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A Talk With Marvin Minsky [2.26.98], introduction by John Brockman

Alerted to this by "An AI conference warns us why we need to mind our language" New Scientist Jan 2019, "In his 2007 book, The Emotion Machine, computer scientist Marvin Minsky deplored (although even he couldn’t altogether avoid) the use of “suitcase words”: his phrase for words conveying specialist technical detail through simple metaphors. Think what we are doing when we say metal alloys “remember” their shape, or that a search engine offers “intelligent” answers to a query."

I haven't thought about this enough, but it seems to me that every important word, sufficiently closely examined, is a suitcase...

Here are some quotes from the interview:

"Most words we use to describe our minds (like "consciousness," "learning," or "memory") are suitcase-like jumbles of different ideas. Those old ideas were formed long ago, before "computer science" appeared. It was not until the 1950s that we began to develop better ways to help think about complex processes."

"Let's get back to those suitcase words (like intuition or consciousness) that all of us use to encapsulate our jumbled ideas about our minds. We use those words as suitcases in which to contain all sorts of mysteries that we can't yet explain. This in turn leads us to regard these as though they were "things" with no structures to analyze. I think this is what leads so many of us to the dogma of dualism—the idea that "subjective" matters lie in a realm that experimental science can never reach. "

"Consciousness, instead, is an enormous suitcase that contains perhaps 40 or 50 different mechanisms that are involved in a huge network of intricate interactions. "

"We shouldn't be so involved with those old suitcase ideas like consciousness and subjective experience. It seems to me that our first priority should be to understand "what makes human thought so resourceful." That's what my new book, The Emotional Machine is about."

"But "consciousness" is only a name for a suitcase of methods that we use for thinking about our own minds. Inside that suitcase are assortments of things whose distinctions and differences are confused by our giving them all the same name."
neuroscience  mind  consciousness  language  words  interviews  Marvin-Minsky  meta 
11 weeks ago by pierredv
The nature of feelings: evolutionary and neurobiological origins | Nature Reviews Neuroscience
Antonio Damasio & Gil B. Carvalho
Nature Reviews Neuroscience volume 14, pages 143–152 (2013)


Feelings are mental experiences of body states. They signify physiological need (for example, hunger), tissue injury (for example, pain), optimal function (for example, well-being), threats to the organism (for example, fear or anger) or specific social interactions (for example, compassion, gratitude or love). Feelings constitute a crucial component of the mechanisms of life regulation, from simple to complex. Their neural substrates can be found at all levels of the nervous system, from individual neurons to subcortical nuclei and cortical regions.
feelings  neuroscience  emotion  Damasio 
may 2019 by pierredv
Mind-reading devices can now access your thoughts and dreams using AI | New Scientist, Sep 2018
"We can now decode dreams and recreate images of faces people have seen, and everyone from Facebook to Elon Musk wants a piece of this mind reading reality"

"From an fMRI brain scan, Liu’s AI can say which of a selection of 15 different things a person was viewing when the scan was taken. For example, if someone was looking at a picture of a face, the AI can detect patterns in their scan that convince it to say “face”. Other options include birds, aeroplanes and people exercising, and the AI can call the correct category 50 per cent of the time."

Jack Gallant, UC Berkely: "When shown brain scans of someone watching a different YouTube video, the AI was able to generate a new movie of what it thought the person was viewing. The results are eerie outlines of the original, but still recognisable."

"Yukiyasu Kamitani at Japan’s Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute first showed in 2013 that it is possible to train an AI to detect the content of someone’s dreams, describing each in basic terms such as whether there was a male or female character, the objects included and details about the overall scene. Kamitani’s system has an accuracy of about 60 per cent."

"However, one big drawback of EEG is that there is so much unwanted noise to contend with. "

"The progress using AI with fMRI is causing people to rethink what EEG might be capable of."
NewScientist  AI  neuroscience  dreams  recognitioin  fMRI  EEG  ethics 
january 2019 by pierredv
How the Brain's Face Code Might Unlock the Mysteries of Perception - Scientific American
Profile of Doris Tsao
Via Linda Chang
"The brain is not just a sequence of passive sieves fishing out faces, food or ducks, she says, “but a hallucinating engine that is generating a version of reality based on the current best internal model of the world”. Her ideas draw on Bayesian inference theory; only by combining perception with high-level knowledge can the brain arrive at the best possible understanding of reality, she says."
psychology  perception  neuroscience  vision  SciAm  profile 
december 2018 by pierredv
Chill factors: The everyday things that make us see ghosts | New Scientist Nov 2017
"Over the years, researchers have singled out various physical, psychological and environmental factors. But debate continues about which ones are actually involved, how they create ghostly experiences and why some of us are more affected than others."

" In the early 1900s, British radio pioneer Oliver Lodge linked physical vibrations to reports of psychic phenomena. Others have since pointed the finger specifically at infrasound – sounds below the normal limit of human hearing – and electromagnetic fields. .... But other studies have been inconclusive."

