Spike activity 30-05-2014

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news:

If you’ve not been keeping up with the internet, there’s been a replication crisis hoedown and everyone’s had a go on the violin.

Political Science Replication had a good summary. Schnall’s reply, the rise of ‘negative psychology’ and a pointed response.

Military Plans To Test Brain Implants To Fight Mental Disorders reports NPR. If only there was some way to avoid traumatising people…

The BPS Research Digest has been hosting some amazing guest mind and brain writers and here’s an index to all their articles.

The Myth of Einstein’s Brain. Neuroskeptic has an excellent piece about how studies of his kidnapped brain don’t actually tell us much.

The Best Illusion of the Year contest has just announced it’s 2014 winners.

Spacetimemind is a new podcast with some good philosophy of mind material.

Neuroscientists win 2014 Kavli Prize in neuroscience: Brenda Milner, John O’Keefe, and Marcus Raichle

The Blind Woman Who Sees Rain, But Not Her Daughter’s Smile. Another fascinating piece from NPR.

Brain Watch asks ‘what happens if you apply electricity to the brain of a corpse?’ Don’t try this at home.

Philosopher fight in the New York Review of Books: Patricia Churchland and Colin McGinn on brains and minds and retorts like only philosophers can manage.

3 Comments

  1. Simone
    Posted June 1, 2014 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    In response to the myth of Einstein’s brain, this is like studying the muscle structure of a professional athlete’s arm against a non-professional athlete’s arm. USE is what counts, in regards to ability most of the time. Sure structure plays a role, but usage shapes structure; there are structural adaptations in response to long-term skill acquisition and repetition of those skills. Einstein was a ‘thinker’, therefore his analytical skills became sharper from use and strengthened by the social and personal rewards he received from his discoveries.

  2. Simone
    Posted June 1, 2014 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    In addition, we can’t really study brain structure properly unless we have models of the brain throughout his lifetime from baby to death to see the changes over time.

  3. Mason Kelsey
    Posted June 1, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Concerning the debate Patrica Churchland with Colin McGinn, it seems they both have some interesting points. But like Churchland, I am more of a reductionist than a metaphysician since metaphysicians are basically very discouraging mysteriousist. And why would anyone want us to fail to understand consciousness in physical terms? Because it refutes the soul? Is anyone really fighting that battle still? Churchland appears to know how to point the way. She is not advocating scientism but she is advocating being honest. McGinn seems to be interested in contemplating the mystery of acupuncture and chakra and confusing people by using words and phrases with double and triple meanings without saying which meaning he is really using. McGinn is not doing science and his philosophical model is obscurantism.


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