Social Neuroscience Advances
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Social Neuroscience Advances
Understanding ourselves and how we interact
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Study reveals effects on body mass index of gene linked to heavy smoking

Study reveals effects on body mass index of gene linked to heavy smoking | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
A genetic variant which causes smokers to smoke more heavily has been shown to be associated with increased body mass index (BMI) – but only in those who have never smoked, according to new research led by the University of Bristol, UK and...
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The social brain: Does guessing others’ intentions make a difference when we learn?

The social brain: Does guessing others’ intentions make a difference when we learn? | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
People regularly engage in sophisticated ‘mentalizing’ (i.e. guessing the intentions or beliefs of others) whenever they convince, teach, deceive, and so on.
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The human eye can see 'invisible' infrared light

The human eye can see 'invisible' infrared light | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Any science textbook will tell you we can't see infrared light. Like X-rays and radio waves, infrared light waves are outside the visual spectrum. But an international team of researchers co-led by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has found that under certain conditions, ...
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Do concussions have lingering cognitive, physical, and emotional effects?

Do concussions have lingering cognitive, physical, and emotional effects? | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
A study of active duty U.S. Marines who suffered a recent or previous concussion(s) examined whether persistent post-concussive symptoms (PPCS) and lingering effects on cognitive function are due to concussion-related brain trauma or emotional...
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Happy People Aren't Always Great At Empathy

Happy People Aren't Always Great At Empathy | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Perpetually happy individuals are wonderful to have around, until you experience something worth complaining about. Recent research in PLOS ONE suggests that people who are generally cheerful are not so great at reading other people's negative emotions, though what's especially interesting is that they think they're very good at it.

More from Science of Us: Grumpy People Get The Details Right

Researchers asked the participants both how happy they tended to be from day to day and how empathetic they considered themselves.


The cheerier volunteers tended to tell the researchers that they were more empathetic, too, when compared to their not-quite-so-happy study subject counterparts. Alex Fradera, in a post at the British Psychological Society's Research Digest, describes what happened next:


By Melissa Dahl 


Via Edwin Rutsch
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Healthy Aging And Disease: Alzheimer's, Schizophrenia May Come From Similar Weak Spots In The Brain

Healthy Aging And Disease: Alzheimer's, Schizophrenia May Come From Similar Weak Spots In The Brain | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
A new study dives deeper into the link between Alzheimer's and schizophrenia, as well as the part of the brain more vulnerable to these diseases despite their major differences.
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Desire, Emotion and the Mind 2010-2014 Philosophy Department of the University of Geneva Swiss Centre for Affective Sciences

1. Summary of research plan

We commonly explain emotions by means of desires, and explain desires by means of emotions. For instance, we say things like “He admires Maria so much, he wants to spend most of his time with her” and “Sam wanted to have this book so badly, he is now overjoyed”. On the traditional belief-desire model of the mind, however, it is not clear that there is a clear distinction between desire and emotion given that the so-called category of the pro-attitudes tends to lump together many different phenomena, and among these, desires and emotions. This holds also for many philosophical and psychological accounts of the emotions in which desires and emotions are not clearly distinguished. If so, how are we to make sense of these very ordinary types of explanations in which, on the face of it, one type of mental state is appealed to in explaining another type of mental state?

In light of these problems, the present project sets itself the task of explaining why and how emotions and desires should be distinguished, and proposes an account of how the relation between them should be conceived. The hypothesised account posits not only that emotions are distinct from desires, but also that the emotions, conceived as evaluative experiences of one’s environment, explain desires – causally, ontologically and epistemically – and that this fact has important consequences for our general understanding of the mental realm.

I start (§2.1 State of research) by introducing the topic and aim of the project (§2.1a).

I first summarise the research on desire and emotion in the context of the goals pursued in the project (§2.1b), and subsequently discuss part of the debate in moral psychology relevant for the explanation of action in terms desire (§2.1c). On this basis (§2.2. Detailed research plan), I motivate and clarify the aforementioned overarching hypothesis. Because our emotions are trackers of values, they play a non-eliminable role in our psychology: they rationalise our desires (standardly conceived as triggers of action).

Next (§2.2a), I single out four challenges for the hypothesis that open up four directions for research, i.e. four distinct sub- projects.

The first concerns the very possibility of emotions constituting reason-giving states (2.2b), the second is concerned with the different ways in which emotional phenomena can be said to rationalise desires (with a particular focus on temperaments, sentiments, personality traits, etc.) (§2.2c), the third is concerned with how fruitful the proposed hypothesis is in providing a taxonomy of the pro-attitudes (§2.2d), the fourth is concerned with confronting the hypothesis and its framework with work conducted in empirical psychology (§2.2d).

The crux of the hypothesis put forward in this project is not only that emotions have, as it is often observed, a crucial regulatory role to play in our lives, but that without them we would be blind to a whole dimension of our environment, i.e. its evaluative dimension. This, if true, militates in favour of reconsidering the fundamental architecture of the mind as including emotions in addition to beliefs and desires. It is thanks to emotions that our desires and our (evaluative) beliefs get to be intelligible from a rational or normative perspective.

