Wednesday Round Up #112

This week it goes top, sports, mind, war, anthropology, and health.

Top of the List

Ed Yong, Williams Syndrome Children Show No Racial Stereotypes or Social Fear
People with Williams Syndrome are incredibly social and lack racial bias. The loss of about 26 genes make this possible.

Todd Meyers, Special Issue of Ethos on Autism
The latest Ethos is a special issue on “Rethinking Autism, Rethinking Anthropology”, guest edited by Nancy Bagatell and Olga Solomon, and includes articles by scholars like Elinor Ochs and Sharon Kaufman.

John Horgan, Can Brain Scans Help Us Understand Homer?
A critical reaction over at Scientific American to the recent New York Times piece that approvingly examined how some literary scholars are turning to neuroscience and evolutionary psychology for insight.

NPR, Nobel Winner Rethinks Business from Ground Up
Social business! Muhammad Yunus’ ideas about lending to the poor have changed lives in his native Bangladesh and beyond.


Jonah Lehrer, Don’t Choke
The superstar effect – choking and performance anxiety – is discussed. Can anything be done to prevent choking?

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Wednesday Round Up #111

This week it’s a bit of war in between the top and anthropology & mind.

Top of the List

David Schneider, Your Internet Brain’s on Coleridge
“The questions that neurobiologists and cognitive psychologists are contending with today, Coleridge was wrestling with in the early 19th century via minute observations of his own mind in the process of thinking and perceiving. The similarities are sometimes startling.”

Paul Ehrlich, On Closing the Culture Gap
Human activity is destructive at a massive scale – climate change, nuclear conflict, biodiversity loss. We need to combine the humanities and the sciences to better understand and address our own actions. For more, see Seed’s Are We Beyond the Two Cultures?

Ed Yong, Dangerous DNA: The Truth About the ‘Warrior Gene’
The story of one gene epitomizes popular misconceptions about how our DNA shapes us. But it can also teach some crucial lessons, says Ed Yong.

Ryan Anderson, Model Behavior
Looking at experimental economics and ethnography, and considering the limitations of both

Dirk Hanson, Impulsivity and Addiction
The dangers of a hypersensitive dopamine structure.

Evgeny Morozov and Clay Shirky , Digital Power and Its Discontents
A debate with Evgeny Morozov and Clay Shirky on the subjects of dictators, democracy, Twitter revolutionaries, and the role of the Internet and social software in political lives of people living under authoritarian regimes.


John Mueller and Mark G. Stewart, Hardly Existential: Thinking Rationally About Terrorism
Many people hold that terrorism poses an existential threat to the United States. Yet actual statistics suggests that it presents an acceptable risk — one so low that spending to further decrease its likelihood or consequences is scarcely validated.

Benedict Carey, Psychologists Explain Iraq Airstrike Video
Many veterans have made the point that fighters cannot do their jobs without generating psychological distance from the enemy. It’s almost like they’re playing a video game. They have to do this so that the people don’t seem real.


Nadia Sussman, Bodies Altered in Pursuit of Beauty
“The worldwide pursuit of body improvement has become like a new religion,” Zed Nelson, a photographer, says. Pictures included.

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Wednesday Round Up #110

This week it goes tops, mind, anthropology, technology, and finishes with some great sex.

Top of the List

Greg Hickok and David Poeppel, Self-Destruction of the Mirror Neuron Theory of Actual Understanding
Mirror neurons now reflect our fantasies.

Patricia Cohen, Next Big Thing in English: Knowing They Know That You Know
Literary criticism meets evolutionary theory and neuroscience – or the hot new thing, in this book review at the NY Times.

Lorenz Khazaleh, Beware: No Pecha Kucha Allowed Without Consent from Tokyo
I’ve recommended the Pecha Kucha approach. No more. STAY AWAY.

