Monthly Archives: September 2006

Brain scan finds vegetative state patient conscious

A team led by neuropsychologist Dr Adrian Owen has reported on a patient who supposedly fulfilled all the criteria for a diagnosis of persistent vegetative state (PVS) but was found to have conscious awareness. This seems a little confusing to me, as PVS is usually defined as where ‘higher’ cognitive abilities, such as awareness, are […]

More Coldplay than Radiohead

The runaway success of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, the book written from the perspective of a young autistic boy, has not entirely pleased its author Mark Haddon: “I’m just suspicious that too many people liked it. All the books I really like are loathed by some people…It’s like you want […]

defining the field of psychology

Several decades ago, an eminent psychologist defined the field of psychology as ‚Äòa bunch of men standing on piles of their own crap, waving their hands and yelling ‚ÄúLook at me, look at me!‚Äù‚Äô Fortunately, things have changed quite a bit over the years, and the field is no longer composed entirely of men. Daniel […]

Eye gaze and cognition in children

Thanks very much to Robbie Ben for alerting us to the fact that there¬¥s a full article on eye gaze and cognition by Dr Gwyneth Doherty-Sneddon freely available online as a pdf file. The article was published in The Psychologist in 2004 and discusses much of the background behind Doherty-Sneddon¬¥s work which has led to […]

Glazed looks sharpen the mind

There’s an interesting news report on the Nature website suggesting that gazing into the middle distance improves concentration. Researchers at the University of Stirling in Scotland took a group of 25 five-year-olds and trained them to look away when they were being asked a question. The effect was a significant increase in correct answers to […]

Sevillian intelligence

Many thanks to Sevillian computational neuroscientists Marcos and Jorge who kindly talked me through their information processing model of the neocortex yesterday. There will be more information on their exciting project appearing here shortly.

Keeping it in the family

[Paramutation] describes an interaction between different alleles or even different loci [areas on a chromosome], which results in a stable alteration in their functional state… Consequently, the properties of an inherited gene may in part be dependent on a gene sequence that is not actually co-inherited. Clearly, this flouts what we generally think of as […]


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