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brain

This tag is associated with 20 posts

Are you aware of your brain?

This is the end of International Brain Awareness Week. Brain studies have a high profile at the moment. The US Obama administration just announced the release of funds for the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative: “These technologies will open new doors to explore how the brain records, processes, uses, stores, and retrieves vast … Continue reading

Soft fascination

My ability to concentrate on any task is limited, no matter how much I enjoy that task. Eventually I reach a point where my performance is severely hampered, things take longer than usual, and I make mistakes, become inefficient, less creative, and easily distracted. Sound familiar? To concentrate on a task you need to block … Continue reading

The brain in the city

How does the space you are in affect the way you feel? We’ve just published an article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (Online First edition) outlining our results from a study using head-mounted EEG (electroencephalography) technology worn by people walking about outdoors in Edinburgh. We think this is a first. Such studies usually take place … Continue reading

Shallow reading

The Internet is changing the way our brains work, according to Nicholas Carr in his book The Shallows: “what the net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation” (p.6). For all its benefits, he thinks the web habituates us to browsing, clicking, skimming and jumping around information. So it’s … Continue reading

Pleasure with malice

Tour de Schadenfreude. Yet another celebrity suffers disgrace. Cyclist Lance Armstrong at last admits to winning all those Tour de France titles while taking performance enhancing drugs. Interest in this celebrity’s confession was massive. Around 28 million people watched the tv interview in which he admitted guilt. Tweets and joke websites pile on the derision. Social media and prosumer culture … Continue reading

Posh boys and mirror neurons

Last week the BBC reported renegade UK Tory back bencher Nadine Dorries’ assertion that not only are the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer “two posh boys who don’t know the price of milk, but they are two arrogant posh boys who show no remorse, no contrition, and no passion to want to … Continue reading

Exaggeration

I’ve been reading the latest book by eminent neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran and trying to get my head into the way of thinking of brain researchers. It’s a pop-science book. So it contains nothing technically or biochemically challenging. A large section of the book is dedicated to why we like art, and particular works of art. … Continue reading

Arboreal architecture gets wrong end of the stick

What is neuroarchitecture?[1] In a recent New York Times article author Sarah Williams Goldhagen claims that developments in cognitive neuroscience are having an effect on architecture. Cognitive neuroscience derives evidence about how the mind works from heavy duty brain imaging technologies such as EEG (electroencephalography), CAT (computed axial tomography), and NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) imaging. Neurotechnologies are getting cleverer, … Continue reading

Neuroscience eclipses AI

… at least in its ambition. The Blue Brain Project is a venture centred at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland in collaboration with IBM to create a synthetic brain in hardware and software. The project name references “Deep Blue,” the IBM chess computer that reputedly “beat” reigning champion Garry Kasparov in 1996. … Continue reading

Brain Scans and Creativity

As well as its obvious clinical applications, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) helps researchers create maps locating brain activity during tasks such as solving puzzles, daydreaming, playing musical instruments, composing, writing and generally being creative. Knowing where something takes places provides confidence that we are closer to understanding it. This tendency to equate understanding with getting … Continue reading

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