How does the brain create a map of the space surrounding us?

#1
http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-10-trio-nobel-medicine-prize-brain.html

British-American researcher John O'Keefe on Monday won the Nobel Medicine Prize with a Norwegian couple, May-Britt and Edvard Moser, for discovering an "inner GPS" that helps the brain navigate.
They earned the coveted prize for identifying brain cells enabling people to orient themselves in space, with implications for diseases such as Alzheimer's, the jury said.

"The discoveries of John O'Keefe, May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser have solved a problem that has occupied philosophers and scientists for centuries," it said.

"How does the brain create a map of the space surrounding us and how can we navigate our way through a complex environment?"

In 1971, O'Keefe discovered the first component of the system, finding that in lab rats, specific cells in the hippocampus were triggered when the animal was at a certain location in a room.

Other nerve cells were activated when the rat was at different places, leading O'Keefe to conclude these "place cells" formed a map of the room.

More than three decades later, in 2005, May-Britt and Edvard Moser discovered another piece of the invisible positioning system.

They identified "grid cells"—nerve cells which generate a coordinate system, rather like longitude and latitude, and allow the brain to make precise positioning and pathfinding.

Research into grid cells may give insights into how memories are created—and explain why when we recall events, we so often have to picture the location in our minds.
The jury noted that sufferers of Alzheimer's disease often lose their way and cannot recognise the environment.

A part of the brain where grid cells are located, called the entorhinal cortex, is closely linked to Alzheimer's, said Torkel Klingberg, a professor of cognitive neuroscience and member of the Nobel Assembly.

"That's one of the first places that are affected, so what these discoveries could lead to is the understanding of the symptoms in Alzheimer's and other diseases," he told AFP.

Prizewinner 'in shock'

May-Britt Moser told the Nobel Foundation that she was "in shock", and that her husband did not even know yet as he was on a plane to Munich.

"We have the same vision, we love to understand and we do that by talking to each other, talking to other people and then try to address the questions we are interested in, the best way we can think of," she said.

"And to be able to discuss this when you get an idea on the spot instead of (having to) plan a meeting in one or two or three weeks—that makes a huge difference."

The jury said the work had led to a "paradigm shift" in understanding how groups of specialised cells work together in the brain.

The question of place and navigation has occupied philosophers for centuries and was a central problem for German thinker Immanuel Kant, it said.

In comments, Andrew King, a professor of neurophysiology at the University of Oxford, said O'Keefe had "revolutionised our understanding" of how the brain makes sense of space.
Explore further: Norwegian brain researchers share Horwitz prize
Since the brain can do this should it not be able to create its own awareness?
 
#2
I understand that the brain is a cause of awareness, but you pretend that this proves that there can not be a personal afterlife? There is good evidence that points to that there is a personal afterlife, for example in books as The Enigma of Survival, by Hornett Hart, so might be that in antemortem the brain is a cause of consciousness, while in postmortem the cause of consciousness is other different support.
 
#5
I understand that the brain is a cause of awareness, but you pretend that this proves that there can not be a personal afterlife? There is good evidence that points to that there is a personal afterlife, for example in books as The Enigma of Survival, by Hornett Hart, so might be that in antemortem the brain is a cause of consciousness, while in postmortem the cause of consciousness is other different support.
My posting of this indirectly challenges the notion that consciousness requires the non local argument and it should not be implied this relates to an afterlife.
 
#7
Well I doubt I'm going to get an explanatory reply to my earlier question as to what you think these researchers have discovered?

"..inner GPS.."... lol... an Oxymoron if ever I've seen one.
He's going to need a second. He's got to run to JREF and cry for help over there. Give him a day or so.
 
#8
Since the brain can do what? What us it you think these researchers have discovered?
These folks along with other researchers are discovering how the brain does what it does by studying it. In other words, to discover where consciousness comes from look nowhere else except the brain.
 
#13
In posting these Steve, you neglect the following. This has no bearing on the hard problem, at all. Secondly, it is curious that you treat neuroscience like a holy grail, yet fail to take into account that it has a poor replication rate, and that this paper like others you have posted, always fail to mention replication successes or failures.
 
