Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Hunger = enhanced learning

Learning and memory stimulated by gut hormone

I thought we had established that food was a good thing when we're trying to learn - but apparently that may be in doubt.

Mmmmm...brain chemicals...

Researchers find molecule that may hold key to learning and memory

The key word is "may" - but an interesting finding none the less.

I reject your reality and substitute my own...

Humans ignore motion and other cues in favor of a fictional stable world

Our brain - master of all it survey's. Literally.'s green!

Great (taste) expectations: Study shows brain anticipates taste, shifts gears

Again, I posted about this earlier - this is just some follow-up info.

Maybe it's not genetic...

Approach to school affects how girls compare with boys in math

The title is for humor purposes for the most part - and possibly for former Harvard presidents.

Anyway - an interesting finding.

Grammar on the brain

Evolutionary traces of grammar

I posted about this in the "Grammar Hard Wired in the Brain" post - but this is a more comprehensive article.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Man, research is GREAT

Boys face greater burns risk than girls, says new research

Once again, we see more research that any male will read and say "Duh!"

Boys are born pyromaniacs - it's a genetic thing.

Interpret my intent will ya'?

Dartmouth study finds how the brain interprets the intent of others

We can identify the spot where we interpret the intent of others. Cool.

Developmental and not genetic?

Born with a love of speech

Interesting theory about how babies distinguish speech from other sounds.

More technology helping communication

Technology helps disabled kids find their voice

Related to a prior post about learning language via the use of games and similar technologies.

Games to learn languages

Video Games Help U.S. Soldiers Learn Arab Language, Culture

This is very, VERY cool - and one of the best developments in education. I've been thinking and dreaming of applications like this for at least 10 years. Sweet.

More here and here.

Are you a "Bright"?

'Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon,' by Daniel C. Dennett

I am not. And after reading this book review, I'm guessing Mr. Wieseltier isn't either.

I'm curious what others think of this review and method of thinking.

More on the "Bright" world-view here.

Wow. I'm not sure condescending is a strong enough word.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Don't learn when you're angry

How 'hot' emotional brain interferes with 'cool' processing

If you have lots of emotional distraction, you won't form memories as well.

So, the old "Don't drive when you're angry." mantra can now be applied to learning.

Monday, February 13, 2006

WAY before PBS shows

Baby got math

This is pretty darned cool. The experiment is described as well, which is nice.

I'm telling you, before long we're going to see that strange things like fashion sense are an innate thing in humans.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Violence and a kid's brain

Cognitive daily strikes again, this time with a post about recent research on the effect of violent movies on a child's brain. Kudos to the researchers for acknowledging that the results may simply be due to arousal rather than an isolated violence effect.

This study is set up very well by prior research that shows that images with emotional or violent content are more memorable than generic content images. I'm curious to see if the same effects would be found in adults or what kind of effect happens to children under 8.

It's too bad that fMRI testing is so darned difficult and expensive to do. I can think of hundreds of experiments I'd run if I had the time, money and willing volunteers.

Grouping or referential grouping?

Check out this exceedingly cool post over at Cognitive Daily. Experiments and everything!

Seriously, I can't do it justice, just go and read it.

Monkey see....

Brain Has "Face Place" for Recognition, Monkey Study Confirms

An interesting development for monkeys - I wonder if it would be quite as compartmentalized in the more complex human brain?

All the parents say: Duh! - Science News - Brains of Young Adults Not Fully Mature

Is there any 40 year old (or thereabouts) that will read this story and say "Wow! I had no idea!"?

Actually, that's a little unfair. Maturity of experience is not the same as a mature brain, so this finding is actually quite interesting.

Ask a grandmother....

Rockabye baby: Research shows gentle singing soothes sick infants

Okay - not necessarily brain related....but still, you have to admire the cajones of a researcher that wants to prove what is possibly the oldest grandma trick in the book - singing to soothe a crying baby.

Hey, this is what publishing is all about - find what hasn't been researched and go for it.

Help for the dyslexic

Brain images show individual dyslexic children respond to spelling treatment

Good news I'm sure. Now if we could just pinpoint what exactly causes dyslexia or what exactly the effects are, we'll be in business.

3rd world intelligence?

Long-term poverty affects mental health of children

That's a rather harsh title for the post, but essentially it hits the mark. Poor nutrition and an impoverished environment in which to gain experience would seem to be a sure-fire recepie for poor cognitive development.

But can it identify stupidity?

Brain scans may predict cognitive decline in normal people

This is actually a pretty cool development - imagine if you could identify very early on if you were starting to lose your cognitive abilities - an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

What did you expect?

Expectations Influence Sense of Taste

Anyone with a young child knows this is true at least from a behavioral aspect. But it is interesting that we find that perception (which is essentially the same as expectation) affects nearly every part of our sensory experience.

Boys in education

The lost boys

This is a good article on a story that has been building for some time. Boys are now the ones that aren't getting the education and girls are statistically taking over.

There are various positions that can be taken, and a number of theories as to why and what to do about it; but the bottom line is hard to ignore - fewer boys are getting a college education.

Me speak English good!

Scientists find ability for grammar hardwired into humans

Next they're going to tell us that the ability to cook hot dogs is hard wired into the brain.

Good new for the gregarious 1st grader

Social first graders more likely to become good readers

Knowing my son, I'd say this is good news. That boy will talk/play with anyone. And he loves to read, which is also a good sign.

Unhappy parents = unhappy child

Parental conflict may affect children's behavior and learning by disrupting their sleep

This is a study that rings true, unfortunately. More here and here.

Bad boy = bad reader

Reading and behavior problems intertwined in boys

This doesn't necessarily surprise me. I guess being a teacher's pet/brown noser has cognitive advantages as well.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Game Skillz = intelligence

Video game offers new way to test intelligence

I'm not quite sure what to do with this story. I'm all about implementing gaming technology more into education (or at the least game type activity) - but using it to measure intelligence? I don't see this as being any more valid than a paper-and-pencil test.

Tall = intelligent

Tall men get better education

Sorry, but the simplified equasions as titles just give me a kick. It's addicting.

But, as a 6'4" man myself, I'm darned happy to hear this.

Tall = intelligent

Tall men get better education/a>

Sorry, but the simplified equasions as titles just give me a kick. It's addicting.

But, as a 6'4" man myself, I'm darned happy to hear this.

Does this explain "extreme" sports?

Intelligence may contribute to health inequalities

Snarky comment aside, I know several people who would seriously question the idea of IQ scores in the first place, but in reality it seems that the effects of the study could also be explained by socio-economic factors as well, so the conclusion is somewhat dubious.

Wait...wait...I know who she is....

A fork in memory lane: UCSD research indicates hippocampus supports two aspects of recognition

As the article states, the hippocampus is an area of the brain that we really don't understand very well, and the details of how it functions are a pretty wide open debate. Any development that increases our knowledge in this field is a good thing.