17 10 / 2014

Scientists can now delete and fabricate memories in mice. Are humans next?
Susannah Locke, vox.com
Inside laboratories, memory researchers are doing crazy things to the brains of mice and rats. They’re deleting memories, putting them back in, and even making the rodents remember things that never even happened.Memory is at the root of many of…

Scientists can now delete and fabricate memories in mice. Are humans next?
Susannah Locke, vox.com

Inside laboratories, memory researchers are doing crazy things to the brains of mice and rats. They’re deleting memories, putting them back in, and even making the rodents remember things that never even happened.Memory is at the root of many of…

14 10 / 2014

Susan Page, USA TODAY, usatoday.com

Just two years ago, President Obama was re-elected, the first Democrat since FDR to twice win a majority of the electorate.

That was then.

Now USA TODAY/Suffolk University polls in a half-dozen states wit …

Ive always had a problem with data that is only superficial and sensational. The varoius political polls that speak about the president and our voters. I would like to dig deeper into what this data really says…

09 10 / 2014

neurosciencestuff:

Legendary Marshmallow Test Yields Lessons for Everyday Challenges in Self-Control
Walter Mischel, the psychologist renowned for the groundbreaking study known as the “marshmallow test,” has finally decided to tell the story of that research for a general audience.
He dedicates the book, aptly titled The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control, to his now-grown daughters, saying they inspired him when they were young to study self-control in preschoolers.
“I saw dramatic changes in my own children,” says Mischel, the Robert Johnston Niven Professor of Humane Letters in Columbia’s Psychology Department. “I realized I was quite clueless about what was going on in their heads.”
Read more

neurosciencestuff:

Legendary Marshmallow Test Yields Lessons for Everyday Challenges in Self-Control

Walter Mischel, the psychologist renowned for the groundbreaking study known as the “marshmallow test,” has finally decided to tell the story of that research for a general audience.

He dedicates the book, aptly titled The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control, to his now-grown daughters, saying they inspired him when they were young to study self-control in preschoolers.

“I saw dramatic changes in my own children,” says Mischel, the Robert Johnston Niven Professor of Humane Letters in Columbia’s Psychology Department. “I realized I was quite clueless about what was going on in their heads.”

Read more

04 10 / 2014

neurosciencestuff:

A mini-stroke may not cause lasting physical damage, but it could increase your risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a small, new study suggests.

Almost one-third of patients who suffered a mini-stroke — known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA) — developed symptoms…

(Source: consumer.healthday.com)

04 10 / 2014

neurosciencestuff:

Strong working memory put brakes on problematic drug use
Adolescents with strong working memory are better equipped to escape early drug experimentation without progressing into substance abuse issues, says a University of Oregon researcher.
Most important in the picture is executive attention, a component of working memory that involves a person’s ability to focus on a task and ignore distractions while processing relevant goal-oriented information, says Atika Khurana, a professor in the Department of Counseling Psychology and Human Services.
Khurana, also a member of the UO’s Prevention Science Institute, is lead author of a study online ahead of print in the quarterly journal Development and Psychopathology. The findings, drawn from a long-term study of 382 adolescents in a mostly at-risk urban population, provide a rare, early view of adolescents’ entry into the use of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana.
Khurana collaborated with researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. They focused on 11- to 13-year-old children as they began to explore risky and sensation-seeking experiences that often mark the road to independence and adulthood. Previous studies generally have relied on adult recall of when individuals began experimenting, with early drug use thought to be a marker of later substance abuse problems.
"Not all forms of early drug use are problematic," Khurana said. "There could be some individuals who start early, experiment and then stop. And there are some who could start early and go on into a progressive trajectory of continued drug use. We wanted to know what separates the two?"
During four assessments, participants provided self-reports of drug use in the previous 30 days. Four working memory tests also were conducted: Corsi block tapping, in which subjects viewed identical blocks that lit up randomly on a screen and tapped each box in reverse order of the lighting sequence; a digit-span test where numbers shown are to be repeated in reverse order; a letter two-back test, in which subjects identify specific letters in time-sensitive sequences; and a spatial working-memory task where hidden tokens must be found quickly within sets of four to eight randomly positioned boxes on a computer screen.
The pattern that emerged was that early drug experimentation more likely to lead into progressive drug use among young people whose impulsive tendencies aren’t kept in check by strong working memory ability. Later assessments of the participants, who have now reached late adolescence, are being analyzed, but it appears that the compulsive progression, not just the experimentation, of drug use is likely to lead to disorder, Khurana said.
"Prefrontal regions of the brain can apply the brakes or exert top-down control over impulsive, or reward seeking urges," Khurana said. "By its nature, greater executive attention enables one to be less impulsive in one’s decisions and actions because you are focused and able to control impulses generated by events around you. What we found is that if teens are performing poorly on working memory tasks that tap into executive attention, they are more likely to engage in impulsive drug-use behaviors."
The findings suggest new approaches for early intervention since weaknesses in executive functioning often underlie self-control issues in children as young as 3 years old, she said. A family environment strong in structured routines and cognitive-stimulation could strengthen working memory skills, she said.
For older children, interventions could be built around activities that encourage social competence and problem solving skills in combination with cognition-building efforts to increase self-control and working memory. The latter allows people to temporarily store, organize and manipulate mental information and is vital for evaluating consequences of decisions.
"We need to compensate for the weakness that exists, before drug experimentation starts to help prevent the negative spiral of drug abuse," Khurana said.

