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Brain and Mental Performance

The Big Idea

13 years, 11 months ago

2160  0
Posted on Nov 30, 2005, 5 a.m. By Bill Freeman

The neural code is the most important scientific problem you have (probably) never heard of. Analogous to the software of a computer, the neural code is the set of rules or the syntax that transforms the electrical pulses emitted by brain cells into perceptions, memories and decisions.

The neural code is the most important scientific problem you have (probably) never heard of.

Analogous to the software of a computer, the neural code is the set of rules or the syntax that transforms the electrical pulses emitted by brain cells into perceptions, memories and decisions. Knowledge of the neural code could give us almost unlimited power over our psyches, because we could monitor and manipulate brain cells with exquisite precision by speaking to them in their own private language. The neural code could also solve one of philosophy's oldest conundrums, the mind-body problem. We may finally understand how this wrinkled lump of jelly in our skulls generates a unique self with a sense of personal identity and autonomy, a self that perceives, emotes, remembers, imagines, chooses, acts, creates.

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