Friday, January 18, 2008

Your brain on drugs..

YouTube - Your brain on drugs..

Any questions?

Questionning the cognitive

Mind Hacks: Questionning the cognitive

I love looking at theories like this. Approaching the brain from the philosophical stance that it is an understandable system almost seems like a requirement from a scientific perspective. If it's not a system that can be deciphered, dissected, parsed and ultimately understood - then ultimately the study of it is almost pointless.

From a certain perspective I'd really like to think that the mind can ultimately be understood as a system - it would certainly be fun from a scientific perspective. However, as would be apparent from prior posts, I'm not convinced that the mind can be broken down like that. Certainly how the brain functions can be broken down to even the molecular level and defined as a system. And that may be the ultimate root of the need to see the mind as a system - the component parts seem to be revealing themselves to greater understanding all the time.

I don't know though. I'll say one thing though - the mind will evade complete quantification and understanding for my lifetime. And I expect to live to a ripe old age.

Experiences Beat Possessions: Why Materialism Causes Unhappiness

PsyBlog: Experiences Beat Possessions: Why Materialism Causes Unhappiness

The article is a little more complex than the title would lead you to believe. I'd be kind of interested to see what type of motivational constructs would apply here.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Public relations and science

Cognition and Language Lab: Public relations and science

The post linked above could really be applied to almost any industry where creativity is an important aspect of what you do. Science and experimentation is, after all, just another expression of creativity.

If you are asked to creatively develop anything, then knowing how to self-promote and how to promote what you do and the outcomes is crucial to being effective.

Drugs: One Third Of Antidepressant Studies Never Published

Drugs: One Third Of Antidepressant Studies Never Published

This is incredibly unsurprising. When drugs are a multi-billion-dollar profit-driven industry, of course they're going to hide anything that shows that the drugs they're hawking are less than effective.

It's an unfortunate side effect of the collision of capitalism and the industry of health-care, and it is a slightly disappointing outcome, but hey, it's the system we have to work with.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Pirahã: the world's most controversial language

Mind Hacks: Pirahã: the world's most controversial language

This is possibly the most fortuitous post I've ever linked to. I speak about the cognitive implications of this language/tribe in the class I teach. However, I was mostly mentioning it purely from memory from a brief article I read once years ago which did not mention the name of the language or the specifics about the language/tribe.

The post linked to above has great links in Wikipedia and a few other sources that really give you a good education about the language/tribe and some of the more interesting aspects of it.

One comment about Everett's assumptions - he says that the adult tribe members are not "cognitively incapable of doing math" (see the linked Wikipedia article for the background) - but I think I might have to disagree with him. We can't be 100% sure, but if the brain is "pre-wired" for mathematical cognition and you don't use the functionality for it (think of the famous kitten/sight experiments) then that aspect of cognition may in fact go away.

I understand that he may be trying to emphasize that the tribe members are not cognitively deficient - and certainly from an overall intelligence factor that is most likely true - but lacking in capacity for a specific cognitive function due to disuse is not an insult to overall intelligence. The best comparison is to look at blind people; they are not less intelligent because they can't see. They have a clear cognitive deficiency (they cannot use the vision centers of their brain the way a sighted person can) but their brains have used that capacity in other ways. I think this could be the case here with the tribe members cognitive ability with math.

Affection for our own names and initials can lead us to failure

BPS RESEARCH DIGEST: Affection for our own names and initials can lead us to failure

There's been quite the little firestorm of activity over the research mentioned in this paper. I have no idea what to think - other than I probably shouldn't have named my first kid Caleb.

Who knows.

In any case, the research is appropriately provocative and gives you that sense of "this just cannot be right" - which is probably why it's getting so much attention. I'll be very interested to see if this research can be replicated soon.

In fact, I have a data set that just might bear some fruit in that regard......

