The Frontal Cortex

Archives for July, 2007

So I finally sat down and watched Planet Earth on my new television. It’s even better than everybody says: endless hours of the most extravagant nature porn ever put on film. But the show also got me thinking about evolution, and why it’s so difficult for most Americans to believe in Darwinian theory. Watching Planet…

When I first heard that Al Gore III was caught going 105 mph in a Prius, I was most impressed by the fact that a Prius can actually go that fast. You must really have to floor the Prius engine – all 110 horsepower of it – in order to get the car into triple…

Incentives

Barry Schwartz has a very interesting op-ed in the Times. It’s about the psychology of incentives, and the mistaken assumptions of economic theory. Simply put, economists assume that people are selfishly rational agents, which means that we should be extremely responsive to external incentives (like cash rewards). But such assumptions are dangerously oversimplified: New York…

Diversity and Science

I just got back from spending a few days with a neuroscientist friend who recently became a PI, in charge of his own lab. On one of the walls in his lab, there was a map of the world with little pins marking the birthplace of each lab member. (My friend is originally from Calcutta.)…