Wednesday Round Up #83

Mind, anthro, and video games, after the ones that most caught my attention this week.

Top of the List

Pierre Jacob, What Do Mirror Neurons Contribute To Human Social Cognition?
Pdf of a 2008 article that proposes an alternative theory of mirror neurons. Rather than mind-reading and cognitive representations, it’s about engaging with the other person’s intentions and activities.

Coturnix, What Is Investigative Science Journalism?
Cortunix tweets “What is Investigative Science Journalism?” to the world and people respond with their thoughts.

Vaughan Bell, Side Effects from Placebos Can Be Drug Specific
No more arguments about this – beliefs matter. Now the side effects from inert pills are related to what the person thinks they are getting, for example, anti-convulsants producing fatigue, sleepiness, and tingling sensations., Six Bullshit Facts About Psychology That Everyone Believes
How everyone likes to believe they know something about psychology when they really don’t. For example, “If you let your anger out, you’ll feel better” and “Just believe in yourself, and you’ll succeed.” Bullshit!

Skeptic Wonder, Scientists: Glorified Bureaucrats?
A good take on the sobering PloS Biology article, “Real Lives and White Lies in the Funding of Scientific Research.”

Cognition and Culture Institute, How To Think, Say, Or Do Precisely The Worst Thing For Any Occasion
Good coverage on the new Daniel Wegner article, complete with link to the pdf from Science. Under stress we often do just the opposite of what we want or intend to do, and why this happens.

Carl Dyke, Bells And Whistles
Want to improve your teaching? Here’s a consideration of all those bells and whistles we now have available, with plenty of good discussion that follows


The Veterans Health Research Institute, The Brain At War
Large report on research that deals with traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other neurocognitive consequences of war.

Sandra Kiume, Thinking With Feeling
Antonio Damasio featured in this Channel N video on how emotions influence decision-making and brain functioning.

Antonio Damasio, The Brain: A Story We Tell Ourselves
Short Time piece by Damasio – the brain and mind work together, and thus cannot be separated. What’s next, culture?

Huehueteotl, Who Is Afraid Of Virginia Woolf – It’s Kafka Who Makes You Smarter
Why reading Kafka makes us look more closely for meaning structures in the world.

Paul Tough, Can the Right Kinds of Play Teach Self-Control?
Executive control invades pre-school. The latest NY Times Magazine feature.

Alison Bass, Why Doctors Are Still “Crazy” About Antidepressants
Doctors continue to prescribe antidepressants (with potentially dangerous side effects) at the drop of a hat.

Mo Costandi, The Social Thermometer: Temperature Affects How We Perceive Relationships
Language contains many sayings that link our feelings/behavior to temperature, for example having “warm feelings” for another, or giving the “cold shoulder” to someone. Is this embodiment, or is it just hot in here?

Antti Kauppinen, Experimental Philiosophy: Surveying Loose Talk
Subjective experience – the experimental philosophy approach

Vaughan Bell, Human, All Too Human
A look at the excellent television series “Human, All Too Human” with links to the Google videos on major philosophers

Eric Schwitzgebel, One Reason I’m Worried About My Concept Of Consciousness
A definition of consciousness and when it occurs.

Psyblog, How Long To Form A Habit?
Examines how long it takes to kick or create a habit, like eating healthier or trying to quit smoking. “Research reveals a curved relationship between practice and automaticity,” or it takes 66 days, not those 21 days of old (and that’s an average…)

Aimee Cunningham, How Memories Are Maintained Over Time
As recall changes, a shift from the hippocampus to the cortex, which provides some rich grounds for thinking about cultural models: “A time comes when the cortical regions important to a memory are connected [to one another] heavily enough to form a stable representation.”


Barbara Miller, The Tiwi Are Robbed Again
Australia – in the Hall of Fame for most cruel colonizers in the world. Insightful post over at the new blog Anthropology Works. Barbara is also providing weekly news round-ups, with a focus on the cultural side of things. Here’s her latest Anthro in the News.

Devon Hinton and Byron Good, Culture and Panic Disorder
New book by some good anthropologists, an edited volume that explores the anthropology of panic disorder

Ethnographiques, Echos Et Reflets Alpestres: Regards Ethnologiques Sur Le Valais
The host site for this high quality French online journal/anthro mag. Right now the site pops up on the 18th edition of Ethnographiques, with the above title. But there are another 17 editions to explore in the archives. I found this interesting interview with Jack Goody, which opens with him discussing his book The Theft of History

Vincent Duclos, When Anthropology Meets Science. An Interview With Allan Young.
Allan Young, who straddles anthropology and psychiatry, discusses his take on how anthropologists of late have engaged with science

Greg Smith, The Cognitive Life Of Things
Incorporating our minds into the world, and the things of our life as the rich product of mind and brain sciences.

Lorenz Khazaleh, Self-archiving Repositories: Is ReseachGate The Solution?
ResearchGate is a place to publish pieces and communicate with other researchers.

Engender Health, Reader’s Companion For Half The Sky
A clearer understanding of women’s rights and health, the companion site to the new book Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

Greg Laden, Primitive Cultures Are Simple, Civilization Is Complex (A Falsehood) I
What are “primitive cultures”, how do complex civilizations work, and how Laden argues against the common assumption stated in the title. See Part Two here.

John Hawks, Natural Selection 101. Episode 1: The Miracle of Compound Interest
The microevolutionary forces. Keying in on natural selection.

Sean Carroll, Evo-Devo And An Expanding Evolutionary Synthesis: A Genetic Theory Of Morphological Evolution
Biologists seek to understand which genes and their associated changes in sequences are accountable for the growth of morphological variety. Carroll outlines eight principles resulting from molecular and evolutionary developmental biology.

The Memory Bank, Prickly Pear Pamphlets
Get your popular pamphlets here. Short takes on important topics with the aim of generating discussion and having people’s ideas heard.

Video Games

Lew Pulsipher, Are Games Too Much Like Work?
Ways to enjoy games without the focus on achievement or failure and competition.

Leigh Alexander, Bang Bang, Is Creativity Dead?
The need to diversify video games; nowadays too many are about bloodshed and violence. More creativity!

Michael Abbott, ODST and What Might Have Been
The Brainy Gamer reviews the new Halo title – that fat pitch down the middle, fouled off by taking short-cuts

Laura Sanders, Tetris Players Are Not Block Heads
Playing Tetris boosts the brain’s gray matter.

Rex – Savage Minds, Second Skin
A good review of the documentary, Second Skin, which focuses on the lives of on-line video game players.

Laura Sanders, Gamers Crave Control and Competence Not Carnage
I thought I just wanted to destroy things… But no, I want to be god-like! Results from a new study covered at Science News.

Ren Reynolds, Me Versus The Daily Telegraph
Gaming journalists – please at least check the facts and know the games…

Jim Rossignol, Procedural Destruction And The Algorithmic Fiction Of The City
How to do an algorithmic approach for modeling city-like topographies. Very cool.

Taking Gaming Seriously, Two Lessons In Heroin Gaming (MMORPG)
It’s long. It meanders. But there are nuggets of wisdom in this critique of “grind is good” and “don’t go alone.” Plus some absolutely great graphics and photos!

Laura Parker, Game Addiction: The Real Story
What are the first signs of video game addiction? And can this addiction be treated? Researchers’ thoughts on the causes and effects of video game addiction, covered at a leading game site.

Lewis Pulsipher, All I Really Needed To Know About Games I Learned From Dungeons And Dragons
A short list of rules to being a designer of video games and rules to being a player.

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