Author Topic: The Brain "Mechanisms" that Steve Novella has Mentioned  (Read 452 times)

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Offline natewillsheets

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The Brain "Mechanisms" that Steve Novella has Mentioned
« on: December 12, 2016, 02:07:41 PM »
Hi everyone!

I remember from listening to pretty much all of the episodes that several times Steve has mentioned two neurological "mechanisms" that our brains do. I am wondering if anyone can tell me specifically what structures/processes these are referring to so I can do more research in this area. The keywords I am using to try and tell google what I want are failing!

1) The first mechanism Steve described as our brains constantly being aware of "what is real and what is not". This mechanism is turned off when we sleep, which is why we are generally not aware that we are dreaming. I want to know more about this!

2) The second mechanism is a certain (sensory?) system that makes us feel like we are "in" our bodies. And that theoretically if this is disrupted, someone would have an out of body experience. I believe Steve said that we can intentionally do this "in the lab". (But I know that I can't trust my memories ;)

Random question even if you don't know what I am referring to specifically: would these mechanisms (if they exist how I remember Steve describing them) be considered autonomic?

Thank you so much for any help you can provide!

Offline The Latinist

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Re: The Brain "Mechanisms" that Steve Novella has Mentioned
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2016, 02:17:40 PM »
Reality testing and proprioception?
I would like to propose...that...it is undesirable to believe in a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. — Bertrand Russell

Offline HanEyeAm

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Re: The Brain "Mechanisms" that Steve Novella has Mentioned
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2016, 11:20:05 PM »
#2 sounds like depersonalization, which can happen under great stress, seizure, and some other conditions. In terms of evoking the experience, I believe it was referenced on SGU in reference to transcranial magnetic stimulation.

If you like this stuff, Oliver Sacks wrote very interesting case descriptions of real patients, e.g., "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat."

Offline natewillsheets

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Re: The Brain "Mechanisms" that Steve Novella has Mentioned
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2016, 02:13:57 AM »
Latinist: I thought proprioception was knowing where you body is at in space, not feeling like "you" are in your body. Maybe they are the same thing!

I am looking for the  neurology of reality testing--the "mechanism" that Steve referred to. I am not seeing anything specific when I search. Thanks for your help, though!

Online arthwollipot

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Re: The Brain "Mechanisms" that Steve Novella has Mentioned
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2016, 04:51:05 AM »
Latinist: I thought proprioception was knowing where you body is at in space, not feeling like "you" are in your body. Maybe they are the same thing!

Technically proprioception is the sense of where all the bits of your body are in relation to all your other bits. It's kind of fun to play with, but I don't think it's what you're looking for.

Offline Billzbub

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Re: The Brain "Mechanisms" that Steve Novella has Mentioned
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2016, 10:28:15 AM »
This would be a good question to mail the rogues.  I, and probably others, would love to hear them give the answer on a show.  Cara could use it as a word of the day if there is a word for it.

Offline jgmallard

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Re: The Brain "Mechanisms" that Steve Novella has Mentioned
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2017, 06:29:22 AM »
There was quite an interesting Radiolab episode all about mechanism no 2, and what happens when it stops functioning normally, including contributions from fighter pilots who experienced out-of-body experiences when on the verge of gravity-induced blackouts.

http://www.radiolab.org/story/91524-where-am-i/

Also, some psychedelic drugs can cause what's sometimes called 'ego dissolution' or 'ego loss'. DMT, in particular, is liable to make you temporarily forget who you are, and unaware that you usually have a body that exists in a particular point in time and space.