background preloader

The Brain on Trial - Magazine

The Brain on Trial - Magazine
Advances in brain science are calling into question the volition behind many criminal acts. A leading neuroscientist describes how the foundations of our criminal-justice system are beginning to crumble, and proposes a new way forward for law and order. On the steamy first day of August 1966, Charles Whitman took an elevator to the top floor of the University of Texas Tower in Austin. The 25-year-old climbed the stairs to the observation deck, lugging with him a footlocker full of guns and ammunition. The evening before, Whitman had sat at his typewriter and composed a suicide note: I don’t really understand myself these days. By the time the police shot him dead, Whitman had killed 13 people and wounded 32 more. It was after much thought that I decided to kill my wife, Kathy, tonight … I love her dearly, and she has been as fine a wife to me as any man could ever hope to have. For that matter, so did Whitman. At the same time, Alex was complaining of worsening headaches. Related:  Ontology & Free Will

Free Will Is as Real as Baseball | Cosmic Variance A handful of musings about free will have been popping up in my blog reader of late. Jerry Coyne has been discussing the issue with Eric MacDonald in a series of posts (further links therein). Russell Blackford writes a long post that he promises isn’t the post he will eventually write, David Eagleman has an article in the Atlantic, and Zach Weiner also chimes in. In some ways, asking whether free will exists is a lot like asking whether time really exists. It’s possible to deny the existence of something while using it all the time. When people make use of a concept and simultaneously deny its existence, what they typically mean is that the concept in question is nowhere to be found in some “fundamental” description of reality. This version of free will, as anyone who reads the blog will recognize, I don’t buy at all. But I also don’t think that “playing a necessary role in every effective description of the world” is a very good way of defining “existence” or “reality.”

List of paradoxes This is a list of paradoxes, grouped thematically. The grouping is approximate, as paradoxes may fit into more than one category. Because of varying definitions of the term paradox, some of the following are not considered to be paradoxes by everyone. This list collects only scenarios that have been called a paradox by at least one source and have their own article. Although considered paradoxes, some of these are based on fallacious reasoning, or incomplete/faulty analysis. Logic[edit] Self-reference[edit] These paradoxes have in common a contradiction arising from self-reference. Barber paradox: A barber (who is a man) shaves all and only those men who do not shave themselves. Vagueness[edit] Ship of Theseus (a.k.a. Mathematics[edit] Statistics[edit] Probability[edit] Infinity and infinitesimals[edit] Geometry and topology[edit] The Banach–Tarski paradox: A ball can be decomposed and reassembled into two balls the same size as the original.

Extraverts, Free Will Go Hand in Hand Philosophers’ views on freedom and moral responsibility are influenced by inherited personality traits. If they can’t be objective, can anyone? Philosophers are trained to think things through logically and reach conclusions based solely on reason. But as science provides increasing evidence for the interconnectivity of mind, body and emotions, is that sort of intellectual objectivity truly possible? A newly published study suggests the answer is no — at least when it comes to addressing one fundamental issue. While this may sound like a theoretical argument, the researchers, led by Eric Schulz of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, argue it has potentially profound implications. “Even highly skilled professionals such as lawyers, judges, ethicists and philosophers may not be immune to the influence of their different personalities,” they write in the journal Consciousness and Cognition. In other words, people who have been trained how to think scientifically.

THC Prevents MDMA Neurotoxicity in Mice. [PLoS One. 2010 Dogs and Human Survival: Do the Eyes Have It? Dog domestication may have helped humans thrive while Neandertals declined Pat Shipman We all know the adage that dogs are man’s best friend. One of the classic conundrums in paleoanthropology is why Neandertals went extinct while modern humans survived in the same habitat at the same time. A stunning study that illuminates this decisive period was recently published in Science by Paul Mellars and Jennifer French of Cambridge University. Because not all the archaeological sites in the study contained clearly identifiable remains of modern humans or Neandertals, Mellars and French made a common assumption: that sites containing stone tools of the Mousterian tradition had been created by Neandertals, and those containing more sophisticated and generally later stone tools of the Upper Paleolithic were made by modern humans. There is no shortage of hypotheses. Until 2009, dogs were believed to have been domesticated about 17,000 years ago, long after Neandertals were already extinct.