neurosciencestuff:

Strong working memory put brakes on problematic drug use

Adolescents with strong working memory are better equipped to escape early drug experimentation without progressing into substance abuse issues, says a University of Oregon researcher.

Most important in the picture is executive attention, a component of working memory that involves a person’s ability to focus on a task and ignore distractions while processing relevant goal-oriented information, says Atika Khurana, a professor in the Department of Counseling Psychology and Human Services.

Khurana, also a member of the UO’s Prevention Science Institute, is lead author of a study online ahead of print in the quarterly journal Development and Psychopathology. The findings, drawn from a long-term study of 382 adolescents in a mostly at-risk urban population, provide a rare, early view of adolescents’ entry into the use of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana.

Khurana collaborated with researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. They focused on 11- to 13-year-old children as they began to explore risky and sensation-seeking experiences that often mark the road to independence and adulthood. Previous studies generally have relied on adult recall of when individuals began experimenting, with early drug use thought to be a marker of later substance abuse problems.

"Not all forms of early drug use are problematic," Khurana said. "There could be some individuals who start early, experiment and then stop. And there are some who could start early and go on into a progressive trajectory of continued drug use. We wanted to know what separates the two?"

During four assessments, participants provided self-reports of drug use in the previous 30 days. Four working memory tests also were conducted: Corsi block tapping, in which subjects viewed identical blocks that lit up randomly on a screen and tapped each box in reverse order of the lighting sequence; a digit-span test where numbers shown are to be repeated in reverse order; a letter two-back test, in which subjects identify specific letters in time-sensitive sequences; and a spatial working-memory task where hidden tokens must be found quickly within sets of four to eight randomly positioned boxes on a computer screen.

The pattern that emerged was that early drug experimentation more likely to lead into progressive drug use among young people whose impulsive tendencies aren’t kept in check by strong working memory ability. Later assessments of the participants, who have now reached late adolescence, are being analyzed, but it appears that the compulsive progression, not just the experimentation, of drug use is likely to lead to disorder, Khurana said.

"Prefrontal regions of the brain can apply the brakes or exert top-down control over impulsive, or reward seeking urges," Khurana said. "By its nature, greater executive attention enables one to be less impulsive in one’s decisions and actions because you are focused and able to control impulses generated by events around you. What we found is that if teens are performing poorly on working memory tasks that tap into executive attention, they are more likely to engage in impulsive drug-use behaviors."

The findings suggest new approaches for early intervention since weaknesses in executive functioning often underlie self-control issues in children as young as 3 years old, she said. A family environment strong in structured routines and cognitive-stimulation could strengthen working memory skills, she said.

For older children, interventions could be built around activities that encourage social competence and problem solving skills in combination with cognition-building efforts to increase self-control and working memory. The latter allows people to temporarily store, organize and manipulate mental information and is vital for evaluating consequences of decisions.

"We need to compensate for the weakness that exists, before drug experimentation starts to help prevent the negative spiral of drug abuse," Khurana said.

02 10 / 2014

neurosciencestuff:

Why Wet Feels Wet: Understanding the Illusion of Wetness
Human sensitivity to wetness plays a role in many aspects of daily life. Whether feeling humidity, sweat or a damp towel, we often encounter stimuli that feel wet. Though it seems simple, feeling that something is wet is quite a feat because our skin does not have receptors that sense wetness. The concept of wetness, in fact, may be more of a “perceptual illusion” that our brain evokes based on our prior experiences with stimuli that we have learned are wet.
So how would a person know if he has sat on a wet seat or walked through a puddle? Researchers at Loughborough University and Oxylane Research proposed that wetness perception is intertwined with our ability to sense cold temperature and tactile sensations such as pressure and texture. They also observed the role of A-nerve fibers—sensory nerves that carry temperature and tactile information from the skin to the brain—and the effect of reduced nerve activity on wetness perception. Lastly, they hypothesized that because hairy skin is more sensitive to thermal stimuli, it would be more perceptive to wetness than glabrous skin (e.g., palms of the hands, soles of the feet), which is more sensitive to tactile stimuli.
Davide Filingeri et al. exposed 13 healthy male college students to warm, neutral and cold wet stimuli. They tested sites on the subjects’ forearms (hairy skin) and fingertips (glabrous skin). The researchers also performed the wet stimulus test with and without a nerve block. The nerve block was achieved by using an inflatable compression (blood pressure) cuff to attain enough pressure to dampen A-nerve sensitivity.
They found that wet perception increased as temperature decreased, meaning subjects were much more likely to sense cold wet stimuli than warm or neutral wet stimuli. The research team also found that the subjects were less sensitive to wetness when the A-nerve activity was blocked and that hairy skin is more sensitive to wetness than glabrous skin. These results contribute to the understanding of how humans interpret wetness and present a new model for how the brain processes this sensation.
“Based on a concept of perceptual learning and Bayesian perceptual inference, we developed the first neurophysiological model of cutaneous wetness sensitivity centered on the multisensory integration of cold-sensitive and mechanosensitive skin afferents,” the research team wrote. “Our results provide evidence for the existence of a specific information processing model that underpins the neural representation of a typical wet stimulus.”
The article “Why wet feels wet? A neurophysiological model of human cutaneous wetness sensitivity” is published in the Journal of Neurophysiology.
(Image credit)

neurosciencestuff:

Why Wet Feels Wet: Understanding the Illusion of Wetness

Human sensitivity to wetness plays a role in many aspects of daily life. Whether feeling humidity, sweat or a damp towel, we often encounter stimuli that feel wet. Though it seems simple, feeling that something is wet is quite a feat because our skin does not have receptors that sense wetness. The concept of wetness, in fact, may be more of a “perceptual illusion” that our brain evokes based on our prior experiences with stimuli that we have learned are wet.

So how would a person know if he has sat on a wet seat or walked through a puddle? Researchers at Loughborough University and Oxylane Research proposed that wetness perception is intertwined with our ability to sense cold temperature and tactile sensations such as pressure and texture. They also observed the role of A-nerve fibers—sensory nerves that carry temperature and tactile information from the skin to the brain—and the effect of reduced nerve activity on wetness perception. Lastly, they hypothesized that because hairy skin is more sensitive to thermal stimuli, it would be more perceptive to wetness than glabrous skin (e.g., palms of the hands, soles of the feet), which is more sensitive to tactile stimuli.

Davide Filingeri et al. exposed 13 healthy male college students to warm, neutral and cold wet stimuli. They tested sites on the subjects’ forearms (hairy skin) and fingertips (glabrous skin). The researchers also performed the wet stimulus test with and without a nerve block. The nerve block was achieved by using an inflatable compression (blood pressure) cuff to attain enough pressure to dampen A-nerve sensitivity.

They found that wet perception increased as temperature decreased, meaning subjects were much more likely to sense cold wet stimuli than warm or neutral wet stimuli. The research team also found that the subjects were less sensitive to wetness when the A-nerve activity was blocked and that hairy skin is more sensitive to wetness than glabrous skin. These results contribute to the understanding of how humans interpret wetness and present a new model for how the brain processes this sensation.

“Based on a concept of perceptual learning and Bayesian perceptual inference, we developed the first neurophysiological model of cutaneous wetness sensitivity centered on the multisensory integration of cold-sensitive and mechanosensitive skin afferents,” the research team wrote. “Our results provide evidence for the existence of a specific information processing model that underpins the neural representation of a typical wet stimulus.”

The article “Why wet feels wet? A neurophysiological model of human cutaneous wetness sensitivity” is published in the Journal of Neurophysiology.

(Image credit)

01 10 / 2014

The U.S. Is Home To Nearly One-Third Of The World’s Female Prisoners
Nina Bahadur, huffingtonpost.com
The U.S. has a serious female prisoner problem.According to the International Centre for Prison Studies, there are 201,200 women incarcerated in the U.S. — almost one-third of the world’s documented female prison population as of 2013.An…

The U.S. Is Home To Nearly One-Third Of The World’s Female Prisoners
Nina Bahadur, huffingtonpost.com

The U.S. has a serious female prisoner problem.

According to the International Centre for Prison Studies, there are 201,200 women incarcerated in the U.S. — almost one-third of the world’s documented female prison population as of 2013.

An…

22 9 / 2014

rclement4:

And this is why Viola Davis is a class act…because I would be still cussing out The NY Times and that incompetent fool Alessandra Stanley!

rclement4:

And this is why Viola Davis is a class act…because I would be still cussing out The NY Times and that incompetent fool Alessandra Stanley!

