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  • March 14, 2015
  • 08:34 AM

From Consciousness to Synthetic Consciousness: From One Unknown to Another Unknown with David Chalmers

by Waseem Akhtar in Bridging the Gaps,

What is consciousness? In this podcast David Chalmers starts addressing this question by saying that “being conscious is when there is something it is like to be that being”. This argument was initially presented by an American philosopher Thomas Nagel in an influential paper “what is it like to be a bat”. This paper was first published in the Philosophical Review in 1974.... Read more »

Chalmers, David. (2010) The Singularity: A Philosophical Analysis. Journal of Consciousness Studies, , 7-65. info:/

Chalmers, D. (1995) The Puzzle of Conscious Experience. Scientific American, 273(6), 80-86. DOI: 10.1038/scientificamerican1295-80  

Nagel, Thomas. (1974) What is it Like to Be a Bat. Philosophical Review. DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781107341050.014  

  • March 5, 2015
  • 11:11 AM

Does Thinking About God Increase Our Willingness to Make Risky Decisions?

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

Daniella Kupor and her colleagues at Stanford University have recently published the paper "Anticipating Divine Protection? Reminders of God Can Increase Nonmoral Risk Taking" which takes a new look at the link between invoking the name of God and risky behaviors. The researchers hypothesized that reminders of God may have opposite effects on varying types of risk-taking behavior. For example, risk-taking behavior that is deemed ‘immoral' such as taking sexual risks or chea........ Read more »

  • March 4, 2015
  • 01:00 PM

Ghost in the Machine: The Neuroscience of Consciousness

by knowingneurons in Knowing Neurons

Some questions cannot be addressed by science.  Like parallel universes, the consciousness of others is not something that can be directly observed, measured, or experienced.  Rene Descartes famously said, “I think, therefore I am.“ a declaration that only knowledge of one’s own consciousness is absolute.  You assume that friends and neighbors have subjective, internal experiences … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • February 28, 2015
  • 10:15 AM

Five motivations for theoretical computer science

by Abel Molina in Evolutionary Games Group

There are some situations, perhaps lucky ones, where it is felt that an activity needs no external motivation or justification.  For the rest, it can be helpful to think of what the task at hand can be useful for. This of course doesn’t answer the larger question of what is worth doing, since it just distributes […]... Read more »

Barton, N.H., Novak, S., & Paixão, T. (2014) Diverse forms of selection in evolution and computer science. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111(29), 10398-9. PMID: 25009183  

  • February 26, 2015
  • 04:04 PM

Dr. Frankenstein might be impressed, the human head transplant

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Sure it sounds like something from the book Frankenstein, but Sergio Canavero of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group has made it known that he intends to announce at this summer’s American Academy of Neurological and Orthopedic Surgeons meeting, that he believes he has put together a group of techniques that should make it possible to attach a human donor body to a head.... Read more »

  • February 26, 2015
  • 12:45 AM

Operationalizing replicator dynamics and partitioning fitness functions

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

As you know, dear regular reader, I have a rather uneasy relationship with reductionism, especially when doing mathematical modeling in biology. In mathematical oncology, for example, it seems that there is a hope that through our models we can bring a more rigorous mechanistic understanding of cancer, but at the same time there is the […]... Read more »

Archetti, M., Ferraro, D.A., & Christofori, G. (2015) Heterogeneity for IGF-II production maintained by public goods dynamics in neuroendocrine pancreatic cancer. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(6), 1833-8. PMID: 25624490  

  • February 12, 2015
  • 05:16 AM

How the brain got language: The mirror system hypothesis

by Farid Pazhoohi in Epistemophil

Language is a unique feature of human beings. In addition to having the ability to use language, humans can conjecture about language consciously and even create realistic constructed languages from scratch. In How the brain got language, Michael A. Arbib, whose work has been influential in shaping the field of computational neuroscience, addresses the title […]... Read more »

Farid Pazhoohi. (2014) How the brain got language: The mirror system hypothesis (review). The Canadian Journal of Linguistics / La revue canadienne de linguistique , 59(3). info:/

