se/english/about-the-faculty/news/newsdetailpage/neurons-in-human-skin-perform-advanced-calculations.cid238881?

"Neurons in human skin perform advanced calculations, previously believed that only the brain could perform. This is according to a study from Umeå University in Sweden published in the journal Nature Neuroscience"

"Perhaps the most surprising result of our study is that these peripheral neurons, which are engaged when a fingertip examines an object, perform the same type of calculations done by neurons in the cerebral cortex. Somewhat simplified, it means that our touch experiences are already processed by neurons in the skin before they reach the brain for further processing, says Andrew Pruszynski."

Seems like it might be interesting to some forum members.
Cool. This seems at once both incredible and unsurprising!
 
#4
If it's really the "same type of calculations" sorta makes the "further processing" in the brain less remarkable, yet somehow still gives rise to consciousness, which is rather remarkable. Then again, maybe our fingertips are conscious now too? ;-)
 
#5
If it's really the "same type of calculations" sorta makes the "further processing" in the brain less remarkable, yet somehow still gives rise to consciousness, which is rather remarkable. Then again, maybe our fingertips are conscious now too? ;-)
That was sorta my angle in terms of why this forum might find the paper interesting...if brain functions are taking place in places other than the brain, perhaps consciousness is also taking place in places other than the brain...

but perhaps the rebuttal from the more mind=brain inclined crowd would be that even with this finding, the mind is still in the body. so mind=brain (plus all other body parts that perform brain-like calculations)!
 
#6
That was sorta my angle in terms of why this forum might find the paper interesting...if brain functions are taking place in places other than the brain, perhaps consciousness is also taking place in places other than the brain...
An interesting thought along these lines is how many traditions held part of the soul, if not all of the soul, was in the heart. When we feel anxiety, this is a type of emotion/feeling, which things we normally associate with brain processing, but we feel anxiety in our chest. Is this the "heart" having an "experience"? Does the heart have neurons?
 
#7
An interesting thought along these lines is how many traditions held part of the soul, if not all of the soul, was in the heart. When we feel anxiety, this is a type of emotion/feeling, which things we normally associate with brain processing, but we feel anxiety in our chest. Is this the "heart" having an "experience"? Does the heart have neurons?
The heart not only has neurons, it has neurons which act autonomously!

Linda
 
#8
The heart not only has neurons, it has neurons which act autonomously!

Linda
What does the "autonomously" part mean Linda? And how would that be different than the neurons in the brain, if at all? (Not challenging what you're saying here, just asking because I really don't know)
 
#10
What does the "autonomously" part mean Linda? And how would that be different than the neurons in the brain, if at all? (Not challenging what you're saying here, just asking because I really don't know)
Independently of any input from the brain - neurons which can be activated/fire and modulate their activity based on feedback, in the absence of any higher order processing from the brain.

I was reading something recently which also used fMRI of the spinal cord to show higher order processing than simple reflexes, if I recall correctly. I'll have to see if I can remember what it was and find it.

Linda
 
#12
Well, a lot of people in consciousness studied are leaning toward pansychism. I'm not sure this would really be considered a difficulty for them.
 
#13
Independently of any input from the brain - neurons which can be activated/fire and modulate their activity based on feedback, in the absence of any higher order processing from the brain.

I was reading something recently which also used fMRI of the spinal cord to show higher order processing than simple reflexes, if I recall correctly. I'll have to see if I can remember what it was and find it.

Linda
Ahh okay, thanks. That is pretty interesting and raises the question as to where the "seat of the soul" really is, even if you come at it from mind=brain perspective, especially given the trend towards panpsychism amongst some in neuroscience.
 
#16
Makes one question why evolution would bother producing a brain with all these computational neurons throughout a body. What is there that a brain does that the rest of the body can't that somehow helps odds of survival? Surely it's not just "further processing".
 
#17
Makes one question why evolution would bother producing a brain with all these computational neurons throughout a body. What is there that a brain does that the rest of the body can't that somehow helps odds of survival? Surely it's not just "further processing".
How about planning and problem-solving?
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#19
Excellent, this is a pretty decent nod to panpsychism IMHO. Judging by this there could well be centres of consciousness throughout our bodies
Wait, don't we need to find information processing in something other than neurons in order to get excited about panpsychism? Otherwise it's just neuropsychism, which does not surprise anyone.

~~ Paul
 
#20
Makes one question why evolution would bother producing a brain with all these computational neurons throughout a body. What is there that a brain does that the rest of the body can't that somehow helps odds of survival? Surely it's not just "further processing".
You still need somewhere in which to combine all the different and isolated specialised sensory inputs that are being transmitted by the neurons...

A bit like a big pan, where you can add all your separate ingredients, combining them to make a food experience that is greater than than the sum of it's parts.
 
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