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Strangers in the mirror.

Prosopagnosia, or face blindness, is an impairment which limits one's ability to recognize faces (previously). As part of the World Science Festival, Robert Krulwich interviews two famous suffers of this little known disease: the portrait artist Chuck Close and the neuroscientist and writer Oliver Sacks. [more inside]
posted by 1f2frfbf on Jun 18, 2010 - 78 comments

Zik Zak Zoom

Halation can interfere with your brain making out the shapes of distorted words, such as on passing highway signs. Banned from advertising in F1 racing, a major tobacco company that sponsors a team came up with a novel design solution that may play on this visual effect to an opposite, suggestive effect, depending on the observer. European officials were not amused, going so far as to call the design "subliminal". Ferrari responded by removing traces of the design from its cars. Judas Priest could not be reached for comment. [via]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on May 13, 2010 - 53 comments

This is your brain on... a layer of bits?

The first massively parallel evolutionary circuit has been built. Brain-like computing on an organic molecular layer. I, for one... overlords... you know.
posted by cross_impact on Apr 27, 2010 - 42 comments

The Neurology of Morality

Researchers at MIT's Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences have identified two "morality centers" of the brain. In two separate experiments, they have shown a correlation between a particular part of the brain and the ability to make moral jusgments related to intent to commit a crime. In one experiment, patients with brain damage in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex of the brain don't consider hypothetical perpetrators to be morally responsible for their actions. In another experiment (noted on NPR today) the researchers showed that they could switch off the moral judgment function by applying a magnetic field to the right temporoparietal junction (TPJ) of the brain. The TPJ has also been implicated in "out of body experiences", both in cases of brain damage and by artificially stimulating the area.
posted by darkstar on Mar 29, 2010 - 32 comments

Me Tarzan. You Jane. He Skeptic.

This article, about differences between male and female brains, is doing the rounds on various blogs. (I found it via reddit.) Meanwhile, debunkers are doing their best to rip the author a new asshole.
posted by grumblebee on Mar 25, 2010 - 86 comments

Music and the Brain

Music and the Brain The Library of Congress' Music and the Brain podcasts offer lectures and conversations about new research at the intersection of cognitive neuroscience and music. Sufi rituals, Wednesday is Indigo Blue (synaesthesia), Your Brain on Jazz, The Music of Language and the Language of Music, and more.
posted by carter on Feb 15, 2010 - 13 comments

DSM-5

At midnight tonight, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) released a proposed draft of the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). [more inside]
posted by emilyd22222 on Feb 9, 2010 - 58 comments

It's a cruel season that makes you get ready for bed while it's light out.

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 - 22 comments

Change Your Mind Change Your Brain

Change your mind, change your brain - Matthieu Ricard talks about creating the inner conditions for authentic happiness, and the effects of meditation on the brain. [more inside]
posted by MetaMonkey on Jan 31, 2010 - 17 comments

Optimizing Your Brain At Work

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 - 28 comments

A Belgian man diagnosed as being in a coma for 23 years was actually conscious the whole time.

"I shall never forget the day when they discovered what was truly wrong with me – it was my second birth. Rom Houbens was simply paralysed and had no way to let doctors caring for him what he was suffering. Only the re-evaluation of his case at the University of Liege brought to light that Houben was only paralysed all these years. Hi-tech scans showed his brain was still functioning almost completely normally.
posted by njbradburn on Nov 23, 2009 - 94 comments

Genes that cause depression?

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 - 27 comments

Feeling 'Selfy' ? Regarding 'The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind, and the Myth of the Self' by Thomas Metzinger

Natasha Mitchell: So it's not a little man or woman inside our heads...

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?
[more inside]
posted by y2karl on Oct 14, 2009 - 56 comments

The "boy-killing, man-mutilating, money-making, education-prostituting, gladiatorial sport."

