Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The somniloquy hypothesis: How the immature brain learns facts

A while back I wrote about the possible adaptive function of somnambulism or sleep-walking. Well...I've come up with yet another hypothesis addressing an "abnormal" behavior falling under parasomnias.

Somniloquy or sleep-talking can happen during stages of REM or NREM sleep (I'm speaking to the latter). This seemingly bizarre behavior typically occurs in childhood and is outgrown by puberty. Presentation can vary from rhythmic nonsense words to long coherent speeches. No one really knows where it comes from. The most popular answer seems to be because of stress.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The dual-tasking meditation master

I recently read an article in the latest Scientific American Mind magazine discussing the cell mechanisms underlying meditative states. The author briefly mentioned the fact that expert meditators were able to avoid the attentional blink that lay people are prone to experiencing when barraged with rapidly presented visual stimuli.

This brought up a question for me. Would expert meditators perform better on dual-tasks compared to age-matched subjects?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Orchid Hypothesis

I must say this is by far one of the most informative and exciting entries I've read all year. Dobbs does a good job explaining the more promising alternative to the diathesis-stress model.

Most of us have genes that make us as hardy as dandelions: able to take root and survive almost anywhere. A few of us, however, are more like the orchid: fragile and fickle, but capable of blooming spectacularly if given greenhouse care. So holds a provocative new theory of genetics, which asserts that the very genes that give us the most trouble as a species, causing behaviors that are self-destructive and antisocial, also underlie humankind’s phenomenal adaptability and evolutionary success. With a bad environment and poor parenting, orchid children can end up depressed, drug-addicted, or in jail—but with the right environment and good parenting, they can grow up to be society’s most creative, successful, and happy people.

I highly suggest checking it out:

Friday, November 6, 2009

Neuroscience and free will

This video speaks briefly to my previous post on free will. Enjoy!