Cognitive Neuroscience

Mixing Memory

Category archives for Cognitive Neuroscience

Sex = Mirror Neurons!

We already know that mirror neurons are responsible for social interaction (except when they’re not), meaning, art, religion, sports, dinosaurs, sun spots, Marxism, post-it notes, freeze-dried fruit, Harleys, and and Firefox 3.0, so it’s not at all surprising that we’re now learning that they’re responsible for sex as well. Oh, I know, I know, we’d…

Brain Activity and Meaning

Blogs and the mainstream media have been filled with neuroscience news lately. First we learned that sarcasm happens in the brain, and then that sexual orientation is in the brain too. There was even an attempt (sarcastic, I hope) to account for sports fandom with mirror neurons (I’ve heard that the actual reason we like…

So You Want to Be a Neuroimager?

Then listen to this set of lectures from the 2007 Advanced Neuroimaging Summer School at UCLA.

This Is Your Brain On Free Choice

Last month, a paper was published in Nature, in which Kay et al(1) were able to guess which of their stimuli a person was seeing by looking at their fMRI scans. The model looked something like this (from Kay et al’s Figure 1, p. 352): The image the participant is seeing is on the left,…

You know, just the other day, on this very blog, I swore I would never read another (cognitive) imaging paper again, but between then and now, I’ve read 5 of 6, so apparently my oath didn’t take. It’s sort of like my constantly telling myself, as I ride the bus to campus in the morning,…

Stereotype Threat Happens in the Brain

That’s it! I’m never reading another imaging paper again, ever. OK, I might read one or two, and I might even post about them, but for now I’m telling myself, for my own sanity, that I’m never, ever, under any circumstances, going to read another imaging study. If you read my last post, or have…

Reading an article in the LA Times today, I learned something exciting: political differences in thought happen in the brain. At least that’s what a new study published in Nature Neuroscience(1) purports to show, though I hear that the next issue of the journal will contain critical responses from Descartes, Malenbranche, and Eccles. Seriously though,…

Apparently so. Recent research has shown that pleasant smells can increase pain tolerance, and a recent paper by Prescott and Wilkie(1) suggests that it is specifically sweet smells that do so. I’ll just skip to the experiment, and spare you the background, because the experiment contains all you need to know. They started with three…

Color Opponency in Synaesthesia

All of you are probably familiar with color opponency, but just in case, I’ll give you a quick refresher. I’ll even start with the history. In the 19th century, there were two competing theories of color vision. The first was the Young-Helmholtz theory (sometimes called the trichromatic theory), which argued that there were three types…

The Brain Makes It Better

About a year ago, there was an article in Seed Magazine titled “Seduced by the Flickering Lights of the Brain,” in which Paul Bloom argued that people are too easily seduced by neuroscience, believing that it made for good science, even when it doesn’t. At the end of the article, Bloom mentioned a then unpublished…