Vertical farm rises in Las Vegas

Vertical farm rises in Las Vegas - Slashfood

Nothing to do with brain science - just freaking cool.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

9 Ways Happiness Leads to Success

PsyBlog: 9 Ways Happiness Leads to Success

A common theme for a lot of the reasons is that if you're happy, you'll be more likely to be concerned about others. And that's a good thing.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Psychotherapy should be subject to rigorous regulation just like drug treatments, say academics

Psychotherapy should be subject to rigorous regulation just like drug treatments, say academics

I agree - but I'd LOVE to see how they're going to set up the oversight committee.

Embodied Cognition

The Frontal Cortex : Embodied Cognition

So, actions contribute to cognition more than we thought. Kind of cool, but I certainly wouldn't go so far as to say this is the nail in the coffin of Descartes Dualism. If you talk to most neuroscientists there has been a slow unraveling of that theory for hundreds of years.

Update: more here and here. Apparently the original Boston Globe article has hit quite a nerve amongst the neuro community.

Higher price makes cheap wine taste better

Mind Hacks: Higher price makes cheap wine taste better

Wine drinking is the best. I don't drink myself, but stories like this never cease to crack me up.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Friday, January 11, 2008

Is psychology a science?

Cognition and Language Lab: Is psychology a science?

I've read several articles about this very subject, but this is one of the more lucid arguments and he has some good analogies. Well written post.

Does diversity increase productivity?

Cognition and Language Lab: Does diversity increase productivity?

There are a number of things that people have assumed cause 'higher productivity' and have since been proven to be largely false. It's always interesting to put conventional wisdom before the microscope of science. Sometimes it's even more fun to put the conventional wisdom of science under the microscope too.

What Everyone Should Know About Their Own Minds: 6 Introspective Insights From Psychology

PsyBlog: What Everyone Should Know About Their Own Minds: 6 Introspective Insights From Psychology

Yet another fun post to use with my undergrad psychology course.

What is Happiness?

PsyBlog: What is Happiness?

Kind of funny that it's hard to define happiness without using negative definitions (meaning pointing out what happiness isn't).

How about this: happiness is a self-defined state of mind.

Not terribly specific, but it covers pretty much anything you'll throw in there. Perception, once again, is reality where happiness is concerned.

Trends in ESP Research

The Neurocritic: Trends in ESP Research

A close look at the results basically say the same thing as an experimental proof of the existence of God. Despite what atheists may believe, you simply cannot eliminate the possibility of a God. You may not be able to empirically prove God exists, but at the same time you cannot completely falsify God either.

So - ESP basically falls under the same realm.

Great.

MIT: Culture influences brain function

MIT: Culture influences brain function

So, is this the part where you smack your forehead and say, "I could have had a V-8!"

This isn't so much of a revelation as just an experimental confirmation of something that can only make sense. In the same way that learning changes the way a brain functions, culture will influence what we pay attention to and therefore affect how different brains function.

Still, it's nice to see some experimental confirmation of Vygotskian principles.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Dramatic Play and Executive Function Training: An Applied Study

Developing Intelligence : Dramatic Play and Executive Function Training: An Applied Study

This article has me all fired up - a teaching/learning system that shows real, positive results over traditional teaching methods.

Man, I need to dig into this methodology and see what it's all about. Fortunately the article has some helpful links.

Opinion leaders impotent in ideas economy

Mind Hacks: Opinion leaders impotent in ideas economy

This is sort of a Web 2.0 analysis of how ideas get propagated. So, the A-listers don't have all the power after all.

Interesting.

The psychology of the politics of fear

Mind Hacks: The psychology of the politics of fear

One rather misleading portion of the article states that it's only in recent politics that fear has played such a strong role.

I call BS.

So, what then was Barry Goldwater's infamous presidential campaign based on? FDR was elected largely because he was supposed to keep us OUT of WWII - and he used the same tactics of playing off of the fear of Americans of entering the war. And that's just in the 20th century. I'm willing to bet that the majority of elections for nearly every elected office in the country play off of fear in some way.

Other than that - the rest of the article is fairly good - certainly not neutral by any means, but food for thought.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Is this groovy shape the fabric of the universe?

collision detection: Is this groovy shape the fabric of the universe?

This story actually came out a few weeks ago, but it is pretty dang cool. It doesn't have much to do with brain science, but it does have to do with really cool science.

