Thursday, July 30, 2009

A measure of consciousness

Do our brains tap into the all pervading fundamental law of consciousness? Are our brains essentially consciousness-ometers?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hope for adults with dyslexia?

Deric Bownd at MindBlog posted an interesting review by John Gabrieli showing that children with dyslexia have reduced activity of the parietal-temporal cortex for phonological processing of print. Fortunately for most of these children remediation is possible.

I find this study particulary relevant to my work with adults suffering from dyslexia. I have seen significant improvement in a few of my patients after only having several months of treatment. I can't help but think that the same remedial neurobiological process taking place within these children are also taking place within adults who finally decide to seek treatment. This may be an interesting study to persue in the future.

John Gabrieli
Dyslexia: A New Synergy Between Education and Cognitive Neuroscience
Science 17 July 2009
Vol. 325.no5938,pp.280-283
DOI:10.1126/science.1171999

Friday, July 24, 2009

Imagined Carbohydrate Sensing in the Human Mouth

William Lu
Yeshiva University

Exercise enthusiasts across the world have at one point or another wondered how they could somehow boost endurance during training sessions. A recent study by Chambers, Bridge, and Jones (2009) showed that cyclists swishing around a carbohydrate solution in their mouth significantly improved performance by activating reward and motor control regions of the brain.

The impetus for my own preliminary study was fueled by a motivation to be less slothful and finally go out for a jog. I wanted to see if I could ditch the whole swishing of the carbohydrate solution altogether and improve performance by just vividly imagining drinking a refreshing plastic bottle of Gatorade whenever I felt I was about to give up(it should be noted that the last time I jogged was more than a couple of months ago).

METHOD

Participant

N = 1

Procedure
Subject jogged around the Central Park Reservoir for as long as possible. When subject became exhausted he instructed himself to visually imagine taking a sip of his favorite Gatorade drink.

Measure
Expected jog time.

RESULTS

Subject jogged significantly longer than expected.


DISCUSSION

It's possible that my vivid imagination tricked my very own brain into believing that it was receiving a carbohydrate solution, activating the reward and motor control regions when in fact it was receiving nothing at all. Before disregarding this conclusion as pure rubbish try it out for yourself the next time you go for a jog. This alternative may be much more appealing than mimicing chipmunk out in public.

The Hording Behavior of Males After a Breakup

Why do men typically horde boxed mementos of past relationships while women typically throw them away? After a lengthy discussion I conclude it may be due to emotion processing differences between sexes and that these mementos may act as a "security blanket" during times of singlehood. Women on the otherhand typically keep gifts of jewelry because it's "practical".

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Very interesting article by Claire Haworth et al. on the genetic influence of high intelligence. Apparently genetic differences explain approximately half the variance according to this study. BPS Research Digest does a nice job summarizing.

ResearchBlogging.orgHaworth, C., Wright, M., Martin, N., Martin, N., Boomsma, D., Bartels, M., Posthuma, D., Davis, O., Brant, A., Corley, R., Hewitt, J., Iacono, W., McGue, M., Thompson, L., Hart, S., Petrill, S., Lubinski, D., & Plomin, R. (2009). A Twin Study of the Genetics of High Cognitive Ability Selected from 11,000 Twin Pairs in Six Studies from Four Countries. Behavior Genetics, 39 (4), 359-370 DOI:

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The 40hz consciousness debate continues

A brief but interesting write up by Chris Chatham at Developing Intelligence on the continuing argument of whether the theorized 40hz oscillations found in the brain truly explain consciousness or merely evidence microsaccades.

http://scienceblogs.com/developingintelligence/2009/06/gamma_insight_and_consciousnes.php

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Consciousness

A few things I've learned thus far about our sweet phenomenal experience of the world around us.

1. Consciousness is just as nonreductive and fundamental as our basic physical laws.
2. It's all about the functional organization of information!
3. Information needs to be integrated in some way in order for consciousness to arise.
4. It's time to really think about taking panpsychism seriously.
5. Quantum physics undoubtedly plays a significant role in our phenomenal subjective experiences.