The ability to detect and respond appropriately to aversive things or events in our environment is essential for all organisms, from fruit flies to humans. Although much is known about aversive responding at the psychological level (e.g. displays of fear, disgust) and at the physiological level (e.g. increased heart rate, changes in electrical skin conductance), much less is known at the neuroscientific level.... Read more »
Hayes, D., & Northoff, G. (2011) Identifying a Network of Brain Regions Involved in Aversion-Related Processing: A Cross-Species Translational Investigation. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience. DOI: 10.3389/fnint.2011.00049
Panksepp J. (2011) The basic emotional circuits of mammalian brains: Do animals have affective lives?. Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews, 35(9), 1791-804. PMID: 21872619
Commending science... and the reporting of it.... Read more »
Noggle S, Fung HL, Gore A, Martinez H, Satriani KC, Prosser R, Oum K, Paull D, Druckenmiller S, Freeby M.... (2011) Human oocytes reprogram somatic cells to a pluripotent state. Nature, 478(7367), 70-5. PMID: 21979046
Earlier this year, a large group of autism experts signed a consensus statement condemning "Le Packing", a certain procedure used in children with autism.They said:This alleged therapy consists of wrapping the patient (wearing only underclothes or naked in the case of young children) several times a week during weeks or months in towels soaked in cold water (10°C to 15°C). The individual is wrapped with blankets to help the body warm up in a process lasting 45 minutes, during which time the ch........ Read more »
Delion P. (2011) Towards a dialogue between psychoanalysis and neuroscience: Connections that are both possible and necessary. Journal of physiology, Paris. PMID: 21963531
Mimicking nature is nothing new for human beings. Ceremonial dress and dances have long imitated totemic animals. Leonardo da Vinci’s plans for a flying machine were closely modeled on the birds he saw out his window. And more recently, nature has inspired designers of everything from velcro to solar cell installations. Cities and suburbs would [...]... Read more »
Julien, M., & Zmyslony, J. (2001) Why Do Landscape Clusters Emerge in an Organized Fashion in Anthropogenic Environments?. Landscape Research, 26(4), 337-350. DOI: 10.1080/01426390120090139
Jean Zmyslony, & Daniel Gagnon. (1998) Residential management of urban front-yard landscape: A random process?. Landscape and Urban Planning, 40(4), 295-307. DOI: 10.1016/S0169-2046(97)00090-X
Jean Zmyslony, & Daniel Gagnon. (2000) Path analysis of spatial predictors of front-yard landscape in an anthropogenic environment. Landscape Ecology, 357-371. info:/
A new paper in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology (link below) assesses the possibility of speciation by ecological differentiation in conjunction with geographical isolation. The interesting thing here is that it takes two views previously considered as antagonists and combines … Continue reading →... Read more »
The scientific community is buzzing, or one would imagine we are, after news of this paper came out last week. Could neutrinos, those mysterious particles which hardly interact with normal matter, really be traveling faster than the speed of light? It was all over the news. The collaboration held a news conference. Hints of another cold fusion fiasco creep into conversations.... Read more »
The OPERA Collaboraton: T. Adam, N. Agafonova, A. Aleksandrov, O. Altinok, P. Alvarez Sanchez, S. Aoki, A. Ariga, T. Ariga, D. Autiero, A. Badertscher.... (2011) Measurement of the neutrino velocity with the OPERA detector in the CNGS beam. arXiv. arXiv: 1109.4897v1
We are physical beings in a physical world. This is the thesis of physicalism, the view that reality is made up of one kind of ‘stuff,’ and that stuff is physical. ... Read more »
A recent article by Russell Poldrack and colleagues begins with an apt quote from Rutherford D. Rogers, the former Yale University Librarian:
“We’re drowning in information and starving for knowledge”
They chose this quote to reflect what some brain researchers (myself included) might call a major roadblock in contemporary neuroscience...... Read more »
Bilder RM. (2011) Neuropsychology 3.0: evidence-based science and practice. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society : JINS, 17(1), 7-13. PMID: 21092355
Cromwell HC, & Panksepp J. (2011) Rethinking the cognitive revolution from a neural perspective: How overuse/misuse of the term 'cognition' and the neglect of affective controls in behavioral neuroscience could be delaying progress in understanding the BrainMind. Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews. PMID: 21345347
Marshall, P. (2009) Relating Psychology and Neuroscience: Taking Up the Challenges. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 4(2), 113-125. DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-6924.2009.01111.x
I wasn't planning to comment on Kerri Smith's piece on Free Will (probably paywalled) in the last issue of Nature magazine. However, this morning I read a paper on Free Will in robots (or rather 'agents'), which urged me to suggest some updates to the sadly (otherwise Ms. Smith is producing outstanding work, especially her podcasts!) outdated discussion in the Nature article.Her article starts out with a modern variation of Libet's famous experiments. These experiments can be caricatured like th........ Read more »
Smith, K. (2011) Neuroscience vs philosophy: Taking aim at free will. Nature, 477(7362), 23-25. DOI: 10.1038/477023a
Rachel Mulvey’s post last week on the existential nature of continuing professional development has turned my thoughts once again to the concept of meaningfulness. Partly inspired by Rachel’s idea, I have been writing an article for the Journal of the National Institute for Career Education and Counselling on the use of narrative techniques in reflective [...]... Read more »
Caveat Lector: This post may contain what one might consider spoilers. Therefore, if you haven't already watched the 2011 movie "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" and are planning to do so, please cease and desist from reading...... Read more »
Several years ago I read Daniel Dennett’s Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon (2006). It wasn’t easy. This is not because Dennett’s ideas and arguments are difficult (they aren’t). It is because I don’t care for Dennett’s style. While I can overlook stylistic deficiencies if the substance is solid, in this case I [...]... Read more »
Geertz, A. (2008) How Not to Do the Cognitive Science of Religion Today. Method , 20(1), 7-21. DOI: 10.1163/157006808X260232
From London to the Middle East riots have shaken political stability. Are the answers to be found in human nature? Police cars were overturned and shops looted as the mob descended on the city’s central square. Rioters tore the police station’s outer door off its hinges and “used it as a battering ram” to break [...]
