henry markram

henry markram bw

intro’d to Henry & family via this article posted by Joyce Svitak on fb:

henry markram's article

He would be very resistant to learning and to any kind of instruction.

But until they are much older, most autistic children say that Sally will look in the box because they know it’s there. While typical children automatically adopt Sally’s point of view and know she was out of the room when Anne hid the marble, autistic children have much more difficulty thinking this way.

or do they have a sense about them that they assume others do.. would they sense it had been moved.. have we been listening for that..?

.. But while the Sally-Anne experiment shows that autistic people have difficulty knowing that other people have different perspectives—what researchers call cognitive empathy or “theory of mind”—it doesn’t show that they don’t care when someone is hurt or feeling pain, whether emotional or physical. In terms of caring—technically called affective empathy—autistic people aren’t necessarily impaired.

Sadly, however, the two different kinds of empathy are combined in one English word. And so, since the 1980s, this idea that autistic people “lack empathy” has taken hold.

again – are we sure it’s not something different/else… what if it’s not that they have difficulty knowing that other people have different perspectives… what if it’s more that we don’t assume people have more perception than they have. what if people with higher degrees of autism (because don’t we all have this sort of bent to some degree?).. sense/expect/see more.. they certainly seem to feel more.. no? [again.. the they/we doesn’t feel right to type.. but adding it for reading clarity .. perhaps..?]

Sadly, however, the two different kinds of empathy are combined in one English word. And so, since the 1980s, this idea that autistic people “lack empathy” has taken hold.

yeah.. that.

what if we are missing us.. because we rely too much on words, et al.. to define.. us.

And actually Kai, as awkward as he was, saw through you. He had a much deeper understanding of what really was your intention.” And he wanted social contact.

oh my. yes that.

guess i should finish reading first.

“The fear conditioning was really hugely amplified,” Markram says. “We then looked at the cell response in the amygdala and again they were hyper-reactive, so it made a beautiful story.

THE MARKRAMS RECOGNIZED the significance of their results. Hyper-responsive sensory, memory and emotional systems might explain both autistic talents and autistic handicaps, they realized. After all, the problem with VPA rats isn’t that they can’t learn—it’s that they learn too quickly, with too much fear, and irreversibly.

For example, while oversensitivities are most common, autistic people are also frequentlyunder-reactive to pain. 

In May, for example, the German software firm SAP announced plans to hire 650 autistic people because of their exceptional abilities. Mathematics, musical virtuosity, and scientific achievement all require understanding and playing with systems, patterns, and structure. Both autistic people and their family members are over-represented in these fields, which suggests genetic influences.

intense world theory

Because Henry Markram came from outside the field and has an autistic son, Mottron adds, “He could have an original point of view and not be influenced by all the clichés,” particularly those that saw talents as defects. “I’m very much in sympathy with what they do,” he says, although he is not convinced that they have proven all the details.

Simon Baron-Cohen, who directs the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University, told me, “I am open to the idea that the social deficits in autism—like problems with the cognitive aspects of empathy, which is also known as ‘theory of mind’—may be upstream from a more basic sensory abnormality.” In other words, the Markrams’ physiological model could be the cause, and the social deficits he studies, the effect. He adds that the VPA rat is an “interesting” model. However, he also notes that most autism is not caused by VPA and that it’s possible that sensory and social defects co-occur, rather than one causing the other.

Indeed, research on typical children and adults finds that too much distress can dampen ordinary empathy as well. When someone else’s pain becomes too unbearable to witness, even typical people withdraw and try to soothe themselves first rather than helping—exactly like autistic people. It’s just that autistic people become distressed more easily, and so their reactions appear atypical.

Benjamin’s hypersensitivities are also clearly linked to his superior perception. “He’ll sometimes say, ‘Mommy, you’re speaking in the key of D, could you please speak in the key of C? It’s easier for me to understand you and pay attention.”

Kai – Asked if he thinks he sees things differently than others do, he says, “I feel them different.”

Kai has made tremendous strides, though his parents still think that his brain has far greater capacity than is evident in his speech and schoolwork.

of course. no?

But if autistic people can learn to filter the blizzard of data, especially early in life, then those most vulnerable to the most severe autism might prove to be the most gifted of all.

That’s the paradox about autism and empathy. The problem may not be that autistic people can’t understand typical people’s points of view—but that typical people can’t imagine autism.

yeah

The question, then, is how to unleash that potential.

spot on.

in the city. as the day.

That sweet spot may be different in autism. But according to the Markrams, it is different in degree, not kind.

The couple could easily deal with many of the intense world critiques by simply arguing that their theory only applies to some cases of autism. That would make it much more difficult to disprove. But that’s not the route they’ve chosen to take.

nice.

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human brain project post

the human brain project:

the human brain project

Understanding the human brain is one of the greatest challenges facing 21st century science. If we can rise to the challenge, we can gain profound insights into what makes us human, develop new treatments for brain disease and build revolutionary new computing technologies. Today, for the first time, modern ICT has brought these goals within sight.

The goal of the Human Brain Project is to build a completely new information computing technology infrastructure for neuroscience and for brain-related research in medicine and computing, catalysing a global collaborative effort to understand the human brain and its diseases and ultimately to emulate its computational capabilities.

find/follow the human brain project:

link twitter

link facebook

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find/follow Henry:

wikipedia small

Henry on epfl site:

henry on epfl site

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Henry in 2009 at TED:

A brain in a supercomputer

Henry Markram says the mysteries of the mind can be solved — soon. Mental illness, memory, perception: they’re made of neurons and electric signals, and he plans to find them with a supercomputer that models all the brain’s 100,000,000,000,000 synapses.

Henry Markram is director of Blue Brain, a supercomputing project that can model components of the mammalian brain to precise cellular detail — and simulate their activity in 3D. Soon he’ll simulate a whole rat brain in real time.

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aug 2014:

http://www.salon.com/2014/08/04/scientists_revolt_against_one_of_europes_most_ambitious_research_projects_partner/

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connected to Judith and Temple and well … Jack et al.. ness.. ?

if we’re quiet enough to .. hear.. it.

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dis order