Here is what we are reading today:
“”The voice is an amazingly flexible tool that we use to construct our identity,” says lead author Molly Babel, a professor in the Department of Linguistics. “Very few things in our voices are immutable, so we felt that our preferences had to be about more than a person’s shape and size.””
“Our junk mail is stamped with messages saying “open immediately, do not discard.” We are targeted by advertising telling us to “buy now.” None of the sources of these messages has any authority whatsoever over us, yet being social creatures, we often comply anyway. Compliance occurs when a person goes along with a request made by someone who has no authority.”
“here’s a new piece of work for The Dali Museum in Florida, with an app that lets you “compete” against Dali himself in an old ‘staring contest’… You can challenge some other people too, including the likes of Andy Warhol. It’s a little bit quirky. And there is a 2 hour demo if you really want to take the challenge! (slightly weird…)”
“When you’re tired, these neurons in the brain shout loud and they send you to sleep,’ says Professor Gero Miesenböck of Oxford University, in whose laboratory the new research was performed.”
“Dr. Richard Kramer of the University of California, Berkeley and his colleagues have invented “photoswitch” chemicals that confer light sensitivity on these normally light-insensitive ganglion cells, restoring light perception in blind mice. An earlier photoswitch required very bright ultraviolet light, making it unsuitable for medical use. However, a new chemical, named DENAQ, responds to ordinary daylight. Just one injection of DENAQ into the eye confers light sensitivity for several days.”
“”In the immediacy of what we’re doing we have this small working memory capacity where we can hang on to a few things that are going to be useful in a few moments, and that’s where output gating is crucial,” said study senior author David Badre, professor of cognitive, linguistic, and psychological sciences at Brown.
From the perspective of cognition, said lead author and postdoctoral scholar Christopher Chatham, input gating—choosing what goes into working memory—and output gating allow people to maintain a course of action (e.g., finish that Bluetooth call) while being flexible enough to account for context in planning what’s next.”
“Prions, the protein family notorious for causing “mad cow” and neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, can play an important role in healthy cells. “Do you think God created prions just to kill?” mused Nobel laureate Eric Kandel. “These things must have evolved initially to have a physiological function.” His work on memory helped reveal that animals make and use prions in their nervous systems as part of an essential function: stabilizing the synapses that constitute long-term memories.”
“The study led by Dr Nicholas Walsh, lecturer in developmental psychology at the University of East Anglia, used brain imaging technology to scan teenagers aged 17-19. It found that those who experienced mild to moderate family difficulties between birth and 11 years of age had developed a smaller cerebellum, an area of the brain associated with skill learning, stress regulation and sensory-motor control. The researchers also suggest that a smaller cerebellum may be a risk indicator of psychiatric disease later in life, as it is consistently found to be smaller in virtually all psychiatric illnesses.”
“Human beings are extremely social animals. We are highly motivated to stay on the “good side” of our social groups.
Groups typically make rules for conduct, which we refer to as social norms. Social norms provide rules for many different types of behavior, from dressing appropriately for the workplace to elevator “etiquette” in which we move to the back and avoid eye contact with other passengers.”