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Encephalon #37 is out December 3, 2007

Posted by Johan in Links, Neuroscience.
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The latest issue of neuroscience blogging carnival Encephalon has just been posted by Bora over at Blog Around The Clock. Lots of interesting stories in a concise write-up.


Encephalon #35 arrives November 7, 2007

Posted by Johan in Abnormal Psychology, Links, Neuroscience.
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The latest issue of Neuroscience blogging carnival Encephalon is now online over at Primate Diaries.

My two picks of the issue would be two stories on Autism: Not Exactly Rocket Science reports on an experiment that is consistent with the ever-controversial idea that autism is linked with a deficient mirroring system. Also, Medopedia explores some possible reasons why people with Asperberger’s, that is, high-functioning Autism, frequently experience sleep disorders.

Faces everywhere September 21, 2007

Posted by Johan in Face Perception, Links.
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It’s amazing how faces seem to appear everywhere – whether this is a result of a face-specific innate mechanism, or just tons of practice with this particular class of stimulus. I recently discovered the wonderful Faces in Places blog, which is filled with examples of faces appearing in the most unlikely places. The picture above is perhaps a poor example of the human readiness to perceive anything as a face, since this particular item was likely designed with faces in mind.





That is a less plausible explanation for why these motorcycle gas tanks look like faces – they weren’t designed to be viewed from this angle.

We seem to be inclined to interpret almost any object with three enclosed dots as a face. This is quite different from other objects with which we have a lot of experience: you probably spend considerable amounts of time looking at your hands in order to guide your actions, but if you’re anything like me you  don’t see hands everywhere.

Encephalon #29 Arrives August 13, 2007

Posted by Johan in Links.
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With an excellent write-up by Paul of Memoirs of a Postgrad.

One of these days I will have time to post something, too.

Prolonged vacation and the dangers of diet soda July 25, 2007

Posted by Johan in Links, Rants, You Make Pearson Cry.

The blog has been idle for long enough for the spam bots to kick in properly – I can only surmise that they specifically target blogs with no recent post since there is less risk of moderation that way.

My vacation is still on, now in Budapest, Hungary. What little time I have for science is spent re-learning high school maths for the GRE and reading up for a literature review on face processing in Schizophrenia.

I was going to post a quick rant about the recently hyped-up story on how diet soda is linked with ‘metabolic syndrome’ (heart disease, diabetes and other consequences of poor eating), just like regular soda. There are some obvious problems with how the media has interpreted the correlational, non-causal relationship between metabolic syndrome and diet soda consumption, e.g., could it be that people who drink a lot of diet soda do so at fast food restaurants and in other contexts where you might eat unhealthy foods?

However, Shelley at Retrospectacle already posted an excellent critique of the study. I really have nothing to add, so go read about it at Retrospectacle instead.