251 posts tagged with neuroscience.
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"The purpose is not to substantiate but to enchant."

We only wanted one thing from Jonah Lehrer: a story. He told it so well that we forgave him almost ­everything.
posted by facehugger on Oct 31, 2012 - 62 comments

Heaven is Real: A Doctor's Experience of the Afterlife

Heaven is Real: A Doctor's Experience of the Afterlife. As a neurosurgeon, I did not believe in the phenomenon of near-death experiences...In the fall of 2008, however, after seven days in a coma during which the human part of my brain, the neocortex, was inactivated, I experienced something so profound that it gave me a scientific reason to believe in consciousness after death.
posted by shivohum on Oct 12, 2012 - 196 comments

Don't even Blink...

Your brain on pseudoscience: the rise of popular neurobollocks
posted by Artw on Sep 14, 2012 - 64 comments

Neurosciencey stuff→Loss of critical faculties

Oxford University neuroscience professor Dorothy Bishop delivers a scathing lecture (text version) about the overselling of weak neuroscience, both in the news and within the scientific literature. [more inside]
posted by overeducated_alligator on Aug 24, 2012 - 22 comments

And a 1 and a 2, a 1, 2, 3, 3.984

"People prefer music that deviates from perfection in a natural way." Researchers into rhythm are trying to figure out the nature of these deviations, and what implications this has for audio engineering and neuroscience.
posted by EvaDestruction on Jul 23, 2012 - 50 comments

Structural change in high finance

What can be done to prevent another financial meltdown? While some cry for armed revolution, others are whispering for incremental changes that could have a substantial impact on how high finance works – or doesn't. John Coates, a former Wall Street derivatives trader and now a neuroscientist at the University of Cambridge, has done novel research on how testosterone skews the thinking – and thus the behavior – of traders, inspiring them to take on more risk than benefits society. His research is now available in a book. Would programs that encourage more women to enter – and/or climb the ranks of – trading groups make finance more responsible? (If this strikes you as biological determinism, there are other lines of inquiry that may be headed in the same direction: how managers exploit subordinates in ways that shape overall behavior and could be modified via both incentives and regulation; how cheating happens and the best ways to prevent it.)
posted by noway on Jul 7, 2012 - 45 comments

Patient 23

"Adrian Owen still gets animated when he talks about patient 23. The patient was only 24 years old when his life was devastated by a car accident. Alive but unresponsive, he had been languishing in what neurologists refer to as a vegetative state for five years, when Owen, a neuro-scientist then at the University of Cambridge, UK, and his colleagues at the University of Liège in Belgium, put him into a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine and started asking him questions. Incredibly, he provided answers."
posted by jquinby on Jun 15, 2012 - 31 comments

The Curse of Knowledge

Isaac Chotiner reviews Jonah Lehrer's Imagine: How Creativity Works. Imagine is really a pop-science book, which these days usually means that it is an exercise in laboratory-approved self-help. Like Malcolm Gladwell and David Brooks, Lehrer writes self-help for people who would be embarrassed to be seen reading it. For this reason, their chestnuts must be roasted in “studies” and given a scientific gloss. The surrender to brain science is particularly zeitgeisty.
posted by shivohum on Jun 13, 2012 - 29 comments

It's The A.C.C. People

posted by jjray on Jun 7, 2012 - 47 comments

"no longer Gage"

UCLA neuroscientists have reconstructed Phineas Gage's head injury and mapped out how his brain was affected by the tamping rod that went through it. You can read the full scientific article here. Phineas Gage has become one of the most famous cases in the history of science. A railroad worker who survived having an iron rod go through his brain with subsequent changes in personality. Malcolm McMillan of Deakin University, Australia, has the great Phineas Gage Information Page, which includes his story and a page on unanswered questions. [Phineas Gage previously on MeFi]
posted by Kattullus on May 17, 2012 - 19 comments

Early-onset MDD* blood biomarker pilot study.

A pilot study testing for statistically significant blood biomarkers found in early-onset MDD: "Discovery of blood transcriptomic markers for depression in animal models and pilot validation in subjects with early-onset major depression" [PDF], published by the online, open source journal Translational Psychiatry**, April 2012, Volume 2. [more inside]
posted by simulacra on Apr 18, 2012 - 22 comments

Aha! The anatomy of insight, like a rolling stone.

How do we have insights, and where does inspiration come from? Jonah Lehrer goes inside Bob Dylan's brain to find out...the "neural correlate of insight": the anterior superior temporal gyrus (aSTG). This small fold of tissue, located on the surface of the right hemisphere just above the ear, became unusually active in the seconds before the epiphany. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Apr 7, 2012 - 22 comments

republicanism: nature or nurture?

