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Posts tagged "Neuroscience"

Another Week Ends: Cognitive Dissonance, Habit Formation, Transparent Influencers, Aging Album Covers, and a Love That Casts Out All Fear

1a. It’s been a big week for the social scientists among us. Two of our favorites, Elliot Aronson and Carol Tavris, had a hit article over at the Atlantic this week. We’ve been following the duo since 2011, when they published Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me). The authors are experts in describing how […]

Don’t Choke on Your Scarf!

It’s always amusing to see religious insights about human behavior expressed in management-speak, which is happened precisely in The NY Times this past Saturday, in their interview with David Rock, the director of the NeuroLeadership Institute. The acronym Mr. Rock uses to describe the in’s and out’s of motivation is SCARF, which stands for Status, […]

Another Week Ends: Crimson Despair, Teacher Expectations, MJ’s Bad, Improvement Narratives, Neil Young, Neurospeculation, The Master, and Conf Update

1. An incredibly moving account of “Depression and Despair at Harvard” in response to the suicide of a classmate by Jordan Monge on The Harvard Ichthus. With real vulnerability, Monge touches on the crushing power of expectation, the vicious circle of shame and fear, the grace of defeat, even the toxic and tragic way Christians […]

Nine Year Old Psychopaths and the Limits of Compassion

If you haven’t read Jennifer Kahn’s lengthy piece about child psychopathy in The NY Times Magazine, “Can You Call a 9-Year-Old a Psychopath?,” it’s eye-opening to say the least. Perhaps not recommended for parents of small children…  Ms. Kahn profiles a few of what are officially classified as the “Callous Unemotional” or “C.U.’s”, children whose […]

Another Week Ends: Louis CK, Sam Spade, Prevailing Grace, Heavy Metal, Axl Rose, Viennese Creativity, Cabin in the Woods, and yes, more Damsels in Distress

1. “The Filthy Moralist: How Louis C.K. Became America’s Unlikely Conscience” in The Atlantic is remarkable, especially in its conclusion. As always when it comes to Louis, there’s a high depravity quotient, so don’t say we didn’t warn you. But also as always when it comes to Louis, the darkness is not neutral or meaningless […]

Cooperating Under Duress: Your Brain’s Law Lobe Discovered!

Alice Walton at the medicine blog The Doctor Will See You Now recently posted an article about the human’s capacity for cooperation, claiming that it’s not just a morality-encumbered phenomenon when we do (or don’t do) what we ought, but a neurological one. Traditional wisdom has held that “rewards-based” nodes of our brains light up […]

Another Week Ends: Indie Law, The New Marriage Killer, Futurizing Fear, Apatheism, Damsels in Distress, George Lucas and Downton Abbey

1. In his short article “The Pitfalls of Indie Fame” on Grantland, Chuck Klosterman captures something we have been trying to say on here forever. Don’t be put off by all the music jargon; he is using the critical success of the tUnE-yArDs debut record as an opportunity to reflect on the cruelty of the […]

Does Neuroscience Spell the End of Free Will? You Decide!

An interesting devil’s advocate piece appeared in The NY Times recently, addressing the question “Is Neuroscience the Death of Free Will?” Here author and philosopher Eddy Nahmias argues that recent discoveries about brain function do not in fact equate to the death of free will, that they really only speak to our faulty operating definitions […]

That Somehow Indispensable Word: Neuroskepticism and the Replacement of… Evil

Slate put up a phenomenal piece of ‘neuroskepticism’ by Ron Rosenbaum last week, posing the timely question “Is Evil Over?” We’ve been following the recent explosion of pop-neuroscience pretty closely and enthusiastically, mainly for the sympathetic conclusions it is coming to in regards to willpower and agency. However, Rosenbaum wisely cautions us not to swallow […]

Another Week Ends: Damsels in Distress, Religious DNA, AA & Romans 7, Brain Shrinkage, Jim Henson, Fountains of Wayne, and Pirate Autopsies

1. A lot has happened in the world this past week. And it’s probably an indictment that the piece of news that I’ve been most focused on is the announcement that Whit Stillman’s long, long-awaited new film Violet Wister’s Damsels in Distress will close the Venice Film Festival in September. The first stills from the […]

Eagleman and Colbert Talk Decision-Making and Subconscious Neural Parliaments

Bound to Get Away With Murder? Crime, Compassion and Blame According to David Eagleman

One wonders if high-profile neuroscientist David Eagleman is aware that he’s expressing such a historically Protestant understanding of the brain. At this point, someone has to have mentioned The Bondage of the Will to him, right?! He’s essentially providing the biological evidence to support Martin Luther’s inspired polemic, extending the notion of the “inheritance of […]