Wednesday Round Up #31

This week we have more from John Hawks’ students, food, psychology, evolution, the brain, and anthropology.

Biology of Mind

I love encouraging students, and find that blogging raises the bar for them. Suddenly it’s not just the professor who’s reading a paper, but their fellow classmates and in the case of this new blog, Biology of Mind, the whole world! So here are students’ reflections and critiques on papers they have found fascinating:

Effects of Meditation Seen through Long-Term Buddhist Practitioners
Brain Damage from Stress
Looking Further into Semiotics…
The Anatomy of Humor
Is There Something about How We Live Today That Is Bad for Our Mental Health?
Behavioral Evidence for Theory of Mind in Monkeys
Culture Codes
Which Came First : Large Brains or Complex Social Groups?


Eric Nagourney, Nutrition: Soda Ban in Schools Has Little Impact
Banning soda? “Only about 4 percent fewer children from the no-soda schools said they did not drink it.”

Elisabeth Rosenthal, Fast Food Hits Mediterranean; a Diet Succumbs
Fast food invades Greece, and childhood obesity and diabetes become problems. Plus this tidbit, “Greece, Italy, Spain and Morocco have even asked Unesco to designate the diet as an ‘intangible piece of cultural heritage’.”

Tara Parker-Pope, Instead of Eating to Diet, They’re Eating to Enjoy
Is this the better way to be healthy and to avoid the yo-yo effect?

Associated Press, Mexico Pushes National Campaign to Lose Weight
Increasing disease burden due to obesity leads to a new government initiative


Eric Schwitzgebel, Six Ways to Know Your Mind
Getting to know yourself – a good guide to how to think about subjectivity and research focused on our experience (or phenomenology). A good follow up is Eric’s End of (Philosophical) Innocence, about how to effectively deal with the intuitions and assumptions at the core of our ideas and our research

The Psychologist, Can Sherlock Holmes Help Cognitive Psychology?
Understanding expertise in one domain

Mind Hacks, A Quick Fix for the Soul or Slow Milking of the Cash Cow
Minor blow up in The Guardian: psychoanalysis vs. cognitive behavioral therapy. Some well-informed discussion.

Mind Hacks, The War Within
The New Yorker on post-traumatic stress disorder, an article built around Staff Sergeant Travis Twiggs who wrote about and ultimately succumbed to PTSD

David Sommerstein/NPR, Fort Drum Highlights Suicide Prevention
The rise in suicides in the US Army, and getting help

Not Exactly Rocket Science, Why Do People Overbid in Auctions?
Hint, it’s not social competition or risk aversion, the previous theories, but your striatum and “making people feel as if they stood to lose something”

Sarah Kershaw, How to Treat a “Money Disorder”
Problem financial behaviors? Not just on Wall Street…

BrainEthics, Two Ways of Reducing Fear
Emotional reactions, the amygdala, and learning to regulate fear


Jesse Bering, (Proper) Evolutionary Thinking is Hard Work
Does creationist thinking come more naturally to the human mind?

Christopher Heintz, Cases of Institutions that Make Us Smart
Evolutionary psychology – shouldn’t modern institutions make us stupid? An argument about plasticity, cognition and modern institutions actually working together

AnthroSite Teaching Blog, The Toumei Controversy, Again
Nice summary of the vigorous debates and dubious claims about some of the earliest fossils that might, just might, be hominids

John Hawks, Positive Selection and the Tip of the Iceberg
Problems with trying to detect positive selection – tremendous overlap with normal variation

The Brain

Paul Wolpe, Ethics and Social Policy in Research on Human Sexuality
Online 2004 Nature Neuroscience article: “The potential benefits of neuroscientific research into sexuality are great, but neuroscientists must participate in debates over the social, forensic and therapeutic implications of their findings.”

PsyBlog, Can Cognitive Neuroscience Tell Us Anything about the Mind?
Skepticism about the rush to brain scanning

Scicurious, Reward Prediction and Dopamine
Good summary of this line of reseach, based on a recent Science article by Stuber et al.

John Fosella, Michael Frank Probes Neurogenetic Basis of “Oops”
Error processing meets self conviction…

Neurophilosophy, New Neurons Are Needed for New Memories
Another great description of recent landmark work

Gustavo Deco et al., The Dynamic Brain: From Spiking Neurons to Neural Masses and Cortical Fields
PLoS article on computational neuroscience and the cortex


Ron Anderson, “The Last Lecture” – Glorifying Self-Centered Achievement
An argument for community and non-individualistic values over at the Sociological Eye

Ron Anderson, The “Lucky Rich,” Emergence of a New Social Class
New wealth, new people, and new inequality shape our world

Cory Doctorow, For Love of Water Documentary Opens
Water rights, bottled water, and the way we destroy things

Confessions of a Dirt Warrior, Yea Verily! Tis the Saturday Round Up #3
Which covers readings on gender, the environment, and consumption; but really the post is about the pleasures and perils of academic blogging while a graduate student.

Paul Collier, A Measure of Hope
Moving beyond the Millennium Development Goals for the bottom billion

Marci Alboher, A New Generation, Poised to Reinvent
Interview with the author of the new book, RenGen: The Rise of the Cultural
Consumer and What It Means to Your Business, with this lead-in: “Growing interest in cultural pursuits, diversity, authenticity and social responsibility is changing the way companies need to reach consumers, a new book argues.”

Christina Shunnarah, The Cross-Cultural Classroom
Culture, and what it is, in the classroom; a meditation from a teacher with an anthropological background who teaches a diverse group of students

Fresh Air, Steven Waldman Tackles Religion, Politics And Palin
Belief.Net co-founder reflections on religion in the ongoing US Presidential campaign

This American Life, Going Big
“Stories about people who take grand, sweeping approaches to solving problems of all sorts.” The first covers Geoffrey Canada and his Harlem Children’s Zone

Josh Bell, Twelve Canoes
Getting indigenous voices onto the web, in this case the Yolngu through collaborative work

Miral Fahmy, Grandparents Boost Kids’ Development: Aussie Study
“children aged from 3 to 19 months had higher learning scores if they were cared for by family and friends — including grandparents — as well as their parents” For more, see the Growing Up in Australia website

NPR, Despite Hard Times, Native Americans Keep Dancing
Powwows – will they survive?

One thought on “Wednesday Round Up #31

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s