" in 2009 by a team at Goldsmiths, University of London, who built a room to investigate environmental factors linked to ghostly encounters. Participants in the Haunt project reported plenty of “anomalous” sensations, ranging from tingling and sadness to sensing a presence, terror and even sexual arousal. However, there were no peaks in these effects close to planted sources of infrasound, and they were just as common when the infrasound was off as when it was on."

"The case for electromagnetic fields is less compelling, but O’Keeffe suspects infrasound does have a role in experiences of haunting. ... Context is crucial, though. "

"Some clues come from neurological patients who report feeling someone is there when no one is actually present. Olaf Blanke [et al.] examined some of them, and traced their experiences to lesions in parts of the brain involved in sensorimotor control: ... In particular, damage in any one of three brain areas resulted in the misperception of “self” as “other”."

“Our study shows that the brain has multiple representations of our own body,” says Blanke. “Normally, these are successfully integrated, giving us a unitary experience of our body and self. However, when the brain network is damaged, a second representation of our body – different from our physical body – may arise, which is not experienced as ‘me’ or ‘I’, but rather as the presence of another human being.” He notes that at high altitudes, a lack of oxygen could affect the temporoparietal junction, one brain region his team identified as playing a role in sensing a presence. Physical exhaustion could do so too. “Due to its direct link with sensorimotor processing, it could impact the brain regions we described,” says Blanke.
psychology  NewScientist  paranormal  hallucination  synaesthesia  sound  neuroscience 
october 2018 by pierredv
The first “social network” of brains lets three people transmit thoughts to each other’s heads - MIT Technology Review Sep 2018
Ref: BrainNet: A Multi-Person Brain-to-Brain Interface for Direct Collaboration Between Brains

"These tools include electroencephalograms (EEGs) that record electrical activity in the brain and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which can transmit information into the brain.
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In 2015, Andrea Stocco and his colleagues at the University of Washington in Seattle used this gear to connect two people via a brain-to-brain interface. The people then played a 20 questions–type game.

An obvious next step is to allow several people to join such a conversation, and today Stocco and his colleagues announced they have achieved this using a world-first brain-to-brain network. "

"The proof-of-principle network connects three people: two senders and one person able to receive and transmit, all in separate rooms and unable to communicate conventionally. The group together has to solve a Tetris-like game in which a falling block has to be rotated so that it fits into a space at the bottom of the screen."
MIT-Technology-Review  neuroscience  communication  EEG  TMS  Arxiv 
october 2018 by pierredv
Yoga and meditation work better if you have a brain zap too | New Scientist, Jul 2018
"Brain stimulation seems to offer a shortcut to unlocking the benefits of yoga and mindfulness sessions, but turbocharging meditation could have a dark side"

"Even so, it takes time and dedication to see results from yoga and meditation. Bashar Badran, a neuroscientist at the Medical University of South Carolina, and his colleagues think they can speed things along. Their secret is a simple, non-invasive brain stimulation technique called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). This involves sticking two electrodes to the head, one above the eye and one on the temple, and then steering a small electrical current across the brain. The method has already been shown to improve the symptoms of depression, help with addiction and cravings, and possibly speed up recovery from stroke. Badran thought it might also help people achieve a state of mindfulness more quickly and easily."

"In 2010, work by Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert, both then at Harvard University, showed that our mind not only wanders during as much as half of our waking hours, but we are also less happy when mind-wandering than when we are focused on a task. The pair’s conclusions concurred with what religions have emphasised for centuries: a wandering mind is an unhappy mind.

This mind-wandering state is associated with a set of brain regions collectively known as the default mode network. This switches off when we target our attention towards a specific goal, but comes back on when we allow our minds to drift. Studies show that people with more than 10 years of meditation experience are skilled at deactivating their default mode network, consistent with decreased mind-wandering.

Brain stimulation seems to fast-track that process."
NewScientist  yoga  meditation  mindfulness  tDCS  default-mode-network  neuroscience 
september 2018 by pierredv
The brain’s default mode network – what does it mean to us? Mar 2015
Marcus Raichle interviewed by Svend Davanger

"The default mode network is comprised of several areas of the cortex that are most active when no external tasks demand our attention"

"It was really surprising that, after the demanding tasks were completed, activity in these areas of the cortex increased again. The brain seemed to revert back to a default activity level, which is there in the absence of a specific, ongoing, external task"

"Many of the functions of the network are associated with our perception of our selves."

"It’s not only important to remember what’s important, but also to put a value on what’s important. The part of the default mode network up front, down almost between your eyes, just above your nose, has to do with deciding whether something is good, bad, or indifferent."

"Dreaming is mind-wandering disconnected. Why do we dream? Although there is no clear scientific answer, we cannot claim that dreams are just an inconvenience."

