Games, Dolphins, and Rock 'n' Roll: Quick links from around the web

  • A judge has ruled against a recent Louisiana law banning the sale of violent video games to children. Since we've been rather outspoken here about the influence of violent games, I did want to reiterate that we've never advocated the sort of sweeping legislation that Louisiana has attempted to foist on the public. That said, it's important to understand that some violent video games can and do cause aggressive behavior in children and adults.
  • Scienceblogger Coturnix responds to the widely publicized remarks of dolphin-disser Paul Manger (I respond to the reports here). The flaw in Manger's position, Coturnix argues, is an anthropocentric definition of intelligence: "Intelligence has to be defined from the vantage point of that species." I agree that intelligence is tremendously difficult to define, but I'd suggest that the perspective of an individual species is a poor place to start. Based on that notion, every organism can be said to be intelligent, because every organism is highly adapted to its environment. When we say an animal is "intelligent," we're defining intelligence from our own perspective: the point is to identify animals that are similar to ourselves.
  • Finally, Mind Hacks points to a Wired interview with author Daniel Levitin, a psychologist who's written a book on the science of rock music. Fascinating stuff. For more on the cognition of music, sure to check out CogDaily's Music category.

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