Apparently there is a lot of skepticism about whether or not this model will prove useful, but it has one thing going for it - it makes specific predictions about some undiscovered particles. The predictions are fairly precise concerning the masses of the particles and the energy levels at which they should become visible. Better yet, the newest large particle-collider coming online in Europe (in the next year or so if I remember correctly) should be able to reach the energy levels required to find those particles.

So - totally new, totally radical theory. Lots of symmetry and beauty in the math (which physicists love), lots of skepticism about it and it can be solidified (nothing ever really gets proven in science) or disqualified pretty readily (but not easily) with soon-to-be-available technology.

That is just plain cool.

Naptime!!!!

Daytime sleep improves memory consolidation

Scientific reasons for why taking a nap is a good idea.

[Mr. Burns] Excellent. [/Mr. Burns]

Why I Don't Blog About Politics

The Frontal Cortex : Why I Don't Blog About Politics

Jonah Lehrer isn't really fooling anyone, he does do political blogging, but he does it through his normal posts in his normal language and choice of subject matter to blog about. The fact that he doesn't overtly blog about politics may be true, but it certainly doesn't hide his political leanings.

However, he is also absolutely correct in his post about politics. I too had a political blog of sorts that I kept up with for several years (one of the 6 blogs I have kept at one point or another). I gave it up for much the same reason as he lists for his reasons for not blogging in the first place.

Politics is very, very personal. The equivalent would be to blog about movies, food or music. Some people will agree with your tastes, some won't - but logic and spouting all kinds of reasons in an attempt to convince someone else as to why they should like the same things you like isn't going to change many opinions.

Politics, music, food, movies, art, literature - they are all very much a product of personal taste. Likes and dislikes and your personal feel for things.

Ain't that just the pits?

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Secret to Raising Smart Kids

Scientific American: The Secret to Raising Smart Kids

So, there you have it.

It's not quite as simple as that, but they are essentially correct. Research has shown that motivation (which can be roughly equated with effort in the popular lingo) has a greater effect on success than such nebulous qualities as intelligence or talent.

Quantum Gaseous Domains

Gray Matters: Quantum Gaseous Domains

I tend to agree with the author - I'm not sure that Quantum mechanics can really be the source of the indeterminacy of behavior. It fits in some very intriguing ways in that the unpredictability and strangeness (from an inability to fully explain the mechanics) of the two systems have in common - but that doesn't seem like enough for me. That could also be due to my lack of depth in understanding quantum mechanics.

In an earlier post I bring up the possibility that our current understanding of the mind and what makes up volition and action while extensive seems a bit to mechanistic and incomplete. As with most topics in science (or any topic for that matter) the more you appear to know, the more you realize there is so much more you don't know. I believe that is our current state with brain science. We know so much mechanically but we don't understand much about the holistic mechanisms of such simple concepts as "thinking" or creativity.

Is the 'g' factor nothing more than a statistical construct?

Is the 'g' factor nothing more than a statistical construct? - AlphaPsy

AlphaPsy is on a roll here. Read some more about what the g-factor is here. I can see his point, and looking at it, it does seem to be a statistical construct that is merely convenient without really describing much about underlying function.

Adaptation in mind

Adaptation in mind - AlphaPsy

As much as I get annoyed at evolutionary theory being forced into every aspect of psychology, I am looking forward to digging into this article and the site it mentions a little more.

My reasons for disliking it are documented in prior posts so I won't repeat them here. But the debate being highlighted here seems like a fascinating one, and one that seems to hit at the root of my problems with evolutionary psychology.

Friday, January 04, 2008

A cold spell soon to replace global warming

RIA Novosti - Opinion & analysis - A cold spell soon to replace global warming

This has nothing to do with brain science, but I just couldn't resist.

I love the Global Warming debates. They are easily the most entertaining thing happening in science and politics right now. Let me start by saying that overall it's a good thing: driving alternative fuel resources can only be beneficial in the long term. They would develop on their own driven by market demand as traditional fuel prices rise depending on availability and the effectiveness of alt-fuel sources....but, hey, for whatever reason it's a step in the right direction.

