Fear memory encoding, the process responsible for persistent reactions to trauma-associated cues, is influenced by a sparse but potent population of inhibitory cells called parvalbumin-interneurons (PV-INs) in the amygdala, according to a new study.
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Lucas, E., Jegarl, A., Morishita, H., & Clem, R. (2016) Multimodal and Site-Specific Plasticity of Amygdala Parvalbumin Interneurons after Fear Learning. Neuron. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.06.032
The music theory literature has been suggesting it for a long time: the idea that simultaneous sounding tones with frequency relationships that are low integer multiples, like 1:2 (octave) or 3:2 (a perfect fifth), are determinant of how listeners perceive consonance. It is an idea that is often related to the overtone structure of natural sounds (such as the voice or string instruments) suggesting that musical harmony is reflective or even a result of the acoustic structure that is found in nat........ Read more »
Honing, H., ten Cate, C., Peretz, I., & Trehub, S. (2015) Without it no music: cognition, biology and evolution of musicality. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370(1664), 20140088-20140088. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0088
Charles gets up and balances on his short legs. During the brief ungainly walk to the dais, he fights the urge to scratch his arms. The vest that has been tailor-made for him itches. But it will help focus the committee on his purpose, focus on him as a person. He squats on the low […]... Read more »
Windrem MS, Schanz SJ, Morrow C, Munir J, Chandler-Militello D, Wang S, & Goldman SA. (2014) A competitive advantage by neonatally engrafted human glial progenitors yields mice whose brains are chimeric for human glia. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 34(48), 16153-61. PMID: 25429155
A team of researchers from Stanford University, Cornell University and Yahoo recently decided to evaluate the "connectedness" of the hypothesized Huntington civilizations in cyberspace and published their results in the article "The Mesh of Civilizations in the Global Network of Digital Communication".
The researchers examined Twitter users and the exchange of emails between Yahoo-Mail users in 90 countries with a minimum population of five million. In total, they analyzed........ Read more »
State, B., Park, P., Weber, I., & Macy, M. (2015) The Mesh of Civilizations in the Global Network of Digital Communication. PLOS ONE, 10(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122543
Mothers of children with autism and were diagnosed with metabolic conditions during pregnancy, particularly gestational and type 2 diabetes, were more likely to have anti-fetal brain autoantibodies in their blood compared to healthy women of children with autism. The presence of these anti-fetal brain autoantibodies has been previously found to be specific to some mothers of children with autism and rare among mothers of children without autism.
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Krakowiak, P., Walker, C., Tancredi, D., Hertz-Picciotto, I., & Van de Water, J. (2016) Autism-specific maternal anti-fetal brain autoantibodies are associated with metabolic conditions. Autism Research. DOI: 10.1002/aur.1657
‘Street Smart’ finches are generally more intelligent than their rural kin.... Read more »
Audet, J., Ducatez, S., & Lefebvre, L. (2016) The town bird and the country bird: problem solving and immunocompetence vary with urbanization. Behavioral Ecology, 27(2), 637-644. DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arv201
Tebbich, S., & Teschke, I. (2014) Coping with Uncertainty: Woodpecker Finches (Cactospiza pallida) from an Unpredictable Habitat Are More Flexible than Birds from a Stable Habitat. PLoS ONE, 9(3). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0091718
Kozlovsky, D., Branch, C., & Pravosudov, V. (2015) Elevation-Related Differences in Parental Risk-Taking Behavior are Associated with Cognitive Variation in Mountain Chickadees. Ethology, 121(4), 383-394. DOI: 10.1111/eth.12350
Abstraction is my favorite part of mathematics. I find a certain beauty in seeing structures without their implementations, or structures that are preserved across various implementations. And although it seems possible to reason through analogy without (explicit) abstraction, I would not enjoy being restricted in such a way. In biology and medicine, however, I often […]... Read more »
The size and shape of your junk may depend on how much sex your ancestors had… that is, at least, if you are a burying beetle. Buring beetles caught in the act. Photo by Jena Johnson. Burying beetles are unusual among insects in that they provide parental care and are often monogamous. When burying beetle pairs find a small dead bird or rodent, they pluck it bald, coat it in antibacterial and antifungal body secretions, and dig a hole around it. The female lays her eggs around the carcass-ba........ Read more »
Hopwood, P., Head, M., Jordan, E., Carter, M., Davey, E., Moore, A., & Royle, N. (2016) Selection on an antagonistic behavioral trait can drive rapid genital coevolution in the burying beetle, . Evolution. DOI: 10.1111/evo.12938
The topics of effective altruism and social (in)justice have weighed heavy on my mind for several years. I’ve even touched on the latter occasionally on TheEGG, but usually in specific domains closer to my expertise, such as in my post on the ethics of big data. Recently, I started reading more thoroughly about effective altruism. […]... Read more »
Eastern chimpanzees don't want to be judged. Image by Ikiwaner at Wikimedia.com.Whether they have one true love for life, multiple partners, or are free-loving, animals have many different mating systems. We have different scientific terms for these different mating systems, and most of these terms have very specific meanings. An animal is socially monogamous when it has one exclusive mating relationship, but maybe has sex with others outside of that relationship. It is sexually monogamous when ........ Read more »
