Neurobiology

Pharyngula

Category archives for Neurobiology

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.…

The secret life of babies

Years ago, when the Trophy Wife™ was a psychology grad student, she participated in research on what babies think. It was interesting stuff because it was methodologically tricky — they can’t talk, they barely respond in comprehensible way to the world, but as it turns out you can get surprisingly consistent, robust results from techniques…

It’s a little disturbing to see an entire vast field of science reduced to a one-page cartoon, but it did win an award for science visualization, and we’ve got to get people hooked on the cool stuff somehow.

The Ubiquity of Exaptation

On Thursday, I gave a talk at the University of Minnesota at the request of the CASH group on a rather broad subject: evolution and development of the nervous system. That’s a rather big umbrella, and I had to narrow it down a lot. I say, a lot. The details of this subject are voluminous…

Get your geek on for Thursday

I’m going to be opening my mouth again on Thursday in Minneapolis — I’ll be giving a talk in MCB 3-120 on the Minneapolis campus at 7:30 on Thursday, 3 December. This will be open to the public, and it will also be an all-science talk, geared for a general audience. I’d say they were…