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Blog Profile / Brain Blogger

Filed Under:Academics / Neuroscience
Posts on Regator:700
Posts / Week:2.4
Archived Since:January 19, 2009

Blog Post Archive

Psychosis and Divergent Thought

The proverbial beautiful mind of the proverbial schizophrenic resides in a brain that has abnormalities. This includes diminished frontal lobe activity, resulting in deficits in the brain’s ability to process information in a cognitively organized way and stopping people from screening out irrelevant stimuli. Show More Summary

Linguistic Relativity Today

Linguistic relativity is the idea that the language you speak affects how you think. A lot of people know this as the “Sapir-Whorf hypothesis” or “Whorfianism” after one of its earliest proponents, Benjamin Whorf. Many people think that linguistic relativity has died out, that it has been disproven, or that it is generally accepted as […]

How Do We Think About Pitch?

In linguistic relativity research, there is quite a bit of literature on metaphors and how they affect our perceptions of the world. Metaphors are built on language, and if it can be shown that people use those metaphors to think with, that would be taken as pretty solid evidence that language affects the way we […]

Better Than Average – Are Prisoners Really So Different?

In a study recently published in the British Journal of Social Psychology, University of Southampton researchers found that prisoners rated themselves equal to or better than non-incarcerated community members with respect to honesty, morality, self-control, and other attributes. Show More Summary

Affluenza – An Isolated Case in Texas or a Growing Epidemic in the US?

This article examines some of the issues surrounding and emanating from the Ethan Couch verdict in Texas. Needless to say, this situation is sparking tremendous outrage from many directions. Here, I am discussing my clinical take on the matter. While I clearly do not know this 16 year old in any clinical way, and I […]

Ambien Zombies, Murder, and Other Disturbing Behavior

Ambien is one of a number of Controlled Schedule 4 agents designed as sedative hypnotics. Like other sedative hypnotics they are usually effective for about two weeks, largely to relieve persisting insomnia. These agents, especially Ambien, are linked to sleep-driving, eating, and even sex. Sedative hypnotics impact mostly the neurotransmitter, GABA, which is inhibitory in […]

Get Your Head in the Game

Fall means football among my family and friends. From local youth teams to collegiate programs to professional organizations, we love them all. As winter begins, we head into the championship series for all these teams, and it is hardly a controversy-free event, whether it means a bad call during a game, questionable rankings, or even […]

Some Potential Implications of the Label-Feedback Hypothesis

The important part of Lupyan’s theory is that the effect of language on thought takes place online — it does not create long-lasting changes in cognition or perception (which is why it can be disrupted by aphasia). This is in contradiction to previous theories that have been used to support the idea of linguistic relativity, […]

Language Interference and Cognition

At the end of the last post, I stated that linguistic interference was often used as an argument against the interaction of language and thought, but that Lupyan turns this around and uses it as support for this very theory. Let us take a look at how this works. This is the second post in […]

Deceptive Psychology and Poker

Detecting when people are being deceptive is a skill that few people excel at, with an average 53% success rate when trying to detect dishonest statements. This apparent inability to make accurate judgements has quite a significant impact when it comes to taking part in games such as poker, where deception is considered a standard […]

Is Linguistic Information Part of Every Cognitive Process?

When you think about a cup of coffee, what exactly are you thinking about? What sort of representations are you accessing in your memory? Tactile? Olfactory? The phrase “cup of coffee”? What makes the concept of a cup of coffee different from other concepts? These are all very difficult questions, and they get at one […]

Humans Are Primed to Buy Goods

I came across an article written by Bret Stetka, MD, and Kit Yarrow, PhD, about the neuropsychology of consumption, offered, poignantly, around Black Friday. The authors admit that the motivation for shopping is complex; just as much of human motivation is. They acknowledge that like all other motivations, the motivation for shopping emanates from our […]

Remission of Schizophrenia and Defense Mechanisms

Anna Freud (1937) created a theory of defense mechanisms that implicated the use of repression in protecting the ego or the self from psychic pain. She theorized that these defense mechanisms are used by what Sigmund Freud termed “the ego” to reduce anxiety when the wishes of “the id” conflicts with those of society.  According […]

Top Brain, Bottom Brain, Part 3 – The Theory of Cognitive Modes

Continued from Part 2.A side view of the brain reveals the top and bottom parts, which are demarcated largely by the Sylvian fissure, the large crease named for Franciscus Sylvanus, the 17th-century Dutch anatomist who first described it. The top brain consists of the parietal lobe and the top (and larger) part of the frontal […]

Top Brain, Bottom Brain, Part 2 – Left/Right? Wrong

Continued from Part 1. In writing Top Brain, Bottom Brain: Surprising Insights Into How You Think, we invested time in exploring the reasons for the enduring popularity of the left brain/right brain story, which holds that that individuals are either are either logical/analytical or artistic/intuitive based on the “strength” of the brain’s cerebral hemispheres. We […]

Top Brain, Bottom Brain, Part 1 – Since Time Immemorial

It will come as no news to those with an interest in neuroscience and psychology that misconceptions and myths about the brain have proliferated since time immemorial (and persist in the modern era, as we will discuss in Part 2). The ancient Egyptians thought so little of the brain that they discarded it when mummifying […]

Overcoming Trauma by Dealing With Death

I’ve argued before that all or most diagnoses of severe psychopathology involve trauma. Trauma represents an aspect of diagnosed psychopathology, even though it may not meet the criteria for a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. Trauma often involves confrontation with death, and fear of death can bolster trauma. It’s a vicious cycle. Trauma can be […]

Music Makers and Dreamers of Dreams

Modern medicine struggles with understanding and treating dementia and many other ailments of the mind. Mounting evidence now suggests that music may be the key to unlocking the mysteries and memories of the mind. Recently, a randomized controlled trial of musical interventions in dementia reported that music improved the emotional state and decreased the severity […]

Medical Marijuana – A Magic Bullet for Treating PTSD?

A new battle has been waged on Capitol Hill surrounding the much-debated legalization of medical marijuana. As research continues solidifying the positive effects of using cannabis to treat certain clinical symptoms, some research is focusing on the possible effects it may have on treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Since the 1990s, organizations including the […]

Ten Good Reasons Why You Should Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Sleep is an evolutionary paradox. In pre-historic times, periods of sleep would have been windows of opportunity for predators and periods of susceptibility to dangerous natural calamities. The chances of losing life for early humans during sleep must have been very very high. Yet sleep has persisted throughout evolution in practically all animals — why? […]

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