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Neuroscience: Under Attack

Neuroscience: Under Attack | Social Brains | Scoop.it

"Neuroscience has joined company with other totalizing worldviews — Marxism, Freudianism, critical theory — that have been victim to overuse and misapplication."

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Parrot in captivity manufactures tools, something not seen in the wild

Parrot in captivity manufactures tools, something not seen in the wild | Social Brains | Scoop.it
Tool use was once thought to be one of the defining features of humans, but examples of it were eventually observed in primates and other mammals. But the biggest surprise came when birds were observed using tools in the wild. After all, birds are the only surviving dinosaurs, and mammals and dinosaurs hadn't shared a common ancestor for hundreds of millions of years. In the wild, tool use has been limited to the corvids (crows and jays), which show a variety of other complex behaviors—they'll remember your face and recognize the passing of their dead.

 

Parrots, in contrast, have mostly been noted for their linguistic skills, and there has only been very limited evidence that they use anything resembling a tool in the wild (primarily, they seem to use external objects to position nuts while feeding). But a captive cockatoo has now been observed using multiple steps to process a tool, behavior that appears to be completely spontaneous. And it has never been seen in this species in the wild.

 

The bird in question is Figaro, a male Goffin’s cockatoo. The species is native to a group of islands in Indonesia, but Figaro has been living outside of Vienna, where he's watched over by members of the local university's Department of Cognitive Biology. Contrary to what you might expect, Figaro wasn't undergoing any sort of elaborate testing routine when his toolmaking abilities emerged. Instead, he was playing with a stone. And, apparently, Figaro was a bit clumsy with his toy, as he dropped it behind a metal divider.

 

After failing to retrieve it with his claw, however, the researchers were surprised to see Figaro fly off, retrieve a piece of bamboo, and use that to try to push the stone back where he could access it. The attempt failed, but the researchers were intrigued enough that they gave the cockatoo a bit of added incentive by placing a nut on the other side of the metal screen.

 

Figaro initially picked up a stick from the enclosure's floor, but this proved to be too short to reach the food. So, he actually splintered off a piece of the enclosure's wooden base, and successfully used that to pull the nut towards the wire until he could use his beak to grab it.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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On first thought, cooperate; on second thought, be selfish

On first thought, cooperate; on second thought, be selfish | Social Brains | Scoop.it
Are we cooperative or are we selfish?This question goes back as far as the philosophers Rousseau and Hobbes – Rousseau advocated for a “noble savage” model of humanity whereas Hobbes advocated for a…...
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Altruism Is Not The Basis Of Morality

Altruism Is Not The Basis Of Morality | Social Brains | Scoop.it

"An altruism-based account of morality would appear to have a very difficult time making sense of that finding."

 

DeScioli, P., Christner, J., & Kurzban, R. (2011). The omission strategy - Psychological Science

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Empathic neural responses to others’ pain depend on monetary reward

Empathic neural responses to others’ pain depend on monetary reward | Social Brains | Scoop.it

Do we feel a poorer person's pain more than the rich!? -


The pain areas of the brain are activated when we see others in painful situations - empathy for other's pain - which has been found to be less if the person seen has lots of money.

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The Emerging Mind: How relationships and the embodied brain shape who we are

Renowned academic, author, and director of the Mindsight Institute Dan Siegel, visits the RSA to reveal an extremely rare thing -- a working definition of th...

Via Benjamín Villasana
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How early social deprivation impairs long-term cognitive function

How early social deprivation impairs long-term cognitive function | Social Brains | Scoop.it
Children who suffer severe neglect have cognitive impairments as adults.

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Wired for Culture: The natural history of human cooperation

"Mark Pagel, one of the world's leading experts on human evolution and development, visits the RSA to investigate our species' capacity for culture, cooperation and community."