The Republican Brain is Chris Mooney's second book investigating the reasons for the beliefs of conservative Americans, following 2005's The Republican War on Science. He asks why identified Republicans reject the scientific consensus on important issues, seemingly against their education achievement, finding an answer in brain structures.
posted by wilful on Apr 1, 2012 - 98 comments

Put on your thinking cap.

The New Scientist writes about the attempts of scientists to induce an artificial state of being in the zone (also referred to as "flow") through electrical manipulation of the brain. As a bonus, they also include a forum link to homemade attempts to achieve the same thing. [more inside]
posted by codacorolla on Feb 9, 2012 - 43 comments

“Henrik's work speaks to the idea that there is no such thing as a soul or a self that's independent of the brain.”

Out-of-body experience: Master of illusion: Out-of-body experiences are just part of Ehrsson's repertoire. He has convinced people that they have swapped bodies with another person, gained a third arm, shrunk to the size of a doll or grown to giant proportions. [ . . . ] But Ehrsson's unorthodox apparatus amount to more than cheap trickery. They are part of his quest to understand how people come to experience a sense of self, located within their own bodies. The feeling of body ownership is so ingrained that few people ever think about it — and those scientists and philosophers who do have assumed that it was unassailable. [ . . . ] Ehrsson's work also intrigues neuroscientists and philosophers because it turns a slippery, metaphysical construct — the self — into something that scientists can dissect.
posted by troll on Jan 3, 2012 - 23 comments

Scientists Discover fMRI Area of the Brain

Are you tired of reading about how neuroscientists have discovered the area of the brain devoted to a single, oddly-specific function, but lack access to the sophisticated neuroimaging technologies needed to refute them? NeuroSynth has you covered. [more inside]
posted by logicpunk on Nov 18, 2011 - 12 comments

"I hope this is all just incompetence."

The statistical error that neuroscience researchers get wrong at least half the time. Ben Goldacre of Bad Science explains this mistake, which was made in about half of 157 academic neuroscience papers in which there was an opportunity to make it. The culprit doesn't seem to be any specific journal, since the sample included five different neuroscience journals.
posted by John Cohen on Oct 14, 2011 - 71 comments

The Walk Again Project

Body suit may soon enable the paralyzed to walk. "In a busy lab at Duke University, Dr. Miguel Nicolelis is merging brain science with engineering in a bid to create something fantastical: a full-body prosthetic device that would allow those immobilized by injury to walk again. On Wednesday, Nicolelis and an international group of collaborators declared that they had cleared a key hurdle on the path toward that goal, demonstrating they could bypass the body's complex network of nerve endings and supply the sensation of touch directly to the brains of monkeys."
posted by homunculus on Oct 6, 2011 - 37 comments

Might as well face it, you're addicted to i

In a New York Times op-ed called "You Love Your iPhone. Literally." branding consultant Martin Lindstrom says that his fMRI experiments show that iPhone users' brains "responded to the sound of their phones as they would respond to the presence or proximity of a girlfriend, boyfriend or family member ... they loved their iPhones." The piece has drawn intense criticism from neuroscientists, who have called it "complete crap", "terrible, terrible", and "truly hideous".
posted by Horace Rumpole on Oct 2, 2011 - 82 comments

I know what you're thinking...

UC Berkeley researchers have successfully used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to decode and reconstruct people’s dynamic visual experiences - in this case, watching Hollywood movie trailers.
posted by gman on Sep 22, 2011 - 62 comments

Neuroscience: removing free will since 6th century BC

Does the fact that our brain knows our intentions before we do negate free will? [SLNature]
posted by FrereKhan on Sep 15, 2011 - 172 comments

When I was a little kid, my mother told me not to stare into the sun, so when I was six I did.

Jason Padgett is the first person to acquire synasthesia and savantism by head trauma. Three years after his mugging, he began drawing complex geometries, including hand-drawn approximations of fractals, the first time anyone had ever done so. Eventually a mathematician suggested Padgett take a math course; with trigonometric notation Padgett offered a proof of his approximation of Pi. [more inside]
posted by Made of Star Stuff on Jul 25, 2011 - 52 comments

The NFL star and the brain injuries that destroyed him

Before the former American football player Dave Duerson killed himself, he asked that his brain be left to researchers studying head injuries among athletes.
posted by jonesor on Jul 20, 2011 - 105 comments

The Brain on Trial.