The real fun will happen in the next 10 to 20 years. If the prevailing thoughts are correct and global warming is man-made then all the effort being put in now will hopefully pay off. If the prevailing thoughts are wrong and we have a reverse of the current warming trend - man would I pay some good money to see that happen. I would love (LOVE!) to see the "prevailing wisdom" shot to hell. Nothing would make me happier.

Of course, my beef isn't entirely with scientists, but also with policy makers and politicians. The cash-grab for global-warming research money will be turned into a cash-grab for global-cooling research money. The true die-hard global-warming nuts will find some research that says the global-cooling is also somehow our fault.

Man - I really truly hope that the above linked article is correct. That would be so much fun.

Of course, I give it about a 20% chance of being right - but still.....it's enough for hope. The entertainment value of the scientific debate would be off the charts if it came to pass.

Cognitive dissonance reduction

Mind Hacks: Cognitive dissonance reduction

Actually, in essence it's a post about reductionism in psychological experimentation - something that, while experimentally necessary, is not necessarily the greatest boon to interpreting experimental results.

The bottom line is that if you reduce something down too far what you end up getting is an extremely narrow application of results.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Does test-taking help students learn?

Cognitive Daily: Does test-taking help students learn?

I've practiced (and preached) this for a long time. I think a lot of it has to do with the principle that a little stress helps in learning. The stress attached to test taking both contribute to a little more focus and the emotions that are also present help embed the learning.

It is a constant pet peeve of mine in test that I see others write - why do you test on trivial, non-important information? Why not spend the time to craft questions that drive learning of critical material?

Because it's easier to create a test on trivial material - that's why.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Is Play "Rational?" Toys and Ambiguous Causal Structure

Developing Intelligence : Is Play "Rational?" Toys and Ambiguous Causal Structure

My initial thought on this was "of course play is rational" - at least in the context of the experiment employed here. Play however is generally rational in all its forms. There was even a recent study (I don't recall if I linked it here or not) where someone linked play to evolutionary advantages.

Now, despite my lack of fondness of all things speculative in the realm of evolution, they make a good point - a great deal of the animal kingdom (especially mammals) engage in play, and it definitely serves a purpose. Through play we discover how our world works in a non-threatening manner. Even highly imaginative play accomplishes the same goal by trying out scenarios that would otherwise be very unfamiliar or highly dangerous in the real world.

Play in children, adolescents and adults all fulfill the same function - exploring the environment. Despite a seeming random quality to it the play itself follows rational principles: what works? what doesn't? why and why not?

I think children can teach us a lot about how to interact with our supposed well-ordered environment by learning how to play more and work less....and I don't mean never working. I mean transforming work into something that more closely resembles play.

High Achiever, Gifted Learner, CreativeThinker

High Achiever, Gifted Learner, CreativeThinker

Here is a quick primer on how to identify the three types of student. Nothing comprehensive, but it gets your mind going.

Hedonist Philosopher Epicurus Was Right About Happiness (Mostly)

PsyBlog: Hedonist Philosopher Epicurus Was Right About Happiness (Mostly)

Lots of interesting research on happiness cropping up lately. Just scroll down to spot a few more articles.

I'll have more to say on this later - and guess what - it involves free will! (...kidding....sort of)

Researchers reverse effects of sleep deprivation

Researchers reverse effects of sleep deprivation

So, is this every workaholic and party-animal's fantasy come true?

It seems to work on animals, but many discoveries that work with other animals fail to translate directly to the human metabolism, so don't get your hopes up too high just yet.

Can nerves really regenerate?

Can nerves really regenerate?

If this actually materializes into something useful, even at a low level, this could very well be one of the great medical discoveries in history.

Gender stereotypes can distort our memories

BPS RESEARCH DIGEST: Gender stereotypes can distort our memories

More fun with memories. I'm starting to develop some interesting ideas around these concepts and incorporating them into my thoughts on free will.

The basic structure of my idea revolves around self-efficacy. It seems that beliefs about self (and self-stereotypes) can seriously affect self-efficacy, much in the same way that beliefs in stereotypes can affect our memories.

