Monday, September 14, 2009

Encephalon #75

Welcome to the 75th edition of Encephalon, your bi-monthly round-up of the best neuroscience and psychology posts from around the intertoobies...

First up in this edition is Vaughn over at Mind Hacks, with two fantastic titbits: amazing brain scans of 500-year-old mummies and a case-study of a patient who had a nail hammered into her head by some quack in an attempt to treat persistent headaches.

The massive literature on how human cognition is affected by non-rational, largely sub-conscious and often unacknowledged biases continues to grow. Two contributors submitted posts in this general area: Dave of Cognitive Daily and Dave of Neuronarrative. Our first Dave covers some recent work on how mood affects memory: apparently being in a bad mood when trying to memorize a list of words nullifies some kind of category cross-talk and thus improves recall. Weird. Our second Dave submitted two posts: the first (c'mon, parse that...) covers further work on how memories can be manipulated (this time courtesy of video), and the second is on how temperate influences emotion.

While neither Mo at Neurophilosophy nor Ed at Not Exactly Rocket Science actually submitted to the carnival, they produced a gem of a post apiece so I thought it appropriate to include them: Mo on the 'fiber optics' of the vertebrate retina and Ed on the dance of the disembodied gecko tail.

Daniel and Greg at Neuroanthropology do some public service blogging with a three part take down of a bad study of Rule 34 ("if it exists, there's porn on it"). Part 1: Sex, lies and IRB Tape, Part II: SurveyFail redax, and Part III: Nature/Nurture: Slash to the rescue...

So how about some neuroscience? Andrew and Scicurious to the rescue... The latter discusses behavioral tagging as a mechanism for long-term memory formation, and the former has a post on how adult fear memories can be erased (well, in rats).

Brain Blogger submitted two pieces: Jared Tanner calls for ethical debate before we create an artificial brain and Meghan Meyer discusses how physical and social pain may share neural architecture.

Finally, the usual trifecta of posts from Sharp Brains: cognitive enhancement via both neuropsychology and pharmacology, working memory training vs. medication treatment for children with ADHD, and a retooled understanding of 'use it or lose it'.

The next edition of the carnival, as far as I can see, has not been scheduled, so email Alvaro to volunteer!


  1. Mike, thank you for a great edition! just linked back

  2. I'm going to be hosting the next edition, so please e-mail submissions (up to 3 posts) to encephalon dot host at gmail dot com, by the end of this Sunday 27th September!