The Brain on Trial. Advances in brain science are calling into question the volition behind many criminal acts. A leading neuroscientist describes how the foundations of our criminal-justice system are beginning to crumble, and proposes a new way forward for law and order.
"We may someday find that many types of bad behavior have a basic biological explanation—as has happened with schizophrenia, epilepsy, depression, and mania."
[more inside]
posted by Eideteker on Jul 15, 2011 - 99 comments


The Mad Music Archive and the Colorectal Surgeon Song as gelotological recommendations | Gelotology.com | Laugh Sounds | Laughter and the Brain | Gelotology: A laughing matter | Gelotology, the study of laughter | The Science of Laughter | What’s So Funny? Well, Maybe Nothing | The science of laughter - Humour may play a vital role in children's development, reports Alastair Clarke. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Jul 10, 2011 - 4 comments

Juju Apple, Voodoo Apple

Looks like FOX News called it -- UK neuroscientists now suggest that the brains of Apple devotees are stimulated by Apple imagery in the same way that the brains of religious people are stimulated by religious imagery.
posted by hermitosis on May 19, 2011 - 162 comments

I have superpowers? Snap.

"Even beyond the philosophical wonder of passively sampling our outside environment in a shared, meaningful fashion is the ridiculous sensitivity of our senses." [more inside]
posted by Glinn on May 11, 2011 - 27 comments

all about the brain

Allen Human Brain Atlas - Brain Explorer 2 is a desktop software application for viewing the human brain anatomy and gene expression data in 3D. "Until now, a definitive map of the human brain at this level of detail simply hasn't existed," said Allan Jones, the nonprofit institute's chief executive. "For the first time, we have generated a comprehensive map of the brain that includes the underlying biochemistry." | Functional Neuroanatomy | 10 Great Sites for Reviewing Brain Anatomy | Harvard Brain Atlas. Bonus link: Brain massage with cosmic energy application in Pushkar, India. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Apr 14, 2011 - 12 comments

Form Constants

"In the Bible, God appeared to Ezekiel as a “wheel within a wheel”. Spirals and concentric circles are commonly found in petrogylphs carved by cultures long dead. Similar visual effects are reported during extreme psychological stress, fever delirium, psychotic episodes, sensory deprivation, and are reliably induced by psychedelic drugs."
Form Constants and the Visual Cortex, or Where Psychedelic Visuals Come From.
posted by Taft on Mar 15, 2011 - 51 comments

Off the top of the dome

Dr. Charles Limb put jazz musicians and freestyle rappers in an fMRI machine and asked them to improvise/freestyle. [more inside]
posted by AceRock on Mar 11, 2011 - 8 comments


Braindriver is a car that allows you to steer, accelerate and decelerate with nothing more than the faint electrical signals generated by the brain.
posted by jason's_planet on Mar 5, 2011 - 13 comments

Humans, Version 3.0

Humans, Version 3.0. "The next giant leap in human evolution may not come from new fields like genetic engineering or artificial intelligence, but rather from appreciating our ancient brains." [Via] [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Feb 28, 2011 - 15 comments

Rise of the Neuronovel

Rise of the Neuronovel. Marco Roth at N+1 argues that the recent interest of contemporary novels (Motherless Brooklyn, Saturday, Atmospheric Disturbances) in the disordered wetware of their characters represents a defeat for fiction. "...the new genre of the neuronovel, which looks on the face of it to expand the writ of literature, appears as another sign of the novel’s diminishing purview." Jonah Lehrer responds to Roth and Roth responds back.
posted by escabeche on Jan 2, 2011 - 58 comments

A Real Science of Mind

A Real Science of Mind Neurobabble piques interest in science, but obscures how science works. Individuals see, know, and want to make love. Brains don’t. Those things are psychological — not, in any evident way, neural.
posted by shivohum on Dec 27, 2010 - 21 comments

The Beautiful Mind

"It is only fitting that the story of the brain should be a visual one, for the visuals had the ancients fooled for millenniums. The brain was so ugly that they assumed the mind must lie elsewhere. Now those same skeletal silhouettes glow plump and brightly colored, courtesy of a variety of inserted genes encoding fluorescent molecules. A glossy new art book, “Portraits of the Mind,” hopes to draw the general reader into neuroscience with the sheer beauty of its images." Slide Shows: The Beautiful Mind and Portraits of the Mind [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 2, 2010 - 6 comments

Squishy Goodness

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

Deconstructing Henry

Dr. Jacopo Annese, sitting in front of his ventilated biosafety cabinet, a small paintbrush in his hand, teases apart a crumpled slice of brain.

Written by the grandson of the neurosurgeon who conducted Patient H.M.'s historical surgery, this article is a great follow-up to the San Diego Brain Observatory's live webcast from last December. [more inside]
posted by empatterson on Nov 4, 2010 - 6 comments

What's it like to be Peter Hacker?

