Wednesday Round Up #56

I know things have been kind of sparse on my side of late; for those of you wondering, it’s just the time crunch. Three conferences in two weeks; teaching; funding to secure; and even more stuff. But Greg and I are excited about what’s to come, and soon we’ll be making a big announcement on the Neuroanthropology front.

So with that opening, let’s get down to business – the top, mental health, anthro and the brain.

Top of the List

Mouse Trap, Self Relevance and the Reality-Fiction Blur
Sandy’s useful summary and reflection on a new PLoS article, Reality = Relevance? Insights from Spontaneous Modulations of the Brain’s Default Network when Telling Apart Reality from Fiction. Neuronarrative also summarizes and reflects on the success of reality TV. My take – it means self-reference and specific memories can make even imaginary things “real”, and that’s a big step towards culture.

Sue Sheridan, Very Funny
The Onion Video: Experts Agree Giant, Razor-Clawed Bioengineered Crabs Pose No Threat

Brian Crecente, Maria Montessori: The 138-Year-Old Inspiration Behind Spore
Learning as exploration and growth in imagination, and how that inspired a modern-day video game that is sort-of about evolution

Archaeoastronomy, An Astronomical Experiment YOU Can Contribute To
A worldwide study of light pollution and why we don’t see the sky at night like we once did. Hurry to participate – the deadline is March 28th!

Supercourse: Epidemiology, The Internet, and Global Health
More than 3000 lectures from world experts, delivered in 26 different languages. Wow.

Mental Health

David Dobbs, Soldiers’ Stress: What Doctors Get Wrong about PTSD
Scientific American article on overdiagnosis and mistaking adjustment back to civilian life as dysfunction. David provides some great follow-up and engages readers over at Neuron Culture, beginning here, with sources and links, and debate on war and medicalization, and finally David responding forcefully to a snarky critique.

Roni Caryn Rabin, Study Links Depression to Thinning of Brain’s Cortex
NY Times article on a multi-generational study looking in cerebral cortical thickness and incidence of depression: “If you have thinning in this portion of the brain, it interferes with the processing of emotional stimuli,” Dr. Peterson said. “We think that’s what makes them vulnerable to developing anxiety and depression — it essentially isolates them in an emotional world.”

Anne Lambert, Focus on Women: Mental Health Throughout the Life Cycle
A short summary of some of the main concerns

The Phrenologist’s Notebook, CBT for Eating Disorders
A nice summary of how general and specific cognitive behavioral therapy can deal with more straight-forward and more complicated eating disorders

Nietos de Kraepelin, Modafinil, Rimobant y Suicidios en los Soldados que Sirven en Irak
Tres articulos que acaban de salir en JAMA: de dopamina hasta Borges!

NAMI, Grading the States 2009
The nation and individual states get their mental health report card. Overall grade? The US gets a D.


Celeste Condit, Feminist Biologies: Revising Feminist Strategies and Biological Science
An argument for integrating feminism and evolutionary biology (pdf), with an attendance to real biology, not the categorical/universal notions many of us have about biology

Lorenz @ Antropologi, Why Anthropologists Should Become Journalists
A follow-up on the Brian McKenna article from last week, with a good Anthropologi summary and expansion – I completely agree!

A new Internet site for serious reporting on international news. For more on GlobalPost, see the recent NY Times article, A Web Site’s For-Profit Approach to World News

Mark Buchanan, Why Money Messes with Your Mind
A New Scientist article that highlights that we are not rational and that money is relative. There is hope…

Peter Dizikes, Our Two Cultures
An illuminating essay revisiting Snow’s classic Two Cultures argument

Betsey Brada, Toward a Reading List on American Medical Education
And quite a list it is, compiled by a graduate student at the University of Chicago


Epiphenom, Homing in on Consciousness
A new PLoS study on brain activation and consciousness—support for the “Global Workspace” view

Clara Moskowitz, Teen Brains Clear Out Childhood Thoughts
Synaptic pruning and adolescent development

Deric Bownds, How to Lower Your Self Control
Watch someone else trying to exercise self control!

Steven Johnson, Mind Matters
NY Times book review of Jonah Lehrer’s How We Decide: “As an introduction to the cognitive struggle between the brain’s “executive” rational centers and its more intuitive regions, “How We Decide” succeeds with great panache”

Barry Schwartz, An Appeal for Practical Wisdom
Neuronarrative hosts the TED talk by the esteemed psychologist

Mo @ Neurophilosophy, Brain Waves Predict Successful Memory for an Event before It Occurs
Present states shape ongoing encoding, which shapes retention, and thus memory

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