Does american football unavoidably lead to brain damage over time? Does a culture favoring perseverance at the expense of well being begin in high school?
posted by phrontist on Oct 13, 2009 - 96 comments

A Few Strange Notes About Schizophrenia

Here's a strange one for the books: Science has taken notice that a really, really LARGE proportion of schizophrenic patients smoke. In fact, Scientific American Mind reports that an average of 85% of schizophrenic patients smoke cigarettes compared to only 20% in the general population. Many schizophrenics also appear to have abnormal thermoregulation, an impaired ability to understand body language, an inability to perceive an optical illusion called "the hollow mask illusion," an impaired ability to produce a brain protein known as the muscarinic M1 receptor, and an abnormally large number of genetic mutations known as CNV's or "copy number variations."
posted by mdpatrick on Sep 29, 2009 - 65 comments

An ingenious device for avoiding thought...

The brain's plasticity has some neuroscientists worried about what the internet will do to reading - and to humanity. [more inside]
posted by smoke on Aug 13, 2009 - 64 comments

The undiscovered cortex

Why is your brain wrinkled?
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Aug 6, 2009 - 66 comments

Is there no problem the internet can't solve - Flickr finds only known photo of Phineas Gage

While many quirky news buffs may be aware of the story of Phineas Gage -- the Vermont railroad foreman who had a three foot iron rod penetrate his skull as the result of an explosion and lived to tell about it -- fewer know that the only known photograph of him was recently discovered. Fewer still know that the identification of that photograph happened via a Flickr comment. (no thanks to you LA Times, previously) [more inside]
posted by jessamyn on Jul 29, 2009 - 77 comments

a pink sliver of rat brain sat in a beaker

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 - 251 comments

Neurosecurity

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 - 22 comments

Thanksgiving dinner explained

"If some of the same genetic risks underlie schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, perhaps these disorders originate from some common vulnerability in brain development...Of course the big question then is how some people develop schizophrenia and others develop bipolar disorder." So hold off on the celebrations.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jul 2, 2009 - 36 comments

I await Trepanation with great Trepidation.

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 - 50 comments

Wait, wait, I almost have it!

Why do we get "tip of the tongue" moments?? We’ve all experienced the tip of the tongue moment where we wanted to say something but just couldn’t remember the word. But what causes this momentary lapses in vocabulary?
posted by CaptKyle on Jun 12, 2009 - 43 comments

Kick, Punch, It's All in the Mind

How Music Works - UK Channel 4 documentary (~180 mins.)
Why do some rhythms get our toes tapping, while others make us feel mellow? How does a love song bring tears to our eyes? What links African drumming to J S Bach?
Part 1 - Melody (alt)
Part 2 - Rhythm (alt)
Part 3 - Harmony (alt)
Part 4 - Bass (alt)
Then: Music producer and neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, author of This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of Human Obsession and The World in Six Songs: How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature, shares some of his thoughts at Google Talk.
posted by Christ, what an asshole on Jun 4, 2009 - 31 comments

Mindsight

Mindsight 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 - 11 comments

"Genius is nothing more nor less than childhood recovered at will."

There are times when having a fully developed brain can almost seem like an impediment. Are babies more aware of the world around them than adults are? Can "thinking like a baby" lead us to be more in tune with our creativity and our ability to learn? Scientists have taken a new look inside the baby mind, which is "unfocused, random, and extremely good at what it does."
posted by amyms on May 1, 2009 - 38 comments

Fat, Salt and Sugar Alter Brain Chemistry

David Kessler Knew That Some Foods Are Hard to Resist; Now He Knows Why. Former FDA commissioner David Kessler goes dumpster-diving to investigate the neurological impact of eating junk food. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Apr 27, 2009 - 40 comments

Neuroenhancing Drugs

Brain Gain: The underground world of “neuroenhancing” drugs. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Apr 21, 2009 - 42 comments

Eternal Sunshine Within Reach.

