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Neurohacking - Tutorials
Written by NHA   
Sunday, 23 March 2008 17:31
Article Index
Neurohacking Tutorial 1 - Basics & Golden Rules
Brains and Networks
The Golden Rules
When Things Go Wrong (Anxiety)
Basics About Intelligence
NHA Guide To Methods and Tech
Hacks and Exercices
All Pages




Brains and Networks

Intal works with individual brain networks (because they all do different things). Below is a picture of a brain, cut in half from front to back, showing you the different areas we call “networks” and a basic idea of their responsibilities.





N1 processes sensory data about material, physical things and holds sensorimotor (‘muscle’) memories. It plays a main part in attention, self-care, and perception.


N2 processes all basic survival behaviors and holds spatial memories. It plays a main part in alertness, observation, orientation, navigation and perception.


N3 processes translation, relay and continuity and holds eidetic memories. It plays a main part in concentration, association, imagination, perception, all memory, communication, empathy and emotional stability.


N4 processes procedures and holds long term procedural memories. It plays a main part in your creativity, invention, timing, construction, interaction, humor, language, dexterity and ability to use tools.


(N5 cannot be seen in this diagram as it is the ‘removed’ half of the brain opposite network 4). N5 processes facts and figures and holds long term declarative memories. It plays a main part in analysis, computation, logic, deconstruction, language, self esteem, resource assessment and intellect.


N6 processes prediction and strategy, and uses working memory. It plays a main part in planning, association, morality, spirituality, judgment, problem solving and decisions.

Note that the picture above is a rough sketch; networks are much more complex than this IRL and much more intermingled. In fact, networks really look a bit like bramble bushes whose branches have grown so entwined it is impossible to separate them.

Networks are made up of neurons, or nerve cells. Although the neurons in the brain are all mixed together like a bundle of spaghetti, they do have their main parts [called their ‘cell bodies’] in certain areas. Most of the “grey matter” in your brain is nerve cell bodies, the “white matter” is made of their long tails, or “axons”. Neurons also have bushy protuberances called “dendrites”. The places where neuron cell bodies group together into communities are called the network cores or ‘hubs’. This is what you have six of.

An useful thing to remember about neurons is that they’re [mostly] electro-chemical, like batteries. They behave like an EMP [ElectroMagnetic Pulse] weapon; in that they build up a charge and only fire if the charge is sufficient. Exactly like the EMP, after firing they have to recharge before they can fire again, but fortunately for us this happens very, very fast [speeds of up to 120 metres per second!] A cell 'firing' is called an action potential, and we can change the sensitivity of cells so that they fire in response to less input (we do this when we increase our awareness of detail, like listening specifically to one person at a party) or more input (we do this when blocking out boring or harmful conversation at a party). We can fine-tune these responses.

Here are some greatly magnified neurons firing below:



A neuron ‘firing’ makes it release chemicals that transmit the ‘message’ in code to the next neuron along, and they do not actually touch; the chemicals have to ‘bridge a gap’, and that gap is called a synapse. (Don’t worry if you can’t remember all the names of brain parts; that isn’t important at this stage).

The Cell Body is the ‘command centre’ of the neuron. Axons make up the long fibres that we normally think of as ‘nerves’, and they spread out all over the body. In the brain, axons form the ‘white matter’. Axons are output lines. Dendrites are input lines, and they look like leafless trees.

It’s important not to get confused by the fact that axons send information both from and to the brain (they relay the output of sensory organs as well as the output of the brain itself). Axons can be an output line from anywhere, but when they get to their destination, they pass their information over to dendrites or directly to the cell bodies. Dendrites are receivers of data and Axons are transmitters of data…now you’ve got it. Input data to brain cells are mainly output data from different cells.


What Determines Your Intelligence

We now know that the variety and density of connections in neural networks is what determines intelligence, and we also know that this is determined by how much those networks are used and what they are used for. The type of use determines their architecture and the differences between us. The pattern of connections (synapses) each neuron makes with other neurons is unique and determines the path taken by future signals as they travel inside the brain. This is what we have the ability to change.

Small changes in the patterns of brain connectivity constantly occur; for example by the brain increasing or decreasing the number of connections or even rewiring an entire network (a good example of this is blind people -they still use the visual cortex when reading braille, it has been rewired to accept input from touch instead of from the eyes).

The differences in the arrangement and density of connections, which can be altered deliberately when we know what we are doing, distinctly influence the flow of information and the way it is processed by the brain. This adaptive ability of the brain is known as plasticity, and it plays an important role in the mechanisms underlying memory, learning and intelligence. We’ll be finding out more about plasticity later, (If you want to know more before going on, read “Plasticity & Epigenetics: The Basics", in the Basics section of the library).




Neurohackers work with the brain as a series of neural networks because we can work on individual or sets of nets that correspond to particular brain functions, such as memory or emotion. The main networks controlling the factors required for intelligence are only a few in number, which makes our work much easier.

There are six main networks we work on in neurohacking (NH), as outlined above. There’s loads more information about what they do in these tutorials so you will get to know them as we are going along. (If you want to know more before going on, read “Anatomy, Physiology and Brain Networks”, in the Basics section of the library).


Q – What is ‘plasticity’?

A - ‘Plasticity’ generally means “ability to be shaped or formed”. Because of brain plasticity, brain cells, connections, and entire brain structures can change and adapt to better cope with the environment and circumstances. Plasticity is one of the important foundations of learning and memory, and can be used in NH for overwriting harmful habits of thought.





Start an NH diary. Use a notebook (at least A5 size] or a word processing application like MSWord. This will be your "Captain's Log" for neurohacking, and you can add to it whenever you please.

As you go through the section below, on the top of the first page of your diary write the first golden rule (there is a list of the golden rules below). Go to page two, and write the second golden rule, and so on until you have all eight.

As you read the next bit of this tutorial, you can fill in key bits of information and details about the golden rules to help you understand more and more how they are applied and exactly what they mean. This will be some of the most valuable information in NH that you will ever need.

If you want to, you can also keep a record in it of what you’re doing, a ‘hacks and exercises’ log, and any points that particularly interest you, but there’s no need to do so unless you enjoy it. We’ll let you know what the important bits are to remember as we get to them (Follow the white rabbit).


Last Updated on Monday, 29 May 2017 17:58