Eureka!, 2021

Interactive Neural Connectivity

“Neurons that fire together, wire together.”

– Donald Hebb. 1949

Eureka!

 

TOPIC: Neural connectivity

 

ARTIST: Akiko Yamashita

 

LEAD SCIENTIST: Kristen Anderson, PhD

 

An interactive installation exploring the science of how neurons make connections based on Hebb’s postulate that, in a simplified version, states “neurons that fire together wire together.”

 

Visitors can view the intricate system of neurons across six layers of the prefrontal cortex by moving closer or further, or pointing their arm side to side to rotate the neural network. Visitors can also make the neurons “fire together” by introducing some external stimuli.

 

  • To trigger a positive interaction, hold arms long at the side.
  • For a negative one, cross the arms at the chest.
  • To give the sensations of doing something rewarding, hold your arms up in a “Y” shape like you are cheering.
  • One hand touching the head triggers an “Aha!” moment, the inspiration behind the name.

 

Interesting Fact: Synapses are the connections between neurons, these are almost “metaphysical connections” because while neurons come very close to each other, they do not actually touch, the distance is less than 10000th the thickness of a hair strand. But through these connections, neurons are able to communicate important information from one to the other and this makes up our thoughts, actions and how we experience the world around us.