... Read more »
Marco Lagi, Karla Z. Bertrand, & Yaneer Bar-Yam. (2011) The Food Crises and Political Instability in North Africa and the Middle East. New England Complex Systems Institute. arXiv: 1108.2455v1
Between 800 and 200 BCE, a remarkable series of sages, mystics, and thinkers gave rise to the transcendental traditions that are known today as “world religions.” In 1949, the German philosopher Karl Jaspers identified several themes common to these traditions and described this six hundred year period as the Axial Age: “These movements were ‘axial’ [...]... Read more »
Jacobsen, Thorkild. (1963) Ancient Mesopotamian Religion: The Central Concerns. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 107(6), 473-484. info:/
In The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905), Max Weber sought to correct or temper Karl Marx’s view that religion was always a reflection or epiphenomenon of the economic base. Although Marx’s understanding of religion was considerably more complicated and drew heavily on Ludwig Feuerbach’s idealist critique in The Essence of Christianity (1841), [...]... Read more »
STARK, R. (2004) SSSR Presidential Address, 2004: Putting an End to Ancestor Worship. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 43(4), 465-475. DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-5906.2004.00249.x
This week, I started graduate classes for the first time as a student of Mass Communications at the LSU Manship School. Yahoo!
Thus begins my jump from a PhD in Biomedical Engineering to an advanced degree studying science journalism!
... Read more »
PH Longstaff. (2005) Security, resilience, and communication in unpredictable environments such as terrorism, natural disasters, and complex technology. Center for Information Policy Research. info:/
As Cold War propaganda in the West would have it, communist states were to be despised because they were atheist and Godless. The reality, however, was quite different. In the Soviet Union, the Russian Orthodox Church never went away and popular belief was often at odds with official state doctrine. It is doubtful that the [...]... Read more »
Drugs that could modify or erase memories could soon be possible. We shouldn't rush to judge them unethical, says a Nature opinion piece by Adam Kolber, of the Neuroethics & Law Blog.
The idea of a pill that could make you forget something, or that could modify the emotional charge of a past experience, does seem rather disturbing.
Yet experiments on animals have gone a long to revealing the molecular mechanisms behind the formation and maintanence of memory traces. Much of the early work ........ Read more »
I heard about it when Linda Bacon from HAES tweeted a link to a press release about it multiple times, calling it "Myth Busting". Knowing that Linda knows how to critically appraise a journal article, I figured it'd be worth reading the actual study.
I was wrong.
The study looked at one solitary day's 24hr. dietary recall collected from 11,182 children between the ages of 2-18 years of age, and then compared candy intake to overweight and obesity status in those same children.
Now d........ Read more »
E. O'Neil, C., L. Fulgoni Iii, V., & A. Nicklas, T. (2011) Association of candy consumption with body weight measures, other health risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and diet quality in US children and adolescents: NHANES 1999–2004. Food . DOI: 10.3402/fnr.v55i0.5794
First off, I want to start with an apology. I have neglected to update this site and for that I apologize. Please expect that in the future, posts will come regularly.Okay, so today I want to shift focus from cardiology to developmental biology. Many people struggle to understand this subject, but in breaking it down this field can make more sense. I will divide it into segments, therefore allowing each post to offer up enough focus without getting overly complicated. &nb........ Read more »
Dickens, B. (2003) Ectopic pregnancy and emergency care: ethical and legal issues. International Journal of Gynecology , 82(1), 121-126. DOI: 10.1016/S0020-7292(03)00175-9
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