Vegetated State conversations: To find out whether a simple conversation was possible, the researchers selected one of the four - a 29-year-old man who had been in a car crash. They asked him to imagine playing tennis if he wanted to answer yes to questions such as: Do you have any sisters? Is your father's name Thomas? Is your father's name Alexander? And if the answer to a question was no, he had to imagine moving round his home.
posted by bigmusic
on Feb 3, 2010 -
Optimizing Your Brain at Work
is a pretty fascinating talk at Google by David Rock about managing your brain's internal states and attention, as well as threat responses with the goal of optimizing information processing. It is a Youtube link, and fairly long (~55min). He also mentions The Neuroscience of Mindfulness
during the talk, so here is a convenient link to that.
posted by Vulpyne
on Dec 3, 2009 -
A gene variant associated with serotonin transport (STG) ,
and normally associated with depression is strangely more prevalent, but also less likely to induce depression in collectivistic East Asian cultures. The study took data from 29 countries, and found a consistent trend towards this same genetic variant being strongly associated with episodes of major depression in Western cultures.
posted by mdpatrick
on Oct 29, 2009 -
Natasha Mitchell: So it's not a little man or woman inside our heads... [more inside]
posted by y2karl
on Oct 14, 2009 -
Thomas Metzinger: ...that looks at pictures. But the experience of looking, of being directed to one's own feelings or to one's sensory perceptions of the outside world, this is itself an image. There is nobody looking at the image, it's like the camera is part of the picture or the viewing is itself a part of the process of viewing. This is how a first-person perspective emerges in our own case, the question is, okay, if it's not a thing, if it's not something in the brain, what kind of a process is it?
The simulated brain
- "The scientists behind Blue Brain
hope to have a virtual human brain
functioning in ten years... Dr. Markram began by collecting detailed information about the rat's NCC
, down to the level of genes, proteins, molecules and the electrical signals that connect one neuron to another. These complex relationships were then turned into millions of equations, written in software. He then recorded real-world data -- the strength and path of each electrical signal -- directly from rat brains to test the accuracy of the software." Is it possible to digitally simulate
a brain accurately? Can it only be analog
? And are there quantum effects
to be considered
? (previously 1 2 3 4
) [more inside]
posted by kliuless
on Jul 18, 2009 -
Neurosecurity: security and privacy for neural devices.
"An increasing number of neural implantable devices will become available in the near future due to advances in neural engineering. This discipline holds the potential to improve many patients' lives dramatically by offering improved—and in some cases entirely new—forms of rehabilitation for conditions ranging from missing limbs to degenerative cognitive diseases. The use of standard engineering practices, medical trials, and neuroethical evaluations during the design process can create systems that are safe and that follow ethical guidelines; unfortunately, none of these disciplines currently ensure that neural devices are robust against adversarial entities trying to exploit these devices to alter, block, or eavesdrop on neural signals. The authors define 'neurosecurity'—a version of computer science security principles and methods applied to neural engineering—and discuss why neurosecurity should be a critical consideration in the design of future neural devices." [Via Mind Hacks]
posted by homunculus
on Jul 8, 2009 -
We've discussed trepanation
, the boring of holes in the head as practiced in antiquity and by a fringe do it yourself-ers, before. There now seems to be research indicating that the procedure may have medical merit
, and even help stave off age related cognitive decline. This curious research brought to you by the Beckly Foundation
which "promotes the investigation of consciousness and its modulation
from a multidisciplinary perspective" and has a sweet logo.
posted by phrontist
on Jun 18, 2009 -
is a deeply worthwhile exposition of the workings of the mind, an hour-long talk from the Google Personal Growth Series (but don't let that title put you off). [SLYT] [more inside]
posted by mhjb
on Jun 2, 2009 -
Ecstasy's long-term effects revealed.
"Enough time has finally elapsed to start asking if ecstasy damages health in the long term. According to the biggest review ever undertaken
, it causes slight memory difficulties and mild depression, but these rarely translate into problems in the real world. While smaller studies show that some individuals have bigger problems, including weakened immunity and larger memory deficits, so far, for most people, ecstasy seems to be nowhere near as harmful over time as you may have been led to believe." [Via]
posted by homunculus
on Feb 12, 2009 -
"Their idea is, in broad outline, straightforward.
and Dr. Badcock
propose that an evolutionary tug of war between genes from the father’s sperm and the mother’s egg can, in effect, tip brain development in one of two ways. A strong bias toward the father pushes a developing brain along the autistic
spectrum, toward a fascination with objects, patterns, mechanical systems, at the expense of social development. A bias toward the mother moves the growing brain along what the researchers call the psychotic spectrum, toward hypersensitivity to mood, their own and others’. This, according to the theory, increases a child’s risk of developing schizophrenia
later on, as well as mood problems like bipolar disorder and depression."
posted by grumblebee
on Nov 11, 2008 -
First Person Plural.
"An evolving approach to the science of pleasure suggests that each of us contains multiple selves—all with different desires, and all fighting for control. If this is right, the pursuit of happiness becomes even trickier. Can one self bind another self if the two want different things? Are you always better off when a Good Self wins? And should outsiders, such as employers and policy makers, get into the fray?" [Via]
posted by homunculus
on Oct 25, 2008 -
The Unspeakable Odyssey of the Motionless Boy.
"How much of our humanity are we prepared to cede to machines? This is a dilemma of the future, but it's not much of a concern for Erik Ramsey. Erik can't move. He can't blink his eyes. And he hasn't said a word since 1999. But now, thanks to an electrode that was surgically implanted in his brain and linked to a computer, his nine-year silence is about to end." [Via]
posted by homunculus
on Oct 8, 2008 -
"Multitasking messes with the brain in several ways.
At the most basic level, the mental balancing acts that it requires—the constant switching and pivoting—energize regions of the brain that specialize in visual processing and physical coordination and simultaneously appear to shortchange some of the higher areas related to memory and learning. We concentrate on the act of concentration at the expense of whatever it is that we’re supposed to be concentrating on." [more inside]
posted by jbickers
on Aug 21, 2008 -
Cockatoos are much better dancers than macaws.
Well that was my clear conclusion after watching the first two vid clips linked to why animals dance
in this Guardian feature. And since this is from a serious researcher I don't think they are faked. For those with much
more time, this site has an interesting podcast on the topic of music and the brain.
posted by binturong
on Aug 19, 2008 -
Get your learn on. 180+ ways of investigating the human brain = hours of fun for the whole family.
Thanks to an innocuous question by a 5 year old, my entire evening is now being spent investigating and discussing the structure and workings of the human brain. This flash site lets you explore the workings of the brain according to 12 subject areas (each with subtopics which are not included in the "180" count), within each of which are 5 levels of organization from social to molecular, within each of which are three levels of explanation (beginner, intermediate, and advanced.) discovered via Wikipedia.
posted by ThusSpakeZarathustra
on Aug 19, 2008 -