Neuron Culture

Archives for November, 2009

Brian Lehrer I’ll be talking with WNYC’s excellent Brian Lehrer on his show this morning, from 11:06 to about 11:25, discussing my Atlantic article about the “orchid gene” hypothesis, which holds that many of the genes that are known to make us vulnerable to problems such as depression, hyperaggression or antisocial behavior, or distractibility —…

I will suck your gruyere Tyler Cowen on why people love vampire tales: Vampire stories offer a platform for exploring the theme of pure, limitless, and eternal desire, yet without encountering the absurdities that might result from planting that theme in a realistic, real world setting, such as a man who loves cheese studded with…

One of my favorite Roz Chast cartoons shows a woman dumping out the high-falutin’ contents of a filing cabinet drawer — 16th century art, or something like that — to make room for a new drawer full of information about new TV shows. This is the finite filing cabinet model of memory, in which you…

The Neurocritic: Genomarketing!

Is this the foreshadowing of a highly unethical marketing practice? Marketing based on MAO-A genotype, as determined from mailed-in credit card applications and payments? Credit card companies will have in-house labs to extract DNA from stamps and envelope flaps (Sinclair & McKechnie, 2000; Ng et al., 2007).1 Taking it one step further, entire marketing campaigns…

Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, has asked the Pentagon for info on how many troops in war zones have been prescribed antidepressants while they were deployed. Cardin sent a letter Tuesday to US Department of Defense Secretary Robert Gates expressing concern about how antidepressants are being administered troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Cardin wants to…

Hardly a day passes without yet another breathless declaration in the popular press about the relevance of neuroscientific findings to everyday life. The articles are usually accompanied by a picture of a brain scan in pixel-busting Technicolor and are frequently connected to references to new disciplines with the prefix “neuro-“. Neuro-jurisprudence, neuro-economics, neuro-aesthetics, neuro-theology are…

The video interview above, with NIH primatologist Stephen Suomi, is embedded within a feature of mine that that appeared today at The Atlantic website — and is in the December 2009 issue now shipping — about a new hypothesis in behavioral genetics. This emerging hypothesis, which draws on substantial data, much of which has gone…

James Fallows gets the shootings right, as he does so much else: In the saturation coverage right after the events, the “expert” talking heads are compelled to offer theories about the causes and consequences. In the following days and weeks, newspapers and magazine will have their theories too. Looking back, we can see that all…

Posted via web from David Dobbs’s Somatic Marker The Maldives, featured in a Wired gallery of islands shot from space. A place crucial to the story I told in Reef Madness: Charles Darwin, Alexander Agassiz, and the Meaning of Coral. It was in this unique archipelago that Alexander Agassiz found the evidence he felt proved…

Tell me that doesn’t leave you wanting more. Ed Yong delivers: Male bats create tents by biting leaves until they fall into shape. These provide shelter and double as harems, each housing several females who the male mates with. Fruit bat sex goes like this: the female approaches and sniffs the male, and both partners…