Wednesday Round Up #54

Top of the list, depression, anthropology, brain, philosophy and digital things this week. Enjoy.

Top of the List

Stefano Ghirlanda et al., Chickens Prefer Beautiful Humans
The title and research made me laugh – but this pdf does help skewer the “face adaptation” notion of evolutionary psychology. Those chickens are checking us out!

Michael Pollan, Michael Pollan Wants Your Food Rules
The writer and food reform advocate wants your insights – how can accumulated wisdom of cultural and family traditions help us to a healthier way of growing and consuming our food. Let him know by leaving a comment.

John Tierney, Rappin’ for Science
Get your Evo Devo and Hox genes on!

Comparative Humanities Program, From the Brain to Human Culture: Intersections between the Humanities and Neuroscience
Program for this 2007 conference that I wished I had attended. Lots of people I didn’t know about doing interdisciplinary work.

Ed Yong, East Meets West: How the Brain Unites Us All
New Scientist article on culture and cognition research. Good at critiquing the East/West generalizations and advocating a more localized view. Mind Hacks provides a favorable reaction, Mouse Trap a critical one.


Scicurious, Depression Post 4: The Serotonin Theory (and why it’s probably wrong)
The flaws of the serotonin-only approach to depression.

Dr. Shock, Deep Brain Stimulation for Treatment Resistant Depression
Looks like the benefits are sustained over time in the patients who do respond

Lauren Neergaard, More Evidence That Depression Is Hard on the Heart
New research that depression can help lead to heart disease, not simply worsen it

Furious Seasons, Even More Evidence Of Placebo Effect In Teen Depression Trials
“Anti-depressant true believers among doctors and advocates are simply running out of road when it comes to making the “anti-depressants for kids are awesome!” argument.”

VSL: Science, Know Thyself
Brief writing about meaningful experiences on a daily basis leads to better mood and health


Emory University, Evolution Revolution
Videos from the major 2009 conference, with speakers such as EO Wilson, Olivia Judson, and Carol Worthman

Kara McGuire, Pay Dirt: Watching Wall Street
An anthropologist studies those risky traders who tanked the economy and comes up with some interesting reasons why they did what they did – a long interview about her long-term ethnographic work

Richard Thompson Ford, Why The Poor Stay Poor
NY Times book review of William Julius William’s latest book, More Than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City, which aims to integrate structural, cultural and sociological approaches to persistent urban poverty

Culture Matters, Anthropologists in Cross-cultural Management
A move away from essentialist approaches to offering up what anthropology highlights

Malin Rising, Study: Belligerent Chimp Proves Animals Make Plans
Santino’s plan: Get up in the morning, gather rocks, and wait for lunch to hurl them at people

Patricia Cohen, Doctoral Candidates Anticipate Hard Times
Not a good academic job market, particularly in the humanities and social sciences. For evidence, just look at all the canceled searches in the academic careers wiki for cultural anthropology.

Deborah Solomon, Her Beautiful Mind
A short interview with Susie Orbach, who argues that Western body image and media are driving a surge in eating disorders worldwide

mutually occluded, Bruno Latour on the Expanding Meaning of the Word “Design”
“the connotations of design imply a certain ‘modesty’: it’s less about construction and creation than informed modification and collaboration”

Noah Shachtman, Military Review Blasts ‘Human Terrain’ (Updated)
A Marine Foreign Area Officer stakes out his own turf while saying the Human Terrain system is incompetent


Sam Wang and Sandra Aamodt, Can We Increase Our Intelligence?
The authors of Welcome to Your Brain discuss the Flynn Effect, IQ, and working memory

Matthew Jackson, Genetic Influences on Social Network Characteristics
PNAS article on the heritability of social networks and the possible role of genetics

John Tierney, What Do Dreams Mean? Whatever Your Bias Says
Cross-cultural research on how positive and negative bias shapes the interpretation of dreams

Scicurious, Where Do You Think When You Think of Yourself?
The insula, neuroimaging, and self-awareness

Richard Davidson and Antoine Lutz, Buddha’s Brain: Neuroplasticity and Meditation
Pdf of an article describing brain changes related to meditation

The Book of Shadow, Everything Changes But You: Neuroplasticity and Christian Belief, Klee and De Sté
A useful overview of brain plasticity work in the first half, and then an interesting reflection on how this relates to belief, science and judgment

Emory Sound Science
Podcasts from Emory University researchers – fairly health science oriented but there’s some brain stuff in there, such as Greg Burns on neuroeconomics

A site that serves as “an online database of published functional neuroimaging (fMRI and PET) experiments with coordinate-based (x,y,z) activation locations in Talairach space”


Harry Collins, We Cannot Live by Skepticism Alone
Nature editorial on getting science and science studies back together again. Expertise rather than truth. Values and findings as together offering a guide.

Bruce Ledewitz, The Fight for the Soul of Secularism
Radical atheism is not the same as the secularist approach – “For secularism to flourish, there needs to be depth of reflection on the human condition.”

Experimental Philosophy, Experimental Philosophy of Consciousness at Consciousness Online
A summary of four experiments on color perception and realism, with a link to the cyber consciousness conference

David Edmonds & Nigel Warburton, Philosophy’s Great Experiment
A lengthy essay on experimental philosophy over at Prospect

Jerry Fodor, Where Is My Mind?
Fodor goes medieval on Andy Clark’s book Supersizing the Mind

Digital Things

Material World, New MA in Digital Anthropology
University College London puts together an innovative program, building out of the Material and Visual program there

Apophenia, Licensing Your Dissertation under Creative Commons
It should be straight-forward. It’s not. Here’s the how-to guide cum horror story

Mind Hacks, The Best of Psychology and Neuroscience on Twitter
Alongside Mind Hacks itself, Vaughan rounds up the best short feeds around

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