Developing Intelligence

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I’ve been busy writing up a new paper, and expect the reviews back on another soon, so … sorry for the lack of posts. But this should be of interest: The Dana Foundation has just posted an interview with Terrence Sejnowki about his recent Science paper, “Foundations for a New Science of Learning” (with coauthors…

Children assigned to chew sugar-free gum purportedly score 3% higher on standardized tests of math skills (as widely reported in the press). But is this just one of the 5% of all possible untrue hypotheses statistically guaranteed to have some significant result in its favor (in fact, it’s worse than that)? Is the effect due…

The UCLA Neuroimaging Summer Education Program starts today at 8:30 am Pacific. Standard Time – and is going to be streaming live at this address (video embedded below). The schedule is quite impressive, including talks from Rick Buxton, Mark Cohen, Russ Poldrack, Vince Calhoun, and Jose Hanson among others. Topics include everything from causal modeling…

How many times did Pavlov ring the bell before his dogs’ meals until the dogs began to salivate? Surely, the number of experiences must make a difference, as anyone who’s trained a dog would attest. As described in a brilliant article by C.R. Gallistel (in Psych. Review; preprint here), this has been thought so self-evident…

Don’t think of a white bear. Doesn’t work so well, does it? Yet under some circumstances, people appear to be able to do precisely this: as described last week, young adults are thought (by some) to actually suppress the neural activity related to to-be-ignored stimuli, and even delay the peak of this neural activity, relative…

An interesting video interview with the author of (the excellent) Mind Wars. Here are direct links to the videos.

The cognitive neurosciences have had high frequency oscillations on the brain: so called “gamma-waves”, as recorded on the scalp, have been linked to working memory processes (via their interaction with slower “theta waves”), to cognitive insight, and even to consciousness. (I think there’s an unwritten rule that whenever someone mentions consciousness, they’ll be made to…

By many current theories, we accomplish control over behavior by using the prefrontal cortex to “bias” the competitive dynamics playing out in the rest of the brain. By some models, this bias is positive – it helps the goal-relevant representations win the competition. By other models, the bias is also negative – it can help…

A new study suggests that physically stepping backwards may be associated with gains in the ability to deal with problematic situations. As newly reported in Psychological Science (hat tip to Hannah) by Koch, Holland, Hengstler & Knippenberg, people were better able to resolve interference in laboratory “Stroop” task after stepping backwards, relative to stepping to…

Every now and then, I read some science from some other dimension. That is, the methods are so unusual, the relevant theories so fringe, or the conclusions so startling that I feel like the authors must be building on work from a completely separate science, with its own theories and orthodoxy. This can be good…