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Todd Suomela

More Evidence That Intelligence Is Largely Inherited: Researchers Find That Genes Deter... - 0 views

  • In a study published recently in the Journal of Neuroscience, UCLA neurology professor Paul Thompson and colleagues used a new type of brain-imaging scanner to show that intelligence is strongly influenced by the quality of the brain's axons, or wiring that sends signals throughout the brain. The faster the signaling, the faster the brain processes information. And since the integrity of the brain's wiring is influenced by genes, the genes we inherit play a far greater role in intelligence than was previously thought.
    Intriguing article but frustratingly vague on the measurements used for intelligence testing. Apparently HARDI (High Angular Resolution Diffusion Imaging) can measure the diffusion of water through the brain, especially myelin. In yet another twin study (n=46 pairs) there appears to be a correlation between diffusion speed and intelligence.
thinkahol *

Musical chills: Why they give us thrills - 0 views

    ScienceDaily (Jan. 12, 2011) - Scientists have found that the pleasurable experience of listening to music releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain important for more tangible pleasures associated with rewards such as food, drugs and sex. The new study from The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital -- The Neuro at McGill University also reveals that even the anticipation of pleasurable music induces dopamine release [as is the case with food, drug, and sex cues]. Published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, the results suggest why music, which has no obvious survival value, is so significant across human society.
Sarah Eeee

*A Brain Scientist's Take on Writing*: What Mirror Images and Foreign Scripts Tell Us A... - 0 views

  • For most adults in literate countries, reading is so well practiced that it’s reflexive. If the words are there, it's impossible not to read.
  • If you raise a child on a desert island, he'll learn to eat, walk, and sleep, but odds are he won't spontaneously pick up a stick and start writing. For most of human history, written language didn't even exist. Reading as a cultural invention has only been around for a few thousand years, a snap of a finger in evolutionary terms.
  • we’re very good at seeing, and the trick is just to retune that machinery to the demands of reading.
  • ...11 more annotations...
  • But even on a basic visual level, we have to somewhat reprogram our visual systems.
  • Mirror invariance, the idea that something flipped sideways is still the same object, is a core property of our visual systems, and for good reason.
  • What's the mirror image of b? Now it's a completely different letter: d.
  • Mirror reversal is overwhelmingly common in beginning writers, from the occasional flipped letter to whole words written as a mirror image. Kids do this spontaneously. They never actually see flipped letters in the world around them. It's as if their brains are too powerful for the task.
  • With practice however, we do retrain our brains to read
  • Does the brain of a reader look different from that of a nonreader?
  • Since blood flow is tied to brain activity, fMRI allows us to see the patches of brain involved in different tasks.
    • Sarah Eeee
      Bit of an oversimplification, no?
  • They found that most participants did indeed have a brain region that responded more to words than objects.
  • This is rather remarkable, that the brain would develop a specialized area for an artificial category of images.
  • need more proof that this region developed as a result of learning to read.
  • If reading experience does alter the brain, you would expect English readers and English/Hebrew readers to have different brain responses to Hebrew. And this is indeed what Baker found. The bilingual readers had high activation for both Hebrew and English in their word region, while monolingual English readers only had high activation for English.
    Interesting & quick post on research into the neurological basis of reading.
Caramel Crow

We're Only Human...: The Neurology of Stereotypes - 1 views

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Todd Suomela

PLoS ONE: Neural Correlates of Hate - 0 views

    In this work, we address an important but unexplored topic, namely the neural correlates of hate. In a block-design fMRI study, we scanned 17 normal human subjects while they viewed the face of a person they hated and also faces of acquaintances for whom they had neutral feelings. A hate score was obtained for the object of hate for each subject and this was used as a covariate in a between-subject random effects analysis. Viewing a hated face resulted in increased activity in the medial frontal gyrus, right putamen, bilaterally in premotor cortex, in the frontal pole and bilaterally in the medial insula. We also found three areas where activation correlated linearly with the declared level of hatred, the right insula, right premotor cortex and the right fronto-medial gyrus. One area of deactivation was found in the right superior frontal gyrus. The study thus shows that there is a unique pattern of activity in the brain in the context of hate. Though distinct from the pattern of activity that correlates with romantic love, this pattern nevertheless shares two areas with the latter, namely the putamen and the insula.
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