Monday, September 10, 2007

Encephalon 31

I became fascinated with the brain and brain behavior at a young age.

I recall sitting in front of the television console watching the Star Trek episode, "Spock's Brain," and hearing one of the characters ask,

"Brain brain, what is brain?"

The phrase forever stuck, and here I am forty years later still asking that question.

So without any further adieu, here is the 31st edition of the brain science blog carnival Encephalon .

Fitbuff brings a fascinating post from the journal Science , in which two papers describe the first lab-induced out-of-body experiences. This begs the question: Are out-of-body experiences supernatural, or simply logical and explainable occurrences, resulting from neurological activity in the brain?

Primate Diaries offers a truly interesting view on the evolution of Schizophrenia. In the blogpost, "schizophrenia is the perfect metaphor for how our evolutionary history is not a well ordered and implemented design, but is rather full of twists and turns and ill-adapted consequences that are best explained through the contingencies of natural selection." Beautifully written, I think.

Neurobiotaxis blogs about MacLean's “Triune Brain Theory" and the brain regions responsible for emotional and cognitive processing. It's like a guided tour of the working brain regions and their roles. Map recommended.

Over at Sharp Brains is a collection of in depth interviews with eleven Neuroscientists and Cognitive Psychologists about the benefits of brain training. No gym towel needed for these workouts.

Distributed Neuron educates us about "Nootropics" - medications that can improve various aspects of cognitive function and other diseases . Piracetam is specifically regarded in the blogpost.

Psy Blog posts about kissing secrets between the sexes, and about how specific kinds of compliments can lead to greater tipping behavior. These are two separate posts, so get your mind out of the gutter.

Primate Diaries presents the recent scientific findings connecting morality and monogamy - and explains pair bonding and the evolution of the social brain.

Mind hacks cites the psychology behind the believability of news reports even when wrong information is retracted. The bottom line here is that first media impressions *do* count. The post eloquently reminds us to keep this fact in mind "when evaluating public information."

Brain research - and research of all kinds - rely on stringent statistical outcomes for reliable and valid results. Cognitive Daily informs us that we need to learn about the statistical outcome called Killeen's p rep.

And along a similar line, Advances in the History of Psychology reports that fewer than 2 in 5 submissions are ever published in the American Psychological Association The History of Psychology .

Neurophilosophy blogs about different types of synaethesia , an extraordinary neurological experience where numbers, letters and music can elicit the sensation of specific colors. When I see numbers, letters or listen to music, I get a great chocolate sense. I wonder if that falls into the phenomenon?

Healthline Connection brings a timely post about the neurobiology of the male Warrior Archetype and the tendency toward violence.

GNIF Brain Blogger poignantly writes about neurodiversity and the pressing issues of stigma and acceptance.

And in closing, today September 10th, is World Suicide Prevention Day and I offer this article for those interested in understanding the neuroscience of suicide .

Encephalon will be hosted by Grrrl Scientist at Living the Scientific Life on September 24th. You can beam up submissions here . Many thanks to Neurophilosopher for the invitation. I hope the carnival was a good ride!



Heidi said...

Wow.."My brain" will be on overdrive reading all these links...

Always informative..Thanx Deb!

Fallen Angels said...

Interesting collection of articles! No time to read any today...I am preparing for transport to school at the moment. Does the city bus count as a shuttle craft? hehe Can't locate Scotty to beam me anywhere...too bad really since that would REALLY cut down on travel time! Anyway...I'm off to see if I can add some neurons and strengthen existing connections! Live long and prosper, Deb!

Dr. Deb said...

Dear Heidi,
The brain is so key in understanding who we are!!

Dear Fallen,
Live long and prosper to you as well. Good luck with school.


DrGwenn said...

If nothing else, the "male brain" picture is most definitely accurate - especially the footnote! At least, it describes my hubby to a T!

Brain is a way cool think - will add those links to my bookmarks and plow through as I acclimate to the school year.

Couldn't get my kids hooked on the old Trek but TNG and Voyager are huge hits! My tween loves the Klingons and their endless quest/confusion over honor...and 7 of 9!

So, what does it say that a good amount of your readers seem to be Trekkies??


Jade said...

:-) This is my type of reading! I'm a pretty big fan of the brain and how we use it. Thanks for all the informative links :-)

Ian Lidster said...

The graphic of the male brain -- all about sex? No-no, Deb, that can't be so! Actually a highly interesting blog tha I scrutinized quite thoroughly.

