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Step Inside the Real World of Compulsive Hoarders: Scientific American

Step Inside the Real World of Compulsive Hoarders: Scientific American | cognition | Scoop.it
Recent research has changed the way clinicians treat hoarding as well as refuted popular assumptions about people with excessive clutter
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Hoarders tend to organize the world spatially and visually, rather than categorically. Instead of putting a new electricity bill in a designated folder, for example, a hoarder might slip the bill on top of a particular pile of stuff, committing to memory a visual map of its location. In this way, many hoarders can look at their piles of stuff and know exactly what they contain—although the larger and more jumbled the heaps become, the more difficult it is to keep track of individual items. Many compulsive hoarders have difficulty categorizing their possessions—believing that each item is too unique to lump with others—even though they have no trouble classifying objects they do not own.

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cognition
How it evolved, what we do with it, futures; And otherwise interesting stuff
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Art shaped by science “is the new avant-garde”, physicists are told

Art shaped by science “is the new avant-garde”, physicists are told | cognition | Scoop.it
Artists are beginning to think like scientists and scientists like artists as aesthetics is being redefined, Professor Arthur I. Miller argued at an event on “Physics in Public Spaces” held at the IOP’s London centre on 23 June

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Will head transplants create an entirely new person?

Will head transplants create an entirely new person? | cognition | Scoop.it
The world’s first full head transplant could take place as soon as 2017 if the controversial plans by Italian neuroscientist Dr Sergio Canavero come to pass. Wheelchair-bound Valery Spiridonov, who has the muscle-wasting Werdnig Hoffman disease, has volunteered to have his head transplanted onto a healthy body in a day-long operation.

The proposed surgery is highly controversial and its feasibility has been questioned by experts. But Dr Canavero’s plans also raise complex philosophical and ethical issues. A natural question is whether a living person with Spridinov’s head and someone else’s body would be the same person as Spridinov. In interviews, Spridinov has made it clear that he sees the proposed procedure as a way for him to live on with a new and healthy body.
A different perspective would be that Spridinov is a head-donor rather than the recipient of a new body. He is donating his head to someone else who will live the rest of his life with Spridinov’s head but won’t be the same person as Spridinov. On this account, Spridinov is signing his own death warrant by volunteering for the surgery.

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Exclusive: Oliver Sacks, Antonio Damasio and Others Debate Christof Koch on the Nature of Consciousness

Exclusive: Oliver Sacks, Antonio Damasio and Others Debate Christof Koch on the Nature of Consciousness | cognition | Scoop.it
A few neurologists and brain scientists are proposing that the secret underlying all conscious activity must lie with the way cells respond to stimuli they receive from their environment. In a response to this suggestion, Christof Koch asserts that much more is required for a full theory of consciousness

Via Sandeep Gautam
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Sandeep Gautam's curator insight, June 19, 7:30 AM

I am on Koch's side!

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What are the ethics of alien contact? – Lizzie Wade – Aeon

What are the ethics of alien contact? – Lizzie Wade – Aeon | cognition | Scoop.it
When we meet aliens, it won’t be a friendly encounter nor a conquest: it will be a gold rush. Can we make sure it’s ethical?
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If, on the other hand, we discover microbial or otherwise non-sentient life within our own solar system – logistics will be on our side. We’d be able to visit within a reasonable period of time (as far as space travel goes), and I hope we’d want to. If the life we find resembles plants, their complexity will wow us. Most likely we’ll find simple single-celled microbes or maybe – maybe – something like sponges or tubeworms. In terms of encounter, we’d be making all the decisions about how to proceed.

…This makes defining an ethics of contact necessary now, before we have to put it into practice. 

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Science Has Fucking Amazing News for People Who Curse

Science Has Fucking Amazing News for People Who Curse | cognition | Scoop.it
WTF FTW!
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But what we consider profanity changes as language evolves. If a word loses its shock appeal, it probably loses its ameliorative power.

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Do we really want to fuse our minds together? – Peter Watts – Aeon

Do we really want to fuse our minds together? – Peter Watts – Aeon | cognition | Scoop.it
New research puts us on the cusp of brain-to-brain communication. Could the next step spell the end of individual minds?
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Consciousness remains mysterious. But there’s no reason to regard it as magical, no evidence of spectral bonds that hold a soul in one head and keep it from leaking into another. And one of the things we do know is that consciousness spreads to fill the space available. Smaller selves disappear into larger; two hemispheres integrate into one. The architectural specifics aren’t even all that important if Tononi is right, if the Cambridge Declaration is anything to go on. You don’t need a neocortex or a hypothalamus. All you need is complexity and a sufficiently fat pipe.

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New insight into how the brain makes memories | KurzweilAI

New insight into how the brain makes memories | KurzweilAI | cognition | Scoop.it
Every time you make a memory, somewhere in your brain a tiny filament called a dendritic spine reaches out from one neuron and forms an electrochemical connection to a neighboring neuron. Now a team of biologists at Vanderbilt University has discovered more about how these connections are formed at the molecular and cellular level.

