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Encephalon #61: Brain & Mind Reading for the Holidays

Wel­come to the 61st edi­tion Encephalon brain blog carnivalof Encephalon, the blog car­ni­val that offers some of the best neu­ro­science and psy­chol­ogy blog posts every other week.

We do have an excel­lent set of arti­cles today. cov­er­ing much ground. Enjoy the reading:

Neu­ro­science and Society

Neu­roan­thro­pol­ogy,
by Greg Downey
The Flynn Effect: Trou­bles with Intel­li­gence
Aver­age IQ test scores had risen about 3 points per decade and in some cases more. Tests of vocab­u­lary, arith­metic, or gen­eral knowl­edge (such as the sorts of facts one learns in school) have showed lit­tle increase, but scores have increased markedly on tests thought to mea­sure gen­eral intelligence.
Mind­Hacks,
by Vaughan Bell
Med­ical jar­gon alters our under­stand­ing of dis­ease
Under­stand­ing how pop­u­lar ideas influ­ence our per­sonal med­ical beliefs is an essen­tial part of under­stand­ing med­i­cine itself.
Cog­ni­tive Daily,
by Dave Munger
Is it sex­ist to think men are angrier than women?
Are we more likely to per­ceive a male face as angry and a female face as happy? A recent study sheds light on the issue.
Neu­r­o­critic Crime, Pun­ish­ment, and Jerry Springer
Judges and jurors must put aside their emotionally-driven desire for revenge when com­ing to an impar­tial ver­dict. Does neu­roimag­ing (fMRI) add any­thing to our under­stand­ing of justice?

Alzheimer’s Dis­ease and Neu­rocog­ni­tive Health

Sharp­Brains,
by Alvaro Fernandez
Cog­ni­tive screen­ings and Alzheimer’s Dis­ease
The Alzheimer’s Foun­da­tion of Amer­ica just released a thought­ful report advo­cat­ing for wide­spread cog­ni­tive screen­ings after the age of 65 or 55. Sharp­Brains read­ers seem to agree.
High­light Health,
by Wal­ter Jessen
Neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive Dis­ease and the Com­ing Epi­demic
Research and bet­ter health­care mea­sures have enabled peo­ple to live longer. One of the results? “Unless we do some­thing to pre­vent it, over the next 40 years we’re fac­ing an epi­demic of neu­ro­logic dis­eases on a global scale”.
Brain­Blog­ger,
by Jen­nifer Gibson
Ginkgo Biloba Inef­fec­tive for Pre­vent­ing Demen­tia
A large study puts an end to the debate and declares that Ginkgo is not effec­tive in pre­vent­ing demen­tia in older adults.
Sharp­Brains,
by Pas­cale Michelon
Edu­ca­tion builds Cog­ni­tive Reserve for Alzheimer’s Dis­ease Pro­tec­tion
Indi­vid­u­als with greater edu­ca­tion main­tain bet­ter cog­ni­tive func­tion­ing in the pres­ence of Alzheimer’s Dis­ease pathol­ogy. “Edu­ca­tion” in the broad sense, includ­ing a chal­leng­ing occu­pa­tion, engag­ing hob­bies and active social networks.

Brain and Mind

Neu­rophiloso­pher,
by Mo
Rub­ber hand feels real for amputees
Some­times Illu­sions are our allies: a new study opens up new pos­si­bil­i­ties for the devel­op­ment of pros­thetic limbs.
Neu­roskep­tic Lessons from the Placebo Gene
The Jour­nal of Neu­ro­science has pub­lished a Swedish study which, accord­ing to New Sci­en­tist and the rest, is some­thing of a break­through. Not so fast.
Neu­roskep­tic We Really Are Sorry, But Your Soul is Still Dead
Because ham­mer­ing away at one key of a piano pro­duces noth­ing but an annoy­ing noise, there must be some­thing mag­i­cal going on when a pianist plays a Mozart con­certo. Right? Wrong.

Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?

Illu­sion Sci­ences,
by Arthur Shapiro
Rotat­ing Rever­sals
Many visu­als illu­sions “work” because they pit two sources of infor­ma­tion against each other. Check out this one.
Neu­rophiloso­pher, by Mo Visual images recon­structed from brain activ­ity
Neu­roimag­ing can help deter­mine whether a sub­ject is look­ing at a face or some other cat­e­gory of visual stim­u­lus, such as a house. Now, can it accu­rately recon­struct viewed images which have not been pre­vi­ously experienced?

Happy Hol­i­days and enjoy 2009!

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