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Evolutionary dynamics of time-resolved social interactions

Cooperation among unrelated individuals is frequently observed in social groups when their members combine efforts and resources to obtain a shared benefit that is unachievable by an individual alone. However, understanding why cooperation arises despite the natural tendency of individuals toward selfish behavior is still an open problem and represents one of the most fascinating challenges in evolutionary dynamics. Recently, the structural characterization of the networks in which social interactions take place has shed some light on the mechanisms by which cooperative behavior emerges and eventually overcomes the natural temptation to defect. In particular, it has been found that the heterogeneity in the number of social ties and the presence of tightly knit communities lead to a significant increase in cooperation as compared with the unstructured and homogeneous connection patterns considered in classical evolutionary dynamics. Here, we investigate the role of social-ties dynamics for the emergence of cooperation in a family of social dilemmas. Social interactions are in fact intrinsically dynamic, fluctuating, and intermittent over time, and they can be represented by time-varying networks. By considering two experimental data sets of human interactions with detailed time information, we show that the temporal dynamics of social ties has a dramatic impact on the evolution of cooperation: the dynamics of pairwise interactions favors selfish behavior.


Evolutionary dynamics of time-resolved social interactions
Phys. Rev. E 90, 052825 – Published 25 November 2014
Alessio Cardillo, Giovanni Petri, Vincenzo Nicosia, Roberta Sinatra, Jesús Gómez-Gardeñes, and Vito Latora

http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevE.90.052825


Via Complexity Digest
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Culture in social neuroscience: a review. - PubMed - NCBI

Culture in social neuroscience: a review. - PubMed - NCBI | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it

The aim of this review is to highlight an emerging field: the neuroscience of culture. This new field links cross-cultural psychology with cognitive neuroscience across fundamental domains of cognitive and social psychology. We present a summary of studies on emotion, perspective-taking, memory, object perception, attention, language, and the self, showing cultural differences in behavior as well as in neural activation. Although it is still nascent, the broad impact of merging the study of culture with cognitive neuroscience holds mutual distributed benefits for multiple related fields. Thus, cultural neuroscience may be uniquely poised to provide insights and breakthroughs for longstanding questions and problems in the study of behavior and thought, and its capacity for integration across multiple levels of analysis is especially high. These findings attest to the plasticity of the brain and its adaptation to cultural contexts.

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Scientists Demonstrate Brain-to-Brain Communication | MIT Technology Review

Scientists Demonstrate Brain-to-Brain Communication | MIT Technology Review | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Scientists have established direct communication between two human brains, but is it more than a stunt?

Two scientific teams this year patched together some well-known technologies to directly exchange information between human brains.

The projects, in the U.S. and Europe, appear to represent the first occasions in history that any two people have transmitted information without either of them speaking or moving any muscle. For now, however, the “telepathy” technology remains so crude that it’s unlikely to have any practical impact.

In a paper published last week in the journal PLOS One, neuroscientists and computer engineers at the University of Washington in Seattle described a brain-to-brain interface they built that lets two people coöperatively play a simple video game. Earlier this year, a company in Barcelona called Starlab described transmitting short words like “ciao,” encoded as binary digits, between the brains of individuals on different continents.

 


Via Alessandro Cerboni
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Just 1 Gram of This Spice Boosts Memory in Six Hours — PsyBlog

Just 1 Gram of This Spice Boosts Memory in Six Hours — PsyBlog | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it

Memory improved by consuming small amount of this spice with breakfast. One gram of turmeric at breakfast has been shown by a new study to improve memory in people with memory problems.

In the study itself participants were given 1 gram of turmeric mixed into their ordinary breakfasts (Lee et al., 2014).

Their working memory was tested before and some time after their breakfast, and the results were compared with a placebo-control condition.

 


Via Alessandro Cerboni
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Secret of tetanus toxicity offers new way to treat motor neuron disease

Secret of tetanus toxicity offers new way to treat motor neuron disease | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
The way that tetanus neurotoxin enters nerve cells has been discovered by UCL scientists, who showed that this process can be blocked, offering a potential therapeutic intervention for tetanus.
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Brain Scans Show Abnormalities in Chronic Fatigue Patients : DNews

Brain Scans Show Abnormalities in Chronic Fatigue Patients : DNews | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Brains of people who experience chronic fatigue are different than those of people who don't. Continue reading →
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Medications for patients with first episode psychosis may not meet guidelines

Medications for patients with first episode psychosis may not meet guidelines | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
Many patients with first-episode psychosis receive medications that do not comply with recommended guidelines for first-episode treatment, researchers have found.
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Wireless brain sensor could unchain neuroscience from cables

Wireless brain sensor could unchain neuroscience from cables | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
In a study in the journal Neuron, scientists describe a new high data-rate, low-power wireless brain sensor.
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Taming neural excitations

Taming neural excitations | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
What do lasers, neural networks, and spreading epidemics have in common? They share a most basic feature whereby an initial pulse can propagate through a medium - be it physical, biological or socio-economic, respectively.
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Blows to head damage brain’s ‘garbage truck’ and accelerate dementia

Blows to head damage brain’s ‘garbage truck’ and accelerate dementia | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
A new study out today in the Journal of Neuroscience shows that traumatic brain injury can disrupt the function of the brain’s waste removal system.
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Lynnette Van Dyke's curator insight, December 3, 2014 9:20 AM

Implications for our sports programs!

