Thursday, March 20, 2008

Encephalon #41

The 41st issue of Encephalon is now up at Pure Pedantry (ok, so I'm a few days late...). An excellent round-up as usual, with the following posts being particularly interesting to me:

- From Neuroanthropology comes a piece on dissociation strategies, particularly in regard to sporting activities. Dissociation in this context refers to the ability to (or rather the effect of) perform some conscious task completely independantly of the actions you are making, the actions themselves thus no longer being consciously considered: for example, focussing on repeatedly counting to 100 whilst running. Indeed, attempting to concentrate on the physical activity, rather than dissociating from it, may actually impair performance.

- From Providentia comes the story of Solomon Shereshevsky, a man with an extraordinary memory - although he is better known as 'S' in Alexander Luria's writings. After much testing, Luria concluded that Solomon had an extreme case of synesthesia, where all stimuli were converted to (or rather strongly associated with) visual images. A nice reminder that many of the subjects of the classic (and most well-known) psychology case studies were just people trying to on with their lives in spite of their 'impairments'.

- Finally, from The Neurocritic, comes a review of an earth-shattering neuroimaging study press release which shows that hungry people are more attracted to pictures of food (specifically donuts in this case) than full people are :-) Despite the ridicule, there is also a review of the actual published paper, which revealed activation in the locus coeruleus during the hungry state, a hitherto generally overlooked region.

No comments: