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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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