The new Scientific American Mind has just arrived online with its customary couple of feature articles freely available online. The issue also has a review of psychology and neuroscience blogs, which kindly features Mind Hacks.
According to the review SciAmMind “offers up a hearty helping of science” whereas blogs offer “extra crumbs of brain candy”. Nothing like getting patronised by the best I guess.
Apart from that though, they actually say some pretty complementary things about a number of online mind and brain blogs, so it can’t be all that bad.
One of their freely available feature articles is on the psychology and neuroscience of kissing.
Human lips enjoy the slimmest layer of skin on the human body, and the lips are among the most densely populated with sensory neurons of any body region. When we kiss, these neurons, along with those in the tongue and mouth, rocket messages to the brain and body, setting off delightful sensations, intense emotions and physical reactions.
Of the 12 or 13 cranial nerves that affect cerebral function, five are at work when we kiss, shuttling messages from our lips, tongue, cheeks and nose to a brain that snatches information about the temperature, taste, smell and movements of the entire affair. Some of that information arrives in the somatosensory cortex, a swath of tissue on the surface of the brain that represents tactile information in a map of the body. In that map, the lips loom large because the size of each represented body region is proportional to the density of its nerve endings.
The other freely available article apparently discusses what capitalism and the corporate world can tell us about the psychology of competition and altruism, but seems largely an enthusiastic description of Google’s business practices – novel as they may be.