Brain Researchers Open Door to Editing Memory : spotless minds might be closer than we think.
posted by grapefruitmoon on Apr 16, 2009 - 20 comments

Life Through the Lens

Microscope Imaging Station opens a door to the wonder of the microscopic world and allows the layman to explore it. They seek to recreate some of the excitement and wonder that the earliest biological researchers found. Features include cells with potential as well as bad oogy. The microscopic Galleries are inhabited by zygotes and organelles.
posted by netbros on Mar 30, 2009 - 3 comments

Natasha Richardson Dead at Age 45 From Fall at Ski Resort

Actress Natasha Richardson died yesterday at the age of 45 after a fall while taking a beginner's lesson at the Mont Tremblant Ski Resort, located 80 miles northwest of Montreal in Quebec, Canada. [more inside]
posted by WCityMike on Mar 19, 2009 - 145 comments

Neuroengineering

Rewiring the Brain: Inside the New Science of Neuroengineering. Dial H for Happiness: How Neuroengineering May Change Your Brain.
posted by homunculus on Mar 2, 2009 - 7 comments

Neuroscience of Nostalgia

Neuroscience and Nostalgia. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Feb 23, 2009 - 19 comments

How Cities Hurt Your Brain

Recent research has found that living in a city may be bad for your brain. Compared with natural settings, cities over-stimulate us and impair our memory and cognitive functions.
posted by jon_hansen on Feb 17, 2009 - 84 comments

Long-term effects of ecstacy

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 - 94 comments

New Neurons Get Timestamped

Newborn brain cells "time-stamp" memories. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jan 31, 2009 - 7 comments

Extending the Mind

How Google Is Making Us Smarter: Humans are "natural-born cyborgs," and the Internet is our giant "extended mind."
posted by homunculus on Jan 15, 2009 - 50 comments

The Genomic Self

My Genome, My Self: Steven Pinker considers what we can expect from personal genomics. Searching for Intelligence in Our Genes: Carl Zimmer looks at the hunt to learn about the role of genes in intelligence.
posted by homunculus on Jan 10, 2009 - 6 comments

Blind, Yet Seeing

Blind, Yet Seeing : New research into blindsight from Harvard University and M.I.T. showing that people who have been blinded by brain injury have resources beyond sight to do such tasks as navigate an obstacle course (movie).
posted by grapefruitmoon on Dec 26, 2008 - 21 comments

The Beautiful Mind

The Beautiful Mind. An online gallery of neuroscience photographs. [Via]
posted by homunculus on Dec 15, 2008 - 10 comments

Dreaming is a private thing.

A team of researchers at the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto have managed to reconstruct black-and-white visual images from an fMRI scan of a test subject's brain. Some more examples of the recovered data. The organization responsible claims that the technology to record thoughts and dreams is just around the corner. [more inside]
posted by teraflop on Dec 11, 2008 - 48 comments

The Body Swap Illusion

If I Were You: Perceptual Illusion of Body Swapping. Expanding on previous experiments, researchers discover how to induce a "body-swap" illusion, whereby subjects perceive the body of another as if it were their own.
posted by homunculus on Dec 4, 2008 - 22 comments

We'll remember you.

Henry G. Molaison, known to psychology and neurology students worldwide as "H.M.", dies. Previously.
posted by dmd on Dec 3, 2008 - 26 comments

Diffusion spectrum imaging

The Brain Unveiled: A new imaging method offers a spectacular view of neural structures. Diffusion spectrum imaging, developed by neuroscientist Van Wedeen at Massachusetts General Hospital, analyzes magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data in new ways, letting scientists map the nerve fibers that carry information between cells.
posted by srboisvert on Nov 24, 2008 - 12 comments

I have no idea what perceptual insight is, but this is pretty interesting

An Introduction to Sine-Wave Speech Play the first sound and you'll probably hear nothing but squeaks and bleeps. Play the second one and then go back to the first. Cool!
posted by TheDonF on Nov 16, 2008 - 63 comments

A New Theory Of Mental Disorders

"Their idea is, in broad outline, straightforward. Dr. Crespi 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 - 43 comments

Neural Correlates of Hate

Brain's 'Hate Circuit' Identified. "People who view pictures of someone they hate display activity in distinct areas of the brain that, together, may be thought of as a 'hate circuit', according to new research by scientists at UCL (University College London)."
posted by homunculus on Oct 29, 2008 - 34 comments

I Contain Multitudes

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 - 27 comments

Locked-In Syndrome

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 - 32 comments

Wilder Penfield

Wilder Penfield, Neural Cartographer.
posted by homunculus on Aug 28, 2008 - 14 comments

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