The Frontal Cortex

Archives for June, 2006

The Neglected

So we now have a short list of some great but forgotten psychologists: Karen Horney: “Neurosis and Human Growth” Frederic Bartlett: “Remembering” Kurt Lewin William James: “Pragmatism” Alfred Adler Edward Tolman John Dewey George Mead Keep the suggestions coming!

Involuntary Laughter

Why can’t we supress laughter? I have no idea, but this video is hilarious. It’s also a little cruel. I dare you not to laugh.

Three Mysteries of Evolution

I’ve really enjoyed Olivia Judson’s columns on Times $elect. They’ve been funny, eloquent and haven’t shied away from the biological nitty-gritty. In her last column, she ends with a meditation on three questions she wants evolutionary biologists to solve: The first is metamorphosis. Everyone knows a caterpillar becomes a butterfly; and it is easy to…

From The Daily Telegraph: Scientists who carry out embryonic stem cell research and politicians who pass laws permitting the practice will be excommunicated, the Vatican said yesterday. “Destroying human embryos is equivalent to an abortion. It is the same thing,” said Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, head of the Pontifical Council for the Family. “Excommunication will…

Good News on CO2

It seems that supply and demand are compensating for the ineffectual policies of the Bush Adminstration. An Energy Information Adminstration press release announced the following: U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels increased by 0.1 percent in 2005, from 5,903 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (MMTCO 2) in 2004 to 5,909 MMTCO 2…

The New Hampshire Primary

I’ve lived in New Hampshire for almost a year now, and I’m still not used to the constant presence of presidential hopefuls. Yesterday, Bill was here. Pataki was supposed to come, but the floods kept him in NY. In the last month, we’ve had Warner, Feingold, Clark, McCain and just about everyone else daydreaming about…

We Only Need Half a Brain

Did you know that we can thrive with only half a brain? Weird. The New Yorker has a wonderful article documenting the lives of patients who live through these hemispherectomies. The strangest thing is that no one knows how they do it: When I asked the surgeons how it’s possible for people with half a…

fMRI Redux

Over at Small Gray Matters, there is an excellent critique of my last post on fMRI. Here is the nut graf: While fMRI certainly has important technical limitations people should be aware of (low spatial and temporal resolution, high costs giving rise to underpowered studies, etc.), I think the issue Lehrer chooses to focus on-namely,…

Neglected Psychologists

Mixing Memory’s post on the undeserved obscurity of Franz Brentano got me thinking. What other great scientists of mind are modern neuroscientists neglecting? My own vote goes to William James. While his Principles of Psychology are often mandatory reading in Intro to Psych courses – not bad for a 19th century textbook – few neuroscientists…

The Dirty Secrets of fMRI

The blogosphere has begun debating the merits of fMRI. That’s a good thing. The debate began with Paul Bloom’s excellent editorial in Seed, in which he argued that “fMRI imagery has attained an undue influence, and we shouldn’t be seduced.” It continues here and here. I used to work in a neuroscience lab grounded in…