“To summarize the function of the three networks: the attention network makes it possible for us to relate directly to the world around us, i.e., here and now, and the default mode network makes it possible to relate to ourselves and our memories and previous experiences, i.e., the past and future. The salience network makes us switch between the two others according to our needs.”
neuroscience  default-mode-network  meditation  dreams  interviews 
september 2018 by pierredv
Dreaming and the Default Mode Network: Some Psychoanalytic Notes: Contemporary Psychoanalysis: Vol 49, No 2

This article makes a brief contribution to the ongoing dialogue on dreams between neuroscience and psychoanalysis by linking several converging lines of evidence. Recent evidence indicates that the default mode network (DMN), a highly interconnected set of “hubs” in the brain, is active during sleep. In addition, activity in the DMN is strongly associated with mental imagery that is not directly tied to current perception (“stimulus-independent thought”), which is also a central feature of dreams. Finally, the elimination of dreams is correlated with lesions in areas that have a high degree of overlap with two regions of the DMN, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) and the temporo-occipital junction. Given that the vmPFC is a key node in brain circuitry regulating motivation, these converging lines of evidence support the basic psychoanalytic idea that dreams arise from wishful impulses and other emotional motivations.
dreams  psychotherapy  neuroscience 
september 2018 by pierredv
Sleep and dreaming: Where do our minds go at night? | New Scientist Jan 2013
"dreams tend to be silent movies – with just half containing traces of sounds. It is even more unusual to enjoy a meal or feel damp grass beneath your feet – taste, smell and touch appearing only very rarely. Similar studies have tried to pin down some of the factors that might influence what we dream about, though they have struggled to find anything reliable."

"the idea that sleep helps to cement our memories for future recall "

[Mark Blagrove at Swansea University]'s "team has found that memories enter our dreams in two separate stages. They first float into our consciousness on the night after the event itself, which might reflect the initial recording of the memory, and then they reappear between five and seven days later, which may be a sign of consolidation"

"the sleeping brain also forges links to other parts of your mental autobiography, allowing you to see associations between different events"

"Perhaps the intense images are an indication of what a difficult process it is integrating a traumatic event with the rest of our autobiography."

"Despite these advances, many, many mysteries remain. Top of the list is the question of the purpose of our dreams: are they essential for preservation of our memories, for instance – or could we manage to store our life’s events without them? “There’s no consensus,” says [Patrick McNamara at Northcentral University]."

"some research suggesting that TV may have caused a major shift in the form and content of our dreams"
NewScientist  sleep  dreaming  neuroscience  psychology  dreams  memory 
august 2018 by pierredv
Empathy and compassion: Current Biology 2014, Singer and Klimecki
"In contrast to empathy, compassion does not mean sharing the suffering of the other: rather, it is characterized by feelings of warmth, concern and care for the other, as well as a strong motivation to improve the other’s wellbeing. Compassion is feeling for and not feeling with the other. Given the potentially very different outcomes that empathic or compassionate responses to others’ distress may have, it is of great importance to understand which factors determine the emergence of these different social emotions and to know more about whether and how such emotional responses can be trained and changed."
compassion  empathy  Tania-Singer  psychology  neuroscience 
january 2018 by pierredv
Different meditation types train distinct parts of your brain | New Scientist, Oct 2017
"Two new studies published in Science Advances suggest that certain kinds of meditation can change social and emotional circuitry... looked at the effects of three different meditation techniques on the brains and bodies of more than 300 volunteers over 9 months" - Tania Singer, ReSource Project at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig

"Mindfulness meditation increased thickness in the prefrontal cortex and parietal lobes, both linked to attention control, while compassion-based meditation showed increases in the limbic system, which processes emotions, and the anterior insula, which helps bring emotions into conscious awareness. Perspective-taking training boosted regions involved in theory of mind."

"Many studies have reported that meditation makes people feel calmer, but the effects on levels of the stress hormone cortisol have been mixed ... The researchers found that mindfulness meditation alone made the volunteers feel calmer when asked to give a presentation at short notice, but their cortisol levels were no different from those in controls. After engaging in face-to-face sessions with a partner in addition to compassion or perspective-based meditation, however, volunteers showed up to a 51 per cent drop in cortisol levels compared with controls."
meditation  NewScientist  Tania-Singer  psychology  neuroscience  emotion  feelings 
january 2018 by pierredv
We dream loads more than we thought – and forget most of it | New Scientist Issue 3121, 15 Apr 2017
"Francesca Siclari at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her colleagues have discovered that a decrease in these waves in an area at the back of the brain is a sign that someone is dreaming."

"The team found such a strong correlation between dreaming and fewer low-frequency waves in the “hot zone” that they could successfully predict whether a person was dreaming 91 per cent of the time."

