The Frontal Cortex

Archives for July, 2007

Vacation

A note to my readers: I’ll be on vacation for the next week, so please pardon the sporadic posting. Thanks, Jonah

The Honesty of Autism

Simon Baron-Cohen, of mindblindness fame, uses autism to examine the psychology of dishonesty. He concludes that the central reason people with autism are so honest (and so vulnerable to liars) is that they have difficulty developing a theory of mind for other people. And then there are people with autism. Their neurological condition leads not…

This truth thing is difficult: In 1977, Steven Weinberg, then two years shy of the Nobel Prize in Physics, decided to do a little of what some theorists call “ambulance chasing.” He heard a rumor, while spending a year at Stanford, that collisions at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory were spitting out weird triplets of…

The Marketing of A Primate

Are bonobos really such peaceful beatniks? Is is true that they like to make love, not war? The truth is that nobody really knows. Ian Parker has a fascinating profile of the species, and our attempts to learn about the species, in the latest New Yorker: This pop image of the bonobo–equal parts dolphin, Dalai…

Bad Jury Verdicts

A truly depressing analysis of the justice system (Times $elect): Brandon L. Garrett, a law professor at the University of Virginia, has, for the first time, systematically examined the 200 cases, in which innocent people served an average of 12 years in prison. In each case, of course, the evidence used to convict them was…

Movement in Slow Motion

This is the coolest study of movement since Muybridge.

Golf, Choking and the Unconscious

It’s British Open season, which means that it’s time to relive all the great golf chokes of recent years. No other course seems to cause golfers to crack under pressure quite like Carnoustie. (The most famous choke being Jean Van de Velde’s collapse on the 18th hole in 1999.) Why do golfers choke? The answer…

Morality and Materialism

Ramesh Ponnuru, of the National Review, says this: What renders atheism incompatible with a coherent account of morality, when it is incompatible, is physicalism (or what is sometimes described as reductive materialism). If it is true that the universe consists entirely and without remainder of particles and energy, then all human action must be within…

Mobs and Neuroscience

Some crimes are beyond the pale of comprehension. This is one of those: After dark on June 18, the police say, as many as 10 armed assailants repeatedly raped a Haitian immigrant in her apartment at Dunbar Village and then went further, forcing her to perform oral sex on her 12-year-old son. They took cellphone…

Chomsky for Breakfast

Via Language Log