"The whole endeavour of the consciousness studies community is absurd – they are in pursuit of a chimera" - Peter Hacker on philosophy
posted by Gyan on Oct 25, 2010 - 145 comments

The Dalai Lama at Stanford

The Dalai Lama on changing minds only through compassion and respect. He spent several days at Stanford recently, and this session focuses on the neuroscience of compassion. Watch it in full here.
posted by philipy on Oct 21, 2010 - 56 comments

You are a chord

10 things you didn't know about sound. Among them: "You are a chord." A TED talk by Julian Treasure and responses by him to some of the opinions about his talk.
posted by nickyskye on Oct 12, 2010 - 38 comments

Don't interrupt me, I'm building my sense of self!

An idle brain may be the self's workshop. 'Recent research suggests that mind-wandering may be important and that knowledge of how it works might help treat such conditions as Alzheimer's disease, autism, depression and schizophrenia.' Once upon a time, scientists didn't regard idle musings of the wandering mind as very important. 'But in the span of a few short years, they have instead come to view mental leisure as important, purposeful work — work that relies on a powerful and far-flung network of brain cells firing in unison. Neuroscientists call it the "default mode network."''Understanding that setting may do more than lend respectability to the universal practice of zoning out: It may one day help diagnose and treat psychiatric conditions as diverse as Alzheimer's disease, autism, depression and schizophrenia — all of which disrupt operations in the default mode network. Beyond that lies an even loftier promise. As neuroscientists study the idle brain, some believe they are exploring a central mystery in human psychology: where and how our concept of "self" is created, maintained, altered and renewed.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword on Sep 2, 2010 - 20 comments

Oliver Sacks', The Mind's Eye

Oliver Sacks is surviving cancer of the eye, ocular melanoma. In his latest book, The Mind’s Eye, he "tells the stories of people who are able to navigate the world and communicate with others despite losing what many of us consider indispensable senses and abilities." In the interview, Sacks talks about his diagnosis, the after-effects of his radiation treatment (which include hallucinations that resolve themselves into words if he "smokes a little pot"), his apprenticeships with poets W.H. Auden and Thom Gunn, and the importance of science writing in an age when the authority of science is being undermined by religious zealots. Via MeFi's own, Steve Silberman, digaman. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Sep 1, 2010 - 39 comments

Kurzweil vs. Myers

Ray Kurzweil: Reverse-Engineering of Human Brain Likely by 2030. PZ Myers: Ray Kurzweil does not understand the brain.
posted by homunculus on Aug 18, 2010 - 195 comments

Death and The Slow-Mo Effect

Dr. David Eagleman, a neuroscientist at Baylor College of Medicine, wanted to find out how the human brain processes time in a near death situation. [more inside]
posted by two lights above the sea on Aug 17, 2010 - 26 comments

Too much cofffee man

What Caffeine Actually Does to Your Brain
posted by Artw on Jul 13, 2010 - 136 comments

Brainy Pop

The Amygdaloids (beware automatic mp3) mix neuroscience and rock and roll, and they're pretty sharp.
posted by Mooseli on Jul 10, 2010 - 3 comments

Free will vs. Modern-day Criminal Justice System

The Lucretian swerve: The biological basis of human behavior and the criminal justice system
As de Duve has written, “If … neuronal events in the brain determine behavior, irrespective of whether they are conscious or unconscious, it is hard to find room for free will. But if free will does not exist, there can be no responsibility, and the structure of human societies must be revised”.
Ben Libet & free will, previously on metafilter. (And more on: Lucretius, Dualism, Philosophy of mind, and Free Will 1, 2.)
posted by scalespace on Jul 6, 2010 - 100 comments

Pixel Pickle

Editors of the pop-culture magazine Wired provided the title "iPhone 4’s ‘Retina’ Display Claims Are False Marketing" to a highly critical article about the new iPhone's high-resolution "Retina" display, so-called as the human eye cannot resolve individual pixels when viewing it. A technician who worked on the Hubble telescope disagreed with the Wired editors' choice of rhetoric in very strong technical terms and issued less stringent disagreement with Raymond Soneira, the writer of the piece. Neuroscientist and photographer Bryan Jones published his own highly readable technical analysis of the display's pixel arrangement, that helped him decide whether Apple's claims were truthful or not.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jun 26, 2010 - 64 comments

Concealed Neuroanatomy in Michelangelo's Separation of Light From Darkness

In a Michelangelo Fresco, Visions of a Brain Stem. "It has been hiding in plain sight for the past 500 years, and now two Johns Hopkins professors believe they have found it: one of Michelangelo’s rare anatomical drawings in a panel high on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo was a conscientious student of human anatomy and enthusiastically dissected corpses throughout his life, but few of his anatomical drawings survive. This one, a depiction of the human brain and brain stem, appears to be drawn on the neck of God, but not all art historians can see it there."
posted by homunculus on Jun 21, 2010 - 62 comments

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

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