In a series of experiments described in the April 17 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the researchers report that a specific signaling protein, Asef2, a member of a family of proteins that regulate cell migration and adhesion, plays a critical role in this spine formation. This is significant because Asef2 has been linked to autism and the co-occurrence of alcohol dependency and depression.

“Alterations in dendritic spines are associated with many neurological and developmental disorders, such as autism, Alzheimer’s disease and Down Syndrome,” said study leader Associate Professor of Biological Sciences Donna Webb. “However, the formation and maintenance of spines is a very complex process that we are just beginning to understand.”

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Existential Risk | Edge.org

Existential Risk | Edge.org | cognition | Scoop.it
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"

"We need to figure out how to steer the technological progress to ensure safe outcomes."

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A brain of wonders

A brain of wonders | cognition | Scoop.it
The U-T San Diego, which I originally thought was a university but turns out it’s a newspaper, has an excellent online multimedia project called ‘The Wonders of Your Brain’ which is an extensive and excellent look at some of the key issues in...
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Rats, reasoning, and rehabilitation: Neuroscientists uncovering how we reason

Rats, reasoning, and rehabilitation: Neuroscientists uncovering how we reason | cognition | Scoop.it
Even rats can imagine: A new study finds that rats have the ability to link cause and effect such that they can expect, or imagine, something happening even if it isn't. The findings are important to understanding human reasoning, especially in older adults, as aging degrades the ability to maintain information about unobserved events.

"What sets humans apart from the rest of the animal kingdom is our prodigious ability to reason. But what about human reasoning is truly a human-unique feature and what aspects are shared with our nonhuman relatives?," asks Aaron Blaisdell of the University of California, Los Angeles. "This is the question that drives my passion for research on rational behavior in rats."

Blaisdell hopes that his work with rats will teach us more about what it means to be human. His recent studies are part of a growing body of work on reasoning - the ability to figure out how to move from one state of affairs to another, to achieve a particular outcome.

From reasoning in rats to differences in reasoning among people with autism and schizophrenia, researchers are discussing the latest science on reasoning in a symposium today at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS) conference in San Francisco.

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Radical embodied cognition: an interview with Andrew Wilson

Radical embodied cognition: an interview with Andrew Wilson | cognition | Scoop.it
The computational approach is the orthodoxy in psychological science. We try and understand the mind using the metaphors of information processing and the storage and retrieval of representations.
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Death is Optional - A Conversation: Yuval Noah Harari, Daniel Kahneman [3.4.15] ,EDGE

Death is Optional - A Conversation: Yuval Noah Harari, Daniel Kahneman [3.4.15] ,EDGE | cognition | Scoop.it
Once you really solve a problem like direct brain-computer interface ... when brains and computers can interact directly, that's it, that's the end of history, that's the end of biology as we know it. Nobody has a clue what will happen once you solve this. If life can break out of the organic realm into the vastness of the inorganic realm, you cannot even begin to imagine what the consequences will be, because your imagination at present is organic. So if there is a point of Singularity, by definition, we have no way of even starting to imagine what's happening beyond that.

Via Spaceweaver
FastTFriend's insight:

From Article: "I think that many of these science fiction scenarios, that computers will be like humans, are wrong. Computers are very, very, very far from being like humans, especially when it comes to consciousness. The problem is different, that the system, the military and economic and political system doesn't really need consciousness."

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Spaceweaver's curator insight, March 4, 5:36 PM

Highly interesting

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Planting false memories fairly easy, psychologists find | Toronto Star

Planting false memories fairly easy, psychologists find | Toronto Star | cognition | Scoop.it
New study bolsters notion that memory is fragile and aggressive police interrogations don’t always serve justice.

Via Gerald Carey
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Gerald Carey's curator insight, February 22, 4:26 PM

This is scary. Psychologists were able to implant false memories (some of them criminal in nature) into 70% of the participants in the study!

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Ruby Wax on Neuroplasticity: "You're the Architect of Your Own Brain" | Big Think

Ruby Wax on Neuroplasticity: "You're the Architect of Your Own Brain" | Big Think | cognition | Scoop.it
Ruby Wax gave up a career in comedy to study the brain. In this video, she explains the therapeutic qualities of neuroplasticity.

