Friday, October 02, 2009

Mindblog backlog...

Another compilation of items that are potentially interesting to some MindBlog readers:

Two Blogs of interest: Body in Mind (self explanatory) and Phenomics (on more intelligent description of personality dysfunction based on underlying genetic heterogeneity, and how the the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders actually impedes research and understanding.)

The robot that breaks and reassembles itself.

Why we need God.
From Robert Wright, author of “The Moral Animal,” “Nonzero” and, most recently, “The Evolution of God.”

Eyes Wide Shut - perceived emotionality of music, eye closure, and the amygdala.

Brain pathology in athletes appears at an unusually young age.

Numbers in the Blind's “Eye.” Both blind and sighted people represent numbers through a spatial code, but with different electrophysiological correlates corresponding to cognitive versus sensory processing.

Gates Puts Feynman Lectures Online. These famous lectures can show you that there really is joy in physics. I was overwhelmed when I first saw some of them in my college days.

Knowledge rewards. It turns out that the size of coming rewards is signalled by the same dopamine neurons that signal primitive rewards like sex and food. Two monkeys were trained to glance at one of two targets on a computer screen in order to receive a drink reward, which was randomly large or small. When one target included information about reward size the monkeys preferred to go for that target, rather than be surprised by a randomly sized reward. Neurons in the brain's 'reward' circuitry fired when the monkeys learned information about the future, suggesting that the act of prediction may be intrinsically rewarding.

Yet another theory on why we sleep ...suggestion that sleep evolved to optimize animals’ use of time, keeping them safe and hidden when the hunting, fishing or scavenging was scarce and perhaps risky. In that view, differences in sleep quality, up to and including periods of insomnia, need not be seen as problems but as adaptations to the demands of the environment.

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