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53 minutes | 12 days ago
Episode 35: NIH Toolbox with Dr. Julie Hook
The NIH Toolbox is the result of an ambitious project supported by the National Institutes of Health to develop a comprehensive, standardized, and highly accessible test battery to be used in research. Dr. Julie Hook is the Product Manager for the project and is in large part responsible for the development of the Toolkit. Rolf and Joe discuss with Julie a wide ranging set of topics related to the science of cognitive, sensory, and motor testing, including some of the core design principles and theortical considerations.
52 minutes | 2 months ago
Episode 34: Tom Vanderbilt: Beginners
Bestselling author known for making complex topics accessible to readers, Tom Vanderbilt's recent book is Beginners: The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning. Rather than buying into the idea that learning is for kids, Tom takes the "beginner's mind" to challenging new skills, such as singing, juggling, and jewelery making, where he starts at ground zero and works to achieve a level of competence. Rolf, Joe, and Tom discuss the value of learning for its own sake, brain plasticisty in new skill learning, how drawing can be a meditative practice while shifting processing to earlier regions in the brain, and many other topics. We forgot to ask about a CogNation discount, but Tom Vanderbilt's book is available here at AmazonSpecial Guest: Tom Vanderbilt.
48 minutes | 4 months ago
Episode 33: Flawless Predictions For 2021
Enough with 2020. Rolf and Joe present their predictions for what lies ahead in 2021.....
74 minutes | 4 months ago
Episode 32: On Consciousness with Bernard Baars
Joe and Rolf talk to Dr. Bernard Baars, a leader in the field of consciousness research. Dr. Baars has recently published "On Consciousness", which is a compendium on his work integrating research in psychology and neuroscience on what consciousness is and how it functions. TSpecial Guest: Bernard Baars.
50 minutes | 5 months ago
Episode 31: Music and the Brain: Guests David Rosen and Scott Miles
David Rosen and Scott Miles of Secret Chord Laboratories (secretchordlaboratories.com) talk to Joe and Rolf about musical preference, the role of surprise in these preferences, what's going on in the brain, and how COVID is affecting the way we listen to music. Discussion paper: "A Statistical Analysis of the Relationship between Harmonic Surprise and Preference in Popular Music" (2017) https://www.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnhum.2017.00263Special Guests: David Rosen and Scott Miles.
29 minutes | 5 months ago
Episode 30: When Microwaves Continue to Attack
An update on Episode 4, where we first discussed the phenomenon of the "Frey Effect" in which sounds are heard as a result of pulsed microwave radiation. The Frey Effect was proposed to be involved in attacks on the US embassy in Cuba. Could this also be going on in the US embassy in China? Rolf and Joe discuss further, and give a call out for any expertise that could be added.
30 minutes | 7 months ago
Episode 29: Time Perception and Dopamine
In this half-hour episode, Rolf and Joe discuss research by Jennifer Mitchell and colleagues ("Dopamine, time perception, and future time perspective") showing that the drug tolcapone, which selectively increases dopamine in frontal cortical regions, has the effect of reducing the error in estimating how much time has passed. Individuals tend to systematicaly underestimate how much time has passed (think of impatient kids asking "are we there yet?"), and in this double-blind study, tolcapone nearly eliminated this effect, most dramatically for a 60 second interval. Implications of the study are discussed, including what this says about an "internal clock", whether you should rush to get this drug, and how time perception is related to depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. We do not discuss the role of tolcapone in ending the world.
64 minutes | 9 months ago
Episode 28: Chris Baty: National Novel Writing Month, Creativity, and Life as a Narrative
Since 1999, National Novel Writing Month has exploded in popularity, becoming one of the most creatively productive events in the world every November. Participants buckle down and write a 50,000-word novel in a month, many enjoying the social support from the NaNoWriMo community. Founder Chris Baty joins us to talk about what he's been up to lately, as well as share some thoughts gained from his writing career. We talk about creativity, the power (or not-power, depending on your inclination) of narrative, what we would contribute to a post-apocalyptic team, and the anxiety of wanting to contribute more.Special Guest: Chris Baty.
31 minutes | a year ago
Episode 27: The Connectome
30 min episode A connectome is a representation of every connection between neurons in the brain. Recent brain-slicing technology, in addition to image recognition tools, has begun to make this science-fiction idea become a reality. Rolf and Joe discuss the recent publication of the largest completed connectome to date, that of the fruit fly drosophilia. The database for the connectome is publicly available, and includes huge amounts of data about every one of the approximately 25,000 neurons mapped to date. Paper: A connectome of the adult drosophila central brain (2020) OR access the database yourself at: https://neuprint.janelia.org/
56 minutes | a year ago
Episode 26: COVID-19 and the Behavioral Immune System: Joshua Ackerman
Season 2 premiere! How do people behave in a pandemic? Joshua Ackerman of the University of Michigan talks about how we alter our behavior in the face of pathogens. A repertoire of responses (such as avoidance) referred to as the "behavioral immune system" is a way for humans to avoid pathogens BEFORE our biochemical immune system encounters them. A pandemic such as COVID-19 may trigger this behavioral immune system, but using far different information than our evolutionary ancestors ever had. Joshua Ackerman's research page at MichiganSpecial Guest: Joshua Ackerman.