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Five rules for the evolution of cooperation

Nowak addresses the interesting question of how cooperation might have evolved and persisted in an evolutionary process apparently dominated by competition -- Howard

 

"Cooperation is needed for evolution to construct new levels of organization. The emergence of genomes, cells, multi-cellular organisms, social insects and human society are all based on cooperation. Cooperation means that selfish replicators forgo some of their reproductive potential to help one another. But natural selection implies competition and therefore opposes cooperation unless a specific mechanism is at work. Here I discuss five mechanisms for the evolution of cooperation: kin selection, direct reciprocity, indirect reciprocity, network reciprocity and group selection. For each mechanism, a simple rule is derived which specifies whether natural selection can lead to cooperation."


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You want that? Well I want it, too! The neuroscience of mimetic desire | The Scicurious Brain, Scientific American Blog Network

You want that? Well I want it, too! The neuroscience of mimetic desire | The Scicurious Brain, Scientific American Blog Network | Social Brains | Scoop.it
I'm sure we've all seen it. Kid A is playing with a toy, and the next thing you know, Kid B wants it, too. Even when ...
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In Defense of the Value of Social Neuroscience: Scientific American

In Defense of the Value of Social Neuroscience: Scientific American | Social Brains | Scoop.it

Matthew Lieberman  responds to the controversial critique that the results of imaging studies are routinely overstated.


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How You Feel What Another Body Feels: Scientific American

How You Feel What Another Body Feels: Scientific American | Social Brains | Scoop.it
Empathy's surprising roots in the sense of touch...
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How humans predict other's decisions

How humans predict other's decisions | Social Brains | Scoop.it
Researchers have uncovered two brain signals in the human prefrontal cortex involved in how humans predict the decisions of other people.
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Scientists Probe Human Nature--and Discover We Are Good, After All: Scientific American

Scientists Probe Human Nature--and Discover We Are Good, After All: Scientific American | Social Brains | Scoop.it
Recent studies find our first impulses are selfless...

 

A new set of studies provides compelling data allowing us to analyze human nature not through a philosopher’s kaleidoscope or a TV producer’s camera, but through the clear lens of science. These studies were carried out by a diverse group of researchers from Harvard and Yale—a developmental psychologist with a background in evolutionary game theory, a moral philosopher-turned-psychologist, and a biologist-cum-mathematician—interested in the same essential question: whether our automatic impulse—our first instinct—is to act selfishly or cooperatively.


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Where does misinformation come from, and what does it do?

Where does misinformation come from, and what does it do? | Social Brains | Scoop.it
Obama is a Muslim, vaccinations cause autism, asylum seekers are breaking the law, GM foods cause cancer.These are all pieces of unsubstantiated misinformation that are commonly encountered on TV, talk…...
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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, How Does Psych Reflect Us All?

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, How Does Psych Reflect Us All? | Social Brains | Scoop.it
“Our environment, the world in which we live and work, is a mirror of our attitudes and expectations.” – Earl Nightingale, American motivational speaker In 1898, Norman Triplett stumbled upon an in...
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Baboon personalities connected to social success and health benefits

Baboon personalities connected to social success and health benefits | Social Brains | Scoop.it
Whether human or baboon, it helps to have friends. For both species, studies have shown that robust social networks lead to better health and longer lives.
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The embodiment of emotion: language use during the feeling of social emotions predicts cortical somatosensory activity | Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience

The embodiment of emotion: language use during the feeling of social emotions predicts cortical somatosensory activity | Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience | Social Brains | Scoop.it

Keeping language 'close to the bone' or felt experience, also, it seems, keeps it close to the somatosensory cortex. "This study investigated whether participants showed individual differences in the words they used to describe complex social emotions. We expected that cognitive word use would reflect a more abstract, deliberative emotional style and that affect words would reflect more embodied, physical engagement with emotion, and that these styles would correlate with patterns of neural activity during narratives designed to elicit feelings of admiration and compassion, but not control narratives." Consistent with these hypotheses, affective style was associated with greater recruitment of brain areas subserving physical body awareness. The authors cite evidence that indvidual differences in linguistic style (e.g. cognitive vs. affective) appear relatively stable across time and topic. I wonder if meditation practice, with its emphasis on body awareness and the critical role of sensations in giving rise to emotions and thoughts, might correlate with a shift in style from cognitive to affective to sensation-based language.


