Home > Meeting Topics and Material > QUEST Discussion Topics Oct 28

QUEST Discussion Topics Oct 28

QUEST Discussion Topics Oct 28

Below are the topics Capt Amerika will come prepared to discuss – attendees (in the room or on the phone) can pick and choose what interest them the most

Sci American Mind issue review:
1.) The Colchester Zoo in England is home to a community of man- drills, the largest of the monkeys. One of these mandrills, a female named Milly, began covering her eyes with her hand when she was three. A dozen years later Milly and her zoo mates continue to perform this gesture, which appears to mean “do not disturb.” The signal is the first gesture with cultural roots reported in monkeys.
2.) Successful batters often report that the base- ball looked “huge” just before they hit a home run. This effect, dubbed action-specific perception
3.) study published online February 11 in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin suggests you are more likely to succeed if you solve it on another person’s behalf
4.) For a dad, the scent of a child, along with physical contact, appears to be pivotal to making new neurons grow. Those neurons form the foundation of a lasting bond between father and child. The challenges of child care are likely to be good sources of stress. The hormones induced by good stress can stimulate the growth of new brain cells.
5.) Most children start counting after the age of two, after observing much tallying done by parents, siblings and television characters. By watching others count, 18-month-old babies acquire a sense of numbers long before they can speak.
6.) By sifting through such data, we and other re- searchers in this area have uncovered a new predictor of how long people live: the scores they obtain on an intelligence test when they are at a young age… The lower a person’s measured intelligence, the greater that individual’s risk of living a shorter time, developing both mental and physical ailments later in life and dying from cardiovascular disease, suicide or an accident. More surprising still is that low intelligence is a stronger predictor than several better- known risk factors for illness and death, such as obesity and high blood pressure.
7.) The brain holds onto false facts, even after they have been retracted – After people realize the facts have been fudged, they do their best to set the record straight: judges tell juries to forget misleading testimony; newspapers publish errata. But even explicit warnings to ignore misinformation cannot erase the damage done
8.) Research suggests that motherhood enhances certain types of cognition, improves resistance to stress and sharpens some kinds of memory. On the face of it, the fact that the nervous system manages to transform a new mother from a self-centered organism into an other-focused caregiver is actually quite impressive.
9.) Positive and negative expectations influence how well drugs work – An upbeat attitude can do more than put a spring in your step; it can also improve medical outcomes. Although the power of positive thinking is clear, little is known about how negative mind- sets affect the success of therapies.
10.) We manipulate our memories to brace for future hardships – Can our expectations for the future change how we remember the past? According to a new study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, they can—we remember unpleasant experiences more negatively if we expect to endure them again
11.) Experiments with a simple mirror setup can reveal much about the workings of the brain. BY VILAYANUR S. RAMACHANDRAN AND DIANE ROGERS-RAMACHANDRAN – phenomenon intermanual touch referral- Remarkably, in controlled clinical trials, we and others have found mirror therapy to relieve paralysis from cerebrovascular stroke. This relief may be partly because the paralysis could be learned and partly because many paralyzed limbs also have a form of CRPS associated with them (Consider the curious but tragic pain disorder called complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). If you suffer a fracture after your finger is jammed in a doorway, pain ensues. Chronic pain results in a reflex immobilization of the hand to prevent further injury and promote healing)
12.) Self-control—the ability to regulate our attention, emotions and behaviors— emerges in childhood and grows throughout life, but the skill varies widely among individuals. Past studies have reported that self-control is partially inherited and partially learned and that those with less self-control are more likely to be unemployed, engage in unhealthy behaviors such as overeating, and live a shorter life
13.) In recent years, however, scientists have found the opposite: being raised bilingual may actually facilitate the development of certain language and cognitive skills. These aptitudes include mental flexibility, abstract thinking and working memory, a type of short-term memory essential for learning and problem solving.
14.) So far studies indicate that the language areas of monolingual and bilingual brains develop similarly, but certain regions, such as the inferior frontal cortex, which is involved with both language and thinking skills, appear to be more active in bilingual children, particularly when they are reading… What’s striking is how many of the benefits are nonverbal,”
15.) Tickling a rat’s whiskers after it has a stroke prevents brain damage – Strokes cripple more people in the U.S. than any other disease. Modern drugs can unblock clogged arteries if patients get to care facilities in time. But the longer the trip to the hospital, the more nerve cells die from lack of blood. Better ways to avert brain damage could dramatically improve patients’ quality of life. Recently a team of neuroscientists stumbled on a very low tech way to completely prevent stroke damage in rats: tickle their whiskers.
16.) these findings suggest that dependence might also arise from a partner’s unique ability to assist with life’s goals. Indeed, long-term partners may develop a shared self-regulatory system, relying on one another for support with mustering the discipline needed to face life’s challenges. In the short term, relying on a partner for help with self-control in one arena means we could be undermining our commitment to that specific aim. But Fitzsimons and Finkel suggest there could a surprising trade-off: because we are investing more in our relationships, we might well end up possessing more discipline for a couple’s shared goals. In the end, the partnership benefits.
17.) Rubber – third hand illusion: The experimenter then swiftly picked up a kitchen knife and swiped it toward one of the right hands. Participants reacted with a flash of fear regardless of whether the knife was plunging toward the real or rubber right hand, indicating that the brain had started to think of the false hand as part of the body, too.
18.) found that the easier the object was to identify, the better the participants liked it—and the more activity they recorded in the facial muscles used in laughing. The results suggest that ease of recognition is an important factor in likeability.
19.) “mirror-touch synesthesia.” When watching another individual being touched, these people actually feel a touch on the same part of their own body.

Other non Sci-Am articles of interest to us this week:

1.) MacEvoy and Russell Epstein of the University of Pennsylvania measured the brain activity of 28 people viewing one of four scenes: a bathroom, kitchen, street intersection or playground. Participants then saw isolated objects associated with each scene, allowing the researchers to record the neural signature of each object. MacEvoy and Epstein focused on a particular part of the brain called the lateral occipital cortex, or LOC, which had responded to objects in previous studies. When combined, the signatures of single objects closely matched the brain responses to entire scenes, the researchers found. For instance, the average LOC response to a stove and a fridge matched the response to an entire kitchen. To the LOC, these scenes are a simple combination of parts. “I think it’s neat that a sum of the information from the objects is what makes up the scene, as far as the LOC is concerned,” Bernhardt-Walther says. “There is no additional magical ingredient. There’s no scene glue somewhere.”
2.) Article by Barsalou – ‘the situated nature of concepts’ – american journal of psychology, fall 2006, vol 119, no 3 p 349-384, theories of concepts – concept encoding that we’ve focused on in quest – generally ignore background situations focusing on bottom up stimulus based processing. a taxonomy of situations is proposed in which grain size, meaningfulness and tangibility distinguish the cumulative situations

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