Scientists are constantly in awe of the natural world. Through investigation, scientists uncover hidden structures and processes more fantastic than our wildest imagination. In this lesson, students explore some of the most exotic neurological phenomena to learn how brains process information. They come away with an appreciation of how science allows us to plunge beneath the veil of perception.
1. The class compares a brain to a computer. Are our brains literally computing machines? What are the similarities and differences between the ways brains and computers process information?
2. Using a brain-computer interface, students control a robot using their brains. If the brain is like a computer, then can we create robots which think and feel? Could we one day control one anothers’ brains the same way we can control robots?
3. Students are asked how they would test hypotheses about the brain. Their ideas are compared to current methods in neuroscience and clinical neurology.
4. Students become expert neuropsychologists by diagnosing live actors, who feign conditions such as prosopagnosia ("face blindness") and the Capgras delusion. They must use a mix of deductive, inductive, and abductive reasoning to solve their cases.