The Frontal Cortex

Archives for March, 2009

Risk as Feelings

Brad Delong summarizes an important point when it comes to evaluating whether or not the latest plan to rescue banks from their own toxic assets is going to work. In this interesting post, he contrasts his own tepid support for the plan with Paul Krugman’s pessimistic opposition: I think the private-sector players in financial markets…

Steven Johnson

In the NY Times Book Review, Steven Johnson has a very kind review of How We Decide: Jonah Lehrer’s engaging new book, “How We Decide,” puts our decision-making skills under the microscope. At 27, Lehrer is something of a popular science prodigy, having already published, in 2007, “Proust Was a Neuroscientist,” which argued that great…

Washington D.C.

Just a quick programming note: I’ll be speaking at the National Academy of Sciences tomorrow evening, in Washington D.C. The event is free. I also wanted to apologize to all those whose comments have been eaten by the spam filter in the last two days. Due to an attack of Viagra bots, I had to…

AIG and Inequality

I know, I know: everybody is sick of hearing about those AIG bonuses. But bear with me for one more blog post, because I think the swell of populist anger can actually illuminate something interesting about the human response to inequality. Consider the ultimatum game, that simple economic task where one person (the proposer) is…

The Morality of Drones

War is rapidly becoming a video game. Here, from the NY Times, is a fascinating behind the scenes look at the increasing reliance on drones by the US military: The Guard members, along with Air Force crews at a base in the Nevada desert, are 7,000 to 8,000 miles away from the planes they are…

PTSD

David Dobbs has a really excellent and thought-provoking article on the diagnosis (and perhaps over-diagnosis) of post-traumatic stress disorder over at Sciam. The essential point is that it’s extremely hard to define a normal psychological response to traumatic events. Are nightmares normal? Is it normal to experience bouts of anxiety or depression? Dobbs profiles several…

No-Lie fMRI

This is disturbing stuff. According to the Stanford Center for Law and the Biosciences, No-Lie MRI has recently produced a report that’s being offered as evidence in a California court. The case is a child protection hearing being conducted in the juvenile court. In brief, and because the details of the case are sealed and…

The Value of Neuroscience

A reader asks: What’s the hardest question you’ve gotten about the new book? Is there one you were totally unprepared to answer? This is a slightly embarrassing confession, but one of the most difficult questions I’ve been asked is also one of the most obvious. It goes something like this: “What practical knowledge have we…

Free Throws

A general assumption in the sports world is that athletes get better over time. Sprinters get faster, hitters hit more home runs, quarterbacks throw fewer interceptions, etc. And yet, there’s one sports statistic that has refused to budge: the percentage of free-throws made in the NBA. Here’s the NY Times, via Kottke: The consistency of…

Risk, Fear, Certainty

Apologies, once again, for the blogging silence. I was busy in London, on tour for the UK version of the book, which is called “The Decisive Moment”. (We got some great press, including being featured as “Book of the Week” by BBC Radio 4.) Although book tours can, on occasion, be frustrating and grueling –…