Stories of Neuroscience

Posted on April 6th, 2010 by

To the reader of this blog it might seem strange that an English major would be in an introductory neuroscience class. Yep. Take that in for a moment, I realize it’s pretty crazy. But it’s definitely a good kind of crazy, a stepping-out-of-your boundaries crazy that opens your eyes to new ideas that you normally wouldn’t encounter. Let’s face it; the auditory fovea in bats is never mentioned when talking about the themes present in a novel by Charles Dickens, the two just don’t mix which has made my experience as an English major in a neuroscience class all the more exciting and interesting. What I really found interesting was one of my neuroscience professors referring to each different lecture as a story. Story? In creative writing and writing fiction we learned all about what makes a story good and how to write a good story yourself, but we didn’t talk about how behavioral neurobiology essentially tells the story of how cells in the brain and nervous system make these incredible connections with the outside world and influence behaviors. One of my favorite stories I have heard in that class was how the Black Ghost Knife fish produces its own electric charge to help it get an image of its world in the muddy Amazon river. For that class we even got the opportunity to work with these amazing fish and measure their electric currents ourselves and see how it changes when another object was placed in its electric field. That’s just one of the many stories I have learned this semester in my intro to neuroscience class, and I look forward to hearing many more this semester.


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