#14
My my how quickly you've forgotten. These rules
How exactly did I break any of those rules? You weren't abused, unless you wish to define someone pointing out your past actions as abuse. I wasn't being overly aggressive, unless you wish to define someone pointing out your past actions as overly aggressive. And trolling is the act of putting on a false persona shrouded in anonymity and taking a fake position in the hopes of pissing people off. Considering my position has been remarkably consistent, and various members of this forum have my personal information ( email address, facebook, etc. ), I would hardly define it as trolling.

Maybe you're just being over-sensitive. I don't blame you. I would recommend that if you don't want people pointing out the things you do, I would stop doing those things.
 
#16
Well I doubt I'm going to get an explanatory reply to my earlier question as to what you think these researchers have discovered?

"..inner GPS.."... lol... an Oxymoron if ever I've seen one.
Here are the salient points:
a."They identified "grid cells"—nerve cells which generate a coordinate system, rather like longitude and latitude, and allow the brain to make precise positioning and pathfinding."

From the second article
b
. "Nearly a decade later, in 2005, the Moser team discovered cells in the entorhinal cortex region in the brains of rats that function as a navigation system. These grid cells, as they are called, are responsible for the animals' knowing where they are, where they have been, and where they are going; they are constantly working to create a map of the outside world. Constructed in the nervous system from tactile, visual, and other sensory input, grid cells have provided fundamental insights into how spatial location and memory are computed in the brain. The mapping information flows from the entorhinal cortex to the hippocampus and then back, and scientists are now working to understand how the grid cells inform place cells, and vice versa."

All this builds upon the earlier work of Dr. O'Keefe
c
."In 1971, Dr. O'Keefe discovered specific cells in the hippocampus that record location. These place cells, as they are called, register the locations of specific landmarks, such as the laboratory, or the corner deli. While recording the firing of neurons in rats as they moved from one location to another, he found that each location was logged by its own unique set of nerve cells in the CA1 region of the hippocampus, suggesting that the cells form a virtual map of the animal's location. The firing location of each cell was stable over time, and moving the animal to another location caused it to form a new map, using some of the same cells, in addition to new ones. When the animal was returned to its original location, it replayed the initial map that it had formed.'
This as the researchers noted has implications for how memories are formed. Memories are apart of awareness. Is that enough of an explanation?
 
#17
Also, Steve. I sort of feel that you have a rather strict, binary view of consciousness. Something which sadly characterises many proponents too; either the brain produces consciousness or it doesn't. Whereas it can be both; matter has a sort of proto-conscious characteristic and that this becomes a brain to produce full blown human awareness and to other animals too. Or, there is neutral monism; mind and matter just two faces on one die.
 
#18
Here are the salient points:
a."They identified "grid cells"—nerve cells which generate a coordinate system, rather like longitude and latitude, and allow the brain to make precise positioning and pathfinding."

From the second article
b. "Nearly a decade later, in 2005, the Moser team discovered cells in the entorhinal cortex region in the brains of rats that function as a navigation system. These grid cells, as they are called, are responsible for the animals' knowing where they are, where they have been, and where they are going; they are constantly working to create a map of the outside world. Constructed in the nervous system from tactile, visual, and other sensory input, grid cells have provided fundamental insights into how spatial location and memory are computed in the brain. The mapping information flows from the entorhinal cortex to the hippocampus and then back, and scientists are now working to understand how the grid cells inform place cells, and vice versa."

All this builds upon the earlier work of Dr. O'Keefe
c."In 1971, Dr. O'Keefe discovered specific cells in the hippocampus that record location. These place cells, as they are called, register the locations of specific landmarks, such as the laboratory, or the corner deli. While recording the firing of neurons in rats as they moved from one location to another, he found that each location was logged by its own unique set of nerve cells in the CA1 region of the hippocampus, suggesting that the cells form a virtual map of the animal's location. The firing location of each cell was stable over time, and moving the animal to another location caused it to form a new map, using some of the same cells, in addition to new ones. When the animal was returned to its original location, it replayed the initial map that it had formed.'
This as the researchers noted has implications for how memories are formed. Memories are apart of awareness. Is that enough of an explanation?
But in your OP, you claimed that:

Since the brain can do this should it not be able to create its own awareness?
Except spacial mapping and consciousness are two very different things. That's like saying " Since my car has electric windows, should it not be able to go 0-60 in 1.23 seconds? ". You're comparing apples and oranges.
 
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