This month, President Obama unveiled a breathtakingly ambitious initiative to map the human brain, the ultimate goal of which is to understand the workings of the human mind in biological terms.
Many of the insights that have brought us to this point arose from the merger over the past 50 years of cognitive psychology, the science of mind, and neuroscience, the science of the brain, the New Yorktimes reports: “The discipline that has emerged now seeks to understand the human mind as a set of functions carried out by the brain.
“This new approach to the science of mind not only promises to offer a deeper understanding of what makes us who we are, but also opens dialogues with other areas of study — conversations that may help make science part of our common cultural experience.
“Consider what we can learn about the mind by examining how we view figurative art. In a recently published book, I tried to explore this question by focusing on portraiture, because we are now beginning to understand how our brains respond to the facial expressions and bodily postures of others. Continue reading “How the brain “sees” art”
Brain scans of convicted felons can predict which ones are most likely to get arrested after they get out of prison, scientists have found in a study of 96 male offenders, reports Wired Science today
“It’s the first time brain scans have been used to predict recidivism,” said neuroscientist Kent Kiehl of the Mind Research Network in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who led the new study. Even so, Kiehl and others caution that the method is nowhere near ready to be used in real-life decisions about sentencing or parole.
“Generally speaking, brain scans or other neuromarkers could be useful in the criminal justice system if the benefits in terms of better accuracy outweigh the likely higher costs of the technology compared to conventional pencil-and-paper risk assessments, says Stephen Morse, a legal scholar specializing in criminal law and neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania. The key questions to ask, Morse says, are: “How much predictive accuracy does the marker add beyond usually less expensive behavioral measures? How subject is it to counter-measures if a subject wishes to ‘defeat’ a scan?” Continue reading “Brain scans that predict criminality?”
There are lots of theories about how people get wrong-headed ideas or vote against their own interests. Now game designers are trying to do something about it. Fibber is a game about political deception and voter self-awareness. It’s a political “strip guessing” game where players try to determine whether the candidates for the American presidential election of 2012 are telling facts or fiction. The goal of the game is to raise self-awareness and personal fact checking in a world inundated with misleading political ads, social media, and personal bias. Fibber was created by Seek Change, an organization dedicated to using technology to advance self-empowerment and personal well-being. Continue reading “Fibber might change your mind”