Manic Monday: Harlow’s Pit of Despair, the Rape Rack and Iron Maidens

“One of six monkeys isolated for three months refused to eat after release and died five days later…the effects of six months of total social isolation were so devastating and debilitating that we had assumed initially that twelve months of isolation would not produce any additional decrement. This assumption proved to be false; twelve months of isolation almost obliterated the animals socially.”

2015: Manic Monday, Technique Thursday, Findings Friday and Séance Sunday

Yes, it's that time of year again, when we make resolutions and promptly fail at them. But it'll be different this year, you tell yourself. I'll actually keep my resolutions. Yes, yes, of course you will. Since I, like most everyone else, have a positive bias towards myself, I have made the resolution to maintain … Continue reading 2015: Manic Monday, Technique Thursday, Findings Friday and Séance Sunday

My new book: Norbit the Neuron Neuroscience for Kids!

I haven't posted in a few months, but I've been working on other projects! In college, I began writing a children's neuroscience book. It's been 5 years now that I've been working on this project. Now, it's been illustrated! Or, rather, in the process of being illustrated. The illustrator is my boyfriend's youngest sister, and … Continue reading My new book: Norbit the Neuron Neuroscience for Kids!

Capgras Delusion: Impostors are Everywhere. Or are they?

Impostors, impostors everywhere. Or are they? David was involved in a bad car accident. He sustained head injuries when he landed head-first on the ground. Seemingly, though, he was fine, retaining the capacity to talk and walk. But there was a problem. Whenever David saw his mother, he would say that she looks like my … Continue reading Capgras Delusion: Impostors are Everywhere. Or are they?

Mirrored-Self Misidentification: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who I See is not Me at all

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who I see is not me at all. When you look into a mirror, who do you see? Yourself? Not if you have Mirrored-self misidentification, a delusional belief that your reflection in a mirror belongs to a stranger’s. The stranger just happens to look like you. The disorder might be … Continue reading Mirrored-Self Misidentification: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who I See is not Me at all

Developmental Plasticity and the “Hard-Wired” Problem

Patrick F. Clarkin, Ph.D.

“Development is the missing link between genotype and phenotype, a place too often occupied by metaphors in the past … But a strong emphasis on the genome means that environmental influence is systematically ignored. If you begin with DNA and view development as “hard-wired,” you overlook the flexible phenotype and the causes of its variation that are the mainsprings of adaptive evolution.” (Mary Jane West-Eberhard, 2003: 89-90)

“Genes, unlike gods, are conditional. They are exquisitely good at simple if-then logic: if in a certain environment, then develop in a certain way… So here is the first moral of the tale: Don’t be frightened of genes. They are not gods; they are cogs. (Matt Ridley, 2003: 250)

Plasticity: actor Christian Bale at two points in time. Same genes, different phenotypes.Plasticity: actor Christian Bale at two points in time. Same genes, different phenotypes.

In his book The Triple Helix, Richard Lewontin told the story of the molecular biologist and Nobel laureate Sydney…

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Cognitive Substraction: Why Brain Imaging Techniques aren’t always accurate

In imaging, there are certain methodologies, like the cognitive subtraction methodology. In this method, activity in a control task in subtracted from activity in an experimental task. So for example, take a word task. A simple model of written word recognition is used. In a famous experiment, the Peterson et al. (1988) experiment, they wanted … Continue reading Cognitive Substraction: Why Brain Imaging Techniques aren’t always accurate