"Monitoring seven people over five to 10 nights of sleep, Siclari found the volunteers dreamed during 71 per cent of their non-REM sleep, in addition to 95 per cent of their REM sleep. Despite all this dreaming, many dreams are forgotten. Sometimes participants had a foggy idea they had been dreaming, but couldn’t remember what about. In a further experiment with 10 people, the team found that being able to later remember a dream was linked to higher activity in the prefrontal cortex – which is associated with memory – while dreaming. "

Siclari et al, The neural correlates of dreaming
Nat Neurosci. 2017 Jun;20(6):872-878. doi: 10.1038/nn.4545. Epub 2017 Apr 10.
Consciousness never fades during waking. However, when awakened from sleep, we sometimes recall dreams and sometimes recall no experiences. Traditionally, dreaming has been identified with rapid eye-movement (REM) sleep, characterized by wake-like, globally 'activated', high-frequency electroencephalographic activity. However, dreaming also occurs in non-REM (NREM) sleep, characterized by prominent low-frequency activity. This challenges our understanding of the neural correlates of conscious experiences in sleep. Using high-density electroencephalography, we contrasted the presence and absence of dreaming in NREM and REM sleep. In both NREM and REM sleep, reports of dream experience were associated with local decreases in low-frequency activity in posterior cortical regions. High-frequency activity in these regions correlated with specific dream contents. Monitoring this posterior 'hot zone' in real time predicted whether an individual reported dreaming or the absence of dream experiences during NREM sleep, suggesting that it may constitute a core correlate of conscious experiences in sleep."
dreams  NewScientist  neuroscience 
july 2017 by pierredv
Explaining the alluring influence of neuroscience information on scientific reasoning
via New Scientist, Feedback "Previous studies have investigated the influence of neuroscience information or images on ratings of scientific evidence quality but have yielded mixed results. We examined the influence of neuroscience information on evaluations of flawed scientific studies after taking into account individual differences in scientific reasoning skills, thinking dispositions, and prior beliefs about a claim. We found that neuroscience information, even though irrelevant, made people believe they had a better understanding of the mechanism underlying a behavioral phenomenon. Neuroscience information had a smaller effect on ratings of article quality and scientist quality. Our study suggests that neuroscience information may provide an illusion of explanatory depth"
psychology  persuasion  rhetoric  neuroscience 
july 2015 by pierredv
It hurts to be human: Why pain is fundamentally different for us - opinion - 11 May 2015 - Control - New Scientist
"Patrick Wall ... was the first person to suggest a functional view of pain – that it should be understood as a mixture of sensation and the motivation to make it stop, not sensation alone. . . placebo effect. His account explained how rituals or procedures offered by a doctor or shaman, regardless of the efficacy or even existence of an actual treatment, could reduce pain. . . Wall argued that one of its roles in humans is as a motivation to seek help from some trusted source. When that goal is satisfied, pain is relieved." - "There is much indirect evidence in support of this "pain of altruism". Take, for instance, the fact that certain types of pain are not associated with any physiological damage, and studies that show the presence of others can affect reported sensations of pain. Labour pain is another good example." - "I think that the pain of altruism may be connected to the concept of honest signalling in behavioural biology"
NewScientist  pain  placebo  neuroscience 
june 2015 by pierredv
Is pain always real? | Oxford Today
"there is no straightforward relationship between tissue damage and pain" - "all pain is created by the brain. No brain, no pain." - "the brain is actually doing something quite clever: using all of the available information to make a decision about the amount of threat to the tissues. This includes information not only from the nociceptors, but also from our other senses. And from data already stored within the brain itself."
OxfordToday  pain  brain  neuroscience  nociception 
april 2015 by pierredv
Ever felt a ghostly presence? Now we know why - health - 06 November 2014 - New Scientist
"Their analysis pointed to damage in three brain regions: the temporoparietal junction (TPJ), the insula and the frontal-parietal cortex. In previous studies, Blanke's team had linked the TPJ with out-of-body experiences and the insula with the doppelgänger hallucination." "The new study shows that FoP involves disruptions not just in the integration of external and internal sensations in the TPJ and insula, but also signals related to movement (which are processed in the frontal-parietal cortex)." "The presence made itself felt when the slave robot moved with a delay of 500 milliseconds, so that the volunteers' hand movements were out of sync with the touch on their backs." "It seems that the brain, confounded by the mismatch between internal bodily signals related to the movements of their arms and the out-of-sync sensation of touch on their backs, attributed the touch to the presence of someone standing behind."
NewScientist  feeling-of-presence  psychology  neuroscience  brain-temporoparietal  brain-frontal-parietal  brain-insula 
december 2014 by pierredv
Left or right-wing? Brain's disgust response tells all - health - 30 October 2014 - New Scientist
