Thursday, May 25, 2006

Mmmmm....brain images

Honda says brain waves control robot

Well, not so much brain waves, as brain images. It looks at fMRI type images and interprets them into robot hand motions. But, hey, a big step in the right direction.

Mmmmm...brain chemicals

If the chemistry is right … you might remember this

Upshot: a new chemical that assists in neuronal communication was identified.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Women Get Drunk, High and Addicted More Easily Than Men Do

I know a few college guys who just went "Woo-hoo!"

Behaviorism meets cognitivism

The brain's executive is an 'event planner'

I love studies that show how behavioristic experiments look inside the "black box" - it's just fun.

Oh, and the planning thing is cool too.

A good example is the best teacher

How do children learn about science and God?

The upshot is that children learn not only from what we say, but from what we do and the context of the lesson. [sarcasm]Go figure.[/sarcasm]

Signing Time!

Toddlers learn better through interactive video

I guess this explains the "Baby Einstein" "Dora" and "Blue's Clues" phenomenon.

Now if it would only make those shows more watchable from an adult perspective. I won't even begin to talk about Barney.

The more we know - the less we know

Flick of whiskers helps tease out brain's 'shadow' signaling system

First adults grow new neurons (90's), then we find that glial cells actually contribute to communication (early 00's) and now this.

We really don't understand that much about the brain - but we're getting there.

A serious problem

Length of deprivation in infants affects intellectual development for years

It's unfortunate that this situation had to exist at all, but at least we're learning more about the needs of children.

Your opinions suck

Brain study yields insight into machinery of prejudice

Well, from my perspective anyway.

Yet more nural goodness from fMRI imaging.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Glory days

Our memory wears rose-colored glasses

Not surprising really - simply a study to support the "The older I get the better I was" idea.

In the Zone

Lost in thought: Brain research

I'm pretty sure I blogged this earlier - but if not, this is pretty cool research. Very similar to the "in the zone" research done in the 80's.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Woa! The sky!

Good news, bad news for tube-watching tots

The tag-line under the headline says "When it comes to screen tim, experts say content is key" The article is full of good-v-bad of media watching (tv, computer, other electronic media) with the conclusion that educational content that is age-appropriate is good, and content that is non-educational and/or too complex is bad.

[sarcasm]Well, color me surprised.[/sarcasm]

Yea...that's the ticket...

People Generally Lie to Preserve Self-Esteem

I imagine that some people even lie to themselves to preserve self esteem.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Feel the burn...

Kids Get Slight Work-Out Playing Video Games

Well, if you include raising your heart rate from excitement a workout, then yes - the sweaty tub of lard lounging in front of the boob-tube/PC for hours on end playing "Halo"...they do get a slight workout.

And this is significant enough to qualify as news?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Game that language!

Making adult language learning child's play

I cannot express how happy I am to see game developments in the realm of education. There are more and more applications of "fun" or "games" in education being tied to technology in better ways than simple "Skinner Box" applications. I love it.

Not the needle!

Neurobiology of dread gives scientists clues about human decision making

This was picked up by a lot of news outlets - the main headline being something along the lines of "which is worse? The anticipation or the actual pain?"

Not a bad capsule, but certainly incomplete in the analysis. Read the whole thing.

The colors.....Look at the colors!

Research shows how visual stimulation turns up genes to shape the brain

Visual stimulation actually turns on different developmental genes - cool.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Ask a woman who has given birth...

Brain differences could explain why males and females experience pain relief differently

I'm telling you - this stuff needs its own blog.

Caught in the moment

Watching the brain switch off 'self'

So they can see when I turn control over to an experience rather than maintaining control myself. Have they been able to identify anything similar in hypnosis? It probably wouldn't be universal (since the ability to be hypnotized isn't universal) - but it would be interesting to see if the two activities were similar.

I see words

'Word-vision' brain area confirmed

Well, I see the shape of a word anyway - we don'r really read words letter by letter. This is a pretty cool development though.

Sooooo.....that's bad?

Both alcoholism and chronic smoking can damage the brain's prefrontal cortex

Gee - substances that are bad for you also cause damage to the brain? Who'd have thought?

Babies - developmental machines

Infants can organise visual information at just four months

We continue to discover that we give our children far too little credit for their abilities.

Well, duh...

Fussy babies and postpartum depression linked, study finds

Not brain related, but we have a new baby and this seems like a complete no-brainer. If fussy babies don't cause depression, they certainly cause frustration and unhappiness.

As a #2 sibling - this is good news

Older children not smarter than their younger sibs, study finds

Ha! Take that Leigh-Anne! In your face!

Get better educated - live longer

Education level linked with presence of coronary artery calcium deposits

Or, get more education, avoid heart attacks. Cool.

Anything you can do, I can do better...

Girls have big advantage over boys on timed tests

More gender differences. I seriously need to start a gender differences blog.

More technology helping the learning field

Technology to improve learning for visually-impaired children

Awesome development.

Don't bring me down, man...

Other people influence us and we don't even know it

Fascinating research - it will probably be picked up quickly by advertising researchers and turned into even more advanced viral marketing strategies.

Your brain on alcohol

Brain study considers motor function, cognition with alcohol consumption

Hopefully this study leads to more research.

Drowning in the gene pool

Feinstein researchers identify intelligence gene

Identifying it is one thing - being able to understand it is entirely different.

Money for administration

Cash $trapped Colleges?

While I normally steer away from politically oriented posts here, I found this report extremely distressing. I don't know how true or accurate it is, but this quote really caught my eye:
In a recent conference call on the plan, both lawmakers rebuffed three attempts to get them on record explaining why college and university administrators have nothing to do with the exploding cost of higher education. It’s a valid question: Economist Richard Vedder finds that the ratio of college administrators to students is at least three-to-one. That gives collegians more bureaucrats per capita than they have biological parents.

And what of the service that American colleges and universities deliver? “Over half of students graduating from four-year colleges in the U. S. lack the literacy to deal with such ‘real life’ tasks as understanding newspaper editorials, comparing credit card offers, or summarizing the results of a survey,” reads a quote from David Schaefer in the latest issue of The American Enterprise. “Nor do they have the math skills needed to balance their checkbooks, according to a new study by the Pew Charitable Trusts."

3 to 1 administrators to students? Really? How is that even remotely justifiable? I'm not sure I would buy into the "half of students graduating" part - but even if it's 1/4 then that's too high.

The final quote of the page is also worth considering:

What do the recent college grads themselves tell us? They are, according to most college and university promotional literature, higher education’s ultimate customer.

“You think, six months ago I had a great on-campus job and social life,” recent graduate Nicole Relyea told’s M. P. Dunleavy. “Now, I’m living at home, I have two friends and no academic stimulation for the first time in 20 years—sitting in the basement, surfing the internet, looking for work.”

“It’s like, wow, I was just studying the cultural history of the aborigines and now I’m looking at jobs where the main duties are answering the phone and typing. How are you supposed to make that shift? It’s really something nobody prepares you for.”

That rings much more true to me - I see a lot of that coming from recent graduates. I'm not sure how high the percentages are, but again, even a small percentage isn't a good thing.

Like I said - a distressing report. Please, someone point me to another report that gives an opposing viewpoint.