Sarah said...

So interesting! the brain is fascinating. It's sort of like the ocean, we have access to vast amounts of information about our brains and how they work (or don't) but there is so much we still don't know.

Donna said...

Love the male brain true!

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Hi dr. deb,
Another fine post on the various researches regarding the brain and its functions. I just noticed that in the sketch of the male brain, two large portions are labeled sex. Now we know what drives the male brain and his emotions. chuckle.

Thanks for the very informative and educational post. God bless you with all the wit, wisdom and great understanding of the human brain.

alan said...

You are always amazing, my friend!


Big Brother said...

It's funny to think that all reality that we can encompass is only chemicals, neurons and genes, different genes can mean a different reality. By the way, you've been nominated for a prize for being such a nice blogger. ;o)

Godwhacker said...

I always knew I loved you. This is one of my favorite all-time "Treks". I can't wait to checkout all the links. The only thing I take issue with is the graphic showing that men have 50% or their brains devoted to sex. I know first hand that number is way too low!


Dr. Deb said...

Dr. G,
Bloggers and trekkies have "new technology" in common, don't you think?

Dear Jade,
We know so little about the brain. Imagine how much more there is to learn.

Dear Ian,
I was surfing for photos and found it. There's one for the female brain too. Very punny.

Dear Sarah,
Well said.

Dear Donna,
I wanted to make the carnival funny, not heavily research in content.

Dear Mel,
I think using humor when teaching is a great tool.

Dear Alan,
As are you, dah-ling.

Dear BB,
Thank you for the "kindness" nod.

Dear GW,
I love you too, my friend.


FitBuff said...

Hey Dr. Deb!

Thanks for including our article, great carnival you have here!

enrico said...

I had no idea this carnival existed--cool! (although I'm not used to seeing 'encephalon' without 'tel-','di-','myel-', etc. in front of it. :)

I LOOOVE the picture of the saggital that a real, radiographically imaged picture or an artist's rendition? Fascinating! (homage to Spock, there)

Personally, I think there's been a huge push as of late in academia for psychologists (and psychiatrists) to be more neurobiologically inclined. As clinical psychologists, how do you bring all this complex neurophysiology findings back to the level of the patient? Unfortunately, what we see too often in the media is a really interesting study with a well-thought-out model given a 10 second blurb on the CBS Evening News of "Coffee may be good for you after all--it seems to stimulate a part of the brain affecting memory imprinting. *cut back to reporter holding Starbucks* That's good for me! Now back to you, Katy."

OK, I'm rambling, but it's because I am avoiding making comments on the male brain picture. :P

Good job hosting this carnival, as well as being an informative post for the rest of us! :)

SeaSpray said...

All very intersting Dr Deb. I especially love the male brain chart. that's great! Now...I understand, ;)

etahasgard1986 said...

Your graphical depiction of the "male brain" may have been humorous many years ago-- but not in a culture rampant with anti-male bigotry.
Once tame and humorous, this continual belittling of men is repulsive.
This anti-male attitude is endemic in psychology,esp clinical psychology , as I KNOW ON A FIRST HAND BASIS-- and it seems this female psychologist gets a chuckle out of gross stereotyping of men.

Where is your presentation of the female brain and all the areas whose absence or overwhelming presence might be fodder for a male comedian ?
Because that is not consistent with "feminism" -
--if a male psychologist presented such a stereoytypical view of the female brain-- women and feminsts would deluge him with complaints of sexism, anti-female attitudes, etc.
But its OK to bash men.

Get a life ? Lighten up? NO-- not when this type of bs goes on all over our society.

And the women who comment-- of course--- enjoy what are essentially abusive comments on men. Turn the tables and many scream sexism. No.. tghats becAZsue our society has been gynocentric for 40 years-- devotined to the needs and intersts of women-- and misandric, concentrating on the alleged deficiences -- too put it lightly--of men.

The scan of the male brain left out the most important part-- huge area for " creates civilization"-- eg art, science, literature, music medicine, law , physics, chemistry, biology, virtually every invention of any significance. The women attending college now in much greater numbers than men wwould have nothing to study if men did not create virtually all knowledge. Its unbelievable that this has to be pointed out,

Lighten up ? Hell no-- not in the context of misnadry that has been going on for 40 odd years.

Imagine again-- a male psychologist posting such a depicton of the female brain-- sexism would be the response.

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