Cognitive Science

Gene Expression

Category archives for Cognitive Science

We be symbolic

The Evolution Of Symbolic Language by Terrence Deacon and Ursula Goodenough. Deacon’s The Symbolic Species: The Co-Evolution of Language and the Brain is a book I liked a great deal, though in hindsight I don’t think I had the background to appreciate it in any depth (nor do I now).

Anthropology as a dog side-effect skill

Social Cognition in Dogs, or How did Fido get so smart?. This you know: Domesticated dogs seem to have an uncanny ability to understand human communicative gestures. If you point to something the dog zeroes in on the object or location you’re pointing to (whether it’s a toy, or food, or to get his in-need-of-a-bath…

Face recognition is highly heritable

Human face recognition ability is specific and highly heritable: Compared with notable successes in the genetics of basic sensory transduction, progress on the genetics of higher level perception and cognition has been limited. We propose that investigating specific cognitive abilities with well-defined neural substrates, such as face recognition, may yield additional insights. In a twin…

The New York Times on Amy Bishop

Covers all the major angles. Nice that there’s a newspaper which can support this sort of reporting (on the other hand). Not surprising that Amy Bishop seems to have some history of delusions of grandeur, she’s claiming that both she and her husband have an I.Q. of 180. That’s 5.3 standard deviations above the mean.…

Cardio = higher IQ (?)

Cardiovascular fitness is associated with cognition in young adulthood: During early adulthood, a phase in which the central nervous system displays considerable plasticity and in which important cognitive traits are shaped, the effects of exercise on cognition remain poorly understood. We performed a cohort study of all Swedish men born in 1950 through 1976 who…

Most people are not stupid (?)

More Singularity stuff. I’m Not Saying People Are Stupid, says Eliezer Yudkowsky in response to my summary of his talk. The last line of his post says: “I’m here because I’m crazy,” says the patient, “not because I’m stupid.” So the issue is craziness, not stupidity in Eliezer’s reading. The problem I would say is…

Going for the pain of paying

For Gun-Shy Consumers, Debit Is Replacing Credit: Visa announced this spring that spending on Visa debit cards in the United States surpassed credit for the first time in the company’s history. In 2008, debit payment volume was $206 billion, compared with credit volume of $203 billion. MasterCard reported that for the first six months of…

Addiction is not a “disease” (?)

Recently I listened to the author of Addiction: A Disorder of Choice, Gene M. Heyman, interviewed on the Tom Ashbrook show. A lot of the discussion revolved around the term “disease”, which I can’t really comment on, but a great deal of Heyman’s thesis is grounded in rather conventional behavior genetic insights. In short, a…

We know that dogs can read human faces, it turns out that babies can infer the meaning of different dog barks: New research shows babies have a handle on the meaning of different dog barks – despite little or no previous exposure to dogs. Infants just 6 months old can match the sounds of an…

Update: See Ed Yong. Randall Parker points me to a new paper from Joshua Greene which describes the neurological responses of individuals when do, or don’t, lie, when lying might be in their self-interest. From EurekaAlert: The research was designed to test two theories about the nature of honesty – the “Will” theory, in which…