  • February 11, 2015
  • 12:55 AM

False memories and journalism

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

We like to think of ourselves as a collection of our memories, and of each memory as a snapshot of an event in our lives. Sure, we all know that our minds aren’t as sturdy as our computer’s hard-drive, so these snapshots decay over time, especially the boring ones — that’s why most of us […]... Read more »

Loftus, E.F. (2003) Make-believe memories. The American Psychologist, 58(11), 867-73. PMID: 14609374  

  • February 10, 2015
  • 10:02 AM

Moral Time: Does Our Internal Clock Influence Moral Judgments?

by Jalees Rehman in Fragments of Truth

Does morality depend on the time of the day? The study "The Morning Morality Effect: The Influence of Time of Day on Unethical Behavior" published in October of 2013 by Maryam Kouchaki and Isaac Smith suggested that people are more honest in the mornings, and that their ability to resist the temptation of lying and cheating wears off as the day progresses. In a series of experiments, Kouchaki and Smith found that moral awareness and self-control in their study subjects decreased in the........ Read more »

  • February 9, 2015
  • 04:26 PM

Study Demonstrates External Control of Two Thoughts In The Stream of Consciousness

by Marie Benz in Medical Research Interviews and News Interview with: Ezequiel Morsella, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Neuroscience Department of Psychology San Francisco State University Assistant Adjunct Professor Department of Neurology University of California, San Francisco Boardmember, Scientific Advisory Board Institute of Cognitive Neurology (INECO), Buenos Aires Medical … Continue reading →
The post Study Demonstrates External Control of Two Thoughts I........ Read more » Interview with:, Ezequiel Morsella, Ph.D., & Associate Professor of Neuroscience Department of Psychology. (2015) Study Demonstrates External Control of Two Thoughts In The Stream of Consciousness. info:/

  • February 9, 2015
  • 12:21 PM

The Beginnings of Jurassic Park: Dinosaur Blood Discovered? (A Guest Post)

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

By Samantha VoldThe classic tale of Jurassic Park, where dinosaurs once again walked the earth has tickled the fancy of many a reader. Dinosaur DNA preserved in a fossilized mosquito was used to bring these giants back to life. But in real life, it was previously thought that there was no possible way for organic materials to be preserved, that they often degraded within 1 million years if not rapidly attacked by bacteria and other organisms specialized in decomposition. Skin and other soft tiss........ Read more »

Schweitzer, M. (2010) Blood from Stone. Scientific American, 303(6), 62-69. DOI: 10.1038/scientificamerican1210-62  

  • February 9, 2015
  • 10:22 AM

Literature and Philosophy in the Laboratory Meeting

by Jalees Rehman in The Next Regeneration

Research institutions in the life sciences engage in two types of regular scientific meet-ups: scientific seminars and lab meetings. The structure of scientific seminars is fairly standard. Speakers give Powerpoint presentations (typically 45 to 55 minutes long) which provide the necessary scientific background, summarize their group's recent published scientific work and then (hopefully) present newer, unpublished data. Lab meetings are a rather different affair. The purpose of a lab meeti........ Read more »

  • February 6, 2015
  • 09:34 AM

Why do we have music? Can one trace the origins of musicality?

by Henkjan Honing in Music Matters

Why do we have music? And what enables us to perceive, appreciate and make music? The search for a possible answer to these and other questions forms the backdrop to a soon-to-be released theme issue of Philosophical Transactions, which deals with the subject of musicality. An initiative of Henkjan Honing, professor of Music Cognition at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), this theme issue will see Honing and fellow researchers present their most important empirical results and offer a joint rese........ Read more »

Honing, H., ten Cate, C., Peretz, I., & Trehub, S. (2015) Without it no music: cognition, biology and evolution of musicality. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370(1664), 20140088-20140088. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0088  

Gingras, B., Honing, H., Peretz, I., Trainor, L., & Fisher, S. (2015) Defining the biological bases of individual differences in musicality. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370(1664), 20140092-20140092. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0092  

Fitch, W. (2015) Four principles of bio-musicology. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370(1664), 20140091-20140091. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0091  

Hoeschele, M., Merchant, H., Kikuchi, Y., Hattori, Y., & ten Cate, C. (2015) Searching for the origins of musicality across species. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 370(1664), 20140094-20140094. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2014.0094  