(via knowledgeequalsblackpower)

17 9 / 2014

blacksitcoms:

90s Black Sitcoms, Ranked

The Cosby Show, what has long been considered the greatest black sitcom of all time, celebrates its 30th anniversary in two weeks. That the show’s legendary run is marked by a return to a more diverse television landscape this fall seems fitting: NBC, ABC, and FOX, along with other networks, will debut a variety of shows that cast minority actors in lead roles (several are women of color). This push for more nuanced programming brings to mind the 1990s, a decade known for its rich portrayal of black life through shows like Living Single and Roc. Here, a completely indisputable ranking of black sitcoms that aired between 1990 and 1999.

See the rest of the list here.

Yep

(via knowledgeequalsblackpower)

17 9 / 2014

knowledgeequalsblackpower:

cartoonpolitics:

A new report has found that proposed textbooks for Texas students are inaccurate, biased and politicized .. (story here)

Keep in mind, the Texas books determine the textbooks of many other states. The findings:

A number of government and world history textbooks exaggerate Judeo-Christian influence on the nation’s founding and Western political tradition.
Two government textbooks include misleading information that undermines the Constitutional concept of the separation of church and state.
Several world history and world geography textbooks include biased statements that inappropriately portray Islam and Muslims negatively.
All of the world geography textbooks inaccurately downplay the role that conquest played in the spread of Christianity.
Several world geography and history textbooks suffer from an incomplete – and often inaccurate – account of religions other than Christianity.
Coverage of key Christian concepts and historical events are lacking in a few textbooks, often due to the assumption that all students are Christians and already familiar with Christian events and doctrine.
A few government and U.S. history textbooks suffer from an uncritical celebration of the free enterprise system, both by ignoring legitimate problems that exist in capitalism and failing to include coverage of government’s role in the U.S. economic system.
One government textbook flirts with contemporary Tea Party ideology, particularly regarding the inclusion of anti-taxation and anti-regulation arguments.
One world history textbook includes outdated – and possibly offensive – anthropological categories and racial terminology in describing African civilization.
A number of U.S. history textbooks evidence a general lack of attention to Native American peoples and culture and occasionally include biased or misleading information.
One government textbook … includes a biased – verging on offensive – treatment of affirmative action.
Most U.S. history textbooks do a poor job of covering the history of LGBT citizens in discussions of efforts to achieve civil rights in this country.
Elements of the Texas curriculum standards give undue legitimacy to neo-Confederate arguments about “states’ rights” and the legacy of slavery in the South. While most publishers avoid problems with these issues, passages in a few U.S. history and government textbooks give a nod to these misleading arguments.


Education?

knowledgeequalsblackpower:

cartoonpolitics:

A new report has found that proposed textbooks for Texas students are inaccurate, biased and politicized .. (story here)

Keep in mind, the Texas books determine the textbooks of many other states. The findings:

  • A number of government and world history textbooks exaggerate Judeo-Christian influence on the nation’s founding and Western political tradition.
  • Two government textbooks include misleading information that undermines the Constitutional concept of the separation of church and state.
  • Several world history and world geography textbooks include biased statements that inappropriately portray Islam and Muslims negatively.
  • All of the world geography textbooks inaccurately downplay the role that conquest played in the spread of Christianity.
  • Several world geography and history textbooks suffer from an incomplete – and often inaccurate – account of religions other than Christianity.
  • Coverage of key Christian concepts and historical events are lacking in a few textbooks, often due to the assumption that all students are Christians and already familiar with Christian events and doctrine.
  • A few government and U.S. history textbooks suffer from an uncritical celebration of the free enterprise system, both by ignoring legitimate problems that exist in capitalism and failing to include coverage of government’s role in the U.S. economic system.
  • One government textbook flirts with contemporary Tea Party ideology, particularly regarding the inclusion of anti-taxation and anti-regulation arguments.
  • One world history textbook includes outdated – and possibly offensive – anthropological categories and racial terminology in describing African civilization.
  • A number of U.S. history textbooks evidence a general lack of attention to Native American peoples and culture and occasionally include biased or misleading information.
  • One government textbook … includes a biased – verging on offensive – treatment of affirmative action.
  • Most U.S. history textbooks do a poor job of covering the history of LGBT citizens in discussions of efforts to achieve civil rights in this country.
  • Elements of the Texas curriculum standards give undue legitimacy to neo-Confederate arguments about “states’ rights” and the legacy of slavery in the South. While most publishers avoid problems with these issues, passages in a few U.S. history and government textbooks give a nod to these misleading arguments.

Education?