Wednesday Round Up #70

So the favs first, then a great round-up of recent evolution stuff. Then onto anthropology, neuroscience and health.


David Dobbs, What If You Could Predict PTSD in Combat Troops? Oh, Who Cares…
You actually can. And it has to do with general health – the bottom 15% account for 58% of PTSD cases. But will anything be done about it?

Le Monde, Le Corps Incarcéré
Amazing interactive feature of the French paper, featuring reporting and social scientists on the whole process of incarceration

Walter Glannon, Free Will and Moral Responsibility in the Age of Neuroscience
Pdf on neuroethics that appeared in 2006 in the journal Medical Ethics

Ellen Dissanayake, If Music is the Food of Love, What about Survival and Reproductive Success?
Music as a behavioral and emotional capacity and its link to ritualization. Pdf of a compelling 2008 article.

Michael Smith, Green vs. Gold Open Access
What’s the best way to go? Creating open journals or open repositories?

Evolution – or Men Fighting Back against Sharon Begley vs. Other Men Just Getting on with Things

Sharon Begley, Why Do We Rape, Kill and Sleep Around?
“The fault, dear Darwin, lies not in our ancestors, but in ourselves” – Begley bashes evolutionary psychology

David Sloan Wilson, Evolutionary Psychology and the Public Media: Rekindling the Romance
Huffing over at the Huffington Post – what evolutionary approaches to mind and behavior might do better to keep the fickle public’s eye

Gad Saad, The Never-Ending Misconceptions About Evolutionary Psychology
“Persistent falsehoods about evolutionary psychology” – up in arms about Sharon Begley’s recent Newsweek article critical of EP. Or, it’s still all about sex. Don’t believe me? Twelve of the fifteen findings that Saad highlights about EP in this subsequent post are… drum roll… about sex.

Dan Sperber, Evolutionary Psychology Under Attack
Culture and Cognition passes on refuting, except in passing, and dwells on why someone doing neuroanthropological work (well, to my passing eye) doesn’t call himself an evolutionary psychologist

Edge, The Simplifier – John Bargh
The person Sperber wished called himself an evolutionary psychologist, since he draws explicitly on evolutionary theory and a consideration of neurological mechanisms. (Want to know why I called him a neuroanthropologist? Cause he also said this in his Edge interview, “A lot of recent research on unconscious effects is showing that it’s culture, early learning and culture, and not genetics that that is responsible for effects in adults.”)

Jesse Bering, Dreaming of Nonsense: The Evolutionary Enigma of Dream Content
Well maybe he dreamed about fighting Begley? Or, considering whether dreams might be adaptive or not…

John Hawks, Rooks, Tools and “Domain General” Cognition
Rooks do not have specialized cognitive adaptations for tool-making yet are rather skilled at it in captivity – what does this imply for the brain’s g-spot vs. EP specialization?

Peter F. MacNeilage, Lesley J. Rogers and Giorgio Vallortigara , Evolutionary Origins of Your Right and Left Brain
The division of labor is phylogenetically old… like 500 million years old. I thought all the action happened in the Pleistocene

Michael White, Evolution 101
A positive review of the book Why Evolution Is True by Jerry Coyne., Neanderthals Dried Fresh Meat, Wore Tailored Clothing – Energy Study
“European Neanderthals living in the Eemian interglacial, dated to around 125,000 years bp might have conserved much needed energy by drying and storing meat, wearing fitted clothing, and sleeping beneath blankets of mammoth skin, behaviours that would have greatly increased their chances of surviving decreasing temperatures with the onset of ice ages.” Hmm, Neanderthals are smart and have cultural traditions…

John Noble Wilford, Flutes Offer Clues to Stone-Age Music
A 35,000 year old bone flute from Germany – and thus a well-established musical tradition already there

Adam Powell, Stephen Shennan,& Mark Thomas, Late Pleistocene Demography and the Appearance of Modern Human Behavior
June 2009 Science paper (pdf) – and how demography matters in maintaining (or not) cultural complexity 90,000 years ago


Brian @ AAA Blog, Sidney Mintz & Lévi Strauss
Mintz reflects on the famed French anthropologist and his impact on the field

Dinah Winnick, Fieldwork Is Not What It Used to Be: An Interview
George Marcus and James Fabiun in action! Plus new ways to think about doing anthropology

George Johnson, Scientist Tries to Connect Migration Dots of Ancient Southwest
Big picture archaeology

Public Anthropology, Second Annual Public Anthropology Publishing Competitions
Submissions are due October 1st. You can actually get a book contract!

Daniel Goldberg, On Clinical Anthropologists
Where are the medical anthropologists working in medical settings?

Philanthropology, PD: Day 100 – Wow, Already One Hundred Days
One hundred days into a postdoc, and the accompanying blog diary. But really this day covers the problem of association studies in genetics

MIT – Visualizing Cultures
Seeing is believing…

Katie Roiphe, Feverish Liasons
A review of the polemic “A Vindication of Love” – author Cristina Nehring “sees our modern goals of marriage, security and comfort as limited and sad”

Maria Popova, Exactitudes: Cultural Photo-Anthropological Data Viz
People dress up different – or so they think. Visual cross-cultural anthro in action.

Gaymon Bennett & Paul Rabinow, Invitation: Synthetic Biology and Human Practices: A Problem
Introduction to the e-book Ars Synthetica, which aims to bring human practice and transform the present instrumental understanding of biology


A Day in the Life of a Traveling Neuropsychologist, Case 1 Comments
A new blog that looks worth following. This particular day is about a soldier before and after his accident.

Clara Moskowitz, First Image of a Memory Being Made
Now captured – the connections made when a long-term memory established. In a sea slug. Here is the actual image of protein synthesis happening at synapses.

David Chavanne, Neuroscience and Culture
Take a multi-dimensional view of culture, and suddenly neuro research gets tough!

Edge, Life is the Way the Animal Is in the World
An interview with Alva Noe, interdisciplinary embodied philosopher. For more, The Nation gives a snippet of Noe’s take on consciousness

Caindevera, Daniel Lord Smail, On Deep History and the Brain
Making history interdisciplinary, with a tilt towards the neuroanthropological – an argument for neurohistory

Ingfei Chen, Brain Cells for Socializing
Smithsonian feature on von Economo neurons

Anil Ananthaswamy, Language May Be Key to Theory of Mind
Blind children don’t rely on facial cues to intuit others’ internal states – so is it language?

PsyBlog, Consumer Psychology
A round-up of studies on the psychology of consumption, from beliefs to happiness

Malcolm Ritter, Brain Scans Show How Hypnosis Can Paralyze a Limb
Love this line: It’s as if the motor cortex “is connected to the idea that it cannot move (the hand) and so … it doesn’t send the message to move,” Cojan said.

NOVA, Musical Minds
PBS special on Oliver Sacks and music and the brain. Here’s the NY Times review, and here’s some more info on the main case studies used.


Dr. X, Vintage Photos: Venice Beach 1930
Obesity is often portrayed as a modern problem – television, fast food, etc. This photo tells a different story. Plus just a great shot.

Greg Laden, Evidence for Gene-Autism Link Just Published
A large PloS study identifies 27 loci; Greg urges us to consider heterogeneity

Nicholas Kristof, It’s Time to Learn From Frogs
Endocrine disruptors are used widely in agriculture and industry and make it into our environment, where they affect frogs, fish and… yes, humans

David Romanelli, Happiness: 3 Amazing Tips from the World’s Oldest Case Study
GeorgeValliant’s lifework summed up in three good guidelines – a healthy outlet, an engaged humility, and sharing happiness

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