Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for October, 2006

hammershoei-149.gifPeople have been kind enough to mention my bioaesthetics primer on various other blogs. On AlphaPsy, a new blog dedicated to cognitive and evolutionary anthropology, a short discussion even broke out, provoked by this comment to my post. (I will post my “defence” of neuroaesthetic here in a couple of days!) Through this discussion I learned that a group of French philosophers is starting a new journal to be called Art and Neurosciences Review. According to its website, the Art and Neurosciences Review aims to

serve as an interdisciplinary platform where all interested in art can discuss key themes at the junction of aesthetics and empirical sciences – every aspect of what we might call “the cognitive revolution” of aesthetics and art.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

heidelberg.jpgHeidelberg hosts the first big neuroethics conference on European soil Friday, November 3, and Saturday, November 4. You can see the programme here. It looks very promising. Among the speakers is not only people who have already published several papers on neuroethics – Judy Illes, Turhan Canli, Erik Parens, Adina Roskies, and Paul Root Wolpe, for instance – but also a number of big shot neuroscientists without a previous track record in the field – Wolf Singer, Nikos Logothetis, Jean-Pierre Changeux, and Petra Störig, to name just a few. Furthermore, Alison Abbott, a correspondent for Nature will be there.

Since neither Thomas nor I will be able to go, I would very interested in hearing from prospective attendees who would be interested in filing a report from the meeting here on BrainEthics. Please send me an email at martins_AT_drcmr_DOT_dk.

-Martin

UPDATE (Oct. 29). We have found a reporter!

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

The gene genie

1-3-1-1-2-1-3-1-0-0-0.jpgWhen it was announced in Nature in 2001 that the linguistic disorder displayed by members of an English family known as KE could be traced back to a mutation of a certain gene, FOXP2, Steven Pinker heralded this result as “the dawn of cognitive genetics”. While we are still a long way from being able to link cognitive mechanisms to the function of specific genes, it is certainly true that researchers, these days, are coming increasingly closer to understanding how the genome interfaces with the neural processes underlying cognitive behaviour. Among the many fundamental questions genomic studies are starting weigh in on is how brains have changed in evolutionary lineages, development, and individual differences in cognitive behaviour. (more…)

Read Full Post »

kristan.jpgWilliam B. Kristan at UCSD gave a very interesting talk today about decision making in the leech (!), but instead of providing you with a review of this talk, which is a little bit outside my own domain (put mildly), I’ll quote Kristan in a way that kind of captures his presentation style: present and witty.

In a novel situation an organism has to choose what to do. Here, we can typically speak of the possible options as the four F’s; flight, fight, feed or mate.

-Thomas

Read Full Post »

books.jpgWhile Thomas is getting his kicks off at the SfN meeting in Atlanta I am toiling away at a number of long overdue papers here in the increasingly cold Denmark. I have several longer blog posts planned, but no time to write them. So, here’s three things to read in the meantime at other venues on the net.

First, John Searle reviews a new book on consciousness by Nicholas Humphrey, Seeing Red, in The New York Review of Books. I have always enjoyed Humphrey’s work, but his new theory on consciousness sounds plain weird (at least as retold by Searle; I haven’t read Humphrey’s book). In Searle’s words:

(more…)

Read Full Post »

incidental1.jpgWe are about half way through the Society for Neuroscience 2006 in Atlanta, and it’s time for some general impressions and notes for future reports. Some of the lectures and symposia have been interesting and revealing, others have required too much previous knowledge for me to fully appreciate.

Illes lecture

But let’s start with today’s lectue by Judy Illes, who gave an interesting talk on the different aspects of neuroethics. Much of the talk was dedicated to the aspects of incidental findings (IF). It gave rise to quite a few thoughts to me. First of all, the problem with IF seems to focus a lot on the ethics on behalf of the subject. Should we tell in case we find something, should we ask people in advance if they want to know, how can we secure our research to avoid as many IFs as possible? It struck me that as a researcher, there is an additional motavion: external validity. If you are studying healthy volunteers you want them to BE healthy volunteers. Any IF will thus influence your data in an unwanted way. To me this is not trivial. It is part and parcel of your scientific motif. So for this reason alone we should make as sure as we can that we are indeed analyzing healthy subjects. The better screening we can do, the more sure we can be that we’re studying what we aim to, e.g. healthy ageing.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »