26 posts tagged with neurology and brain.
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If we're not in pain, we're not alive

You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?
Dr. Peter Watts is no stranger to MetaFilter. But look past his sardonic nuptials, heartbreaking eulogies, and agonizing run-ins with fascists (and fasciitis) and you'll find one of the most brilliant, compelling, and disquieting science fiction authors at work today. A marine biologist skilled at deep background research, his acclaimed 2006 novel Blindsight [full text] -- a cerebral "first contact" tale led by a diverse crew of bleeding-edge post-humans -- is diamond-hard and deeply horrifying, wringing profound existential dread from such abstruse concepts as the Chinese Room, the Philosophical Zombie, Chernoff faces, and the myriad quirks and blind spots that haunt the human mind. But Blindsight's last, shattering insight is not the end of the story -- along with crew/ship/"Firefall" notes, a blackly funny in-universe lecture on resurrecting sociopathic vampirism (PDF - prev.), and a rigorously-cited (and spoiler-laden) reference section, tomorrow will see the release of Dumbspeech State of Grace Echopraxia [website], the long-delayed "sidequel" depicting parallel events on Earth. Want more? Look inside for a guide to the rest of Watts' award-winning (and provocative) body of work. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Aug 25, 2014 - 84 comments

The Unfixed Brain

In this teaching video, Suzanne Stensaas, Ph.D., demonstrates the properties and anatomy of an unfixed brain, showing its squishiness and vulnerability. [WARNING: The video contains graphic images, a human brain from a recent autopsy.]
posted by Blasdelb on Nov 19, 2013 - 38 comments

What's The Question About Your Field That You Dread Being Asked?

"Maybe it's a sore point: your field should have an answer (people think you do) but there isn't one yet. Perhaps it's simple to pose but hard to answer. Or it's a question that belies a deep misunderstanding: the best answer is to question the question."
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 14, 2013 - 259 comments

Intelligence Tests

Is Psychometric g a Myth? - "As an online discussion about IQ or general intelligence grows longer, the probability of someone linking to statistician Cosma Shalizi's essay g, a Statistical Myth approaches 1. Usually the link is accompanied by an assertion to the effect that Shalizi offers a definitive refutation of the concept of general mental ability, or psychometric g." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 11, 2013 - 113 comments

the squidgy 1.5kg lump of pink stuff in our heads

NeuroBollocks: Debunking pseudo-neuroscience so you don't have to.
posted by cthuljew on Mar 31, 2013 - 18 comments

SPAUN of the living

The simulated brain - "First computer model to produce complex behaviour performs almost as well as humans at simple number tasks." [1,2,3,4,5,etc.]
posted by kliuless on Dec 8, 2012 - 22 comments

What's gonna happen outside the window next?

Noam Chomsky on Where Artificial Intelligence Went Wrong
posted by cthuljew on Nov 18, 2012 - 55 comments

I would just show you my butt, right now.

Ze Frank previously and Rainn Wilson talk about the Teen Brain.
posted by lazaruslong on Jul 11, 2012 - 28 comments

Near Death, explained

"...Pam agreed to die in order to save her life—and in the process had what is perhaps the most famous case of independent corroboration of out of body experience (OBE) perceptions on record...Pam later said, she felt herself “pop” out of her body and hover above it, watching as doctors worked on her body. Although she no longer had use of her eyes and ears, she described her observations in terms of her senses and perceptions...with considerable accuracy.

NDE studies [such as these] suggest that after physical death, mind and consciousness may continue in a transcendent level of reality that normally is not accessible to our senses and awareness."
Near Death, explained. [more inside]
posted by anazgnos on Apr 23, 2012 - 111 comments

Brain doctors, doing their thing

Brain Tumors: symptoms, types, a man who hunts them (and what drives him) and a vivid video of the removal of one.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 4, 2011 - 23 comments

Growing New Senses

More evidence of brain plasticity: Some blind people are able to use echolocation to perceive space and objects around them in surprising detail, even though the time differences in echoes necessary to do this are two small to be consciously perceived. An fMRI study by Lore Thaler, Stephen Arnott and Melvyn Goodale revealed that people who are especially adept at this use their calcarine cortex (a.k.a. V1 or primary visual cortex) to process spatial information from the echoes. The original paper. A shorter discussion. (Previously)
posted by nangar on Jun 20, 2011 - 13 comments

political orientation correlated with brain structure

Political Orientations Are Correlated with Brain Structure in Young Adults, Ryota Kanai, Tom Feilden, Colin Firth, Geraint Rees. Current Biology - 26 April 2011 (Vol. 21, Issue 8, pp. 677-680) [Full text .pdf]
  • Political liberalism and conservatism were correlated with brain structure
  • Liberalism was associated with the gray matter volume of anterior cingulate cortex
  • Conservatism was associated with increased right amygdala size
  • Results offer possible accounts for cognitive styles of liberals and conservatives
  • [more inside]
    posted by wilful on Jun 5, 2011 - 45 comments

    Shoot it in the head! Shoot it in the head!

    The Zombie Autopsies with Steven Schlozman, MD (SLVimeo)
    posted by cthuljew on Mar 24, 2011 - 8 comments

    Squishy Goodness

    Charlie Rose: The Brain Series
    posted by cthuljew on Nov 23, 2010 - 8 comments

    "Poetry is still beautiful, taking me with it."

    A memoir of living with a brain tumour: "For art critic Tom Lubbock, language has been his life and his livelihood. But in 2008, he developed a lethal brain tumour and was told he would slowly lose control over speech and writing. This is his account of what happens when words slip away." [more inside]
    posted by zarq on Nov 13, 2010 - 11 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

    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

    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

    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

    Maturing brains.

    Exactly how mental maturity develops—and the anatomy responsible for its emergence—is being revealed.
    posted by Meatbomb on Aug 13, 2007 - 6 comments

    I, for one, welcome...

    [scifilter] Scientists use a supercomputer to simulate a biological neural structure "as big and as complex as half of a mouse brain"
    posted by delmoi on Apr 29, 2007 - 51 comments

    Mind control

    Typing with your brain. A new device, picture d here, allows people to type with only their thoughts, though only slowly. Add this to the monkey-brain controlled robot arm (avi), and the soon-to-be commercially available BrainGate implant, [previously], and you've got, well, an interesting future...
    posted by blahblahblah on Mar 8, 2006 - 18 comments

    Music

    Rock n Roll! We know that Sex and Drugs ain't good for us, but researchers at McGill University are using very fancy devices to learn how our brains react to music. (Probably not much to discuss, but it's an interesting article)
    posted by adamms222 on Nov 27, 2002 - 6 comments

    Tumor-induced Pedophilia

    Tumor-induced Pedophilia - the BBC reports on an american man who, at the age of 40, developed completely uncontrollable and ammoral sexual impulses after developing a tumor in the right lobe of the orbifrontal cortex. After the tumor was removed, he returned to normal. More inside...
    posted by Irontom on Oct 21, 2002 - 28 comments

    The discovery of mirror neurons

    The discovery of mirror neurons in the frontal lobes of monkeys, and their potential relevance to human brain evolution — which I speculate on in this essay — is the single most important "unreported" (or at least, unpublicized) story of the decade. I predict that mirror neurons will do for psychology what DNA did for biology: they will provide a unifying framework and help explain a host of mental abilities that have hitherto remained mysterious and inaccessible to experiments.

    --V.S. Ramachandran

    (after you read the essay, you might be interested in the responses.)
    posted by grumblebee on Jun 8, 2000 - 1 comment

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