Every time I look at my face in a magnified mirror in a hotel bathroom, I jump back in surprise. Seen closely, my skin looks like the surface of a strange planet. Ridges and canyons pock my chin and lips. Forests of tiny hairs grow from my ear lobes. Unnoticed pimples rise from my nose like volcanoes. A sheen of oil coats the landscape. I half expect to see alien creatures living in minute settlements in my dimples or roving the great plains of my cheeks — and could I look at higher magnif........ Read more »
BRIAN JAY STANLEY. (2013) I Am Not This Body. The New York Times. info:/
For over twenty-three hundred years, at least since the publication of Euclid’s Elements, the conjecture and proof of new theorems has been the sine qua non of mathematics. The method of proof is at “the heart of mathematics, the royal road to creating analytical tools and catalyzing growth” (Rav, 1999; pg 6). Proofs are not […]... Read more »
The Irish poet Brendan Behan is, I think, credited with the phrase: "There's no bad publicity except an obituary". One wonders how appropriate this phrase might be to the 'diagnostic Bible' (except that it isn't) which is DSM-V which is poised to make its entrance into the World in the coming days.The real Homer @ Wikipedia Indeed, the story of DSM-V even before it hits the diagnostic shelves of all good psychiatric bookshops, has the makings of an epic piece of poetry or literature, o........ Read more »
Ian B Hickie1, Jan Scott, Daniel F Hermens, Elizabeth M Scott, Sharon L Naismith, Adam J Guastella, Nick Glozier, & Patrick D McGorry. (2013) Clinical classification in mental health at the cross-roads: which direction next?. BMC Medicine, 126. info:/
Like Mother, like baby! Photo from freedigitalphotos.net.Moms give us so much more than we ever give them credit for. Biologically speaking, we all have a mom and a dad (unless you’re a flatworm or some other species that can reproduce without sex) that provide us with one of each chromosome type (our chromosomes contain our genes, commonly thought of as our “biological blueprints”). So it makes sense that we tend to think of ourselves as being half-our-mom and half-our-dad. But not so! Al........ Read more »
For those of you lucky enough to not have encountered it, there is a concept known as privilege that floats around in predominately feminist-leaning groups. The basic idea of the concept of privilege is that some groups of people have … Continue reading →... Read more »
Uhlmann, E., Zhu, L., Pizarro, D., & Bloom, P. (2012) Blood is thicker: Moral spillover effects based on kinship. Cognition, 124(2), 239-243. DOI: 10.1016/j.cognition.2012.04.010
T’is the season of finals again, and with it, a surging interest in prescription “smart drugs” (see Fig 1). High school and college students are increasingly turning to ADHD medicine (Ritalin, Adderall) in hopes of enhancing school and test performance. Intuitively this makes sense: drugs that increase energy, attention and concentration should inevitably lead to [...]... Read more »
Lakhan SE, & Kirchgessner A. (2012) Prescription stimulants in individuals with and without attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: misuse, cognitive impact, and adverse effects. Brain and behavior, 2(5), 661-77. PMID: 23139911
Smith ME, & Farah MJ. (2011) Are prescription stimulants "smart pills"? The epidemiology and cognitive neuroscience of prescription stimulant use by normal healthy individuals. Psychological bulletin, 137(5), 717-41. PMID: 21859174
Scene from Rabbits by David Lynch“In a nameless city, deluged by a continuous rain, three rabbits live with a fearful mystery.”The latest "elegant and breathtaking"1 paper in Psychological Science presents a rather muddled view of film aesthetics, continental philosophy, surrealism, mortality salience, and stigmatizing attitudes towards sex work (Randles et al., 2013). Oh, and how Tylenol® brand acetaminophen can ease the existential dread evoked by all of these modern horrors.The authors ........ Read more »
Randles, D., Heine, S., & Santos, N. (2013) The Common Pain of Surrealism and Death: Acetaminophen Reduces Compensatory Affirmation Following Meaning Threats. Psychological Science. DOI: 10.1177/0956797612464786
What do you mean when you say: what is there? Do you mean something to be perceived, to be felt, to be experienced, or to be understood? Are you asking by any chance what is enlightenment? Or are you asking what is there when the mind has stopped all its wanderings and has come to quietness? Are you asking what there is on the other side when the mind is really still?... Read more »
Jiddu Krishnamurti. (2013) A contemplation on Silence – Jiddu Krishnamurti. whoisbert. info:/
Dung beetles are competitive little critters. And who can blame them? When a fresh pile of poo is at stake, wouldn’t we all be a bit competitive? …Okay, maybe not. But animal dung is actually chock-full of nutrients, which makes it a precious resource to the animals that can make use of them. The approximately 6,000 species of dung beetles and their babies are among the animals that make excellent use of those resources.Mmmm... A poo-pile worth fighting for! Image by Duwwel at Wikimedia.But........ Read more »
Dacke M, Byrne M, Smolka J, Warrant E, & Baird E. (2013) Dung beetles ignore landmarks for straight-line orientation. Journal of comparative physiology. A, Neuroethology, sensory, neural, and behavioral physiology, 199(1), 17-23. PMID: 23076443
The decisions of this chimpanzee living in the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Sanctuary are affected by his social situation. Photo by Alex Rosati.If you have a choice between a prize that is awesome half the time and totally lame the other half of the time or a mediocre prize that is a sure-thing, which would you choose? Your choice probably depends on your personality somewhat. It may also depend on your needs and your mood. And it can depend on social contexts, like if you’re competing with someone........ Read more »
Rosati, A., & Hare, B. (2012) Decision making across social contexts: competition increases preferences for risk in chimpanzees and bonobos. Animal Behaviour, 84(4), 869-879. DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2012.07.010
Jeremy Miller went on a road trip to discover the centroid–a mathematically devised point on the U.S. map that shows where the population center is, based on the decennial census. Since 1790, the centroid has migrated roughly 870 miles southwest, from Baltimore to Missouri.
