"Am I so beautiful that you've no words left?" -- Midna

“Am I so beautiful that you’ve no words left?” — Midna

Here is what I am reading today:

“Dogs first surprised cognition researchers when scientists showed that the animals readily follow a human’s pointing finger or gaze to find food. Both wolves, dogs’ closest relative, and chimpanzees, our near-cousin, have trouble doing this. Now, scientists have raised the dogs-only bar: The canines can also use the sound of a human voice alone to find that tasty treat. Researchers carried out the auditory test on adult dogs and 8- to 14-week-old puppies as their owners watched.”

“Liverpool Psychologist, Dr Georg Mayer , explained: “This suggests that the correlated brain patterns were the result of using areas thought to be involved in language processing. Therefore we can assume that musical training results in a rapid change in the cognitive mechansims utilised for music perception and these shared mechanisms are usually employed for language.””

“Laura Freberg, a psychologist at California Polytechnic State University and Google Glass owner, believes society will develop a new etiquette for using head-mounted technology in social situations, but it will take time. People will need to work out where and when the use of such devices is acceptable to others.

“I walked into the restroom and was like, ‘oh my gosh… I’m going to make people really uncomfortable’,” she says. “It’s a learning process for the person who is wearing it as much as it is for the people around you. I think developing good manners will help us work through a lot of these problems.””

When Brent Williams got to RadioShack that day in the spring of 2012, he knew exactly what he was looking for: a variable resistor, a current regulator, a circuit board, and a 9-volt battery. The total came to around $20. Williams is tall and balding, with wire-rim glasses that make him look like an engineer, which he is. He directs a center on technology in education at Kennesaw State University and is the kind of guy who spends his free time chatting up people on his ham radio or trying to glimpse a passing comet with his telescope. But this project was different.”

“The problem with figuring out how nerve cells work in the eye, of either mice or humans, is the inability to watch what happens in action—everything is too tiny and intricate. To get around that problem, researchers have been building three dimensional models on computers. But even that gets untenable when considering the complexity and numbers of nerves involved. That’s where the EyeWire gamers came in….”

“So cognitive scientist Andreas Lind and his colleagues at Lund University in Sweden wanted to see what would happen if someone said one word, but heard themselves saying another. “If we use auditory feedback to compare what we say with a well-specified intention, then any mismatch should be quickly detected,” he says. “But if the feedback is instead a powerful factor in a dynamic, interpretative process, then the manipulation could go undetected.””

“The unidentified patient is a health care professional who had been working in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is the epicenter of the viral outbreak of MERS, federal health officials said Friday.

MERS has sickened hundreds of people in the Middle East, and kills about a quarter of the people who contract the virus, Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a Friday news conference.”


10 Comments

oliviaeinbund · May 8, 2014 at 3:26 pm

Musical Training: This article did not provide details on the study. The result claimed that music and language share brain pathways. This does make sense because learning how to play an instrument is kind of like learning a language, and once you learn you will always remember a few notes or a few words.

oliviaeinbund · May 8, 2014 at 3:29 pm

DOG: This research seemed well conducted, however the video did not really display the study well. I think it is interesting that dogs have been discovered to be able to use vocal cues while chimpanzees can’t. Perhaps dogs are smarter animals then we already think they are!

nfreche · May 10, 2014 at 11:23 am

MERS: MERS surfaced in Saudi Arabia two years; symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing, and fever; a quarter of those who contract this virus will die. The article mentions that it is not known how the virus is contracted nor there are any treatments. The CDC says they knew MERS would reach the US and have been preparing for it yet believe it is still safe to travel to Saudi Arabia. Personally I would not go or advice anyone to visit this area during this outbreak considering hundreds of people in the Middle East has contracted it. In addition, health professionals have compared the virus from SARS. From microbiology I learned SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) is spread from human contact and included not only the symptoms of MERS but also diarrhea, headaches, and discomfort. This virus became a global outbreak and affected thousands of people. Reflecting over this information, I feel that if MERS is comparable to SARS then more precaution should be taken for those traveling to Saudi Arabia, especially since a case has arrived in the US and that this virus could spread like SARS did ten years ago.

