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Brains & Things
STEM-related learning & thinking & doing & being
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What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades

What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades | Brains & Things | Scoop.it
Even as the emphasis shifts to the keyboard, experts say that learning to write by hand improves motor skills, memory and creativity.
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The 7 kinds of American racism in the 2010s

The 7 kinds of American racism in the 2010s | Brains & Things | Scoop.it

 

Left to right: David Duke (Jim Crow), Charles Murray (race realist), Amy Chua (colour-blind), Barack Obama (Islamophobic), Clarence Thomas (internalized), Antonin Scalia (institutional). Not shown: historical racism."



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Can Your Language Influence Your Spending, Eating, and Smoking Habits?

Can Your Language Influence Your Spending, Eating, and Smoking Habits? | Brains & Things | Scoop.it
An absurd-sounding claim leads to a surprising finding
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Why We Tend to Show Our Left Side in Pictures

Why We Tend to Show Our Left Side in Pictures | Brains & Things | Scoop.it
Centuries of art shed light on a small scientific mystery.
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The Top Ten Brain Science And Psychology Studies Of 2013

The Top Ten Brain Science And Psychology Studies Of 2013 | Brains & Things | Scoop.it
Putting it mildly, 2013 was an eventful year for brain science. This Top 10 list isn’t meant to be exhaustive (given how many studies are published each year, it never could be), but it’s a sturdy sampling of incredible work being conducted around...

 


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Sandeep Gautam's curator insight, January 13, 1:55 AM

 cool studies!

 

Ziggi Ivan Santini's curator insight, January 20, 2:12 AM

Apparently, blind people can still actually "see" (you know that feeling when someone is watching you...), and it turns out that coffee is a protective factor against suicide. These are bad news for stalkers, and good news for coffee lovers!

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In the Human Brain, Size Really Isn’t Everything

In the Human Brain, Size Really Isn’t Everything | Brains & Things | Scoop.it
Researchers at Harvard argue that the human brain is so advanced not simply because it is large, but because its rapid growth caused neurons to develop new connections and circuits.
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Santa on the Brain

Santa on the Brain | Brains & Things | Scoop.it
Neuroscience suggests I was right to lie to my kids about Christmas magic.
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Persuasive power of eye contact may be just the opposite

Persuasive power of eye contact may be just the opposite | Brains & Things | Scoop.it
Politicians and pitchmen take note: Listeners who lock eyes with a person expressing views that conflict with their own are not only less likely to change their attitude, they will avoid further contact with the speaker, according to new research...
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The Rational Choices of Crack Addicts

The Rational Choices of Crack Addicts | Brains & Things | Scoop.it
Scientists have long known how drugs act on the brain’s reward center, but a researcher shows that societal factors play a large role in addiction, too.
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6 Things You Thought Wrong About Introverts

6 Things You Thought Wrong About Introverts | Brains & Things | Scoop.it

If common stereotypes have anything to say on the matter, it's that introverts are socially awkward loners who abhor large crowds and don't like people very much.


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Inside our racist brains

Inside our racist brains | Brains & Things | Scoop.it
A video game-like experiment studies how we make assumptions -- and may unlock how to prevent more such killings
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Steven Pinker on Metaphor and the Mind

Steven Pinker on Metaphor and the Mind | Brains & Things | Scoop.it

I think that metaphor really is a key to explaining thought and language. The human mind comes equipped with an ability to penetrate the cladding of sensory appearance and discern the abstract construction underneath - not always on demand, and not infallibly, but often enough and insightfully enough to shape the human condition. 

Our powers of analogy allow us to apply ancient neural structures to newfound subject matter, to discover hidden laws and systems in nature, and not least, to amplify the expressive power of language itself.


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Mariana Soffer's curator insight, July 10, 2013 4:42 PM
 Steven Pinker, Canadian-American experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist and linguist, cited in Mariana Soffer, Metaphor and the Mind, Sing your own lullaby (via amiquote) 
carol s. (caravan café)'s comment, August 18, 2013 10:37 AM
toile de http://www.robertpokorny.com/robertpokorny/Home.html
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Why the #$%! Do We Swear? For Pain Relief: Scientific American

Why the #$%! Do We Swear? For Pain Relief: Scientific American | Brains & Things | Scoop.it
Dropping the F-bomb or other expletives may not only be an expression of agony, but also a means to alleviate it
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Big Mac, Thin Wallet

Big Mac, Thin Wallet | Brains & Things | Scoop.it

N recent years we have seen plenty of studies of the impact of fast food on our bodies. But what about our psychological health?

It stands to reason that fast food would have an effect on our mental state. From its production to its consumption, fast food both embodies and symbolizes speed and instant gratification. Moreover, through extensive franchising and large advertising budgets, fast-food companies shape many of the cues in our everyday environment.

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How We Decode Dreams Today

How We Decode Dreams Today | Brains & Things | Scoop.it
Fascinating new research shows what our brain is really up to while we sleep.
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Is This Why Some People Are Able To Remember Their Dreams Better Than Others?