Kerim, Hard Problems in Anthropology
Over at Savage Minds, a proposal for two “hard problems” in anthropology, with lots of ensuing discussion and other proposals

Lori Oliwenstein, Caltech Scientists Find First Physiological Evidence of Brain’s Response to Inequality
“the team found that the reward centers in the human brain respond more strongly when a poor person receives a financial reward than when a rich person does. The surprising thing? This activity pattern holds true even if the brain being looked at is in the rich person’s head, rather than the poor person’s.”
What’s interesting to me is that once you get beyond a set notion of hard-wired reward, here’s the start of a rich experimental that could get at some neurological parts of how inequality also gets established, as in rich people paying more attention to when poor people get more than they should…

Onion News Network, Scientists Successfully Teach Gorilla It Will Die Someday
Funny The Onion piece, complete with video.


The Neurocritic, Voodoo and Type II: Debate between Piotr Winkielman and Matt Lieberman
A debate between those supporting the statistical analyses behind fMRI studies and those critiquing them – or the latest round in Voodoo Neuroscience

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Wednesday Round Up #109

Tops on down…

Top of the List

International Cognition and Culture Institute, ICCI – Mini Grant Competition
Up to five grants will be awarded to encourage anthropologists with good ethnographic knowledge of their field sites to perform an experimental study that will help provide comparative cross-cultural data on children’s and adults’ reasoning about human social kinds. The deadline is soon!!

Tom Bowman, WWII Combat Cameraman: ‘The Public Had To Know’
During World War II, Norman Hatch was a combat cameraman who witnessed — and filmed — some of the most bitter fighting in the Pacific theater. Includes his Oscar winning video of actual WWII combat.

Mo Costandi, Fossilized 13th Century Brain with Intact Cells
An extraordinary artifact is astonishingly found intact. How this is so? The brain preserves very well!

Mike Fahey, Accused Game Cheater Gets Knife Through Head and Survives
An argument between Counter-Strike players at a Chinese net café over alleged use of a ‘wallhack’ cheat led to a 17-year-old boy being stabbed through the head with a foot-long knife. This boy ended up living to tell the tale. Includes a graphic photo.

Daniel Carlat, What Is The New Psychiatry?
The field of psychiatry is changing, and we need to change with it. This means utilizing every tool we are given to our advantage, not just the biomedical tool kit.


International Cognition and Culture Institute, Learn About Social Neuroscience
This article seeks to understand how the brain mediates social behaviors, and how social behaviors influence brain function.

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Wednesday Round Up #108

The tops, anthro, mind, health, and then some good stuff at the end – technology and some interesting videos.

Top of the List

Isabelle Winder, It’s Official – Fathers ARE Important to Their Childrens’ Upbringing
Going Ape provides an in-depth review of Lee Gettler’s new American Anthropologist article, “Direct male care and hominin evolution: why male-child interaction is more than just a nice social idea.”
To see the popular version, MSNBC carried the short and not quite so sweet Prehistoric Dads Helped with Child Care

Bill Moyers, Jane Goodall
Great video interview with Dr. Goodall, which explores her career with chimpanzees and her present humanitarian work

Colin Blakemore, Plasticity of the Brain: The Key to Human Development, Cognition, and Evolution
How do our genes program the complexity of our brains? The development of connections in our brains. The Royal Society’s Ferrier Lecture for 2010.

Jovan Maud, Greg Downey in The Australian
Greg gets his Australian interview, and provides his thoughts on the present course of anthropology. Commenting on his experience learning capoeira in Brazil and his research on sports and socialization, Greg also raises the problem of anthropology’s lack of public recognition.


Ciaran Brewster, The Incredible Shrinking Brain
Digitally scanning the inside of the Cro-Magnon skull.

Society for Linguistic Anthropology Blog, Linguistic Anthropology Roundup #2: Our Man at the Times, Ben Zimmer
A special edition of the Linguistic Anthropology Roundup to introduce Ben Zimmer, a Yale and Chicago-trained linguistic anthropologist, linguist and lexicographer, now at the New York Times

Rex, Questioning Collapse
Over at Savage Minds, the professionals take subject with Jared Diamond’s reading of their area of expertise: the Rapa Nui (Easter Island) specialist discusses Diamond’s use of the Rapa Nui data, the Incan specialist discusses Diamond on Pizzaro and Atahualpa, and so forth.

