Remember Ear-worm Memes? Discovery of 'thought worms' opens window to the mind

Posted by Doug_Huffman 3 weeks, 4 days ago to Science
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Article. Open Access Published: 13 July 2020
Brain meta-state transitions demarcate thoughts across task contexts exposing the mental noise of trait neuroticism

Researchers have observed large-scale neural meta-state transitions that align to narrative events during movie-viewing. However, group or training-derived priors have been needed to detect them. Here, we introduce methods to sample transitions without any priors. Transitions detected by our methods predict narrative events, are similar across task and rest, and are correlated with activation of regions associated with spontaneous thought. Based on the centrality of semantics to thought, we argue these transitions serve as general, implicit neurobiological markers of new thoughts, and that their frequency, which is stable across contexts, approximates participants’ mentation rate. By enabling observation of idiosyncratic transitions, our approach supports many applications, including phenomenological access to the black box of resting cognition. To illustrate the utility of this access, we regress resting fMRI transition rate and movie-viewing transition conformity against trait neuroticism, thereby providing a first neural confirmation of mental noise theory.

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  • Posted by Lucky 3 weeks, 3 days ago
    The paper is not in the class of Sokol's quantum gravity hermeneutics.
    I think there is something in this, interesting or even valuable.
    It is a good example of writing so turgid that it needs translating.
    But suffering from chronic indolence I will not be studying further.
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