Neurobiology

Pharyngula

Category archives for Neurobiology

Neuro student articles

I’m teaching an upper-level course in neurobiology this term, and as I usually do, I made all the poor suffering students go out and create blogs, and I also told them they had to write one post a week about neuroscience. Today I was asked if I was going to pharyngulate their blogs, and of…

Maybe you’ve seen this before: it’s a diagram of the sensory and motor cortex of the brain, with a little man or homunculus drawn over it to illustrate the somatic areas associated with each region. You see where the little man’s knee is on the left image of the sensory cortex? Stick an electrode in…

He’s completely lost me again. Brown has a couple of posts up complaining about people referring to mental illness as a “brain disease” and confusing mind with brain — he seems to deplore the growing recognition that the mind is entirely a product of the brain, and that psychology is built on a physical substrate,…

Reading for non-psychopaths

I’ve met Jon Ronson a few times, including this past weekend, but I can’t say I really know him — we’ve exchanged a few words, I’ve heard him give a talk, I now him as the short intense guy with the very bad hair, slightly neurotic, expressive, and funny. But I read his book, The…

The new phrenology

Morphological variation is important, it’s interesting…and it’s also common. It’s one of my major scientific interests — I’m actually beginning a new research project this spring with a student and I doing some pilot experiments to evaluate variation in wild populations here in western Minnesota, so I’m even putting my research time where my mouth…

Optogenetics!

The journal Nature has selected optogenetics as its “Method of the Year”, and it certainly is cool. But what really impressed me is this video, which explains the technique. It doesn’t talk down to the viewer, it doesn’t overhype, it doesn’t rely on telling you how it will cure cancer (it doesn’t), it just explains…

A team of neuroscientists has made the coolest nerd porn film ever. They gave 16 women vibrators and asked them to bring themselves to orgasm while they made a movie…of their brains, using an MRI scanner. It’s going to premiere at the Society for Neuroscience meetings. While it sounds like they have some interesting results…

Everyone should read this very good, very clear article in Seed magazine. It stomps on the concept of a soul from the perspective of modern neuroscience. The evidence supports another view: Our brains create an illusion of unity and control where there really isn’t any. Within the wide range of works arranged along the axis…

The sexist brain

It looks like I have to add another book to my currently neglected reading list. In an interview, Cordelia Fine, author of a new book, Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll), has a few provocative things to say about gender stereotypes and the flimsy neuroscience used to justify them. So…

There he goes again, making up nonsense and making ridiculous claims that have no relationship to reality. Ray Kurzweil must be able to spin out a good line of bafflegab, because he seems to have the tech media convinced that he’s a genius, when he’s actually just another Deepak Chopra for the computer science cognoscenti.…