Wednesday Round Up #106

Basic plus one – top of the list, mind, anthropology, and addiction.

Top of the List

James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis, Cooperative Behavior Cascades in Human Networks
New full-access PNAS paper on social networks and cascades of behavior. For good commentary, see The Frontal Cortex and Not Exactly Rocket Science

Maximilian Forte, Multiplying Human Terrain Dreams of Victory and Fortune
Zero Anthropology examines the non-zero-sum game approach to expanding the use of social science for military ends

Ed Yong, An 60,000-year Old Artistic Movement Recorded in Ostrich Egg Shells
Very cool. Decorative ostrich shells many, many generations ago. Art is old.

John Hawks, Fat Rats
Lab rats come with starting conditions – they are not the representatives of “nature” that scientists have often assumed. In this case, studies on caloric restriction might be flawed because rats started from an unhealthy baseline, and thus any improvement extends their life

Nicholas Wade, Human Culture, An Evolutionary Force
Nice summary of recent research on how culture, broadly conceived, shapes natural selection.

Michael Smith, Blogs Don’t Get No Respect
Good rant about how American Anthropologist’s short piece on cultural anthropology blogs isn’t really all that


The Neurocritic, Depression’s Cognitive Downside
A critical look at Jonah Lehrer’s recent piece that covered evolutionary proposals about the adaptive benefits of depression; here the impairments come to the fore

Jonah Lehrer, Critiques
Lehrer also responds to email critiques over at his blog The Frontal Cortex. For more, see More Questions and More on Depression

Sandy Gautam, Chronic Stress, Neurogenesis and Depression
Another way to view depression – a look at the actual biological mechanisms involved, and brain-environment interactions

Laura Miller, “The Genius In All Of Us”
Salon review of the new book by David Shenk, “The Genius in All of Us: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About Genetics, Talent, and IQ Is Wrong”

Index Magazine, Music of the Hemispheres
Music from patterns of brain activity – literally

Mo Costandi, The Ability to Recognize Faces Is Inherited
We see faces everywhere – and to account for individual variation in that ability, new studies point to genetics

Martin Metzmacher, Dan Ariely Asks, Are We In Control of Our Decisions?
TED talk with the behavioral economist

Greg Hickok, Lexical Effects in Speech Perception
The motor system affects speech perception

Amanda Gardner, Scientists Unravel Mysteries of Intelligence
It’s connections!


Jeremy Trombley, Writing for a Popular Audience
Jeremy gives us his tips on getting mass appeal

Apostolos Doxiadis, Alecos Papadatos and Annie Di Donna, Exclusive Levi-Strauss Cartoon
Get his work in one graphical package!

Ryan Anderson, Anthropology/Economics
Ethnografix on why the dismal science is pretty dismal in anthropological light

Adam Horn, Professor Rethinks Origins of Religion
Marc Hauser has a crisis of faith, or morality comes first

James McCauley and Julia Ryan, Anthropology Professor’s Book Inspires Oscar-Nominated Film
Harvard professor Kimberley Theidon’s book Entre Projimos inspired the Oscar-nominated documentary “The Milk of Sorrow”

Craig Mod, Books in the Age of iPad
Provocative take on how electronic books will be better than regular old disposable books

Carnival of Evolution #21: The Superstar Edition
From Darwin to Darwin

Peter Stromberg, The Birth of Cultural Relativism
Amidst sex, drugs and boredom


Piia Jallinoja et al., Negotiated Pleasures in Health-seeking Lifestyles of Participants of a Health Promoting Intervention
Intriguing abstract that gets at the heart of many problems in public health approaches to “addictive” activities: “The article analyses the conflicts produced by pleasure-seeking and health enhancement… Due to the discrepancy between the pleasure-seeking and health enhancement, pleasure was constructed not simply as a spontaneous experience but often as a planned and disciplined event… The scarcity of pleasures from physical activity as well as from healthy foods is a challenge for health promoters. Instead of building more self-controlling and self-denying individuals, it could be fruitful to focus health promoters’ attention to the enhancement of the experiences of pleasure.”

Vaughan Bell, Cocaine, Surgery, and an Experiment Too Far
Experimenting with cocaine as an anesthetic, getting hooked – the early science of drugs

Jeanna Bryner, Anti-Drinking Ads Induce More Drinking in Some People
Bottoms up!

DrugMonkey, As Many Dependent on Cannabis as Have Tried Heroin?
Animal models of adolescent drug taking, and implications around the question, Are adolescents more vulnerable to drug addiction than adults?

Peter B. Reiner, Sahakian on ‘Smart Drugs’ at the Royal Institution
Barbara Sahakian points out that exercise, both physical and mental, can provide effects that are comparable to what these drugs can offer.

Nicole Plescher, 58 Warning Signs of a Shopping Addiction
This article includes 27 ways to stop compulsive spending.

The New York Times, When Is It Sex Addiction?
Several experts address the question of differentiating between bad behavior and sex addiction.

Dirk Hanson, A Seaside Story of Love and Junkies
A powerful new documentary, which features a pair of young heroin addicts living in an economically ravaged city of South Wales.

Dave Munger, A Sober Assessment
Over at Discover, examining the misperceptions about the social uses of alcohol.

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