Wednesday Round Up #100

Made it to 100! Still the mash-up form, but I stuck a bunch on video games at the game over…

Carolyn Sargent, Who Are We in the Public Imagination?
The Society for Medical Anthropology has a new blog Voices from Medical Anthropology. Here the current SMA president asks how we present ourselves as medical anthropologists. Comments encouraged!

Chris Kelty et al., Outlaw Biology? Public Participation in the Age of Big Bio
Looks like a fascinating symposium this coming Friday and Saturday (Jan 20th & 30th) at UCLA. Plus just a fun site to explore.

Dr. Shock, The Neuroscience of Jazz
Tom Beek playing, plus fMRI studies of jazz improvisation

Mary Hrovat, Civilization Founded on Beer?
“Patrick McGovern, an archaeologist who studies human exploration of fermented beverages, believes that it might have been the desire for reliable access to alcohol, not food, that spurred the farming revolution that swept Neolithic culture…”

Eugene Raikhel, More on Exporting American Madness
Somatosphere rounds up the latest reactions to Ethan Watters’ book on the globalization of American models of mental illness, including a useful summary of Watters’ latest piece in New Scientist

John Horgan and George Johnson, Science Saturday: Awesome Feats We Haven’t Achieved
Over at the science journalist and scientist who writes popular books discuss breaking stories, including the Watters’ piece on exporting American mental illness and David Dobbs’ the orchid and the dandelion December piece in the Atlantic

Ophelia Deroy, Mad in America
Culture and Cognition’s take on Ethan Watters’ book Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche

New York Times, Letters – The Americanization of Mental Illness
Some insightful letters on Watters’ recent NY Times essay – illness influenced by culture.

My Mind on Books, “Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation”
Daniel Siegel combines neuroscience with psychotherapy with a popular message – you can focus your attention and literally change your brain (and thus overcome mental problems). Maybe a bit too much like The Force for me, but this post also includes a video of Siegel preaching his message at Google

RadioLab, Placebo
A useful broadcast that considers what we mean by placebo, what it is, and why the placebo effect can be so powerful

Beth Kurylo, Iraq Vet Families Must Talk About Injuries, Stress, Study Shows
Erin Finley, who’s done two very popular posts on PTSD here at Neuroanthropology, has a new study out, “Talking, Love, Time: Two Case Studies of Positive Post-Deployment Coping in Military Families,” on her ethnographic work with recent vets

Durham News, Monkeys Choose Mating Partners with Different Genes
Finding males who are compatible rather than identical to maintain genetic diversity. See the YouTube video too, as it has some good footage of mandrills right at the beginning

The Economist, The Psychology of Power
Values do matter. Or “Power corrupts, but it corrupts only those who think they deserve it.”

Adam Fish, Place Hacking
The work of the visual ethnographer Bradley Garrett over at Savage Minds, which looks at his exploration of urban landscapes

Greg Laden, Ethics and Morality sans Religion
An interview with Greg Epstein, the author of the new book Good without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe

The Neurocritic, This Aspirin Is Dictatorial, Prosaic and Selfish
Neuromarketing meets semantic differentials!

Paul Farmer, Development: Creating Sustainable Justice
Watch Farmer’s talk at the Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice

Vaughan Bell, Brain Scan Diagnoses Misunderstanding of Diagnosis
MEG scans determine which vets have PTSD? No, not at all despite media claims to the contrary. Mind Hacks sets the record straight.

Randolph Schmid, Girls May Learn Math Anxiety from Female Teachers
Well, at least it’s not a genetic argument. And why they have a photo of a boy with a mohawk, I don’t know. Gender anxiety?

Iain McGilchrist, The Battle of the Brain
Two hemispheres hype – but I found the metaphor to strengths of civilization and balance between hemispherical functions provocative.

Owen Flanagan, The Vast Left-brain Conspiracy
The battle between the brain’s hemispheres. Overplayed in this case.

Barbara Isanski and Catherine West, The Body of Knowledge: Understanding Embodied Cognition
Explains what embodied cognition is and its role in how we think and feel about our world

ScienceDaily, Neuron Connections Seen in 3-D
3D images of vesicles and filaments involved in communication between neurons is obtained. The method is based on a novel technique in electron microscopy, the article explains how this works.

Wray Herbert, The Narrative in the Neurons
What stories grab our attention and engage our brains?

Roger Dooly, Your Brain on Stories
It’s from “” but quite interesting: “When subjects read this passage and several others in an fMRI machine, researchers were able to observe which parts of their brain were activated as the subjects read different elements. Depending on what was happening in each sentence, quite different brain activation patterns were observed.”

Tracy Alloway, Working Memory: A Better Predictor of Academic Success than IQ?
A description of working memory, how it is used, and its advantages over at Sharp Brains

Ginger Cambpell, Affective Neuroscience with Jaak Panksepp
The neural origins of emotion in a handy podcast. An interview with Dr. Panksepp about the common assumptions about emotions and some of the important implications of his discoveries.

Bill Yates, The Uniqueness of Humans: TED Talk by Robert Sapolsky
What makes humans unique. Includes a video with the neuroendocrinologist who’s really an anthropologist in disguise

David DiSalveo, Are Social Networks Messing with Your Head?
Are social network sites like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter good for our mental health? Answers over at Scientific American

Alice Park, Exercise to Protect Aging Bodies – and Brains
Over at Time Magazine, an article on how exercise helps with aging based on three recent studies. The interesting one is where resistance/weight training led to improvements in memory, learning and executive functioning vs. toning/balance exercises

Nik Dalal, Learning The Art Of Creating Computer Games Can Boost Student Skill
Gaming saves students?

Rachel Raettner, Size of Brain Region Affects Video Game Performance
The striatum helps in mastery of switching between tasks, and the nucleus accumbens in learning the game (getting engaged with it…). But just high score? No significant correlations in this study. You can also read the Illinois press release.

Stephen Totilo, U.S. Navy: Video Games Improve Brains, “Fluid Intelligence”
“We have discovered that video game players perform 10 to 20 percent higher in terms of perceptual and cognitive ability than normal people that are non-game players”

Mike Byhoff, The Trials of a Video Game Addict on MTV’s True Life
Addicted to video games? Now you get to watch all about it in another media!

Desire Athow, Brain Can’t Handle More Than 150 Facebook Friends Finds Oxford Boffin
Wait until I tell my niece who has more than 2000! The original article made it into the Times under OMG: Brains can’t handle all our Facebook friends. But ITPro actually linked to research by Robin Dunbar.

Michael Abbott, Build Me a World
The hook of games, as shown through Bioshock and Rapture

5 thoughts on “Wednesday Round Up #100

  1. Congratulations on making it to 100, Daniel! I’ve always hesitated to promise anything regular when blogging because I quickly realized that consistency is really hard — and Daniel’s managed two years running with the Wednesday round-up. Bravo!

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