2006-11-10 Spike activity

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

Cognitive Daily has a fantastic post on how the brain synchronises sound and vision, even when they’re out of sync (including videos!).

Psychology Today argues that mass-media ‘beauty’ is making people unhappy in Why I hate beauty.

Web pioneers call for a new discipline of ‘web science‘ that combines psychology, economics and law, computer science and engineering.

Developing Intelligence discusses two ways of understanding children who are ‘late talkers’: the nativist and interactionist approaches.

Having a high IQ protects against developing PTSD after major trauma, finds new study.

Computer modelling of shock waves inside the head suggests that brain injury may occur within one millisecond after the head hits a car windshield.

Neurofuture posts on an freely accessible online sci-fi novel on consciousness uploading, AI and zombies (oh my!)

New Scientist reports that industrial chemicals that seep into the environment may increase risk of developmental brain disorders.

Researchers have developed a 3D map of the human body to allow people to better communicate pain.

Children prefer to be friends with children perceived to be lucky, finds new study.

The Neurophilosopher has written an engaging and wonderfully illustrated article on the history of Alois Alzheimer and the disease that bears his name.

One thought on “2006-11-10 Spike activity”

  1. Regarding the post about children preferring ‘lucky’ children as group members, I have several thoughts.
    Firstly, from the limited information available, the conclusions of the study seem much to grand and global. Children selecting imaginary group members on a computer screen can hardly be seen as predictive of real behaviour. It might lead one to investigate actual child behaviour in that area, but is hardly a demonstrative test. People (including children) do not always behave the same way in reality that they do in the simplified world of a game (thank goodness). Of course testing a hypothesis as vague as this in the multi dimensional ‘real world’ would present some serious challenges.
    Secondly, the conjecture that economically disadvantaged members of society would be negatively selected by kids because of their perceived lack of ‘luck’ is pure blue sky guessing. Where is the evidence for this? Whether children want to associate with others who have lower economic status is likely to be governed by a large number of factors, including group attitudes, presence or absence of racial prejudices, the importance within that group of economically based status symbols (expensive clothing for example) and many other factors. This prejudgement without any actual facts seems to be self serving on the part of the researchers (it is likely to get them some headlines, and perhaps funding).
    Lastly, children do indeed believe in ‘luck’. The progress from child to adult is marked by a change from ‘magical thinking’ to rational analysis. Of course, we never quite excape the magical thinking. If we had,there would be no horoscope columns in newspapers, and no one would buy lottery tickets.
    That style of thought is driven by our lack of understanding of underlying causes of events. If events seem somewhat random, it is easy to believe in a mythical cause. Children of course have less appreciation of the adult version of cause and effect, and may be less likely to be happy with the notion of random or chance events. It is reassuring to believe that everything happens for a reason; finding money, getting sick, getting good grades on a test, or having some ‘lucky’ event happen. Thus, kids are likely to be interested in ‘lucky’ friends; after all, some of that luck might rub off.

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