science

The mind isn’t locked in the brain but extends far beyond it

science | 15 july 16 | Keith Frankish, Aeon
If the mind is not bounded by the brain or the skin, where does it stop? What is the boundary line? The short answer is that there isn’t one – not a stable one, at any rate.

The Mind Messing With the Mind

science | 7 july 16 | George Johnson, The New York Times
Descartes’s notion of dualism – mind and body as separate things – has long receded from science. The challenge now is to explain how the inner world of consciousness arises from the flesh of the brain.

Complex ideas can enter consciousness automatically

science | 3 july 16 | San Francisco State University
Consciousness is more of a conduit for information in the brain rather than an active creator of information. Even complex concepts can enter your consciousness automatically, even when someone tells you to avoid thinking about it.

The Universe Is Not a Snowflake

science | 27 june 16 | Natalie Wolchover, Quanta Magazine
Nature’s laws are beautiful because they strike a compromise between boring symmetry and confusing asymmetry, physicists say.

Ayahuasca stimulates the birth of new brain cells

science | 25  june 16 | Amanda Feilding, Jordi Riba
A study found that harmine and tetrahydroharmine, the alkaloids present in highest amounts in ayahuasca, stimulate the growth and maturation of neurons and promote their birth from the stem cells.

A trick of the mind

science | 25 may 16 | Adam Bear, Paul Bloom, Yale University
The results of two psychology experiments suggest that what we believe to be a conscious choice may actually be constructed, or confabulated, unconsciously after we act – to rationalize our decisions.

Physics Makes Aging Inevitable, Not Biology

science | 23 may 16 | Peter Hoffman, Nautilus
Nanoscale thermal physics guarantees our decline, no matter how many diseases we cure.

The Illusion of Reality

science | 17 may 16 | Amanda Gefter, Quanta Magazine
The cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman uses evolutionary game theory to show that our perceptions of an independent reality must be illusions.

There is no death …

mind | 13 may 16 | Robert Lanza and Bob Berman, Aeon
…only a series of eternal ‘nows’. By the authors of Beyond Biocentrism: Rethinking Time, Space, Consciousness, and the Illusion of Death.

Mushroom Sacraments in the Cults of Early Europe

science | 13 may 16 | Carl A. P. Ruck, NeuroQuantology
The folkloric traditions of Europe about mushrooms indicate a taboo upon directly naming a substance employed to access mystical vision involving many of the most ancient religions of antiquity, dating back at least to the Neolithic Period.

How the brain produces consciousness in 'time slices'

science | 9 may 16 | Michael H. Herzog et al., EPF, Lausanne
According to a new model, consciousness arises only in time intervals of up to 400 milliseconds, with gaps of unconsciousness in between.

Mapping the Brain to Build Better Machines

science | 3 may 16 | Emily Singer, Wired
A race to decipher the brain’s algorithms could revolutionize machine learning.

New Tree of Life

science | 25 apr 16 | Laura A. Hug et al., Nature Microbiology
Scientists have dramatically expanded the tree of life, which depicts the variety and evolution of life on Earth, to account for thousands of new microscopic life forms discovered over the past 15 years.

LSD-Induced Ego Dissolution

science | 17 apr 16 | Robin Carhart-Harris et al., Current Biology
When people take LSD, they sometimes feel as though the boundary that separates them from the rest of the world has dissolved. Now, the first functional magnetic resonance images of people’s brains while on LSD help to explain this phenomenon.

The Beasts That Keep the Beat

science | 1 apr 16 | Ferris Jabr, Quanta Magazine
New insights from neuroscience – aided by a small zoo’s worth of dancing animals – are revealing the biological origins of rhythm.

The enormous power of the unconscious brain

science | 25 mar 16 | Chris Baraniuk, BBC
A lot of the things we do in everyday life don’t need to involve our conscious mind. In many cases, the more we use it, the less effective we become.

Selfish or altruistic?

science | 11 feb 16 | Grit Hein et al., University of Zurich
Researchers have shown how peoples’ motives can be identified as they are characterized by a specific interplay between different brain regions, and how empathy motives increase altruistic behavior in selfish people.

The neuroscience of creativity

science | 1 mar 16 | Tim Newman, Medical News Today
Neuroscientific investigations often cross the borders between scientific disciplines; from biology to psychology and to philosophy.

How the Brain Is Computing the Mind

science | 19 feb 16 | Interview: Edge
A conversation With Ed Boyden, professor of biological engineering and brain and cognitive sciences at the MIT Media Lab and the MIT McGovern Institute.

Evolution may be smarter than we thought

science | 9 feb 16 | Richard A. Watson, University of Southampton, The Conversation
A new alternative for those questioning Darwinian evolution? Research suggests evolution itself is intelligent.