What kind of an effect of our belief in free will affect our self-efficacy?

Pretend play = creating new worlds?

The Mouse Trap: pretend play = creating new worlds?

This article really only caught my eye because of my one big pet peeve in psychology: why does everything have to have an evolutionary explanation?

The best (or worst) part is that evolutionary psychologists rarely have agreement on the evolutionary purpose of any given construct. IT IS NOT SCIENCE. It is speculation. We cannot verify anything regarding why something evolved.....so why does it matter? This has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not you believe in evolution. It has to do with wasting time and effort on something that simply cannot be verified or proven no matter what you do.

It is just annoying that it has to be a part of nearly every significant psychological discussion.

Challenging the banality of evil

Mind Hacks: Challenging the banality of evil

I've always been of the opinion that personal choice has more to do with "evil" than others give credit for. Yes, the "mob" mentality can have some effect, but there is a point at which you have to make the decision to join with the mob and surrender your will to it. As a proponent of free will I'm very much opposed to any kind of thinking which wrests away from the individual the right of choice and makes them either more animal (complete lack of free will) or more machine (just another cog that is influenced by the larger machine's purpose).

We all have free will, whether or not we choose to exercise it is another question. We can choose to allow ourselves to be mastered by our environment or our biological proclivities, or we can choose to master ourselves.

There is obviously still room for debate on the level to which biology has an influence. I am not saying that biological (or even environmental) influences can be ignored completely or that they have no influence at all. My argument is that they are NOT as influential as some would have them and that as individuals we retain at least a small part of our ability to exercise free will in nearly every circumstance.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Evolution education is a 'must' says coalition of scientific and teaching organizations

Evolution education is a 'must' says coalition of scientific and teaching organizations

And in other news: coalition of religious and faith-based organizations say teaching creationism is a "must."

Give me a break - what else would they say? This is possibly the least surprising news this year.

Cognitive Load and Moral Judgment

Mixing Memory : Cognitive Load and Moral Judgment

Sampling risk and judging personal danger

Mind Hacks: Sampling risk and judging personal danger

The philosophy of wine

Mind Hacks: The philosophy of wine

Beliefs about intelligence affect mental performance

Mind Hacks: Beliefs about intelligence affect mental performance

Priming "God Did It"

Mixing Memory : Priming "God Did It"

Is Executive Function a Valid Construct?

Developing Intelligence : Is Executive Function a Valid Construct?

Gesturing unlocks children's maths skills

BPS RESEARCH DIGEST: Gesturing unlocks children's maths skills

Online neuroscience encyclopaedia

Neurophilosophy : Online neuroscience encyclopaedia

If short-term happiness isn't always best, what about long-term?

Cognitive Daily: If short-term happiness isn't always best, what about long-term?

Is it possible to be too happy?

Cognitive Daily: Is it possible to be too happy?

Memory formed more easily in daytime

The Mouse Trap: Memory formed more easily in daytime

Evolving Thoughts

Evolving Thoughts

“They are not fit to teach…”

Affective Teaching » Blog Archive » “They are not fit to teach…”

The Teenage Brain

The Frontal Cortex : The Teenage Brain

Brain-computer link systems on the brink of breakthrough, study finds

Brain-computer link systems on the brink of breakthrough, study finds

The effect of, er, hesitations in speech

BPS RESEARCH DIGEST: The effect of, er, hesitations in speech

Is Happier Always Better? Socially Yes, Financially No

PsyBlog: Is Happier Always Better? Socially Yes, Financially No

Maslow's eight basic needs and the eight stage devlopmental model

The Mouse Trap: Maslow's eight basic needs and the eight stage devlopmental model

Basal Ganglia: action selection, error prediction and reinforcement learning

The Mouse Trap: Basal Ganglia: action selection, error prediction and reinforcement learning

Where are we with this whole free will thing?

neurodudes » Blog Archive » Where are we with this whole free will thing?

