Neurophilosophy

Archives for September, 2007

A study by a team of German researchers shows that the brains of paedophiles respond differently to those of healthy controls to erotic images. Martin Walter, of the Department of Psychiatry at Otto-von-Guricke University in Magdeburg, and his colleagues used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to compare neural activity in 13 paedophilic patients and 14…

Can you hear this painting?

Yellow Red Blue, by Wassily Kandinsky. After attending a performance of Wagner’s opera Lohengrin in St. Petersburg, Kandinsky said, “I saw all my colours in spirit, before my eyes. Wild, almost crazy lines were sketched in front of me.” Kandinsky was describing his experience of a condition called tone-colour synaesthesia, in which sounds elicit visual sensations.…

Two new ScienceBloggers

ScienceBlogs has two new additions: On Being A Scientist and a Woman and A Few Things Ill Considered.

My shared items

Google Reader has an excellent feature which enables users to display items from the RSS feeds to which they are subscribed in a “link blog”. I set up one of these link blogs earlier this year, and displayed the RSS feed in the sidebar on my old blog. My shared items can be viewed here,…

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has just published its annual Education at a Glance report. The survey includes statistics on enrolment and completion rates for primary, secondary and tertiary education from the 30 OECD member countries, including the numbers of students completing each level of education, the proportions of national wealth and…

Life without memory

I found this two-part documentary on YouTube. It’s about a musician called Clive Wearing, who became amnesic following a herpes encephalitis infection that damaged his hippocampus, as well as parts of his frontal and temporal lobes. Wearing’s is the most severe case of anterograde amnesia ever recorded. Unlike the famous amnesic Henry M., who can…

In this article from Wired, Sharon Weinberger discusses “mind-reading” technology that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security hopes to use to identify terrorists. The DHS is interested in Semantic Stimuli Response Measurements Technology (SSRM TEK), which has been developed at the Psychotechnology Research Institute in Moscow. SSRM Tek is a software package which can, according…

Mobs of honeybees kill hornets by asphyxio-balling

(Image credit: Emmanouil Filippou / GreecePhotoBank/ Current Biology) Giant hornets are the honeybee’s arch enemy. They enter nests, kill the bees and take them home to feed their young. Before leaving the nest, the pioneer foraging hornet secretes a hormone which attracts its nestmates. Other hornets then congregate at the nest, and attack it en…

My language is on the brink of extinction

Coptic leaf from the Gospel of Mark, Egypt, c. AD 500. (Southern Methodist University)  Nearly half of the world’s 7,000 languages are likely to become extinct over the course of this century, according to an article in the NY Times which discusses a recent study of endangered languages. (See this interactive map for more details…

Top science bloggers (including Bora, Carl, Abel Pharmboy, PZ and Razib) have been asked by The Scientist to nominate their favourite science blogs. You can see their choices, and nominate your own favourites, here.