In my long years in Computing, I’ve often noted similarities between the way the human Brain Works and the way A Computer works.
One was designed out of the other, I usually concluded. But I never found any real link to the inventors of Computers from Human experience.
But Someone is getting closer. What do you think (in more ways than one).
This from the DT, today -
"Recently in this paper, Jean Cochrane made the observation, “How wonderful is memory!”. She was describing how, though not having touched a piano keyboard for 50 years, she was able to pick up almost where she left off playing Mozart sonatas and the “easier” works of Beethoven. A couple of others also reported a similar experience playing a “tricky” Chopin mazurka and a nocturne – posing the fascinating question as to how skills and memories from the distant past are laid down to be retrieved decades later.
This is just the sort of issue that might be clarified by those sophisticated brain-scanning techniques that allow neuroscientists to observe the brain in action from the inside ‘lighting up’ when performing one task or another.
Indeed, two types of memory are stored in discrete parts of the brain. Scanning the brains of volunteers asked to distinguish between photographs of famous people and the obscure identified a small area of the frontal cortex specialised for facial recognition.
Scanning the brains of London’s taxi drivers as they rehearsed their routes across the capital, meanwhile, reveals ‘hot spots’ in the hippocampus involved in memorising spatial topography.
But beyond that the phenomenon of memory becomes much more inscrutable. So when, for example, volunteers are asked to recall two very different kinds of explicit memory – for autobiographical events (being the Christmas star in a nativity play) or for facts (the names of different types of apple) – both tasks involved billions of neurons across large and overlapping tracts of the brain.
More astonishing still, it would appear that over time memories are reallocated from one part of the brain to another. Whereas in the young the predominant area of brain activity when memorising is located in the left frontal cortex and then its subsequent recall is in the right – itself an amazing finding – the same functions in the elderly are distributed equally between the two hemispheres.
“The capacity for human memory is a deep mystery” notes Robert Doty, a neurobiologist. “The facility to sort with alacrity through the experiences of a lifetime and their cascading associations defies credible clarification.”