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[Neuroscience] Re: How many neurons are used?

chadmaester chad.d.johnson at gmail.com
Sat Jun 17 22:19:44 EST 2006


> Thanks for your questions Chad - even when there is no answer it's a
> great reminder of the gulf between what we know and what we would like
> to know ... !

Indeed. Imagine what it could be like if we did know these things...

Matthew Kirkcaldie wrote:
> In article <aeu792trjo2ara5fumll5sm3hm1jfv3jp2 at 4ax.com>,
>  r norman <NotMyRealEmail at _comcast.net> wrote:
>
> > On 16 Jun 2006 23:11:06 -0700, "chadmaester"
> > <chad.d.johnson at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > >How many neurons, on average, are used to make sense of a commonly-used
> > >(i.e., well-understood) word, just in a normal conversation, and
> > >without regard to visual or auditory processing? For instance, when you
> > >hear a word it makes you think of something else. That is what I am
> > >after.
> >
> > What you ask cannot be answered because we do not understand the steps
> > used to process sounds into words into meanings and, especially, to
> > associate one idea of something related.
> >
> > However we do know that what you describe involves many large regions
> > of the brain so that certainly many millions of cells would be
> > involved.
> >
> > We can count the small number of cells involved in having a sound
> > "register" in the auditory region of the brain.  However there is no
> > way even to begin to describe what is involved in producing the
> > reaction "I heard that!".
>
> You know, I mentally drafted a response to Chad's question and it was
> spookily, uncannily, exactly the same.  Even down to the order of the
> points, the initial "no-one knows how" and then "however".  All I would
> add is that the most accurate answer that could be given is which
> regions of the brain increase their blood supply when these kinds of
> tasks are performed.
>
> I must be honing my didactic skills!
>
> Thanks for your questions Chad - even when there is no answer it's a
> great reminder of the gulf between what we know and what we would like
> to know ... !
> 
>       Cheers, MK.



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