Is This Why Some People Are Able To Remember Their Dreams Better Than Others? | Brains & Things | Scoop.it

Why are some people always able to remember their dreams, while others have trouble remembering any at all? A new study suggests activity in a certain part of the brain could have something to do with it.

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A Way with Words | HMS

A Way with Words | HMS | Brains & Things | Scoop.it

Babies may come into the world ready to learn language, but as good as they are at doing this, they cannot accomplish it alone. Whether learning one language or three, babies need to engage with human speech to shape their newly forming neural connections.

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The Brain, in Exquisite Detail

The Brain, in Exquisite Detail | Brains & Things | Scoop.it
Undertaking thousands of hours of work, researchers are working to create an interactive database of a healthy brain’s structure and activity, the first of its kind.
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Special issue: What is reality? - New Scientist

Special issue: What is reality? - New Scientist | Brains & Things | Scoop.it
The more we learn about reality, the less we understand it. Our special collection of articles explores how we define reality, what it could be and whether it exists

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FastTFriend's curator insight, December 21, 2013 2:39 AM

 But what is reality? The more we probe it, the harder it becomes to comprehend. In the eight articles on this page we take a tour of our fundamental understanding of the world around us, starting with an attempt to define reality and ending with the idea that whatever reality is, it isn’t what it seems.

Luciano Lampi's curator insight, January 8, 8:55 AM

Dream about this question....

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How Many of Your Memories Are Fake?

How Many of Your Memories Are Fake? | Brains & Things | Scoop.it
When people with Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory—those who can remember what they ate for breakfast on a specific day 10 years ago—are tested for accuracy, researchers find what goes into false memories.
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Brain processes 'big' words faster than 'small' words

Brain processes 'big' words faster than 'small' words | Brains & Things | Scoop.it
(Medical Xpress)—Bigger may not always be better, but when it comes to brain processing speed, it appears that size does matter.

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Amira's curator insight, September 29, 2013 9:40 AM

"Bigger may not always be better, but when it comes to brain processing speed, it appears that size does matter.


A new study has revealed that words which refer to big things are processed more quickly by the brain than words for small things.

Researchers at the University of Glasgow had previously found that big concrete words – 'ocean', 'dinosaur', 'cathedral' – were read more quickly than small ones such as 'apple', 'parasite' and 'cigarette'.

 

Now they have discovered that abstract words which are thought of as big – 'greed', 'genius', 'paradise' – are also processed faster than concepts considered to be small such as 'haste', 'polite' and 'intimate'.

Dr Sara Sereno, a Reader in the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology who led the study said: "It seems that size matters, even when it's abstract and you can't see it."

 

The study, published in the online journal PLoS ONE, also involved researchers from Kent, Manchester and Oregon. Participants were presented with a series of real words referring to objects and concepts both big and small, as well as nonsense, made-up words, totalling nearly 500 items. The different word types were matched for length and frequency of use.

 

The 60 participants were asked to press one of two buttons to indicate whether each item was a real word or not. This decision took just over 500 milliseconds or around a half second per item. Results showed that words referring to larger objects or concepts were processed around 20 milliseconds faster than words referring to smaller objects or concepts. (...)

 

Lead author Dr Bo Yao said: "It turned out that our big concrete and abstract words, like 'shark' and 'panic', tended to be more emotionally arousing than our small concrete and abstract words, like 'acorn' and 'tight'. Our analysis showed that these emotional links played a greater role in the identification of abstract compared to concrete words."

 

"Even though abstract words don't refer to physical objects in the real world, we found that it's actually quite easy to think of certain concepts in terms of their size," said co-author Prof Paddy O'Donnell. "Everyone thinks that 'devotion' is something big and that 'mischief' is something small."

Bigger things it seems, whether real or imagined, grab our attention more easily and our brains process them faster – even when they are represented by written words."

 

-- Size matters: Brain processes 'big' words faster than 'small' words, Medical Xpress, 26, Sept, 2013

 

See also: Semantic Size of Abstract Concepts: It Gets Emotional When You Can’t See It, PLoS ONE

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Good Deeds Gone Bad

Good Deeds Gone Bad | Brains & Things | Scoop.it

Why does virtue sometimes beget more virtue but other times allow for vice?

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Monogamy’s Boost to Human Evolution

Monogamy’s Boost to Human Evolution | Brains & Things | Scoop.it
Fossil records suggest that by sticking around and protecting and feeding their offspring, early men paved the way for the growth of the human brain.
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Radley Balko: “Once a town gets a SWAT team you want to use it”

Radley Balko: “Once a town gets a SWAT team you want to use it” | Brains & Things | Scoop.it
America's police are beginning to look like an army, and the author says there's very little we can do about it
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The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science

The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science | Brains & Things | Scoop.it
By Chris Mooney

“A MAN WITH A CONVICTION is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he…
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