"Conservatives showed increased activity in brain regions previously implicated in processing disgust, such as the basal ganglia and amygdala, but also in a wide range of regions involved in regulating emotion, attention and integrating information. In liberals the brain showed increased activity in different regions, but these were just as diverse. The team found that these neural signatures of disgust can be used to predict political orientation"
brain  disgust  politics  NewScientist  neuroscience 
november 2014 by pierredv
Male and female brains wired differently, scans reveal | Science | The Guardian Dec 2013
"Scientists have drawn on nearly 1,000 brain scans to confirm what many had surely concluded long ago: that stark differences exist in the wiring of male and female brains. Maps of neural circuitry showed that on average women's brains were highly connected across the left and right hemispheres, in contrast to men's brains, where the connections were typically stronger between the front and back regions."
gender  brain  neuroscience  psychology  TheGuardian 
december 2013 by pierredv
Hidden depths: Brain science is drowning in uncertainty - life - 17 October 2013 - New Scientist
"The edifice of research being built with brain scans is flawed. It’s time to rethink the approach to build a more complete understanding of the mind" Built on critiques by Ioannidis. See also editorial at
neuroscience  false-positives  Gallant  method  NewScientist  research  Ioannidis  statistics 
november 2013 by pierredv
Compassion - Bridging Practice and Science
"What is the difference between empathy and compassion? Is it possible to train compassion? Can it be measured? How useful is compassion training in schools, clinical settings, and end-of-life care? Can the brain be transformed through mental training? The free eBook: Compassion. Bridging Practice and Science by Tania Singer and Matthias Bolz describes existing secular compassion training programs and empirical research as well as the experiences of practitioners. The state-of-the-art layout of the eBook includes video clips and a selection of original sound collages by Nathalie Singer, and artistic images by Olafur Eliasson. In addition, the film Raising Compassion by Tania Singer and Olafur Eliasson brings together workshop participants in a remarkable exchange between science, art, and contemplative practice."
neuroscience  meditation  compassion  ebook  books 
october 2013 by pierredv
Who's in charge – you or your brain? | The Observer April 2012
Are we governed by unconscious processes? Neuroscience believes so – but isn't the human condition more complicated than that? Two experts offer different views - David Eagleman and Raymond Tallis
cognition  neuroscience  via:mindhacks  x:observer  consciousness 
may 2012 by pierredv
Zap your brain into the zone: Fast track to pure focus - life - 06 February 2012 - New Scientist
“Flow ... some people report the same ability to focus at a far earlier stage in their training, suggesting they are more naturally predisposed to the flow state than others. This effortless concentration should speed up progress, while the joyful feelings that come with the flow state should help take the sting out of further practice, setting such people up for future success, says Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi” The four key features that characterize flow: “The first is an intense and focused absorption that makes you lose all sense of time. The second is what is known as autotelicity, the sense that the activity you are engaged in is rewarding for its own sake. The third is finding the "sweet spot", a feeling that your skills are perfectly matched to the task at hand, leaving you neither frustrated nor bored. And finally, flow is characterised by automaticity, the sense that "the piano is playing itself", for example.”
neuroscience  *  meditation  NewScientist  flow  pschology 
may 2012 by pierredv
The Many Emerging Roles of Astrocytes | Brain Blogger
"Astrocytes are not electrically active in the classic way that neurons are. They were, therefore, long assumed not to play any active roles in neural signalling. However, experimental methods that allowed for the measurement of calcium release from cells, demonstrated that astrocytes communicated, not through electricity and voltage, but through calcium signalling. Calcium is involved in, but not necessarily responsible for neural signalling. By altering the calcium concentrations around a cell, the astrocytes can influence, but not initiate neural signalling." "In addition to playing complex roles in the brain, scientists grossly underestimated their size and reach. . . single astrocyte in the human brain may have connections with as many as two million neurons. Their processes extend to every corner of the brain and spinal cord."
neuroscience  biology  brain  brainblogger  astrocytes 
february 2012 by pierredv
Smashwords - Explore your blind spot - A book by Tom Stafford
"Discover how the mind hides its tracks. This is a short guide to one of the secrets of mind and brain. Find out about the gaps in your vision and how your mind is designed to stop you noticing them. "
vision  neuroscience  books  via:mindhacks  ebooks 
december 2011 by pierredv
Reading the brain: Mind-goggling | The Economist
"IF YOU think the art of mind-reading is a conjuring trick, think again. Over the past few years, the ability to connect first monkeys and then men to machines in ways that allow brain signals to tell those machines what to do has improved by leaps and bounds." "This sort of mind-reading is less advanced than the machine-controlling type, but it is coming, as three recently published papers make clear. One is an attempt to study dreaming. A second can reconstruct a moving image of what an observer is looking at. And a third can tell what someone is thinking about."
neuroscience  psychology  TheEconomist 
november 2011 by pierredv
Vipassana meditation: systematic rev... [J Altern Complement Med. 2010] - PubMed - NCBI
