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Opera houses and faces: the vocabulary of the human being as a neurobiological mirror

www.nature.com/nature/journal/v435/n7045/abs/nature03687.html Quiroga and Kreimann “invariant visual representation by single neurons in the human brain” Quiroga and Kreimann “Invariant visual representation by single neurons in the human brain”

Quiroga and colleagues researched the representation in human beings and objects at the level of abstraction: They found neurons, which not only responded selectively to the pictures of the actress Halle Berry, but similarly to the lettering of her name.  They were able to demonstrate the same response to pictures of the Sydney Opera House and even for the stimulus of “Sydney Opera”.  

Because today’s brain research has discovered something amazing on this topic: For our brain, the words and objects or persons, which they mean, are neurobiologically identical. The neuroscientist Manfred Spitzer describes in his book “Gott-Gen und Großmutter-Neuron [God’s Gene and Grandmother’s Neuron]” that identical brain cells respond both to the pictures of the actress “Halle Berry”, as well as to the string of letters “HALLE BERRY” (Spitzer, 2007). Even in the brain of monkeys, neurons respond to faces – however, not to the letter-representation of a name, which matches the face. Spitzer: “Already this fact of responding to the lettering, which names the person, without seeing that person, demonstrates the degree of abstraction of the neural representation.” This phenomenon relates to all the sensory perceivable phenomena, for example, even to buildings. Australians were shown pictures of the famous opera house, the “Sydney Opera”, as well as the letter sequence “SYDNEY OPERA”. And again the identical brain cells responded to both the representations of this landmark of Sydney. That’s Neuro Linguistic: In the mind, words and objects, as well as words and persons are the same. Therefore, by means of a language, we could sense all the information stored in our nervous system and cause it to resonate. Our ability to think, our ability to act and our emotional potential belongs to the greatest riches of us human beings. This entire treasure is coded in our neurobiology in the form of sentences and words.