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Child Development – Fostering Self-Actualization at a Young Age

Finding out who we are meant to be can be a difficult task and most won’t take the time and energy involved in the journey. Perhaps, not that they won’t, more often than not they can’t. Many people struggle daily with meeting other more base needs, rendering them unable to direct their energy towards higher, […]

Pulling Back Canadian Censorship of Science

During the recent Harper administration in Canada, scientists doing federal research were effectively censored from speaking with the media. This was a clear attempt at controlling the narrative with regard to environmental issues, from global warming to the effect of fisheries and water quality. Show More Summary

Science Is Not (Entirely) A Social Construct

Humans have a frustrating tendency to prefer simplicity. This is probably necessary, given that we have finite brains trying to grapple with a massive and complex universe. I have found that part of the intellectual journey is to think carefully about the balance between the need for manageable simplicity while recognizing that our models are […]

"Neuroscience-Based Nomenclature" for Mental Health?

Psychiatric drugs come in many kinds: there are antidepressants, antipsychotics, anti-anxiety medications, and more. But what all of these categories have in common is that they're anti- something. This is how we classify these drugs - by what they treat. Except there's a problem - very few psychiatric drugs are only used to treat one thing. Show More Summary

Mind Over Matter? Mindfulness Meditation For Pain Management

Pain is subjective. It is a sensory and emotional experience that can be influenced by countless factors, ranging from expectations to mood or even faith. Chronic pain can be highly despairing and significantly affect one’s quality of life and emotional state. The currently available analgesic treatments don’t always work, and pain researchers keep searching for […]

The Truth About Cognitive Impairment in Retired NFL Players

NINETY-TWO percent of retired National Football League players have decreased cognitive function, according to a new study:“In the NFL group, baseline neuropsychological assessments showed 92% of players had decreased general cognitive...Show More Summary

Words On The Brain: A Semantic Map of the Cortex

In a new Nature paper, Berkely neuroscientists Alexander G. Huth and colleagues present a 'semantic atlas' of the human brain. Huth et al. have mapped which brain areas respond to words, according to the semantics (meanings) of each word. Show More Summary

Neurological Basis of Altruism

Altruistic behavior is often seen as a hallmark of civilized person. Defined as a selfless concern for the well-being of others, or action/behavior that benefits others at someone’s own expense, altruism was, for very long time, viewed from two opposite perspectives. Some would argue that altruism is an integral part of human nature, something that […]

Fulfilling Our Unique Humanity

Maslow, Rogers, Satir and Erickson are just some of the scholars who have shaped and will continue to shape a core psychological paradigm – humanism. In this article, I elaborate on the optimal conditions necessary to become the best persons we can possibly be. Some psychologists refer to this ultimate state as self-actualization. I call […]

Some Battery Click-Bait

In an updated version of Dante’s Inferno there is one level of science hell that is specifically reserved for headline writers. In their hell there are endless signs pointing the way out of their torment, but all the signs are misleading or overhyped. They are therefore perpetually devastated by the difference between what they are […]

Research Talk

So today for my class, rather than having a regular period I decided to give a research talk about some of the research going on in my lab. I think it went pretty well, I gave it at the level that I would to a regular seminar audience (usually grad students, postdocs and faculty) and […]

What Is Biohacking?

After reading up on biohacking and listening to its proponents, I have come to the conclusion that biohacking is not a real thing. It doesn’t really exist. Here is how one biohacking site describes what they think it is: Biohacking is a crazy-sounding name for something not crazy at all—the desire to be the absolute […]

The Neural Precursors of Spontaneous Thoughts

Back in 2013, I wondered if we would ever discover the neural basis of spontaneous thoughts. Why, I asked, do certain ideas just "pop" into our minds at particular times? Now a new paper published in Neuroimage, Canadian neuroscientists Melissa Ellamil and colleagues reports on the neural basis of spontaneous thoughts. Ellamil et al. Show More Summary

Mindfulness-based stress reduction versus cognitive behavior therapy for chronic back pain

The most interesting things to be learned from a recent clinical trial of mindfulness-based stress reduction to cognitive behavior therapy for chronic back pain are not what the authors intend. Noticing that some key information

Organic Pesticides

Have you seen the pro-organic propaganda video with the happy family who switches to organic only food and the pesticides disappear from their urine? It has over 5 million hits as of this writing. This is a core fearmongering strategy of the organic lobby. Of course, there is no discussion about the absolute level of […]

Gateways

I had fun reading the various #gatewaytoscience tweets late last week. People wrote in what initially got them into science. I think anyone who is a scientist as an adult probably had some interest in science as a kid and it was fun reading about the various books, teachers, experiences that got people hooked. But the […]

Exercise and Brain Aging

The brain is a pliable organ. Its pliability makes it versatile – allowing the body to easily respond to the external environment and at the same time permit a variety of other cognitive as well as emotional and motor functions. But, over time, it ages like the rest of us. A child’s brain is most […]

How Old are Classic Fairy Tales?

My daughters will occasionally relate some bit of culture from their school, such as a joke or prank, that I recognize from my youth four decades ago. It is amazing to think that these memes have persisted in “kiddy culture” largely unchanged over decades, transmitted largely from older to younger children, though siblings or perhaps […]

Top Smart Clothes

The concept of dressing smart is about to change. It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing trainers, a suit or a chimpanzee onesie. Any garment can actually be very smart if made with the right technology, that is to say, if it is “intelligent clothing”. While smart wearables like wristbands and watches are already popular gadgets […]

More on Publication Bias in Money Priming

Does the thought of money make people more selfish? Last year, I blogged about the theory of 'money priming', the idea that mere reminders of money can influence people’s attitudes and behaviors. The occasion for that post was a study showing no evidence of the claimed money priming phenomenon, published by psychologists Rohrer, Pashler, and Harris. Show More Summary

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