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Encephalon #23 Arrives May 23, 2007

Posted by Johan in Links.

Madam Fathom hosts the 23rd issue of Neuroscience blogging carnival Encephalon. It’s quite a good write-up, and I’m feeling the pressure – the next issue will be hosted here, on June 4. Contributions go to encephalon.host(at)gmail.com, as usual.

Some favourites from this issue:

Developing Intelligence offers a scathing attack on reductionism. I’m not sure if I agree with the analysis, but it’s an interesting read.

Memoirs of a Postgrad contributes a review of theories of embodied cognition and how these relate to AI research.

Finally, Neurozone has a post relating mirror neurons to language. I actually found this interesting, which, given my profound disinterest in psycholinguistics, must mean that the post is quite extraordinary.


1. Kambiz - May 25, 2007

What do you have against psycholinguistics?

2. Johan - May 25, 2007

I find it utterly boring, that’s all. I can see its relevance to human cognition (although I disagree that human language is qualitatively different from the communication of other animals), but syntactic tree structures and syntax just do not pique my interest.

But I’m not dogmatic about it. Unlike other parts of psychology that I have a problem with (eg evolutionary psychology), I have no problem with the research, or the claims that are made of its implications (the uniquely-human bit aside).

I think part of why I’m so bothered by psycholinguistics is that the U of York psychology department could be renamed the psycholinguistics department without anyone batting an eye. Have a look at the faculty page, and count the number of professors who do work on language.

Incidentally, in social psychology there is a less known side of the mere exposure effect, where a neutral stimulus becomes more liked just as a result of previous exposures. If your original reaction is slightly adverse rather than neutral, you get the opposite effect: increased dislike, kind of like how a mildly annoying commercial on TV becomes a real nuisance after seeing it a few times.

I think something like that may explain my problem with psycholinguistics.

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