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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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