As I prepare for the APS Convention towards the close of this month, I am reminded of the farsighted wisdom of William James on instructing teaching and research in Psychology.
Psychology is a hub science(TM)
Here is what we are reading today:
“Dr. Kim Dong of Houston’s Memorial Hermann hospital performed a brain tumor resection surgery on a young adult patient Wednesday morning. The operation was a routine one for him, but this time it came with a catch: His every move was live tweeted by hospital staff, with graphic photos and video posted to Twitter and other platforms along the way.”
“Despite the fact that forgetting is normal, exactly how we forget—the molecular, cellular, and brain circuit mechanisms underlying the process—is poorly understood.
Now, in a study that appears in the May 10, 2012 issue of the journal Neuron, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute have pinpointed a mechanism that is essential for forming memories in the first place and, as it turns out, is equally essential for eliminating them after memories have formed.”
“…Unfortunately, in the academic world—where much of today’s scientific innovation takes place—researchers are encouraged to maintain the status quo and not “rock the boat.” This mentality is pervasive, affecting all aspects of scientific research from idea generation to funding to the training of the next generation of scientists.”
“”Santino,” a male chimpanzee at Furuvik Zoo in Sweden, is devising increasingly complex attacks against zoo visitors.
At first Santino was famous for throwing rocks and other projectiles at visitors who annoyed him. Now he has improved his technique, which requires spontaneous innovation for future deception. Researcher Mathias Osvath, lead author of a paper about Santino in PLoS ONE, explained what the clever chimp did:
“After a visitor group had left the compound area, Santino went inside the enclosure and brought a good-sized heap of hay that he placed near the visitor’s section, and immediately after that he put stones under it,” Osvath said.”
“Fido’s expressive face, including those longing puppy-dog eyes, may lead owners to wonder what exactly is going on in that doggy’s head. Scientists decided to find out, using brain scans to explore the minds of our canine friends.
The researchers, who detailed their findings May 2 in the open-access journal PLoS ONE, were interested in understanding the human-dog relationship from the four-legged perspective.”
“Since about 2,000 years ago (fewer than 100 generations), the human population has experienced an explosive growth after 8,000 years of moderate exponential growth.
This recent accelerated growth has created more genetic mutations and rare gene variants, which may play a role in boosting the risks of complex diseases in which genes play a role, say Cornell researchers in the May 11 issue of the journal Science.”
“The website offers a new way for people to learn more about how the brain works, how it drives thought and behavior, and its role in brain diseases and disorders. In this welcome message, Nicholas Spitzer, inaugural BrainFacts.org editor-in-chief, distinguished professor of biology at the University of California, San Diego, and co-director of the UCSD Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind, talks about this new opportunity to reach people.”
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