Cognitive Neuroscience

Mixing Memory

Category archives for Cognitive Neuroscience

Emotion, Reason, and Moral Judgment

Research on the role of emotion/intuition in moral judgments is really heating up. For decades (millennia, even), moral judgment was thought to be a conscious, principle-based process, but over the last few years, researchers have been showing that emotion and intuition, both of which operate automatically and unconsciously for the most part, play a much…

The Simulation Theory of Aesthetics

With a paper by Freedberg and Gallese, to be published in Trends in Cognitive Sciences, mirror neurons have made their way into neuroaesthetics (at some point, someone like Gallese will publish a paper arguing that mirror neurons explain everything, and we’ll begin to wonder what the hell the rest of the brain is for). Here’s…

Gender Differences In Planning?

We all know that there are gender differences in neuroanatomy, as well as in some cognitive tasks (females tend to do better on memory and verbal tasks, men on spatial tasks) and both cognitive and emotional development, though it’s not clear how the cognitive/behavioral/developmental differences relate to the differences in neuroanatomy. Research on gender differences…

Cognitive Neuroscience of Religion

Over at The Neurocritic, there’s a great post on an imaging study that contrasted singing and speaking in tongues in five religious women. That reminded me of a paper I had read a couple months ago by one of the authors of the speaking in tongues study. It’s a paper on the neuroscientific study of…

Well, not exactly, but I’ll get to that in a minute. I read this paper last night, and afterwards, when I was looking around one of the author’s pages, I came across a neuroimaging study designed to look for “pre-existing neural, cognitive, or motoric markers for musical ability” 1. Apparently there are neural differences between…

Color Memory Changes Color Perception

One of the things that I love the most about cognitive science is that it’s always challenging our intuitions about the world and how we perceive it. Think, for example, of all the classic Gestalt illusions, such as my all time favorite, the Kanizsa Triangle. What these illusions, and many other findings over the history…

Enhanced Vision in the Deaf

Everyone’s heard that losing a particular sensory modality causes the sensitivity of the other modalities to be heightened. Blind people are supposed to hear and smell really, really well, for example. While this is something that’s been talked about for ages, there are actual neuroscinetific reasons for thinking that it might be true. When an…

One of the top ten coolest experiments ever has to be Botvinick and Cohen’s “rubber hand” experiment1. I’m going to let them describe the manipulation: Each of ten subjects was seated with their left arm resting upon a small table. A standing screen was positioned beside the arm to hide it from the subject’s view…

All Mirror Neurons, All the Time

The last couple weeks have seen a flurry of papers on mirror neurons, with three in last week’s issue of Current Biology, and the paper on mirror neurons and sexual orientation in press at NeuroImage (is it just me, or will that journal publish anything?) that is fast becoming infamous (see posts on it by…

There are a few topics in cognitive science that are like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. I find the very mention of them irritating, and the irritation can stick in my craw for days. At or near the top of that list are mirror neurons. These little cells have been made so sexy, either…