The Situationist

Archive for May 19th, 2008

Situationism in the Blogosphere – April (Part II)

Posted by The Situationist Staff on May 19, 2008

Josh Radovan & Digital Methods Initiative

Below, we’ve posted titles and a brief quotation from some of our favorite non-Situationist situationist blogging during April. (They are listed in alphabetical order by source.)

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From Deliberations:Lawyers: So Certain, So Wrong

“We all assume that if we like something, the rest of the world is going to like it too — and when we assume that, we’re usually mistaken. That’s the conclusion of the wonderfully named paper “What’s Not to Like: Preference Asymmetry in the False Consensus Effect,” by Andrew D. Gershoff, Ashesh Mukherjee, and Anirban Mukhopadhyay, in the coming June 2008 Journal of Consumer Research. A good press release is here. . . .” Read more . . .

From Contexts Discoveries: “Happiness–comes in time

“Following a very shallow upside-down “U” curve, American find they happier as they age, peaking in their late fifties and finally declining in their late seventies. However, specific cohorts were found to be less likely to enjoy the the benefits of maturity. Notably, “baby boomers” experienced less happiness, which may be caused by the formative experience of growing up during a high population era. Increased competition in school and the labor market may have had a lasting impact on this group.” Read more . .

From Experiments in Philosophy: “Would You be Willing to Enter the Matrix?

“The traditional view was that people would choose not to enter such a machine and that this fact showed that people care not only about having pleasant experiences but also about being in touch with reality. The experimental philosopher Felipe De Brigard has now run an interesting series of studies challenging this traditional conclusion. He suggests that people’s unwillingness to enter the experience machine might be due not so much to an interest in staying in touch with reality as to a phenomenon called the status quo bias. ” Read more . . .

From Experiments in Philosophy: “Are Conservatives Stupid or Evil?

“The idea that liberals and conservatives have some different basic values gains support from recent psychological research. For example, in a recent issue of Science, psychologist Jonathan Haidt reports that conservatives are deeply concerned about factors that fall outside of liberal morality. For liberals, morality is pretty much about harm and justice. To decide whether a policy is wrong, they want to know whether any one will be hurt by it and whether it will be fair to all those affected. Conservative care about harm and justice too, but they also care about three things that liberals tend to ignore: purity, respect for authority, and loyalty to the ingroup. ” Read more . . .

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For previous installments of “Situationism on the Blogosphere,” click on the “Blogroll” category in the right margin.

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Read My Brain – From Science Friday

Posted by The Situationist Staff on May 19, 2008

Watch the Science Friday crew take trip to Columbia University’s Program for Imaging and Cognitive Sciences for a quick fMRI.

Vodpod videos no longer available. Here’s the blurb from the show, “Looking Inside the Human Brain,” broadcast on May 2, which you can listen to here.

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What’s really going on inside your head when you make a decision, make a mistake, or have a few drinks? In this segment, Ira and guests talk about new research involving the field of functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI. The technique allows researchers to monitor the blood flow through parts of the brain as it responds to stimuli, allowing researchers to monitor which parts of the brain are active and which are resting. Though the technique is being eagerly explored in a variety of fields, fMRI has received criticism from some brain experts as being the modern-day equivalent of phrenology. We’ll hear about the technique, and what it can tell researchers about the inner workings of the human brain.

We’ll also hear about three recent research projects making use of the technique. One, reported in the journal Nature Neuroscience, looks at brain activity during the process of making a simple decision — whether to push a button with the right or left hand. The researchers found that parts of the brain activated as much as seven seconds before the person being studied was aware of having made a decision, and that by looking at the patterns of brain activity, the researchers could predict which button the subject would choose to push. We’ll also hear about researchers studying errors made while research participants were performing a simple, mindless task. The research team was able to detect patterns of brain activity about ten seconds before the study subjects made a mistake in their tasks. The results of that study were recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

We’ll also talk with a researcher studying the effects of alcohol on the brain. Functional MRI tests show that in people with blood alcohol levels of 0.08 (legally intoxicated in some states), there is increased activity in a part of the brain associated with rewards, and a change in the brain’s fear response to risks.

Posted in Abstracts, Neuroscience, Uncategorized, Video | Leave a Comment »

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