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.
A New State of Mind. "New research is linking dopamine to complex social phenomena and changing neuroscience in the process."
For the first time in the Indian state of Maharashtra, life sentences were meted out based on the findings of Brain Electrical Oscillation Signature(BEOS) profiling. [more inside]
Papert, who was a professor of mathematics, education, and media technology at MIT, has devoted much of his career to learning: self-learning (he taught himself Russian) and learning about learning. He was one of the early pioneers of artificial intelligence, and he invented the computer language Logo to teach children about computers. Now he must learn something even more challenging - how to be Seymour Papert again.
Mapping the Structural Core of Human Cerebral Cortex. A new study of the connections in the brain has identified the brain's central hub.
"Several songs on the instrumental album were voted Best in Genre, and then shortly after that I was flown out to Los Angeles and nominated Independent Artist of the Year by the Association of Independent Artists." Until age 40, he'd never played piano. Then he suffered a concussion.. Also, cavemen sang -- and maybe echo-located. Where? Where they painted their cave art.
You know the feeling that something is on the tip of your tongue? It offers deep insights into the nature of the mind. [Via The Frontal Cortex]
"The Guardian has been granted exclusive and unfettered access to one of the most controversial research facilities at a British university." Caring or cruel? Inside the primate laboratory. Audio slideshow. A necessary evil - Colin Blakemore. Wise monkeys - Gill Langley.
Exercising your brain makes you smarter, and there is no better gym for it than the MentatWiki. [more inside]
"Attention regulation and monitoring in meditation" (PDF). A recent article in Trends in Cognitive Sciences on the neuroscience of meditation, focusing on how meditation alters and sharpens the brain's attention systems. The research is being done at the Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior (previously), who have also recently published research on the "Regulation of the neural circuitry of emotion by compassion meditation" (PDF), which describes how meditation can cultivate compassion by physically affecting brain regions that play a role in empathy. They shared this research with the Dalai Lama at the recent Seeds of Compassion forum.
Are you batshitinsane? Viruses and/or bacteria may be the cause.
The Government Is Trying to Wrap Its Mind Around Yours. Why the Next Civil Rights Battle Will Be Over the Mind.
"How many brain scientists have the chance to study a stroke from the inside?" In 1996, Jill Bolte Taylor did (previously), and she recently gave a moving TED talk on her experience. If that merely whetted your appetite for more brainy videos, check out the complete archive of UCSD TV's Grey Matters, a series of lectures on the brain. And for dessert, The Parts of the Brain, as performed by Pinky and The Brain. [via Neurophilosophy]
Out of the Blue: "Can a thinking, remembering, decision-making, biologically accurate brain be built from a supercomputer?"
Art Deliverance - Alex Klochkov's gallery of abandonment from the Soviet Union. There's next to no explanation of the photos, unfortunately. Indirectly via Retrospectacle's post about the brain lab.
Jonah Lehrer is becoming one of the most interesting science writers around. The 26-year-old Rhodes scholar and former Le Bernardin cook just published his first book, Proust Was a Neuroscientist [first chapter excerpt - NYT], an investigation of the ways poets, novelists, and artists accurately modeled the brain and memory before science did. This week he hilariously reenacted Escoffier's distillation of umami-rich veal stock [hit the audio link] with NPR's Robert Krulwich of Radio Lab. He also just published a very insightful profile of Oliver Sacks in SEED (addressing the pioneering neurologist's own recent struggles with an eye ailment) and writes a wide-ranging science blog. A new writer to watch.
Stem Cell Treatment in China. A site showcasing Beike Biotech, a company that seems to be getting more attention nowadays, with a very straightforward approach. Meanwhile, some recent hard science.
Brainbow. Using some very cool genetic tricks, Harvard scientists have found a way to make transgenic mice that express various mixtures of different coloured fluorescent proteins in their neurons. The result, individual brain cells with up to 90 distinct colours. Not surprisingly, this visually impressive work is in this month's issue of Nature.
MindPapers - David Chalmers organizes, streamlines and expands his collection of papers related to mind and neuroscience.
