Neurophilosophy

Archives for October, 2007

MoD begins traumatic brain injury study

The Guardian reports that the Ministry of Defence has just started a major study into traumatic brain injury (TBI) in British troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. In an accompanying article, the behavioural, cognitive, emotional and physical symptoms of this “silent injury” are described by the father of an American soldier who sustained TBI during…

Wildlife photograph of the year

(Image: Ben Osborne)  This photograph of an elephant at a watering hole, by Ben Osborne, has just been announced as the best overall photo in the 2007 Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition. “I staked out this waterhole in Botswana’s Chobe National Park for three weeks,” Osborne says, “taking pictures from my vehicle of…

Physicist Chad Orzel, who knows a lot more than I do about the mysterious world of quantum mechanics, criticizes the new model of quantum consciousness proposed by Efstratios Manousakis, which I described recently.

The almond

The new issue of Current Biology has a freely available primer on the amygdala by Joseph LeDoux of the Center for Neural Science at New York University. The amgdala is a small, almond shaped structure found on the medial surface of the temporal lobe, just anterior to the hippocampus. Functionally, it can be thought of…

Earliest land vertebrates had a colourful view

Some 365 million years ago, during the early Devonian period, the Sarcopterygian (or lobe-finned) fish emerged from the sea and gave rise to the first terrestrial tetrapods. During the course of their evolution, the tetrapods became adapted to life on land. One big challenge faced by the earliest tetrapods was how to interpret the rich…

One third of Americans believe in ghosts

In a new poll conducted for Halloween by the Associated Press and market research company IPSOS, one third of respondents said that they believe in ghosts and UFOs, and nearly one half said they believe in extrasensory perception. A Yahoo! News story summarizes the main findings of the AP/ IPSOS poll.

A journey to the center of the mind

This film from the Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) website features a 24-minute talk called A Journey to the Center of the Mind, by neuroscientist and neurologist V.S. Ramachandran, who heads the Center for Brain and Cognition at the University of California in San Diego. In his talk, “Rama” discusses synaesthesia, phantom limb syndrome (including…

MindPapers

David Chalmers, a professor of philosophy at the Australian National University and director of the Center for Consciousness, has just announced the launch of MindPapers, an online database of papers about the philosophy of mind. The database is very comprehensive indeed – it includes about 18,000 published and online papers, subdivided into sections such as…

Abandoned brains

(Image credit: Alex Klochkov) Here is a rather macabre set of photographs by Alex Klochkov, apparently taken in an abandoned Russian brain research laboratory.

According to Efstratios Manousakis, a professor of condensed matter physics at Florida State University in Tallahassee, the key to consciousness could be lie in the quantum effects that occur in the brain when one is viewing ambiguous figures like the spinning silhouette (or Rubin’s vase or the Necker Cube). These optical illusions are ambiguous because…