Here is what I am reading today:
“Facial expressions have been called the “universal language of emotion,” but people from different cultures perceive happy, sad or angry facial expressions in unique ways, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.”
“Our brain is divided into two hemispheres, which are linked through only a few connections. However, we do not seem to have a problem to create a coherent image of our environment — our perception is not “split” in two halves. For the seamless unity of our subjective experience, information from both hemispheres needs to be efficiently integrated. The corpus callosum, the largest fibre bundle connecting the left and right side of our brain, plays a major role in this process. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt investigated whether differences between individuals in the anatomy of the corpus callosum would predict how observers perceive a visual stimulus for which the left and right hemisphere need to cooperate. As their results indicate, the characteristics of specific callosal fibre tracts are related to the subjective experience of individuals.”
“Although parents may have a hard time believing it, even infants can be trained to improve their concentration skills. What’s more, training babies in this way leads to improvements on other, unrelated tasks.”
My lecture for the day.
“THE idea of moving objects with the power of the mind has fascinated mankind for millennia. At first it was the province of gods, then sorcerers and witches. In the late 19th century psychokinesis, as the trick then came to be known, became a legitimate object of study, as part of the nascent field of parapsychology, before falling into disrepute in the arch-rationalist 20th century. Since the 1990s, however, it has seen something of a revival, under a more scientifically acceptable guise.
There is nothing particularly magical about moving things with thoughts. Human beings perform the feat every time they move a limb, or breathe, by sending electrical impulses to appropriate muscles. If these electrical signals could be detected and interpreted, the argument goes, there is in principle no reason why they could not be used to steer objects other than the thinker’s own body. Indeed, over the past two decades brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) which use electrodes implanted in the skull have enabled paralysed patients to control computer cursors, robotic arms and wheelchairs.”
“Our brains do a lot of work behind the scenes to help us function and thrive. But we largely know this already. What might surprise you are the details of this work. For instance, as neuroscientist David Eagleman writes in his book Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain: “