We hear different music depending on how we dance to it

Cognitive Daily: We hear different music depending on how we dance to it

Video Games and Aggression

A Blog Around The Clock : Video Games and Aggression

Cognitive 'fog' of normal aging linked to brain system disruption

Cognitive 'fog' of normal aging linked to brain system disruption

Smell experience during critical period alters brain

Smell experience during critical period alters brain

This is your brain on violent media

This is your brain on violent media

Hiring practices influenced by beauty

Hiring practices influenced by beauty

Collaborating in virtual environments

Collaborating in virtual environments

The Hidden Workings of Our Minds

PsyBlog: The Hidden Workings of Our Minds

Out Brilliant Cousins

Gray Matters: Out Brilliant Cousins

Optimism isn't always healthy

Optimism isn't always healthy

Kids' misconceptions about numbers -- and how they fix them

Cognitive Daily: Kids' misconceptions about numbers -- and how they fix them

Do We Know What Makes Us Happy?

PsyBlog: Do We Know What Makes Us Happy?

Rasing Successful kids

The Mouse Trap: Rasing Successful kids

This is your brain. This is your brain on video games...

Greg Laden's Blog : This is your brain. This is your brain on video games...

Developing Intelligence : Does IQ Reflect Temporal Acuity?

Developing Intelligence : Does IQ Reflect Temporal Acuity?

Using fMRI to study brain development

Using fMRI to study brain development

Morning Jolt Of Caffeine Might Mask Serious Sleep Problems

Morning Jolt Of Caffeine Might Mask Serious Sleep Problems

All-Nighters Equal Lower Grades

All-Nighters Equal Lower Grades

The Community of Religion

The Frontal Cortex : The Community of Religion

Jonah Lehrer and "PZ" have a sort of mutual affective relationship thing going - but I agree with Jonah's point of view for the most part - and it's not just because I am religious. I find it interesting that there are famous and brilliant scientists on both sides of the fence. A rational and logical mind apparently can also lead one to believe in God as well as a lack thereof.

In the current practice of science I agree that there is no room for religion as such. Science (by current definitions) relies on observation (or in the case of quantum mechanics the observed effect of theoretically precise predictions) and religion relies on faith - and under the current zeitgeist: never the twain shall meet.

I continue to use the word "current" because I see a time in the future when the two will not be seen as mutually exclusive. Whether that happens in my lifetime or not is not really the issue - but it would be fun to see it.

Introducing Neuropsychology, 2nd Edn

Introducing Neuropsychology, 2nd Edn

PsyBlog: 3 Happiness Enhancing Activities With Evidence They Work

PsyBlog: 3 Happiness Enhancing Activities With Evidence They Work

Cognitive Daily: "Just smile, you'll feel better!" Will you? Really?

Cognitive Daily: "Just smile, you'll feel better!" Will you? Really?

Freud is dead (Well... except in english departments)

Omni Brain : Freud is dead (Well... except in english departments)

New book defines promising young field of adult neurogenesis

New book defines promising young field of adult neurogenesis

Fake photos can alter real memories

Fake photos can alter real memories - LiveScience- msnbc.com

New teaching tool is making a difference

New teaching tool is making a difference

The neural correlates of subjective value during intertemporal choice

The neural correlates of subjective value during intertemporal choice : Abstract : Nature Neuroscience

Drinking away anxiety -- a new program finds safer ways for college students to cope

Drinking away anxiety -- a new program finds safer ways for college students to cope

U of Minnesota researcher finds materialism in children and adolescents linked to self-esteem

U of Minnesota researcher finds materialism in children and adolescents linked to self-esteem

Being Happy: Enjoyable Activities Beat Improved Life Circumstances

PsyBlog: Being Happy: Enjoyable Activities Beat Improved Life Circumstances

Biofeedback & Neurofeedback Blog

MindMods CogSciTech Biofeedback & Neurofeedback Blog

Male vs. Female Brains

Greg Laden's Blog : Male vs. Female Brains

Doping on brain-boosting drugs

Doping on brain-boosting drugs | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited

Mind games which pay off

Mind games which pay off - Times Online

Neurocourses UK - Human brain anatomy courses - Home

Neurocourses UK - Human brain anatomy courses - Home

Is the beauty of a sculpture in the brain of the beholder?

Is the beauty of a sculpture in the brain of the beholder?

Scientists uncover how the brain controls what the eyes see

Scientists uncover how the brain controls what the eyes see

Principles of learning

Affective Teaching » Blog Archive » Principles of learning

Selfishness or competition: Which is the stronger influence on behavior?

Cognitive Daily: Selfishness or competition: Which is the stronger influence on behavior?

Philosophy for kids

BPS RESEARCH DIGEST: Philosophy for kids

A dose of God may help medicine

A dose of God may help medicine

Why We do Dumb or Irrational Things: 10 Brilliant Social Psychology Studies

PsyBlog: Why We do Dumb or Irrational Things: 10 Brilliant Social Psychology Studies

Early academic skills, not behavior, best predict school success

Early academic skills, not behavior, best predict school success

Efficacy of Cash in the Treatment of Anxiety

Omni Brain : Efficacy of Cash in the Treatment of Anxiety

ADHD Brain Delay

ADHD Brain Delay: Science Videos - Science News - ScienCentral

Testable quantum effects in the brain?

Conscious Entities » Testable quantum effects in the brain?

This falls in the middle of the whole "free will" debate. I'm not sure I understand enough about the subject of quantum mechanics to form a worthwhile opinion on the subject.

However, one thought that has occurred to me - and it involves astrophysics. In large scale physics we seem to have a problem - something like 90% of the universe appears to be "missing" and various theories are proposed to account for the problem: dark matter, string theory and a very interesting new theory that involves a very complex geometric shape.

Science seems to have a pretty good grasp of the basics of physics and yet the universe (on a large scale) seems to defy the laws as we understand them. Now, I know that it's not quite the same but are there perhaps some quantum forces that operate at the small scale that we don't quite have a grasp on yet that could contribute to our neural processes?

Pure speculation, and wild speculation at that when viewed from a scientific basis - but still.....

Free will is not an illusion

Free will is not an illusion | spiked

The current debate regarding this idea is one of the more fascinating ones out there. I happen to think that we don't understand enough about how the brain works to make any kind of determination on the subject. People that think we understand all there is to know may think that since the process of thinking appears to occur in an order that would lead you to think that free will is an illusion; however, as I've said before, I simply don't think we understand enough about the absolute basics of what makes a thought to really interpret the results we have correctly.

It just feels like jumping to a conclusion at this point.

Why We All Stink as Intuitive Psychologists: The False Consensus Bias

PsyBlog: Why We All Stink as Intuitive Psychologists: The False Consensus Bias

Benefits of online interaction for teens outweigh danger, professor says

Benefits of online interaction for teens outweigh danger, professor says

Why Groups and Prejudices Form So Easily: Social Identity Theory

PsyBlog: Why Groups and Prejudices Form So Easily: Social Identity Theory

Teamwork increases student learning and career success

Teamwork increases student learning and career success

A Top Ten List: Misconceptions, by scientists and the public, about the neurological bases of memory/cognitive losses in aging | On the Brain

A Top Ten List: Misconceptions, by scientists and the public, about the neurological bases of memory/cognitive losses in aging | On the Brain by Dr. Michael Merzenich, Ph.D.

The great consciousness debate

The Mouse Trap: The great consciousness debate

This is one of the subjects in the realm of brain science that intrigues me more than almost any other. The top mysteries about the brain that interest me the most are (in no particular order):

1. What is consciousness?

2. Is free will a valid construct?

3. What is creativity?

4. What makes "genius"?

5. What constitutes a "thought" or "thinking"?

That last one may sound the most basic of the list, but really that is the foundation for all of it and when it comes right down to it, despite all the information that we currently have about the physical components of neural communication, we still don't really understand how a "thought" is created. We might know where, we might know the chemical/biological/electrical process - but we don't understand HOW it originates.

'Right brain thinking' and 'diffuse thinking' linked as the 'creative thinking' style

The Mouse Trap: 'Right brain thinking' and 'diffuse thinking' linked as the 'creative thinking' style