Mapping Memory. "Turn the human brain upside down and all around to see how memories are saved (or lost)." National Geographic has a great interactive 3D map of the brain as part of an excellent feature on memory. [more inside]
Searching for God in the Brain. "Researchers are unearthing the roots of religious feeling in the neural commotion that accompanies the spiritual epiphanies of nuns, Buddhists and other people of faith." [Via MindHacks, which points out a few niggling omissions in the article.]
The Philosophy and Neuroscience Movement (PDF). A paper by Andrew Brook and Pete Mandik on the relationship between neuroscience and philosophy. [Via MindHacks.] [more inside]
Musicophilia. Metafilter's own digaman interviews Oliver Sacks on his forthcoming book and a lifetime's worth of loving music and studying its effects on the human mind. [more inside]
How big is your crockus? In cutting edge neuroscience news, a new part of the brain has recently been identifed by the enigmatic Dr. Crockus. Described as "the detailed section of the brain, a part of the frontal lope," the crockus is apparently four times larger in females than in males, which is why girls see the details of experiences while boys see the whole but not the details. [more inside]
The Abyss. Oliver Sacks writes about Clive Wearing (recently discussed here). [Via MindHacks.] [more inside]
"Imagine what it would feel like—or think back to what it felt like—when your body and mind are telling you you're an adult while the adults around you keep insisting you're a child." An interview with psychologist Robert Epstein, who argues that American teens are far more intelligent, capable, and moral than we give them credit for. His new book, The Case Against Adolescence, suggests that infantilization of teens leads to psychological problems. See also Epstein's article "The Myth of the Teen Brain" [PDF] from Scientific American Mind.
In an experiment reported in the journal Nature Neuroscience, scientists at NYU and UCLA demonstrate that political orientation is related to basic differences in cognition - how the brain processes information. Psychological studies in the past found conservatives tend to be more structured and persistent in their judgments while liberals are more "open to new experiences." The latest study finds these traits are not confined to political situations but also influence everyday decisions. [more inside]
BrainPaint. Beautiful, real-time images created through neurofeedback by using the electrical activity of the brain to seed fractal patterns.
Virtual Out-of-Body Experience. Using two procedures to deliberately scramble a person's visual and tactile senses, neuroscientists are able to induce "out-of-body" experiences in people. The effect is the same as the 'rubber hand illusion', but extends the effect to the whole body instead of just one limb (you can try the hand illusion for yourself).
Exactly how mental maturity develops—and the anatomy responsible for its emergence—is being revealed.
Excellent BBC Brain Story series available online. One of the best TV series on psychology and neuroscience ever produced, the BBC's Brain Story, is available on public bittorrent servers for download. It is a six part series covering virtually every area of contemporary neuropsychology, including the major researchers, discoveries, techniques and even many of the patients who have been the subjects of classic case studies that have helped us understand the curious effects of brain injury.
Do You Taste What I Taste? - The first of Slate's 3-part series on the physiology of taste [parts 2, 3]
Why do we yawn? There are many theories. New research suggests it cools the brain.. a cooler brain is more alert.
Recursion and Human Thought - Why the Piraha don't have numbers
You are most welcome. sigh. Bill Gates must feel like several billion dollars.
[scifilter] Scientists use a supercomputer to simulate a biological neural structure "as big and as complex as half of a mouse brain"
When a Brain Forgets Where Memory Is. Interesting article on dissociative fugue, the poorly understood memory disorder where people seem to forget who they are. [Via MindHacks.]
Impaired emotional processing affects moral judgements. People with damage to a key emotion-processing region of the brain also make moral decisions based on the greater good of the community, unclouded by concerns over harming an individual.
Sgt. Wells's New Skull. In the epidemic of brain injuries coming out of the war, Army neurosurgeons had never seen someone survive such a devastating wound. But Brian Wells jokes that he just left part of his head in Iraq. Someday, he says, he'll have to go back and get it.
Neurolaw - The Brain on the Stand
Ken Wilber can stop his brain waves on demand. This (WMV) is the famous EEG machine recording where Ken Wilber enters various meditative states, one of which is a type of "thoughtless," "image-less," or "formless" state, whose correlate is that his brainwaves come to an almost complete stop, as clearly recorded on this portable electroencephalograph (EEG) machine. Seeing somebody's brainwaves flatline in about 4 seconds is a sight not easily forgotten! Also on YouTube.