So, the mysterious Reticular Formation is the fancy part of the brainstem. I got here by looking into time perception, finding out “rats without brains” can learn and remember up to 40 second intervals, then seeing “reticular formation” with regards to consciousness. Some answers I’m looking for may be here in particular. My next goal is here: “Long-term deficits of preterm birth: Evidence for arousal and attentional disturbances” —- There are several potential factors that may adversely influence the development of the ascending reticular activating system: Preterm birth: Regardless of birth weight or weeks of gestation, premature birth induces persistent deleterious effects on pre-attentional (arousal and sleep-wake abnormalities), attentional (reaction time and sensory gating), and cortical mechanisms throughout development. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reticular_formation

So, the mysterious Reticular
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Rats without brains can estimate up to 40 second intervals successfully. Under “Time Perception” in Wikipedia, I read: “Experiments have shown that rats can successfully estimate a time interval of approximately 40 seconds, despite having their cortex entirely removed. This suggests that time estimation may be a low level process”

Rats without brains can
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