Monthly Archives: March 2007

Hacking the senses

An article in this month’s Wired looks at how new technology is being developed that crosses over sensory information from one mode to another, to compensate for impairment or disability – or even to extend the body to include completely new senses. We humans get just the five. But why? Can our senses be modified? […]

psychophysics haiku

From the Psychophysics Psyber Lab, it’s Psychophysics Haiku! Maybe there was one But then on the other hand Maybe there wasn’t. or Silence is golden Gaussian noise is for free Which do you prefer? And many more…

2007-03-30 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: The New York Times asks whether multi-tasking is a myth and explores the psychology of divided attention. Developing Intelligence highlights 10 important differences between brains and computers. Body position may affect memory for events, according to a study reviewed by Cognitive Daily Slate looks […]

Quirky little flames

Pat: I once heard a funny idea about what will happen when we eventually have intelligent machines. When we try to implant that intelligence into devices we’d like to control, their behaviour won’t be so predictable. Sandy: They’d have a quirky little “flame” inside, maybe? Pat: Maybe Chris: So what’s so funny about that? Pat: […]

Bedlam Clothing

The word ‘bedlam’ commonly refers to disorder or chaos, but it originally referred to Bethlem Royal Hospital – the world’s oldest psychiatric hospital, founded in 1247 and still operational today. The modern day Bethlem is the only psychiatric hospital I’ve ever been to that has a souvenir shop, as it has an on-site museum and […]

Looking into beauty, sport and AI

Jonathan Edwards was a physicist, turned Olympic triple-jumper, turned BBC science presenter, and his latest radio series has been distinctly psychological – investigating beauty, sports psychology and artificial intelligence. The programmes are archived online and are generally a successful look at to the topics, taking an eclectic approach by interviewing philosophers, artists, engineers and sports […]

More human than otherwise

“We are all much more simply human than otherwise, be we happy and successful, contented and detached, miserable and mentally disordered, or whatever.” A quote from the late American psychiatrist Harry Stack Sullivan.

Single people subject to negative stereotypes

A recent Time magazine article on why marriage is viewed so positively despite the divorce statistics, suggested that single people are the subject of negative stereotyping and discrimination. The conclusions come from the work of psychologist Prof Bella DePaulo who recently summarised her research in a review paper for the journal Current Directions in Psychological […]

SciAm on happiness and moral decision-making

April’s issue of Scientific American has a couple of concise articles that are freely available online: one on the neuroscience of moral decisions, and the second on the science of lasting happiness. In the first article, author Michael Shermer argues that moral decision-making is implemented in the brain in a similar way to most other […]

Delirium Tremens – the beer

Delirium Tremens is the name of the life-threatening alcohol withdrawal syndrome that can cause seizures and hallucinations – it is also the name of a strong Beligian beer. I’m not entirely sure about the wisdom of naming an alcholic drink after a severe neurological syndrome caused by alcohol intoxication. It’s a bit like naming a […]

Single gene gives mice new sense of colour

The journal Science reports a study showing that mice given a single gene can develop full colour vision. Mice, like most mammals except primates, are normally colourblind. The implanted gene, which is found in humans, is responsible for making a photopigment, a light-sensitive protein in the photoreceptors of the eye. The researchers from the Howard […]

Liars, Lovers and Heroes

Of course what makes Paris such a wonderful city is how all the parts fit together, and the same is true of the brain. Indeed a more apt use of the Parisian brain metaphor might be to think of the prefontal cortex as the Pompidou Center, a piece of modern architecture in the heart of […]

Sonic Seniors

The Young@Heart Chorus are a choir of senior citizens from a sheltered housing project. They do awesome covers of classic rock tracks, seemingly chosen to ironically challenge stereotypes of the elderly (e.g. Coldplay’s Fix You). YouTube has a video of them doing a cover of Sonic Youth’s Schizophrenia. The audience looks a bit taken aback […]

Encephalon 19 arrives

The 19th edition of the Encephalon psychology and neuroscience writing carnival has arrived, courtesy of psychology blog Peripersonal Space. Some of my favourites include coverage of some scientific rough and tumble over the electrophysiology of neurons, and a look at a recent study on frontal lobe damage and moral judgements. Link to Encephalon 19.

The military applications of augmented cognition

Wired has an article on the increasing military excitement about augmented cognition (AugCog for short) – technology which reads and responds to cognitive states to allow devices to be used more efficiently. As has been noted recently, augmented cognition is becoming a hot topic, especially since the millions of dollars investment by US military research […]

Brain simulation project – the early years

Almost two years ago we covered the launch of the Blue Brain Project an ambitious research programme to create the largest computer simulation of the brain yet created. Now, Spiegel has an in-depth article looking at how the project is progressing. The simulation runs on an IBM Blue Gene supercomputer and aims to simulate enough […]

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