Vipassana meditation (VM) is one of the most ancient and diffused types of meditative practices belonging to the pole of mindfulness. Despite the growing interest toward the neurobiological and clinical correlates of many meditative practices, no review has specifically focused on current evidence on neuro-imaging and clinical evidence about VM.
A literature search was undertaken using MEDLINE,((R)) ISI web of knowledge, the Cochrane database, and references of retrieved articles. Controlled and cross-sectional studies with controls published in English up to March 2009 were included.
Seven (7) mainly poor-quality studies were identified. . . .
Current studies provided preliminary results about neurobiological and clinical changes related to VM practice. Nonetheless, few and mainly low-quality data are available especially for clinical studies and current results have to be considered with caution.
vipassana  meditation  neuroscience  research 
november 2011 by pierredv
Interoceptive awareness in experienced meditators - Khalsa - 2008 - Psychophysiology - Wiley Online Library
Attention to internal body sensations is practiced in most meditation traditions. Many traditions state that this practice results in increased awareness of internal body sensations, but scientific studies evaluating this claim are lacking. We predicted that experienced meditators would display performance superior to that of nonmeditators on heartbeat detection, a standard noninvasive measure of resting interoceptive awareness. We compared two groups of meditators (Tibetan Buddhist and Kundalini) to an age- and body mass index-matched group of nonmeditators. Contrary to our prediction, we found no evidence that meditators were superior to nonmeditators in the heartbeat detection task. . .
meditation  interoception  research  neuroscience 
november 2011 by pierredv
Interoception in emotional experience : Stefan Wiens 2005 = Current Opinion in Neurology
Purpose of review: Many theories of emotion have postulated a close relationship of the feedback of physiological changes and their perception with emotional experience. This paper reviews recent advances in theory and brain-imaging research on this topic of interoception and describes a hypothetical model of the potential mechanisms.
Summary: Consistent with recent theories of emotion, evidence from brain imaging supports the notion that centrally integrated feedback from the whole body plays a role in emotional experience. Because research on neural correlates of emotional experience is at an early stage, the hypothesized model of potential causal links between interoception and emotional experience might serve as a helpful guide to future research.
interoception  neuroscience  research  emotion  review-article 
november 2011 by pierredv
Interoception: the sense of the physiological condition of the body = Bud Craig 2003 - ScienceDirect - Current Opinion in Neurobiology :
Converging evidence indicates that primates have a distinct cortical image of homeostatic afferent activity that reflects all aspects of the physiological condition of all tissues of the body. This interoceptive system, associated with autonomic motor control, is distinct from the exteroceptive system (cutaneous mechanoreception and proprioception) that guides somatic motor activity. The primary interoceptive representation in the dorsal posterior insula engenders distinct highly resolved feelings from the body that include pain, temperature, itch, sensual touch, muscular and visceral sensations, vasomotor activity, hunger, thirst, and ‘air hunger’. In humans, a meta-representation of the primary interoceptive activity is engendered in the right anterior insula, which seems to provide the basis for the subjective image of the material self as a feeling (sentient) entity, that is, emotional awareness.
neuroscience  interoception  research 
november 2011 by pierredv
How do you feel? Interoception: the sense of the physiological condition of the body : Abstract : Nature Reviews Neuroscience = Bud Craig 2002
Abstract: As humans, we perceive feelings from our bodies that relate our state of well-being, our energy and stress levels, our mood and disposition. How do we have these feelings? What neural processes do they represent? Recent functional anatomical work has detailed an afferent neural system in primates and in humans that represents all aspects of the physiological condition of the physical body. This system constitutes a representation of 'the material me', and might provide a foundation for subjective feelings, emotion and self-awareness.
interoception  review-article  neuroscience  NatureJournal 
november 2011 by pierredv
Reflections on the Mind: Scientific American - Vilayanur Ramachanran
You probably look in a mirror every day without thinking about it. But mirrors can reveal a great deal about the brain, with implications for psychology, clinical neurology and even philosophy.
perception  brain  neuroscience  mind  vision  Scientific  American 
august 2011 by pierredv
Boy brain, girl brain: How the sexes act differently - life - 08 March 2011 - New Scientist
"We've found real differences in the ways men and women think and behave – but which ones matter? New Scientist puts things in perspective" Nice plot of "his/hers hierarchy" showing differences between distributions in std deviation units "most of the effects of sex on behaviour are only around half the size of those on height ... Play behaviour, for example, while varying far less between the sexes than gender identity or sexual orientation, is next in the league and differs by about the same amount as height. In practice this means that boys are on average more likely than girls to engage in rough-and-tumble play, or to choose a truck over a doll, but there are enough exceptions to that rule that it is not possible to predict a child's sex from his or her play preferences alone. . . . differences between... about half that of height include aggression, empathy, assertiveness and cognitive skills ... [then] verbal fluency and mathematical attainment"