62 minutes | a year ago
Episode 25: NASA Data Scientist Chris Mattmann
Chris Mattman, Principal Data Scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, talks about bridging the gap between lab scientists and data scientists, his work with DARPA unearthing the dark web, machine learning in autonomous planetary rovers, and other cool stuff he's been doing. Chris Mattman's page at NASA More information about the Memex program at DARPA can be found here. Chris's forthcoming book, Machine Learning with Tensor Flow (2nd ed.) will be available soon. CogNation listeners can get 40% off all Manning products by using the code "podcogn20" when ordering from [Manning Publications](manning.com).Special Guest: Chris Mattmann.
76 minutes | a year ago
Episode 24: Childrens' Learning and Play: Guest David Sobel
David Sobel, a developmental psychologist from Brown University, talks to us about the importance of play in learning. He has recently been collaborating with researchers around the country to investigate how children interact with exhibits in childrens' museums. One recent finding we discuss is that parent-child interaction styles can have a strong influence on what children learn. Research at the Causality and Mind Lab and further resources can be found here.
81 minutes | a year ago
Episode 23: Flawless Predictions for the 2020s
57 minutes | a year ago
Episode 22: The Neuroscience of Free Will: Guest Aaron Schurger
Guest Dr. Aaron Schurger talks to us about his research on the meaning of the "readiness potential", which has been referred to as "the brain signature of the will". Although this neural signal was already famous from research in the 1960s, it was Benjamin Libet's infamous experiments in the 1980s that proportedly showed that the readiness potential preceded an act of free will by a few hundred milliseconds. More recently (in press), Dr. Schurger and his colleagues have convincingly demonstrated that the readiness potential is not in fact predictive of an act of free will, but instead comes from a lack of a proper experimental control. Resources: Here is what a classifier is (a topic that comes up that may be unfamiliar to some). For advanced readers, check out AdaBoost, a tool that increases performance in classifiers and other types of machine learning. Papers "The Time Course of Neural Activity Predictive of Impending Movement" (Basbug, Schapire, & Schurger, TO BE PUBLISHED SOON) An accumulator model for spontaneous neural activity prior to self-initiated movement (Schurger, Sitt, & Dehaene, 2012) Unconscious cerebral initiative and the role of conscious will in voluntary action (Libet's 1985 experiments)Special Guest: Aaron Schurger.
61 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode 21: Pain perception and treatment: Guest Mike Trujillo
Guest Dr. Michael Trujillo of Karuna Labs talks to us about pain perception and recent research on the management of pain. We discuss a recent article (Hird et al.) exploring the degree to which expectation can alter the perception of pain, as well as Trujillo's work in using Virtual Reality in pain management. Boundary effects of expectation in human pain perception (2019) by Hird, Charalambous, El-Deredy, Jones, & Talmi Shout out to Gareth Thompson of Digitimer
65 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode 20: Improving medical treatment in hearing loss: Guest Erick Gallun
Dr. Erick Gallun joins us today to talk about the latest in audiology research, and how it can be applied to help those with a range of hearing problems. His research has focused on rehabilitation with Veteran's Association (VA) patients. Rapid-response medical care and an understanding of how hearing is affected by brain damage are critical areas in need of research. Advances in portable computing have made widespread assessment possible, and Virtual Reality applications show promise for cost-effective and standardized assessment. Resources: P.A.R.T. (Portable Automated Rapid Testing): + link on iTunes Independent impacts of age and hearing loss on spatial release in a complex auditory environment by Gallun, et al., 2013Special Guest: Erick Gallun.
60 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode 19: Concussions, TBI, and Sports
Evidence has mounted that high-impact sports like boxing and football can lead to later cognitive problems, and there is increasing awareness that concussions should be taken seriously. So how does this all happen, and should you be worried? We take a look at some recent studies that shed some light on the topic. Articles: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2645104 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S104474311500041X
54 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode 18: The Psychology of Religion with David Wulff
David Wulff, author of the comprehensive "Psychology of Religion: Classic and Contemporary", talks with us today about some of the issues that psychologists grapple with in studying religion. How can a researcher take a fair and unbiased approach to a topic so fraught with issues of personal belief and faith? How important is belief anyway -- must one sacrifice the intellect to engage in religious practice? David discusses his recent research; his measure of religious tendencies, called the "Faith Q-Sort", has been used internationally to understand how religion manifests differently across individuals. Resources: Psychology of Religion: Classic and Contemporary Autobiography: The Evolution of a Psychologist of Religion
71 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode 17: Stanley Milgram and Obedience to Authority
In the 1960s, the social psychologist Stanley Milgram performed some of the most famous experiments in psychology history, demonstrating that ordinary people could do terrible things in certain circumstances. Joe and Rolf look into the meaning of these experiments from a contemporary view. How are they holding up over 50 years later, and what else have we learned about obedience? Milgram's experiments Milgram in Virtual Reality (Gonzalez-Franco et al., 2018)
82 minutes | 2 years ago
Episode 16: Dopamine with Michael Frank
Dr. Michael Frank of Brown University talks to us about dopamine -- how it works in the brain, what his research has done to elucidate the function of dopamine circuits, and some of the genetics behind it. A really fascinating dive into a great topic! Papers: Dopamine and free will: Dopamine and learning:
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