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The Social Express: An Innovative Tool for Overcoming Social Learning Challenges

The Social Express: An Innovative Tool for Overcoming Social Learning Challenges | Social Brains | Scoop.it
By BECKY THOMSON Just like IQs, we each have a unique EQ, or emotional intelligence quotient.  However, in the same way that IQs can be developed over time, EQs can be built through explicit learning and practice, as well.  Especially...
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Who's Trustworthy? A Robot Can Help Teach Us

Who's Trustworthy? A Robot Can Help Teach Us | Social Brains | Scoop.it
An unusual new study of college students' interactions with a robot has shed light on why we intuitively trust some people and distrust others.
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The Emerging Revolution in Game Theory - Technology Review

The Emerging Revolution in Game Theory - Technology Review | Social Brains | Scoop.it

Rethinking Prisoner's Dilemma strategies is a big deal because of the huge body of work, but you can't get more prestigious than Freeman Dyson. --Howard

 

"The world of game theory is currently on fire. In May, Freeman Dyson at Princeton University and William Press at the University of Texas announced that they had discovered a previously unknown strategy for the game of prisoner's dilemma which guarantees one player a better outcome than the other.

 

That's a monumental surprise. Theorists have studied Prisoner's Dilemma for decades, using it as a model for the emergence of co-operation in nature. This work has had a profound impact on disciplines such as economics, evolutionary biology and, of course, game theory itself. The new result will have impact in all these areas and more.?


Via Howard Rheingold
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Eyes and lies: new research fails to support NLP theories on detecting liars

Eyes and lies: new research fails to support NLP theories on detecting liars | Social Brains | Scoop.it
Long held to be the window to the soul, research published today in PLoS shows that the eyes are not the tell-tale Achilles heel of liars, despite what as NLP practitioners, Hollywood and innumerable armchair mentalists would have you believe.
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What is the “New Thinking” about Human Cognitive Evolution ...

What is the “New Thinking” about Human Cognitive Evolution ... | Social Brains | Scoop.it
In 2011, a conference convened to discuss what they labeled as the “New Thinking” (NT) about human cognitive evolution. The NT challenges many tenets of how evolutionary psychology has been pursued over the last ...

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danijel drnić's comment, March 2, 2013 2:01 PM
About neuroplasticity. Let's take one story with main character in it one ancient man. And by the accident he was felt in wild river. But he falls down on plank and survived. What happens next is he just think over it as he somehow manage to survive by staying on that log. What we can see from this storey. In modern day, modern human will think well I could build a boat from this log, or I will make book shells, or comfy chair, but ancient man was just in let's say plan B. The plan B was telling him 'I has to stay on this log !', so he did. Same would happen if we put the cat on floating plank, result would be the same. When we talk about plasticity I think on other things that hap pend in our brains. If we take one example I was suggested ones to my math teacher that if we think for the ball as the cube we can extract squares from it and turn it back to ball. That is real plasticity means. Our imagination provides us with that talent. So I don't like neuroplasticity in terms for close cognitions mechanisms but something more older and i builded in us. We have make a mistake ones upon a time, long long time ago. We start to draw things and talk about them. That was a big mistake.
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Brains are different in people with highly superior autobiographical memory

Brains are different in people with highly superior autobiographical memory | Social Brains | Scoop.it
Scientists have discovered intriguing differences in the brains and mental processes of an extraordinary group of people who can effortlessly recall every moment of their lives since about age 10.
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The interactive brain hypothesis

The interactive brain hypothesis | Social Brains | Scoop.it

Enactive approaches foreground the role of interpersonal interaction in explanations of social understanding. This motivates, in combination with a recent interest in neuroscientific studies involving actual interactions, the question of how interactive processes relate to neural mechanisms involved in social understanding. We introduce the Interactive Brain Hypothesis (IBH) in order to help map the spectrum of possible relations between social interaction and neural processes.

 

Di Paolo E and De Jaegher H (2012) The interactive brain hypothesis. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 6:163. http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2012.00163


Via Complexity Digest
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