sex  gender  neuroscience  personality  NewScientist 
march 2011 by pierredv
Elevate yourself to become more virtuous - life - 13 January 2011 - New Scientist
"Positioning people at elevated heights can make them more compassionate, helpful, co-operative and charitable "
Cf. dhamma seat?
psychology  ethics  compassion  neuroscience  experiment 
january 2011 by pierredv
Out of your head: Leaving the body behind - life - 13 October 2009 - New Scientist
Out-of-body experiences - may be due to malfunctioning TPJ temporoparietal junction "The TPJ processes visual and touch signals, balance and spatial information from the inner ear, and the proprioceptive sensations from joints, tendons and muscles that tell us where our body parts are in relation to one another. Its job is to meld these together to create a feeling of embodiment"
NewScientist  neuroscience  brain  psychology  brain-TPJ 
august 2010 by pierredv
A Neuroscientist Uncovers A Dark Secret : NPR
Fallon - found his OFC and MAO profiles matched that of the stereotype for serial killers - but turns out education is the third key ingredient
neuroscience  brain  brain-OFC  npr 
july 2010 by pierredv
Brain damage skews our moral compass - life - 30 March 2010 - New Scientist
"The discovery is helping to unravel how we make moral judgements – and has implications for people's fitness to serve as jurors or judges " Moral dilemmas presented to people with damage to ventromedial prefrontal cortex; responded differently to "normal" controls "Young concludes that both emotion and recognising intent in others are key to moral judgements." conclusion from Owen Jones of Vanderbilt: "They reveal regions that simply must be intact and functioning for people to make important moral and legal decisions"
NewScientist  experiment  brain-VMPFC  brain-temporparietal  ethics  neuroscience  behavior  morality 
may 2010 by pierredv
The secrets of intelligence lie within a single cell - life - 26 April 2010 - New Scientist
argument that a single cell has a lot of intelligence, critique of thinking of a neuron as a transistor
neuroscience  biology  brain  intelligence  cell  NewScientist 
may 2010 by pierredv
Under Threat, Women Bond, Men Withdraw: Scientific American
"Men get antisocial under pressure, but women tend to react in the opposite way" After stress, subjects shown faces in fMRI; women showed increased processing in fusiform face area (FFA) and insula
psychology  gender  stress  experiment  neuroscience  Scientific  American  brain-insula 
april 2010 by pierredv
Mind over matter? How your body does your thinking - life - 24 March 2010 - New Scientist
New experimental results that seem to bear out Lakoff's contention about the embodiment of metaphors. Tobias Loetscher at Melbourne et al has run experiments where our ability to think of random numbers are linked to bodily movements: eye movement could predict the size of the number the subject was going to say. Also interesting other work where moving objects up or down between shelves affected mood.
cognition  psychology  neuroscience  behavior  metaphor  NewScientist 
april 2010 by pierredv
Firing on all neurons: Where consciousness comes from - life - 22 March 2010 - New Scientist
"global workspace theory, was first floated in 1983 by Bernard Baars... proposed that non-conscious experiences are processed locally within separate regions of the brain, like the visual cortex. According to this theory, we only become conscious of this information if these signals are broadcast to an assembly of neurons distributed across many different regions of the brain - the "global workspace" (see diagram) - which then reverberates in a flash of coordinated activity. The result is a mental interpretation of the world that has integrated all the senses into a single picture, while filtering out conflicting pieces of information. Regions implicated: prefrontal, cingulate, parietal
consciousness  neuroscience  NewScientist  brain  brain-prefrontal  brain-cingulate  brain-parietal 
march 2010 by pierredv
Depression’s Upside - Feb 2010
by Jonah Lehrer built around the "analytic-rumination hypothesis"" for depression advanced by Andrews and Thompson but lots of quotes and bits about brain anatomy, eg. focus in the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex VLPFC
NYTimes  depression  psychology  neuroscience  cognition  brain-VLPFC  anatomy  brain 
march 2010 by pierredv
Wired 14.02: Buddha on the Brain
"the dilemma. Scientists can try to test the validity of the Dalai Lama's first-person perspective. But if they allow reverence for him to cloud their judgment, they will cease to be scientists and take rebirth as something quite different: acolytes"
religion  science  buddhism  neuroscience  x:wired 
march 2010 by pierredv
Damaged brains escape the material world - life - 11 February 2010 - New Scientist
"Increased feelings of transcendence can follow brain damage, a study of people with brain cancer suggests." "The brain region in question, the posterior parietal cortex, is involved in maintaining a sense of self, for example by helping you keep track of your body parts. It has also been linked to prayer and meditation" Link to Damasio by linking mediation/transcendence to self-definition People score highly for self-transcendance " answer "yes" to questions such as: "I often feel so connected to the people around me that I feel like there is no separation"; "I feel so connected to nature that everything feels like one single organism"; and "I got lost in the moment and detached from time". The same people also tend to believe in miracles, extrasensory perception and other non-material phenomena."
psychology  spirituality  neuroscience  NewScientist  damasio  religion  brain-posteriorparietalcortex  experiment 
march 2010 by pierredv
Giving the 'unconscious' a voice - health - 03 February 2010 - New Scientist
some patients diagnosed in vegetative state can give yes/no answers by fMRI imaging of them imagining different physical activities
consciousness  NewScientist  experiment  neuroscience 
march 2010 by pierredv
You won't find consciousness in the brain - Ray Tallis
Ray Tallis argues that "explanation [of consciousness] will always remain incomplete - or unrealisable. This concerns the disjunction between the objects of science and the contents of consciousness"
consciousness  brain  neuroscience  philosophy  NewScientist 
february 2010 by pierredv
The Anatomy of Sarcasm = APA Press Release
"The ability to comprehend sarcasm depends upon a carefully orchestrated sequence of complex cognitive skills based in specific parts of the brain. Yeah, right, and I’m the Tooth Fairy. But it’s true: New research details an “anatomy of sarcasm” that explains how the mind puts sharp-tongued words into context. The findings appear in the May issue of Neuropsychology, published by the American Psychological Association (APA). "
"The Israeli psychologists who conducted the research explain that for sarcasm to score, listeners must grasp the speaker’s intentions in the context of the situation. This calls for sophisticated social thinking and “theory of mind,” or whether we understand that everyone thinks different thoughts. As an example of what happens when “theory of mind” is limited or missing, autistic children have problems interpreting irony, the more general category of social communication into which sarcasm falls."
psychology  research  neuroscience  sarcasm 
november 2009 by pierredv
Mind - How Nonsense Sharpens the Intellect -
the sense of something uncanny going on "may prime the brain to sense patterns it would otherwise miss — in mathematical equations, in language, in the world at large. "
Via Christopher Ireland via FB
mind  psychology  neuroscience  via:fb 
october 2009 by pierredv
Icy stares and dirty minds: Hitch-hiking emotions - life - 15 September 2009 - New Scientist
"Many now believe that this reflects the way complex emotions arose in our evolutionary past. As our brain evolved to process more and more complex emotions, the theory goes, there was no need for new neural machinery: our emotions simply piggybacked onto the circuits that handle basic sensory perceptions"
brain  neuroscience  psychology  NewScientist 
october 2009 by pierredv
Will designer brains divide humanity? - science-in-society - 13 May 2009 - New Scientist
A survey of cognition interventions, but with insert on influence of meditation on brain tissue: "WE ARE on the brink of technological breakthroughs that could augment our mental powers beyond recognition. It will soon be possible to boost human brainpower with electronic "plug-ins" or even by genetic enhancement. What will this mean for the future of humanity?" "The evidence for this plasticity continues to grow. Andreas Roepstorff of Aarhus University in Denmark presented brain scans at the Berlin meeting showing that in people who meditate, the areas of the brain that control breathing are larger than the corresponding areas in people who do not (NeuroReport, DOI: 10.1097/wnr.0b013e328320012a)."
brain  culture  cognition  neuroscience  meditation  NewScientist 
july 2009 by pierredv
Attention and awareness in stage magic: turning tricks into research : Article : Nature Reviews Neuroscience
"magicians have explored the techniques that most effectively divert attention or exploit the shortcomings of human vision and awareness. As such, magic is a rich and largely untapped source of insight into perception and awareness"
neuroscience  cognition  psychology  via:gmsv  ** 
august 2008 by pierredv
Memory Loss - Aging - Alzheimer's Disease - Aging Brains Take In More Information, Studies Show - Health - New York Times
"for most aging adults ... much of what occurs is a gradually widening focus of attention that makes it more difficult to latch onto just one fact, like a name or a telephone number. Although that can be frustrating, it is often useful."
cognition  neuroscience  ageing  NYTimes 
may 2008 by pierredv
Traders would do well to track their hormones - / Home UK / UK
Comment by John Coates, research fellow at Cambridge, about influence of testosterone and cortisol on irrational exuberance
neuroscience  neuroeconomics  psychology  finance 
april 2008 by pierredv
Meditation, neuroscience - All In The Mind 14/09/2003
Matthieu Ricard, a buddhist monk at Shechen Monastery in Kathmandu and French interpreter for the Dalai Lama, and neuroscientist Richard Davidson interviewed on Australian public radio
meditation  buddhism  neuroscience 
november 2007 by pierredv
Are we still evolving? - being-human - 11 March 2006 - New Scientist
analysis of the results about microcephalin and ASPM mutation rates
neuroscience  evolution 
september 2007 by pierredv
Andy Newberg
"In Dr. Newberg’s new book, Why We Believe What We Believe, he focuses on the underlying mechanisms which govern our spiritual, social, and individual beliefs, arguing that we are biologically driven to find meaning and wholeness throughout our lives."
spirituality  religion  neuroscience 
september 2007 by pierredv
Neuroeconomics | Money isn't everything |
curious choices in ultimatum game made by men with lots of testosterone
neuroscience  neuroeconomics  economics 
august 2007 by pierredv
The Frontal Cortex : The Neuroscience of Gambling#comments
how the dopaminergic response works, and how the dopamine process is bamboozled be slot machines - example of "neurological fallacy"
fallacies  psychology  neuroscience 
july 2007 by pierredv
Meditation builds up the brain - being-human - 15 November 2005 - New Scientist
Kentucky work on alertness, and Sara Lazar's work on brain thickening in meditators
meditation  neuroscience 
july 2007 by pierredv
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