Read “The Centroid” to explore the catalysts behind population shifts, from immigration to technology to climate change, as well as the human desire to orient ourselves through connecting to a center.
........ Read more »
JEREMY MILLER. (2013) The Centroid. Orion Magazine. info:/
On the outskirts of Cambridge, next door to the Lyndsey McDermott hair salon on Castle Street, is a pub called the Sir Isaac Newton. Ask those inside why it’s so named and drinkers are likely to stare at you, muttering something about British greatness, history or the small fact that Newton was educated at the university down the road. But the pub’s name reminds us that Newton not only is still a highly influential scientist, but remains a popular icon too. Indeed, his name has also ........ Read more »
Robert P. Crease. (2013) The quantum moment. IOP Physicsworld.com. info:/
Hey Julie, All those conferences sound completely AMAZING! I love that both dog urine and poo are totally appropriate topics for us to discuss in our conversations. All the other scientists are so jealous right now!I hope you've been well since getting home again. We've just been through the longest heatwave ever recorded in Melbourne over the past fortnight (9 days over 30oC / 90oF in a row) and today it's finally cooled off, hooray! I haven't posted you the TimTams I promised you on Twitt........ Read more »
Gosling Samuel D., Augustine Adam A, Vazire Simine, Holtzman Nicholas, & Gaddis Sam. (2011) Manifestations of Personality in Online Social Networks: Self-Reported Facebook-Related Behaviors and Observable Profile Information. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 14(9), 483-488. DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2010.0087
Seligman Martin E. P., Ernst Randal M., Gillham Jane, Reivich Karen, & Linkins Mark. (2009) Positive education: positive psychology and classroom interventions. Oxford Review of Education, 35(3), 293-311. DOI: 10.1080/03054980902934563
"It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is." -President Bill Clinton, August 17, 1998image: Brain electrodes, by laimagendelmundoDr. Vaughan Bell at Mind Hacks wrote a terrific post on The history of the birth of neuroculture as a follow-up to his Observer piece on Folk Neuroscience. That article explained how neuro talk has invaded many aspects of everyday discourse. In the new post he briefly covers the history of modern neuroscience, a necessary prelude to contemporary neuroc........ Read more »
Adelman, G. (2010) The Neurosciences Research Program at MIT and the Beginning of the Modern Field of Neuroscience. Journal of the History of the Neurosciences, 19(1), 15-23. DOI: 10.1080/09647040902720651
LEWIS, N. (1948) SUGGESTIVE RESEARCH LEADS IN CONTEMPORARY NEUROCHEMISTRY. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 136(13), 866. DOI: 10.1001/jama.1948.02890300016005
A tamarin rock star (photographed by Ltshears at Wikimedia)Our moods change when we hear music, but not all music affects us the same way. Slow, soft, higher-pitched, melodic songs soothe us; upbeat classical music makes us more alert and active; and fast, harsh, lower-pitched, dissonant music can rev us up and stress us out. Why would certain sounds affect us in specific emotional ways? One possibility is because of an overlap between how we perceive music and how we perceive human voic........ Read more »
Snowdon, C., & Teie, D. (2009) Affective responses in tamarins elicited by species-specific music. Biology Letters, 6(1), 30-32. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2009.0593
Religious apologists, spiritualist gurus, and accommodating atheists have been bombarding us with assertions that science and religion have no reason not to get along. This may be politically convenient, but it’s simply untrue. Science and religion are fundamentally irreconcilable, and they always will be.
Faith is belief in the absence of supportive evidence and even in the light of contrary evidence. No one disputes that religion is based on faith. Some authors claim that science is a........ Read more »
Victor Stenger. (2013) Science and Religion Cannot Be Reconciled. Huff Post Science. info:/
The history of our race is highlighted by many bright peaks and shadowy valleys. We have seen lofty heights and despairing lows. Occasionally there have been black gulfs almost too horrible to contemplate. The Holocaust in Nazi Germany is assured a permanent place on this list. Another black splotch upon the tapestry of human history [...]... Read more »
By Joseph McDonaldDo you want to avoid the friend zone? Photo by freedigitalphotos.net.Guys DREAD the friend zone. That heart-aching moment when the girl you’ve been fawning over for years says you’re the best listener, the sister she never had, or so much better than a diary! You’ve been so nice to her and her friends, listening to all their drama. But that’s just the problem... you’re too nice to too many people. Research performed by Aaron Lukaszewski and Jim Roney at the Universit........ Read more »
Lukaszewski, A., & Roney, J. (2010) Kind toward whom? Mate preferences for personality traits are target specific. Evolution and Human Behavior, 31(1), 29-38. DOI: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2009.06.008
Recently, I was charged with giving a presentation to a group of high schoolers preparing for the Brain Bee on the topic of computational approaches to neuroscience. Of course, in order to reach my goal of informing and exciting these kids about the subject, I had to start with the very basic questions of ‘what’ [...]... Read more »
Kaplan, D. (2011) Explanation and description in computational neuroscience. Synthese, 183(3), 339-373. DOI: 10.1007/s11229-011-9970-0
According to Nowak (2012) and his endlessly-helpful mathematical models, once one assumes that cooperation can be sustained via one’s reputation, one ends up with the conclusion that cooperation can, indeed, be sustained (solely) by reputation, even if the same two … Continue reading →... Read more »
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