Bruce Bower, Farming’s Rise Cultivated Fair Deals
Market economies may be indebted more to cultural evolution than to Stone Age nature.

Max Liboiron, Genealogies of Garbage: Historical Meanings and Practices of Garbage and their Impacts on Trash Activism Today
The garbage crisis, yesterday and today – it’s a material world

Colin Marshall, What I Can Tell You about Interviewing After Conducting, Editing and Broadcasting 100 of Them
This week’s Marketplace of Ideas, a dialogue about the arrow of time with academic physicist Sean Carroll, marks the program’s 100th meeting. Savage Minds has a running commentary where anthropologists also offer tips.

Drake Bennett, Who’s Still Biased?
“Diversity training has swept corporate America. Just one problem: It doesn’t seem to work.”

Adam Weinberg, “Summit on Global Citizenship: Fostering Global Citizenship in Higher Education”
Get the video of Adam Weinberg, president and CEO of World Learning, giving a popular lecture at Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns


Joe Keohane, Imaginary Fiends
In 2009, crime went down. In fact it’s been going down for a decade. But more and more Americans believe it’s getting worse. Why do we refuse to believe the good news?

Mo Costandi, Brain Scans Read Memories
The concept of the memory trace, over at Neurophilosophy

Vaughan Bell, Scanning for Murder Raps
Mind Hacks on functional brain scans in court, specifically on people charged with killing people and categorized as psychopaths.

h-madness, An Interview with Jonathon Metzl
Metzl summarizes the main points of his recent book “The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease”

Neurowhoa, 700 Year Old Brain Found Preserved
And it’s rather pickled

Annie Murphy Paul, How to be Brilliant
We have a “latent talent abundance” in each of us, the author of this new book argues.

Amy Lavoie, It’s All in the Cortex
After a domestic fall out, brain activity seems to foretell resiliency

Ed Yong, Pocket Science – A Psychopath’s Reward, and the Mystery of the Shark-Bitten Fossil Poo
A tale of what goes on in the brain of psychopaths.

Jonah Lehrer, Mayan Morality
Moral scenarios are given…you be the judge of if what the person in the situation did is right or wrong around the world

h-madness, DSM-5 – Or What are You and Were They Thinking?
The DSM series – Why each new edition is worse than the last.

LiveScience Staff, Babies are Born to Dance
Babies love a beat, according to a new report that found dancing comes naturally to infants.

Jonah Lehrer, Why We Need to Dream
Why do we dream? How is it beneficial to us?


Kelli Whitlock Burton, Efforts to Prevent Childhood Obesity Must Begin Early
Efforts to prevent childhood obesity should begin far earlier than presently thought, maybe even before birth

The British Psychological Society, Reminder of Disease Primes the Body and Mind to Repel Other People
When it comes to evading infection, a mounting body of facts suggests we don’t just have a physiological immune system, but a behavioral immune one as well.

Gene M. Heyman, Addiction: A Disorder of Choice
Heyman puts forth the notion that extreme drug or alcohol use is a tempting act completely beyond the user’s control, as the term “addiction” is commonly understood as, is a cop out.


Tim Hunkin, Technology Is What Makes Us Human
The author wants to argue that, “Humans are uniquely talented at ‘thinking with our hands’, and its wrong to discard ‘intuitive’ engineering as a historical curiosity.”

Brandon Keim, Your Computer Really Is a Part of You
Everyday tools become part of ourselves – at Wired Science of course

Patrick J. Deneen, Science and the Decline of the Liberal Arts
A rather more entertaining and interesting version of “science killed the humanities” argument than most, part of The New Atlantis series on higher ed

Michiko Kakutani, Texts Without Context
A review of Reality Hunger: “Mr. Shields’s pasted-together book and defense of appropriation underscore the contentious issues of copyright, intellectual property and plagiarism that have become prominent in the world.”

Josh Rose, SXSW: Life is But a Stream
“Activity Streams, Social Objects and a little glimpse into how the data that is our lifestream will grow. And soon.”

Vaughan Bell, Lords, Ladies, and Video Games
What is the probable impact of technology, such as computer gaming, on the mind?