Via Yissar
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Let’s Shape AI Before AI Shapes Us

Let’s Shape AI Before AI Shapes Us | cognition | Scoop.it
It’s time to have a global conversation about how AI should be developed

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What is life? Is death real? - Aeon Video

What is life? Is death real? - Aeon Video | cognition | Scoop.it
What is life? Is death real? How the questions that have troubled some of history’s greatest thinkers are still very hard to answer
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Hallucinating children

Hallucinating children | cognition | Scoop.it
I’ve got an article in The Observer about childhood hallucinations which are much more common than we previously imagined.
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An alternative history of the human mind

An alternative history of the human mind | cognition | Scoop.it
Nautilus has an excellent article on a theory of consciousness that is very likely wrong but so startlingly original it is widely admired: Julian Jaynes’ theory of the bicameral mind.
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Company Creates Bioethics Panel on Trial Drugs

Company Creates Bioethics Panel on Trial Drugs | cognition | Scoop.it
Johnson & Johnson named the bioethicist Arthur L. Caplan to create a panel to decide on patients’ requests for lifesaving medicines before they are approved.
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Chinese scientists genetically modify human embryos

Chinese scientists genetically modify human embryos | cognition | Scoop.it
In a world first, Chinese scientists have reported editing the genomes of human embryos. The results are published1 in the online journal Protein & Cell and confirm widespread rumours that such experiments had been conducted—rumours that sparked a high-profile debate last month2, 3 about the ethical implications of such work.

In the paper, researchers led by Junjiu Huang, a gene-function researcher at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, tried to head off such concerns by using 'non-viable' embryos, which cannot result in a live birth, that were obtained from local fertility clinics. The team attempted to modify the gene responsible for β-thalassaemia, a potentially fatal blood disorder, using a gene-editing technique known as CRISPR/Cas9. The researchers say that their results reveal serious obstacles to using the method in medical applications.

"I believe this is the first report of CRISPR/Cas9 applied to human pre-implantation embryos and as such the study is a landmark, as well as a cautionary tale," says George Daley, a stem-cell biologist at Harvard Medical School in Boston. "Their study should be a stern warning to any practitioner who thinks the technology is ready for testing to eradicate disease genes."

Some say that gene editing in embryos could have a bright future because it could eradicate devastating genetic diseases before a baby is born. Others say that such work crosses an ethical line: researchers warned in Nature2 in March that because the genetic changes to embryos, known as germline modification, are heritable, they could have an unpredictable effect on future generations. Researchers have also expressed concerns that any gene-editing research on human embryos could be a slippery slope towards unsafe or unethical uses of the technique.

The paper by Huang's team looks set to reignite the debate on human-embryo editing — and there are reports that other groups in China are also experimenting on human embryos.

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Daniel Levitin on information overload - Aeon Video

Daniel Levitin on information overload - Aeon Video | cognition | Scoop.it
The neuroscientist Daniel Levitin says multitasking doesn’t work and that we should daydream more to deal with our information overload.
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A 7 minutes video

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How science made me a writer

How science made me a writer | cognition | Scoop.it
As a programmer and all-around nerd, I learned that the intricacies of science can be a great driver for plot
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Andy Weir on the making of The Martian, with a glimpse into the 'making of Andy Weir'...

The book is a delight. A well told story that is also a peek into the rise of complex, rich, full of twists and turns unfoldment of ultimately 'simple' fundamental conditions. Not to mention how likable and involving the characters are.

They are making a movie out of it... not sure i'll like it. But the story and the story of the story are definitely recommended. 

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Hear Michel Foucault’s Lecture “The Culture of the Self,” Presented in English at UC Berkeley (1983)

Hear Michel Foucault’s Lecture “The Culture of the Self,” Presented in English at UC Berkeley (1983) | cognition | Scoop.it
United States in the last years of his life, particularly his time as a lecturer at UC Berkeley, proved to be extraordinarily productive in the development of his theoretical understanding of what he saw as the central question facing the contemporary West: the question of the self.

Via Xaos
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From text:

"The technique of confession, central even to secular psychoanalysis, informs a subjectivity that, for Foucault, always develops under the ever-watchful eyes of normalizing institutions. But in “The Culture of the Self,” Foucault reaches back to ancient Greek conceptions of “care of the self” (epimelieia beautou) to locate a subjectivity derived from a different tradition—a counterpoint to religious confessional and Freudian subjectivities and one he has discussed in terms of the technique of “self writing.” (The Care of the Self also happens to be the subtitle of the third volume of Foucault’s History of Sexuality, and “The Culture of the Self” the title of its second chapter.)"

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Complex Societies Evolved without Belief in All-Powerful Deity

Complex Societies Evolved without Belief in All-Powerful Deity | cognition | Scoop.it
The emergence of politically sophisticated societies may be assisted by faith in supernatural spirits but does not require "big god" religion
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From Article:

 

“I think the ordering of events these authors prefer is what one expects from first principles,” says evolutionary biologist Mark Pagel of the University of Reading, UK. He says that societies became more politically complex as networks of trade and reputation emerged, and that the key to this process was language, not religion.

 

So what are MHGs for? “They are tools of control used by purveyors of religion to cement their grip on power,” says Pagel. “As soon as you have a large society generating lots of goods and services, this wealth can be put to use by someone who can grab the reins of power. The most immediate way to do this is to align yourself with a supreme deity and then make lists of things people can and cannot do, and these become ‘morals’ when applied to our social behaviour.”

 

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The smart unconscious

The smart unconscious | cognition | Scoop.it
We feel that we are in control when our brains figure out puzzles or read words, says Tom Stafford, but a new experiment shows just how much work is going on underneath the surface of our conscious minds.
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