Friday, May 13, 2005

Monkeys Brains Alter to Work Robotic Arm

More work from Miguel Nicolelis' lab shows that the concept of self is very plastic. They show the brain adapts by plastically dedicating some "brain structure" for the control of the robot arm.
He talked about this in his seminar in one of my phd courses. It does resonate well with our intuitive feeling about tools. If we move to a different keyboard, and it has a different layout we will be severely slowed down. People that drive a car most likely will describe the experience of driving like the car is somewhat an extension of self. They will probably look at the mirrors without noticing they are doing so, etc.
In this sense, becoming an expert with any tool will mean that we are incorporating this tool into our concept of self. This came into my mind when I realized once that I was using google in the middle of a
instant messeger chat with a friend to look for something he wrote down instead of asking him about it. Is web search becoming an extension of our brain ? :) One day we will unconsciously stop storing information in our wet brain because it is there at simple recall distance away in our internet brain.