Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How forming new memories help retain older ones

Try to remember this visual paired associate (AB):

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Parkinsonian emotion recognition impairment better accounted for by sleep deprivation

The New York Times recently covered a paper by Grey and Tickle-Degnen, published in the journal Neuropsychology, finding that people with Parkinson's Disease (PD) are not able to recognize facial and vocal emotions very well. The article states that it's not clear why this seems to be the case.

I briefly reviewed the original meta-analytic paper (the pdf can be found here) and saw that the research team accounted for 1) the emotion recognition tasks used, 2) the medication the participants were on, and 3) the existence of depression as possible moderatoring variables for the impairment in emotion recognition.

Jon Kabat-Zinn's Toward a Mindful Society

I recently found a great interview with creator of the mindfulness-based stress reduction program, Jon Kabat-Zinn, discussing the philosophy, goals, and promise of the mindfulness movement. I highly suggest the read found here.

Apparently they've made a Facebook page promoting his candidacy for Noble Prize in Medicine.

Let me know what you think about the article and whether or not he has a fighting chance. MBSR ftw!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Earworms, lyrics, and tunes in the brain

Last time I left off quoting Lady GaGa's masterwork Poker Face. I continue to rag on it because I can't seem to escape it's repetitive and forced impingement on my vulnerable eardrums. Unfortunately, the city doesn't afford much auditory privacy and some people in the subway are really determined to lose their hearing before old age. Whatever happened to iPod etiquette?

According to Oliver Sack's book Musicophilia I've got a bad case of the earworm. This is when a piece of music repeats compulsively in one's mind. But if I hate the song so much why is my brain constantly replaying it over and over again? Sacks similarly asks:

Saturday, March 13, 2010

2010 Research Blogging Awards

Hey guys. Just wanted to remind you that the deadline for votes is tomorrow so click on that icon to the left and VOTE! However, you need to register with researchblogging.org first. So if you contribute to a pretty kick ass science blog using peer-reviewed sources I highly suggest doing so.

By the by, my blog has been nominated in two categories, Best Psychology Blog and Best Neuroscience Blog (thanks to those who nominated the "QLC"). I've got a lot of awesome competition so make sure to check out their sites. Your votes would be greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sleep deprivation impairs emotion recognition

The ability to read emotions is an important part of the human experience; the only way to successfully navigate through complex social environments. It comes in handy especially if you don the title of psychotherapist or professional poker player. Without it, you become socially inept. You enter the world of the autistic individual.

Thanks to Charles Darwin we now know that it’s not just the eyes that are “the windows to the soul”. He first wrote about the subject of facial expressions in his 1898 book titled The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (the link includes the work in its entirety). In it he described the emotions conveyed in the face as being both universal and “species-specific”.