Niall Gordon, Posthuman Lifestyles: Has the Future Arrived?
“Professor Miah’s inaugural Professorial lecture will discuss his contribution to imagining the future and critiquing the present, by outlining the successes and failures of an emerging technological culture that marks the end of humanism.”


Leblogducorps, Soumission à l’autorité
A new French reality TV series recreates Milgram’s infamous experiments. For the English review, head over to John Hawks, The dictators will be televised

Joe Brewer, How Video Games Pave the Way to Solving Global Problems
A TED video: How cognitive science is creating a revolution in the ways we think about solving problems.

Henry Barnes, My Bright Idea: Robin Dunbar
Video of Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary anthropologistspeaking with Aleks Krotoski about our social brain, its natural limits, and the nature of Facebook.

Chris Clark, Video Humor for Spring Break
Humorous YouTube videos for people on spring break to enjoy.

Wednesday Round Up #107

This week it’s the tops, mind, compulsions, fMRI, and anthropology. Enjoy.

Top of the List

Nicolas Baumard, Cognition and Culture Reader
Great collection of articles that cover the field of Cognition and Culture.

John Rich, Doctor Works to get Young Man out of ‘Wrong Place’
NPR show featuring the author of Wrong Place, Wrong Time: Trauma and Violence in the Lives of Young Black Men. Rich explores the reasons why so many young African American men are ending up in hospitals with various injuries. He seeks to find a better life for these men.

Dan Hope, iPhone Addictive, Survey Reveals
The anthropologist Tanya Luhrman surveys Stanford students. Looks like the iPhone can be addictive. Like seriously. And the story even makes it to the always funny radio show Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me – check out the Limericks!

Elizabeth Green, Building a Better Teacher
I liked this thought-provoking piece on how to improve schools through improving teaching skills.

John Pavlus, The Science (Fiction) of Embodied Cognition
Embodied cognition demonstrated through Avatar!

Rob Nixon, Literature for Real
The draw of the real – can anthropologists learn something from creative nonfiction? For more on the fiction/nonfiction debate, head over to Blue to Blue’s Sometimes a Fantasy


Marcus Raichle, The Brain’s Dark Energy
At Scientific American, one of the main researchers on the brain’s default network explains its importance

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Wednesday Round Up #105

A day late – yesterday I was busy wrapping up that long post on how anthropologists can build a broader audience! So got my favs, and then a topical fav, skull modification! Then onto modern attempts at modification, neuromarketing. After that it’s anthropology and the mind, finishing it off with video games.

Top of the List

Jonah Lehrer, Depression’s Upside
Evolutionary approaches to depression, including an examination of Darwin’s life and how his melancholy might actually have accelerated the pace of his research. Mind Hacks provides some good commentary, including one potential problem.

Greg Boustead, The Age of Impossible Numbers
Make sure you follow the zoom in! “Running the Numbers, photographer Chris Jordan attempts to convey the vastness of modern consumption by breaking down annual statistics into more graspable quantities depicted by clever visualizations made of individual objects or groups of objects that he photographs.”

Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini, Survival of the Fittest Theory: Darwinism’s Limits
How uncritical neo-Darwinian research is.

Ned Block and Phillip Kitcher, Misunderstanding Darwin
How the above critics got it wrong.

Maurice Bloch, Reconciling Social Science and Cognitive Science Views of the Self, the Person, the Individual etc…
The esteemed anthropologist in a great video lecture that is part of the special series of lectures ‘The Study of Cognition and Culture Today’.

Dirk Hanson, Speaking in Tongues – A Neural Snapshot
Glossolalia, or speaking in tongues, has fascinated thinkers. Tongue speakers typically claim that the outbursts are non-voluntary, but others can sometimes produce instances of glossolalia on demand. If you want to see glossolalia in action, you can also go to our extensive round up on trance in video!

Cranial Modification – or Culture Does Skulls

Carl Feagans, Artificial Cranial Modification: Head Shaping
Skull shaping reviewed at A Hot Cup of Joe, which looks at examples from around the world.

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