The fight against aging Ever since the ancient Sumerians, men has sought eternal life. We still do. Anti-aging science has become quite an industry. As we dive deeper and deeper into our biological foundations, we’re learning more and more about how and why we age. A lot of mysteries remain, but there’s still talk about […]... Read more »
One key characteristic of a beautiful scientific theory is the simplicity of the underlying concepts. According to Weinberg, Einstein's theory of gravitation is described in fourteen equations whereas Newton's theory can be expressed in three. Despite the appearance of greater complexity in Einstein's theory, Weinberg finds it more beautiful than Newton's theory because the Einsteinian approach rests on one elegant central principle – the equivalence of gravitation and ........ Read more »
Brain scans show the human brain under LSD and explain how hallucinations occur.... Read more »
Carhart-Harris, R., Muthukumaraswamy, S., Roseman, L., Kaelen, M., Droog, W., Murphy, K., Tagliazucchi, E., Schenberg, E., Nest, T., Orban, C.... (2016) Neural correlates of the LSD experience revealed by multimodal neuroimaging. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(17), 4853-4858. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1518377113
Carhart-Harris, R., Leech, R., Hellyer, P., Shanahan, M., Feilding, A., Tagliazucchi, E., Chialvo, D., & Nutt, D. (2014) The entropic brain: a theory of conscious states informed by neuroimaging research with psychedelic drugs. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00020
Hagmann, P., Cammoun, L., Gigandet, X., Meuli, R., Honey, C., Wedeen, V., & Sporns, O. (2008) Mapping the Structural Core of Human Cerebral Cortex. PLoS Biology, 6(7). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0060159
Recently, I have been interacting more and more closely with experiment. This has put me in the fortunate position of balancing the design and analysis of both theoretical and experimental models. It is tempting to think of theorists as people that come up with ideas to explain an existing body of facts, and of mathematical […]... Read more »
Shnerb, N.M., Louzoun, Y., Bettelheim, E., & Solomon, S. (2000) The importance of being discrete: life always wins on the surface. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 97(19), 10322-4. PMID: 10962027
Food for the worms, a dirt nap, kicking the bucket, maybe there are so many euphemisms for death because it is still a taboo in certain cultures. Not so fun fact, my Uncle committed suicide some years back. I’m not going to go into details, but because suicide is looked down on, was his death still considered a “good death”? Trying to qualitatively and quantitatively define a good death, researchers have published a new paper offering help in defining the idea of a good death and have ulti........ Read more »
Meier, E., Gallegos, J., Thomas, L., Depp, C., Irwin, S., & Jeste, D. (2016) Defining a Good Death (Successful Dying): Literature Review and a Call for Research and Public Dialogue. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 24(4), 261-271. DOI: 10.1016/j.jagp.2016.01.135
Can shame be good for you? We often think of shame as a shackling emotion which thwarts our individuality and creativity. A sense of shame could prevent us from choosing a partner we truly love, speaking out against societal traditions which propagate injustice or pursuing a profession that is deemed unworthy by our peers. But if shame is so detrimental, why did we evolve with this emotion? A team of researchers led by Daniel Sznycer from the Center for Evolutionary Psychology at the University ........ Read more »
Sznycer D, Tooby J, Cosmides L, Porat R, Shalvi S, & Halperin E. (2016) Shame closely tracks the threat of devaluation by others, even across cultures. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 26903649
What follows is a direct reaction to the discussion I’ve had with Jochen below my first epiphenomenalism post. The discussion meandered into scary places, and Jochen ended up recommending me to keep it simple instead. I’m sure it is a…Read more ›... Read more »
Brian D. Earp. (2012) I can't get no (epistemic) satisfaction: Why the hard problem of consciousness entails a hard problem of explanation. Dialogues in Philosophy, Mental and Neuro Sciences, 5(1). info:/
Go was considered one of the “grand challenges” in AI research, and the last stronghold of human superiority on board games. Cracking Go is a feat previously thought to be at least a decade away, and it gives credence to the idea that true, general-purpose, strong artificial intelligence may be possible.... Read more »
Silver D, Huang A, Maddison CJ, Guez A, Sifre L, van den Driessche G, Schrittwieser J, Antonoglou I, Panneershelvam V, Lanctot M.... (2016) Mastering the game of Go with deep neural networks and tree search. Nature, 529(7587), 484-9. PMID: 26819042
Taken at face value, the relative lack of effect of such conflicts across a broad range of studies falsifies the cognitive conflict hypothesis: The difficulty of conceptual change must reside elsewhere than in conflict, or rather the lack thereof, between misconceptions and normatively correct subject matter.... Read more »
Ramsburg, J., & Ohlsson, S. (2016) Category change in the absence of cognitive conflict. Journal of Educational Psychology, 108(1), 98-113. DOI: 10.1037/edu0000050
Epiphenomena haunt me: the actual idea that we can explain any phenomena with the aid of the concept is thoroughly alien to me. In turn, this means that I don’t understand why people do rely on the concept, and consequently…Read more ›... Read more »
Bailey, A. (2006) Zombies, Epiphenomenalism, and Physicalist Theories of Consciousness. Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 36(4), 481-509. DOI: 10.1353/cjp.2007.0000
Robinson, W. (2012) Phenomenal Realist Physicalism Implies Coherency of Epiphenomenalist Meaning. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 19(3-4), 145-163. info:/
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