Neurophilosophy

New neuroscience blogs

Here are a number of new neuroscience blogs that I’ve come across recently:

Neuropathology Blog – by Brian E. Moore, an assistant professor in the Department of Pathology at Southern Illinois University’s School of Medicine. This is a welcome addition to the blogosphere, as neuropathology is a dying art (if you’ll excuse the pun).

Neuroanthropology Blog – a group blog by students and staff in the anthropology departments of Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia and the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, USA, which “encourage[s] exchanges among anthropology, philosophy, social theory and the brain sciences.

Neuroscientifically Challenged – by Marc Dingham, a graduate student in University of Hartford’s neuroscience program, who is “making advances in neuroscience understandable to the beginning neuroscientist”. 

Cognitive Neuroscience Conference Nijmegen Blog – the conference takes place in May, at Radboud University in the Netherlands; the blog is “an extension of the conference; a platform where neuroscientists can comment on and discuss the several topics in the field of neuroscience, thereby creating a network where neuroscientists are able to communicate in a fast and easy way.

History and Theory of Psychology Student Network – by “a network of students in North America [who are] committed to increasing and promoting scholarly activity pertaining to the history and theory of psychology.”

Of Two Minds – the blog formerly known as OmniBrain and Retrospectacle.

And finally, check out Not Exactly Rocket Science, the newest member of the ScienceBlogs network. This is a general science blog with a focus on biology, but author Ed Yong, who won last year’s Daily Telegraph/ Bayer Science Writer Awards, has written two neuroscience posts recently: What happens in the brain of an improvising jazz musician? (which is more detailed than my brief mention of the study) and Communicating chimps and talking humans show activity in the same part of the brain (Broca’s area).

Comments

  1. #1 carolyn13
    March 3, 2008

    Hi, Mo. I haven’t checked out any of your links yet, though I will eventually. Your links always lead to something interesting.

    I watched this program tonight on the National Geographic Channel called Dog Genius. It was making some pretty astonishing claims about the cognitive abilities of dogs. They claimed that dogs are capable of fast mapping, among other things. They showed a border collie choosing between images on a touch screen, blocked from human cues, and receiving a treat for choosing a positive image. A new image would be introduced with an image the dog had already encountered and had experienced as positive or negative. The collie seemed to be able to deduce which image was the positive one based on past experience. They also implied dogs have a concept of the other, perhaps even better than the lower primates.

    Do you know of any good studies on dog intelligence and neural organization? This program had some scientists it cited but it all seemed a little sensationalized to me.

  2. #2 Mo
    March 5, 2008

    Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any studies about the cognitive abilities of dogs. But I do believe that we have, very arrogantly, grossly underestimated the cognitive abilities of other animals, so genius dogs wouldn’t really surprise me.

  3. #3 Marc Dingman
    March 6, 2008

    Thanks for the recognition! I’ve been reading your blog for a while and the enjoyment I’ve got out of reading it is one of the reasons I decided to start one of my own.

  4. #4 carolyn13
    March 6, 2008

    But I do believe that we have, very arrogantly, grossly underestimated the cognitive abilities of other animals, so genius dogs wouldn’t really surprise me.

    I’m so glad to hear some one with your expertise say this. I’ve thought that myself for a long time. Dogs seem to me a good candidate for intelligence as well, not only because we’ve bred for it, but because of their social natures. I’d just like my hunch confirmed with something a little better than a cheesy TV show. :)

  5. #5 Marc
    March 7, 2008

    I think a lot of the problem with our underestimation of the intelligence of many animals is our tendency to use definitions of intelligence that apply to humans to evaluate that of other animals. It would be like a dog trying to determine if humans were good smellers. Of course our olfactory abilities are far below that of dogs, who can learn volumes about the occupants of a neighborhood just by taking a walk and sniffing a few fire hydrants. But for our adaptive purposes, we have an olfactory sense that is very sufficient. Similarly, dogs probably have a number of cognitive abilities that haven’t become extremely advanced because they’re not needed. At the same time, domesticated dogs may have vestigial cognitive abilities that were once much more important for survival in the wild, which we just don’t see evidence of very often because their use is unnecessary in their domesticated world. It doesn’t mean they’re not smart, but perhaps that they only exhibit as much intelligence as they need to to survive (which, for my pampered dogs at least, isn’t very much).

  6. #6 Mo
    March 8, 2008

    Regarding the olfactory abilities of humans, see this short post on my old blog, about a study which suggests that we can track smells just like dogs.

  7. #7 carolyn13
    March 9, 2008

    Marc

    I finally had time to check out some of Mo’s links. Your blog is terrific. I’ve added it to my favorites list and will be lurking there.

  8. #8 Janeen
    August 8, 2008

    The best and most interesting work being done today on canine intelligence, cognitive abilities and consciousness comes out of the Department of Ethology at the Eotvos University in Budapest, Hungary. Look for books and articles by Adam Miklosi and Vilmos Csanyi and those that reference them.

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