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24 Mar School of Hard Knocks

Nature and Humans

Are you a graduate of the School of Hard Knocks, or like me, are you still trying to escape the gravity of freshman year? Lessons about how altitude affects physical objects may be learned by slipping and falling down a few stairs. These lessons become ingrained early. Burned fingers have a profound impact. Notions of hot and cold, […]

20 Mar Thresholds in Fuzzy Logic

Dawn in Tampa

At what point does temperature change from cold to hot? Tell a person (or a computer) that the beach will be closed if the water is too cold, and their interpretation may differ from yours. This statement is subjective, as are many of the values applied to the thermometer at right. But if you tell […]

28 Feb Sense-Perception and Memory

Hard Disk Drive

I Recall… Since we have been discussing learning in the past few posts, it seems appropriate to talk about memory here as well. Of course, we are talking about human memory, but computers can remember quite well, too. In fact memory is one of the few areas where it is universally agreed that computers are […]

26 Feb Physiology of Learning to Generalize

Learning Cycle

I began this blog heavily concentrating on the physiology of the brain, its cells and the way they interconnect. Learning and association are not dealt with much in those posts other than to describe ways in which the brain and its cells provide mechanisms for these activities. Many of the mechanisms of association are fairly clearly understood […]

25 Feb Discrimination, Association and Recognition

Pathway of Understanding

Discrimination Although discrimination has negative connotations, we do it every millisecond. We must discriminate between distractions and important information we see and hear. The environment is filled with ambient noise, sometimes so much so as to prevent understanding. Once we have filtered out the noise through discrimination, we must further discriminate between incorrect and correct interpretations of the […]

24 Feb Neural Network Perception

Speech Waves

Feedback in Image Processing While the flow of electrical impulses in the brain triggered by visual stimuli travels sequentially through layers I then II then III of the visual cortex, this directional flow does not prevent impulses from other sources, including feedback loops within the visual cortex from contributing to our ability to process images. […]

22 Feb Understanding What we See

Optical Illusion Shapes

Many Japanese kanji characters (originally imported from China) are little pictures of things in the real world. For example 木 (ki) is a tree. You can see the trunk and the branches. By adding a line at the bottom 本 (hon), you get roots or origin. Put three together 森 (mori) and you have a forest. The symbol […]

20 Feb Learning Cause and Effect

Cause and Effect Lightbulbs

Sparks of Kinesthesia When does a person begin to learn about the relationships between things that happen? Does the brain have an innate capacity to make the connections necessary to associate outcomes with catalysts? At what point does a person begin to learn that she or he can affect outcomes in the real world? One […]

18 Feb Insanity, Perception and Consciousness

Brain Chip

Have you ever heard voices, seen people and things others can’t see, perceived colors, sounds or sensations that weren’t really there? The human mind has amazing abilities, sometimes giving us more output than is present in the input. Is this insanity, creativity or a fluke? I can’t answer these questions in this blog, but as we […]

17 Feb Call in the Reinforcements

Yin Yang

I think of learning like photography. The length of time of the exposure and the width of the aperture determine whether the film or digital array receives sufficient light to capture the image. The focus of the lens is important too. As adults, we can sometimes control the number of times we return to a […]