Due to strong interest in this topic, "Brain Science and Human Behavior" will be repeated on Sunday 2 Feb. Since the waitlist is so long, new signups should RSVP to the Feb 2nd edition of the topic.
How does the emotional brain (the so-called limbic system) work? Is there a rational part of the brain or are we all emotional creatures? Why does every excitatory center in the limbic system seem to have an inhibitory center to counterbalance it? What is the evidence in support of the James-Lang theory of emotions, namely, that the state of your body tells the brain what to feel? If a human brain consists of about 100 billion neurons each with about 10,000 connections (known as synapses) which communicate to each other by pumping neurotransmitters stored in vesicles into the gap between neurons, why are our brains not completely awash in noise and misfirings and confusion? How can individual differences and diverse responses to experience manifest in the working of the brain? Where are concepts & categories stored in the brain? What are the difficulties and challenges in studying the brain?
This discussion is based on a 1½ hour video lecture called "Limbic System" from Robert Sapolsky's free on-line course "Human Behavioral Biology" (although the course is introductory in nature and concerns a vitally important subject, this lecture gets a little bit technical at times. Understanding the details is not important, instead I recommend listening to get a sense of the big picture). The video depends on four lectures that introduce some high-level but technical details of Brain Science including the basics of neuroscience and endocrinology.
• The Limbic System. You may be able to follow this video without first watching the four supplemental videos below, but it assumes some familiarity with neuroendocrinology. During the discussion, I will try to explain anything you could not understand during the discussion (although I am not a neuroscientist I have watched each video twice and I've taken extensive notes). Read my notes on Sapolsky's limbic system video. Here are the notes of "a Sapolsky fan" on the limbic system.
Background Videos: These videos explain basic ideas about the neuroendocrine system that constitutes modern brain science from the perspective of Human Behavior. Understanding Sapolsky's video on the Limbic System will be significantly improved if you watch these videos first:
• Introduction to Neuroscience I. My notes on the Neuroscience I video.
• Introduction to Neuroscience II. My notes on the Neuroscience II video.
• Endocrinology. My notes on the Endocrinology video.
• Advanced Neurology and Endocrinology. My notes on Sapolsky's advanced neuroendocrinology video. The notes of "a Sapolsky fan" on advanced neuroendocrinology.
This topic is a repeat from the one on Sun 12 Jan.
I have led several prior discussions on Robert Sapolsky whose descriptions (and videos) you may enjoy. The Uniqueness and Evolution of Humans (15 Apr 2012) which is based on a Sapolsky lecture. The other discussions have been based on Sapolsky's course BIO 250, HUMBIO 160: Human Behavioral Biology. There were two discussions on "The Evolutionary and Genetic Bases of Human Behavior" which covered videos 2-7 of the course on 14 Jul 2013 and 27 Jul 2013, two discussions on "The Biology of Learning" which covered videos 8 & 9 of the course on 10 Nov 2013 and 30 Nov 2013.