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Endogenous adenosine A3 receptor activation selectively alleviates persistent pain states

Endogenous adenosine A3 receptor activation selectively alleviates persistent pain states | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
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Older people may be better learners than we think

Older people may be able to learn more from visual information than their younger counterparts, according to a study published today in the journal Current Biology.
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NCCR Affective Sciences

NCCR Affective Sciences | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it

The National Center of Competence in Research “Affective Sciences – Emotions in Individual Behaviour and Social Processes” (NCCR Affective Sciences) is one of the first research centres worldwide dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of emotions and their effects on human behaviour and society.

More than 100 researchers from various disciplines and universities collaborate in the NCCR Affective Sciences.

The NCCR Affective Sciences is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and is hosted at theUniversity of Geneva (Swiss Center for Affective Sciences).

Le Pôle en bref >>

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Culture in the mind's mirror: how anthropology and neuroscience can inform a model of the neural substrate for cultural imitative learning - PubMed - NCBI

Cultural neuroscience, the study of how cultural experience shapes the brain, is an emerging subdiscipline in the neurosciences. Yet, a foundational question to the study of culture and the brain remains neglected by neuroscientific inquiry: "How does cultural information get into the brain in the first place?" Fortunately, the tools needed to explore the neural architecture of cultural learning - anthropological theories and cognitive neuroscience methodologies - already exist; they are merely separated by disciplinary boundaries. Here we review anthropological theories of cultural learning derived from fieldwork and modeling; since cultural learning theory suggests that sophisticated imitation abilities are at the core of human cultural learning, we focus our review on cultural imitative learning. Accordingly we proceed to discuss the neural underpinnings of imitation and other mechanisms important for cultural learning: learning biases, mental state attribution, and reinforcement learning. Using cultural neuroscience theory and cognitive neuroscience research as our guides, we then propose a preliminary model of the neural architecture of cultural learning. Finally, we discuss future studies needed to test this model and fully explore and explain the neural underpinnings of cultural imitative learning.
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Culturing the adolescent brain: what can neuroscience learn from anthropology?

Cultural neuroscience is set to flourish in the next few years. As the field develops, it is necessary to reflect on what is meant by ‘culture’ and how this can be translated for the laboratory context. This article uses the example of the adolescent brain to discuss three aspects of culture that may help us to shape and reframe questions, interpretations and applications in cultural neuroscience: cultural contingencies of categories, cultural differences in experience and cultural context of neuroscience research. The last few years have seen a sudden increase in the study of adolescence as a period of both structural and functional plasticity, with new brain-based explanations of teenage behaviour being taken up in education, policy and medicine. However, the concept of adolescence, as an object of behavioural science, took shape relatively recently, not much more than a hundred years ago and was shaped by a number of cultural and historical factors. Moreover, research in anthropology and cross-cultural psychology has shown that the experience of adolescence, as a period of the lifespan, is variable and contingent upon culture. The emerging field of cultural neuroscience has begun to tackle the question of cultural differences in social cognitive processing in adults. In this article, I explore what a cultural neuroscience can mean in the case of adolescence. I consider how to integrate perspectives from social neuroscience and anthropology to conceptualize, and to empirically study, adolescence as a culturally variable phenomenon, which, itself, has been culturally constructed.

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Here's the Reason You Cry When You’re Happy

Researchers at Yale have discovered there's a science behind why we're sometimes so happy we can -- and do -- cry.
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Harvard Unveils MRI Study Proving Meditation Literally Rebuilds The Brain’s Gray Matter In 8 Weeks

Harvard Unveils MRI Study Proving Meditation Literally Rebuilds The Brain’s Gray Matter In 8 Weeks | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it

Test subjects taking part in an 8-week program of mindfulness meditation showed results that astonished even the most experienced neuroscientists at Harvard University.  The study was led by a Harvard-affiliated team of researchers based at Massachusetts General Hospital, and the team’s MRI scans documented for the very first time in medical history how meditation produced massive changes inside the brain’s gray matter.  “Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day,” says study senior author Sara Lazar of the MGH Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program and a Harvard Medical School instructor in psychology. “This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.”

 

Via Tiago
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Paleo for Women | The GABA Neurotransmitter: Another Link Between Diet, Hormones, Mental Health, and Sleep

Paleo for Women | The GABA Neurotransmitter: Another Link Between Diet, Hormones, Mental Health, and Sleep | Social Neuroscience Advances | Scoop.it
The GABA Neurotransmitter: Another Link Between Diet, Hormones, Mental Health, and Sleep http://t.co/qF3uAK9993
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