shanpolley · May 12, 2014 at 8:53 am

musical training on the brain: I have spoken to adults who are taking beginning music lessons, and they always emphasize how much they wish they had learned as a child, as it would have been much easier to learn and pick up at a younger age. It makes sense that music and language would be in the same area of the brain, as reading and interpreting music notes is just like reading and interpreting another language. Just like there are benefits to learning another language while you’re young in your adult years, I’d be curious to see all the benefits of learning music specifically.

shanpolley · May 13, 2014 at 9:26 am

google glass: I think that anywhere that allows cell phones or video cameras should also be okay allowing google glass. Maybe to make google glass more etiquette friendly, google should make it easier to see or more obvious when someone is recording. I think it is a great technology, however I feel like we are already becoming a generation based around the technology we have and are constantly on our phones and computers. I think having a device in front of our faces 24/7 will actually increase our dependency on what is going on in the internet world instead of letting us focus on what’s going on right in front of us. It’s easier to put your phone on silent or leave it in your bag than it would be to forget about something sitting right in front of your face all day.

lmhenderson · May 15, 2014 at 4:45 pm

Musical Training: It isn’t surprising to me that music training and language have common associations in the same areas of the brain. Reading music or listening to music is the same as reading a language or listening to a language. It would be interesting to compare children and adults when it comes to musical training to see the differences in their ability to grasp the ability to play music and look at their brain functions. There was not a lot of detail or extended information on this study so not many observations can be made.

lmhenderson · May 15, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Gamer’s Retina: I think the idea of having a game for people to play in order to study their eye movements is brilliant. Like the article said, the only way to really see what is going on is by looking at the eye movements in action and the EYEWire game makes it so when the player creates mouse movements, they get more points as they become more accurate. After study the results and looking at the different groups of cells and the bipolar cells in the eye, if the prediction is true then we might understand how our eyes detect motion. This study was very informative about the results and I would be interested to see how gaming can further advance our knowledge about the eyes but also the human brain as well.

krtomase · May 16, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Musical Training: I enjoyed reading this blog because I am a musician myself. Music is like learning another language, therefore it makes sense that both music and language are associated in the same pathways of the brain. Musical training can benefit an individual in multiple ways, and I wish schools put a stronger emphasis on music in the early years of school. If just an hour of simple musical training showed a difference in blood flow, imagine what years of lessons could do. However, I do think more research should be done before drawing any conclusions. There were not many details about the experiment. However, I will say, as a musician, language has always been one of my strengths. This could be a coincidence, but I do believe the eleven years of musical training has benefited me.

krtomase · May 16, 2014 at 8:48 pm

The Dog Speaks: The ability for puppies to use the human voice to find food is really impressive, however, I am not too surprised that they have this ability. Dogs are really smart, and this study shows how much of an impact human socialization can have on a puppy. It is very interesting that chimpanzees do not have this ability even though they are closer in our genetic makeup. I would think they would be more likely to have this skill. However, a dog is a man’s best friend, so it seems appropriate for human-attentive skills to be a part of a dog’s genetic makeup. I will say I was a little confused by the video and do not think it presented the experiment very well. Perhaps they should show multiple puppies carrying out the same task.

christinahenning · May 18, 2014 at 10:40 am

musical training on the brain: I found this article extremely interesting considering I come from a family of musicians and I am a musician myself. This article basically shows that music is its separate language. Many non-musicians do not think about the different language used in music (vocabulary, notes, etc.). Music is so complex. I have taken a break from my musical instrument from college, so I wonder if all of the years that I played (9 years) makes a difference on how much blood flow I have in my brain, considering I do not intensely play anymore.

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