A Course in Consciousness (With last update date) Cover Foreword (August 13, 2009) Part 1. Preface to part 1 (April 12, 2000) Chapter 1. 1.1. 1.6. 1.7. Chapter 2. 2.1. 2.2. 2.3. 2.4. 2.5. 2.6. Chapter 3. 3.1. 3.2. 3.3. 3.4. Chapter 4. 4.1. 4.2. 4.3. 4.4. Chapter 5. 5.1. 5.2. 5.3. 5.4. 5.5. 5.6. 5.7. 5.8. 5.9. 5.10. 5.11. 5.12. 5.13. 5.14. 5.15. 5.16. Chapter 6. 6.1. 6.2. 6.3. 6.4. 6.5. 6.6. 6.7. 6.8. 6.9. 6.10. 6.12. Part 2. Preface to part 2 (October 17, 2010) Chapter 7. 7.1. 7.2. 7.3. 7.4. 7.5. 7.6. 7.7. 7.9. 7.10. Chapter 8. 8.1. 8.2. Chapter 9. 9.1. 9.2. 9.3. 9.4. 9.6. Chapter 10. 10.1. 10.2. 10.3. 10.4. Chapter 11. 11.1. 11.2. 11.3. 11.4. 11.5. 11.6. 11.7.The victim/victimizer polar pair 11.8. 11.9. 11.10. Chapter 12. 12.1. 12.2. 12.3. 12.5. 12.6. 12.7. Chapter 13. 13.1. 13.2. 13.3. 13.4. 13.5. 13.6. 13.7. 13.8. 13.9. 13.10. 13.11. 13.12. 13.13. Chapter 14. 14.1. 14.2. 14.3. 14.4. 14.5. 14.6. 14.7. 14.8. Chapter 15. Chapter 16. 16.3. 16.4. 16.5. Part 3. Preface to part 3 (November 18, 2009) Chapter 17. 17.1.

Consciousness Search tips There are three kinds of search you can perform: All fields This mode searches for entries containing all the entered words in their title, author, date, comment field, or in any of many other fields showing on OPC pages. Surname This mode searches for entries containing the text string you entered in their author field. Advanced This mode differs from the all fields mode in two respects. Note that short and / or common words are ignored by the search engine. A Fact More Indigestible than Evolution Ever wonder how people can believe Elvis and Hitler are still alive? Sad fact is, we are bunglers when it comes to believing things we can’t immediately see. We are prone to over-simplify. We are prone to feel certain about dubious things. We are prone to cherry-pick what confirms our views, and to selectively overlook what challenges them. We are prone to understand complex phenomena in psychological terms. The list goes on and on. Science can be seen as a kind of compensatory mechanism, a family of principles and practices that allow us to overcome enough of our cognitive shortcomings to waddle toward an ever more comprehensive understanding of the world. Of course, believers in prescientific worlds generally don’t know anything about our theoretical incompetence, nor would they want to. We can believe that hard, that stupidly. Science is the cruel stranger, the one who tells us how it is whether we like it or not. Take evolution. R.

How the Brain Stops Time One of the strangest side-effects of intense fear is time dilation, the apparent slowing-down of time. It's a common trope in movies and TV shows, like the memorable scene from The Matrix in which time slows down so dramatically that bullets fired at the hero seem to move at a walking pace. In real life, our perceptions aren't keyed up quite that dramatically, but survivors of life-and-death situations often report that things seem to take longer to happen, objects fall more slowly, and they're capable of complex thoughts in what would normally be the blink of an eye. Now a research team from Israel reports that not only does time slow down, but that it slows down more for some than for others. An intriguing result, and one that raises a more fundamental question: how, exactly, does the brain carry out this remarkable feat? Researcher David Eagleman has tackled his very issue in a very clever way . Was it scary enough to generate a sense of time dilation?

Human Intelligence: The Flynn Effect This page is now located at an updated address. Please update your bookmarks! The new address is posted below. You will be redirected to the new page in 15 seconds or you can click the link below. The Flynn Effect Originally prepared by: Charles Graham (fall 2001)Revised: Jonathan Plucker (fall 2002) The Flynn Effect deals with the issue of how the general IQ scores of a population change over time. Outline (back to top) Introduction How large are the IQ gains? Where is the IQ test data from? What are possible causes for the Flynn Effect? Why must IQ tests be constantly restandardized? Who has written about the Flynn Effect? Introduction (back to outline) In his study of IQ tests scores for different populations over the past sixty years, James R. How large are the IQ gains? Research shows that IQ gains have been mixed for different countries. Fluid Intelligence Crystallized Intelligence Where is the IQ test data from? What are possible causes for the Flynn Effect? Deary, I.

Related:  fMRIFreewillsallywally