Blogging on the Brain: 11/04

A first-hand report of caloric vestibular stimulation - to treat Body Integrity Identity Disorder, in which patients often desire to have large parts of their bodies amputated.

Ambien, a sleep drug recently discovered to awaken some people from comas is also linked to strange behavior: one woman paints her frontdoor - in her sleep.

Altruism as an identifying characteristic of intelligence - "friendly intelligence," at least.

Isaac Asimov asks "What Is Intelligence Anyway?"

Brian Mingus asks if we'd recognize it if we saw it.

Can you extract the "ball" from each image based on motion cues alone? Watch the video and you'll see what I mean.

Why aren't there more Einsteins?

Sound training for dyslexics works.

Archeological finds along the Ivory Coast suggest prehistoric chimps were making tools, similar in quality to those made by pre-human ancestors around the same time, leading the authors to speculate that both humans and chimps inherited this technology from a common ancestor.

Chimps have also been recently observed to live in caves and hunt with spears.

Did Neandarthals speak to one another? Looks like they have a gene "for" speech.

Baby space rovers: Bongard designs robotic rovers to explore their environment like (he believes) babies do.

Why do infants succeed where toddlers fail (at least, when tested in the right way)?

What is the purpose of prefrontal cortex, and what specific mechanisms in prefrontal cortex accomplish this purpose? Part 1, 2 and 3.

Can task-set cueing be considered a conscious process? New evidence suggests not.

Video tutorials on topics like reinforcement learning and biological vision ("from pixels to percepts"), courtesy of NIPS.

More videos on machine learning.

Delay of gratification: easier with money than beer.

Record numbers of soldiers now survive war - traumatic brain injuries notwithstanding. What kind of future do these people face?

Blogroll addition: Natural Language Processing Blog.


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Hello Chris,

I'm Claire, the author of the blog post on VCS to treat BIID. Thanks for taking a look! Just a quick note...most people with BIID do desire amputation. However, there are many people with BIID who actually need other impairments such as paralysis, blindness, deafness, etc. Dr. Michael First (editor of the DSM and the person who coined the term BIID) is actually on the verge of conducting a new study aimed at people who desire impairments other than amputation. There's a bit more here… and more information about the study will be posted at when we get it.