Cognitive Daily

  • The blogosphere is abuzz with discussion of a new experiment purporting to show brain activity in a woman who was in a “persistent vegetative state.” For a good summary of the experiment, visit Mind Hacks. Then take a look at Brain Ethics’ analysis. I think the best analysis comes from ScienceBlogs’ own Jake at Pure Pedantry. The upshot: The “persistent vegetative state” was probably misdiagnosed. FMRI imaging can help diagnose true cases of persistent vegetative state.
  • There’s a nice article at New Scientist discussing decision-making in adolescents. Again fMRI was used to record brain activity as both teens and adults were asked to explain their decision-making processes. Adolescents tended to rely more on the superior temporal sulcus, while adults used the prefrontal cortex. Since the STS isn’t really equipped to handle complex social decisions, teens tend to be more self-centered, while adults take the impact on others into account.
  • MindBlog has a fascinating report on just how little intervention is necessary to reduce achievement gaps due to racial stereotyping,
  • Finally, idiolect has found a tantalizing abstract of a study claiming to show that driving ability is predicted by performance on the Stroop task.


  1. #1 Caledonian
    September 13, 2006

    It would have been nice if they had presented some evidence suggesting that the adolescents were reasoning more poorly, or more slowly, or that their judgment was in some important qualitative way inferior than the adults’… but they didn’t.

    There seem to be a number of unquestioned assumptions in that article.

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