Wednesdays this semester are busy. Yesterday it was teaching two classes, office hours, meeting with a thesis student, a reception, and then school information night. Not a lot of time in there for this…
Top of the List
Rex @ Savage Minds, Anthropology, ‘Internet Addiction’, and Care
World of Warcraft and thinking through addiction, treatment, and engagement. A most worthy read.
Keith Oatley, Changing Our Minds… by Reading Fiction
Reading fiction “measurably enhances our abilities to empathize with other people and connect with something larger than ourselves.”
Neededalj, Recognizing and Responding to Legitimate and Illegitimate Researchers
A guide to recognizing good researchers and research, in response to the SurveyFail debacle
The Neurocritic, Rule 34: What Netporn Tells Us about the Brain
The Neurocritic also covers SurveyFail and the Ogas/Gaddam debacle – sorry for not catching that earlier in the week! As always, great coverage, including Ogas playing Who Wants To Be A Millionnaire? and of course some great visuals
Sharon Begley, Pink Brain, Blue Brain: Claims of Sex Differences Fall Apart
“Why parents may cause gender differences in kids” – a Newsweek piece
E. Blair Bolles, Three Years On: Voluntary Redirection of Attention
Babel’s Dawn hits three years of exploring language and language evolution, and Blair reflects on one of his main insights, that humans can voluntarily redirect attention and that this supports language use
Francisco Ortega & Fernando Vidal, Mapping the Cerebral Subject in Contemporary Culture
Online paper outlining much of the Brainhood project: “The ‘cerebral subject’ refers to the anthropological figure that embodies the belief that human beings are essentially reducible to their brains. Our focus is on the discourses, images and practices that might globally be designated as ‘neuroculture’.”
The paper can’t be accessed directly, so click on Online Texts on the left hand side. Mapping the cerebral subject is the first paper listed.
Rebecca Atwood, Institutions Slap Down Those Who Speak Up, Argues Campaigning Scholar
Public anthropology and Nancy Scheper-Hughes, via Times Higher Education
Michael Meadon, Lazy Linking
A great mini-round-up over at Ionian Enchantment. And yes, this makes me even lazier than Mike.
C. John Holcombe, Linguistics: A Brief History
A comprehensive but brief overview of main strands in 20th century linguistics
Integral Research Group, New Theses on Integral Micropolitics
Two essays from Daniel Gustav Anderson on integration and transformation
Ewen Callaway, Gorilla Sexual Intrigue Could Explain Human Monogamy
Using sex to keep the silverback happy while excluding other females from the group
Vaughan Bell, Latah and Rules of Rule Breaking
Mind Hacks on latah, a condition found in Malaysia and Indonesia based on an exaggerated startle reflex. For an interesting book that takes a biocultural approach to latah and other types of startle reactions, see Ronald Simons’ Boo! Culture, Experience and the Startle Reflex
Nancy Nangeroni & Gordene O. MacKenzie, An Extended Visit with Anne Fausto-Sterling
Radio interview with the author of “Sexing the Body: GenderPolitics and the Construction of Sexuality”
Steve Genco, fMRI and “Locationism”: Something Old, Something New
Taking on the “belief that thoughts and mental functions happen at specialized locations in the brain.” Brains on Purpose follows up with some great reflections and links. And Talking Brains got the whole process kicked off with their post, Functional brain imaging: It’s not always where you think it is.
Allison Macleod, Communicating Science: Some Highlights from the BSA Conference, Part 1
Hope for advances in science communication, as reported over at The Human Element
Mark Dery, Smart Bombs: Mark Dery, Steven Pinker on the Nature-Nurture Wars and the Politics of IQ
Debate between Dery, a cultural studies type, and Pinker, who argues for an evolutionary shaped human nature, over at Boing Boing
David Large, Do We Need a Biological Theory of Human Nature?
Taking on Steven Pinker and his thinking about human nature: “Pinker appears to be both a cartesian dualist and a biological monist. This is a philosophically tricky place to be.”
Aaron Sell, John Tooby, and Leda Cosmides, Formidability and the Logic of Human Anger
PNAS article from leading evolutionary psychologists – looks interesting for its considerations of inner logic. Which isn’t really shielded from the outer logic of anger (which gets internalized), but that’s another story.
Martin Skov, Neuroaesthetics Book Out
Looks like a fascinating new title. You can even download the introduction.
Dave Snowden, Drivers and Modulators
Terms for thinking systemically
Luzein, Brain Awareness
It’s just an image – but what an interesting one!
Dr. G., Brain Fitness: Great End of Summer Read
The recommendation is for Steven Johnson’s Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software
Dan Petersen, Running Addicts Need Their Fix
Intense exercise activates some of the same reward systems as hard drugs. But the study itself is really quite provocative, “the active rats that were only allowed food for one hour per day exercised the most and showed the most intense reaction to Naloxone. This scenario mimics the actions of humans suffering from anorexia athletica, also known as hypergymnasia, that causes an obsession not only with weight but also with continuous exercise to lose weight.”
Asif Ghazanfar & Laurie Santos, Primate Brains in the Wild: The Sensory Bases for Social Interactions
Pdf of a Nature Neuroscience Reviews piece – how brains get exquisitely tuned to social interactions