Wednesday Round Up #131

The image comes from Carl Schoonover’s stunning book, Portraits of the Mind: Visualizing the Brain From Antiquity to the 21st Century. I found this particular image in a collection over at Hello I am here! The NY Times has a great review, complete with more images, in this week’s article, An Odyssey Through the Brain, Illuminated by a Rainbow.

How about a couple great videos this week? Plus cultural neuroscience, gaming, drugs, and all the normal stuff you like. Enjoy!

Top of the List

Zach Weiner, It’s Hard to be Heroic in a Complex World
*Superman meets trying to making a difference! A wonderful comic that captures Superman as punching criminals or searching for answers. Hat-tip to Ben Ramalingam and the blog Aid on the Edge of Chaos.

The Social Brain: Evolution, Development, Psychopathology and Future Directions
*An exciting workshop on social neuroscience will be held in Cambridge, England in April 2011.
-Abstracts are due on January 15!

Thomas Benton, On Gratitude in Academe
*Academics can be overly negative at times, but there are many things we should be grateful for in our profession.

Dave Munger, Redefining “Mental Illness”
*The vexing question of how to define and diagnose mental illnesses has come up again, as the American Psychiatric Association works on updating the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Vaughan Bell, On The Touchstone of Consciousness
*A simple, yet intriguing poem from D.H. Lawrence on thought.

Simon Romero, Dueling Beauty Pageants Put Income Gap on View
*The high-rent and low-rent beauty pageants in Cartagena, and what they tell us about Colombian society

Barbara Melendez, Jimmy Carter Connects with USF Professor
*Antoinette Jackson and her research on the town where former President Carter grew up

Lorenz K., New Orleans: 6000 Anthropologists, Much Tweeting, Some Blogging, No Press Coverage
*Antropologi rounds up all the coverage of the AAA meetings

Cultural Neuroscience

Sharon Begley, West Brain, East Brain
*We know that culture influences our thought processes, but did you know that differences between cultures can be seen in brain activity?

Summer Institute: Cultural Neuroscience
*A great conference opportunity on cultural neuroscience at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor from July 18-29, 2011. Start planning now!

Foundation for Psychosocial Research, Cultural Neuroscience: Bridging Lab and Field (Redux)
*Excellent introduction to the field of cultural neuroscience for those of you unfamiliar with the discipline.

Karen Frenkel, FPR Interviews Cultural Neuroscientist Shinobu Kitayama (University of Michigan)
*Great interview with a leader in cultural psychology, now helping build cultural neuroscience

Cathryn Delude, Culture Influences Brain Function, Study Shows
*More findings showing the affect of culture on brain activity from a study at MIT.

60 Second Mind, Brain Imaging Studies Show Different Cultures Have Different Brains
*Scientific American covers cultural neuroscience in this short podcast

Joan Chiao, Cultural Neuroscience and the Collective Good
*Fascinating lecture on how cultural neuroscience can help in understanding acts of collective good.


Thomas FitzGerald, Ben Seymour, Dominik Bach and Raymond Dolan, Differentiable Neural Substrates for Learned and Described Value and Risk
*Using observations of behavior and brain activity researchers looked at how we come to decisions.

Ned Block, What Was I Thinking?
*A review of Self Comes to Mind by the distinguished neurologist and neuroscientist Antonio Damasio.

Melody Dye, How We Learn
*Listen to this interview with cognitive scientist, Michael Ramscar, on the process of learning.

Lisa Belkin, Similar Genes, Different Personalities
*If you’ve ever wondered why you’re so different from your siblings, check out this posting on theories concerning personality differences among brothers and sisters.
-You may have grown up in a different household than your sibling.

Alix Spiegel, Siblings Share Genes,But Rarely Personalities
*The NPR story that inspired the previous blog posting on personality differences among siblings.

Dan Ariely, The Secret to the Best Gifts
*Stumped about what to buy for your family and friends this holiday season? Alleviating their guilt and splurging on their gift may be the answer.

Deborah Brauser, Depression Recurrence a Significant Risk in Treated Adolescents
*Results from a study on recurrence of depression among adolescents indicates that it may be more common among girls than boys.

Maggie Koerth-Baker, Kids (and Animals) Who Fail Classic Mirror Tests May Still Have Sense of Self
*“Flaws in a long-accepted test used to search for signs of self-awareness are revealing that selfhood varies culturally and exists on a continuum”


Barbara King, Co-Sleeping: Monkeys Do It, Apes Do It; Should We Do it Too?
*In 1995, James McKenna and Thomas McDade, published an article on the benefits of co-sleeping, which only recently has received more attention among the general population.

WikiLeaks, Viewing cable 79TEHRAN8980, NEGOTIATIONS
*Discover the “Persian psyche” according to American diplomants

Nick Squires, Lost Roman Legion Found in China
*The Romans were thwarted in their attempt to rule East Asia, however, new genetic evidence suggests that some may have settled in China.

Sadeq Rahimi, Political Subjectivity, Subjectivity Beyond the Subject
*Interesting discussion with Caroline Williams on subjectivity.

Derek Sivers, The Social Construction of Neighborhood Navigation
*Great TED talk on cultural assumptions we make in everyday matters, such as asking for directions.

Norman Holland, How the Literary Darwinists Got it Wrong
*Will reading Stephen King provide you with an advantage in terms of survival?
-Not really, according to this posting on literary Darwinists, who believe fiction can provide evolutionary advantages.

National Geographic, World Heritage Sites
*Beautiful photo gallery of World Heritage Sites.

Video Games & Other Distractions

Mark Liberman, Your Brain On _____?
A critique of the recent NY Times article on how technology is creating new distractions for teenagers and how studies on this topic aren’t as conclusive as they are reported.

Nicolas Baumard, Video Games as Applied Anthropology
*Try your hand at building a civilization in a recently released video game.

Jaron Lanier, On the Threshold of the Avatar Era
*Amazing new developments in avatar technology, including the ability to be a lobster.

Seth Schiesel, Motion, Sensitive
*Interesting article on how the absence of remote controllers may make video games more engaging and stimulating.

Brendan Sinclair, Spot On: Social Anxiety
*The popularity of social gaming has exploded, but are these games addictive?

Mary Erskine, Active Gaming Battles Obesity, Boosts Learning
*Take note parents, video games may help your children be more active and fight obesity.

Jay Kang, The High is Always the Pain and the Pain is Always the High
*In-depth and compelling account of gambling addiction by an addict.


BBC, Binge Drinking ‘Doubles Heart Risk
*More evidence showing that binge drinking is bad for your health.

Kristen Wyatt, Colorado Weighs Difficulties of Pot Regulations
*Colorado is struggling with how to regulate and dispense medical marijuana.

Maia Szalavitz, Portugal’s Drug Experience: New Study Confirms Decriminalization Was a Success
*Decriminalization can work

Le Dernier pour la Route
*Preview for a good French film on alcoholism

Tina Rosenberg, An Enlightened Exchange in Iran
*Needle exchange in the unlikeliest of places

Dirk Hanson, Challenging the Received Wisdom on Tobacco Addiction
*Using research on nicotine and addiction, challenges to accepted tenets in addiction medicine

Mike Jay, High Society: A History of Mind-Altering Drugs
*Hat-tip to Mind Hacks, who provides nice coverage of Mike Jay’s book, High Society: Mind-Altering Drugs in History and Culture

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2 Responses to Wednesday Round Up #131

  1. Matt McAlister says:

    Ben Ramalingam didn’t draw that comic. He probably found it floating around the web without any information about its source. Zach Weiner drew it. Here’s the link:

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