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How do humans think?

Theory of human thinking

This is one of the most basic questions in neuroscience: How do humans think? Until a while ago, we were looking away from a decisive answer.  However, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (MPI CBS) in Leipzig, Germany, and the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience in Trondheim, Norway, among them Nobel prize laureate Edvard I. Moser, currently issued a Journal Science - Humans use their brain's navigation system for thinking.

When we navigate our environment, two important cell types are activated in our brain. In the hippocampus and grid cells, neighboring cells in the entorhinal cortex form a circuit that allows orientation and navigation. The team of scientists tells us that our internal navigation system does a lot. They propose that this system is also important for 'thinking', explaining why our knowledge takes place in a spatial fashion.

"We believe that the brain stores information about our surroundings in the so-called cognitive places, which not only concerns the geographical data, but also the relationship between objects and experiences," says MPI senior author and new director Christian Door explains. CBS

The term 'cognitive place' refers to mental maps in which we organize our experience. Whatever we have, we have physical properties, whether that person or thing and therefore it can be arranged with different dimensions. "If I think about cars, then I can order them based on the strength and weight of their engine, for example. We have a strong engine and low-weight racing cars, as well as weaker engines and high weights Caravan, will be among all the combinations, as well. "Doeller says. "We can think of our family and friends in a similar way; for example, to cite them as long or short, humorous or humorous, or more or less rich, based on their height, humor, or income. " Depending on the dimensions of interest, individuals can be mentally stored simultaneously or further away.

Theory of human thinking

In his proposal, the dollar and his team mixed the different threads of evidence to create the theory of human thinking. This theory begins with the Nobel Prize-winning discoveries of place and grid cells in the mind of rodents, which were later present in humans. Both types of cells show patterns of activity representing the status of animals in space, for example, while forging it for food. Each position in space is represented by a unique pattern of activity. Together, the activity of place and grid cells allows the formation of a mental map of the environment, which is stored and reactivated during subsequent trips.

Very regular activation patterns of grid cells can be seen in humans - but notably, during navigation only through geographic locations. Grid cells are also active during learning new concepts, as shown by a 2016 study. In that study, volunteers learned to add pictures of birds, which only with different symbols in lengths of their neck and feet, such as a tree or a bell. A bird with a long neck and small legs was attached to the tree while a bird with a small neck and long legs was from Bell. Thus, a specific combination of physical characteristics was represented by a symbol.

In the subsequent memory test, performed in a brain scanner, volunteers indicated that different birds were associated with one of the symbols. Interestingly, the entorhinal cortex was activated, in the same way, as it occurs during navigation, provides a coordinate system for our thoughts.

"Combining all these previous discoveries, we came to the conception that the brain stores a mental map, even if we are thinking about the location between the real place or the dimensions of our thoughts. One can be considered a way, with the spaces of our thoughts, various mental dimensions, "before publication, Jacob Belmund explains.

Mapping New Experience

"These processes are particularly useful for estimating new things or situations, even though we have never experienced them," Neuroscientists continue. Using current maps of cognitive spaces, humans can predict how much new it is for something already known in relation to the existing dimensions. If they have already experienced tigers, lions or panthers, but they have never seen the leopard, then we will keep the leopard in the same position as other big cats in our cognitive space. Based on our knowledge of the 'Big Cat' concept already stored in a mental map, we can respond adequately to the encounter with Leopard. "We can generalize novel situations, which we constantly face, and guess how we should behave," Bellmund says.

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Materials provided by  Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain SciencesNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

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