  • January 31, 2015
  • 11:15 AM

An approach towards ethics: neuroscience and development

by Alexander Yartsev in Evolutionary Games Group

For me personally it has always been a struggle, reading through all the philosophical and religious literature I have a long standing interest in, to verbalize my intuitive concept of morals in any satisfactory way. Luckily for me, once I’ve started reading up on modern psychology and neuroscience, I found out that there are empirical […]... Read more »

Avram, M., Gutyrchik, E., Bao, Y., Pöppel, E., Reiser, M., & Blautzik, J. (2013) Neurofunctional correlates of esthetic and moral judgments. Neuroscience Letters, 128-32. PMID: 23262080  

  • January 29, 2015
  • 11:10 AM

Heaven or Hallucination?

by Bill Sullivan in The 'Scope

Alex Malarkey, “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven” has admitted that his story was, um, malarkey. Consequently, the book has been pulled and the million or so people who purchased it are feeling as deflated as a New England Patriots football. But others claim to have visited Heaven. My latest article on THE SCOPE discusses the research behind these experiences. Is it really Heaven or a hallucination?... Read more »

Borjigin, J., Lee, U., Liu, T., Pal, D., Huff, S., Klarr, D., Sloboda, J., Hernandez, J., Wang, M., & Mashour, G. (2013) Surge of neurophysiological coherence and connectivity in the dying brain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(35), 14432-14437. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1308285110  

  • January 29, 2015
  • 12:55 AM

Space and stochasticity in evolutionary games

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

Two of my goals for TheEGG this year are to expand the line up of contributors and to extend the blog into a publicly accessible venue for active debate about preliminary, in-progress, and published projects; a window into the everyday challenges and miracles of research. Toward the first goal, we have new contributions from Jill […]... Read more »

Durrett, R., & Levin, S. (1994) The Importance of Being Discrete (and Spatial). Theoretical Population Biology, 46(3), 363-394. DOI: 10.1006/tpbi.1994.1032  

  • January 24, 2015
  • 03:00 AM

An approach towards ethics: primate sociality

by Alexander Yartsev in Evolutionary Games Group

Moral decision making is one of the major torrents in human behavior. It often overrides other ways of making judgments, it generates conflicting sets of cultural values and is reinforced by them. Such conflicts might even occur in the head of some unfortunate individual, which makes the process really creative. On the other hand ethical […]... Read more »

  • January 21, 2015
  • 12:55 AM

Truthiness of irrelevant detail in explanations from neuroscience to mathematical models

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

Truthiness is the truth that comes from the gut, not books. Truthiness is preferring propositions that one wishes to be true over those known to be true. Truthiness is a wonderful commentary on the state of politics and media by a fictional character determined to be the best at feeling the news at us. Truthiness […]... Read more »

Weisberg, D.S., Keil, F.C., Goodstein, J., Rawson, E., & Gray, J.R. (2008) The seductive allure of neuroscience explanations. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 20(3), 470-7. PMID: 18004955  

  • January 20, 2015
  • 12:45 AM

What makes a discipline ‘mathematical’?

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

While walking to work on Friday, I was catching up on one of my favorite podcasts: The History of Philosophy without any Gaps. To celebrate the podcast’s 200th episode, Peter Adamson was interviewing Jill Kraye and John Marenbon on medieval philosophy. The podcasts was largely concerned with where we should define the temporal boundaries of […]... Read more »

Sylla, Edith D. (2011) Oxford Calculators. Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy, 903-908. DOI: 10.1007/SpringerReference_187789  

  • January 12, 2015
  • 11:30 PM

Cataloging a year of blogging: the philosophical turn

by Artem Kaznatcheev in Evolutionary Games Group

Passion and motivation are strange and confusing facets of being. Many things about them feel paradoxical. For example, I really enjoy writing, categorizing, and — obviously, if you’ve read many of the introductory paragraphs on TheEGG — blabbing on far too long about myself. So you’d expect that I would have been extremely motivated to […]... Read more »

Kaznatcheev, A., Montrey, M., & Shultz, T.R. (2014) Evolving useful delusions: Subjectively rational selfishness leads to objectively irrational cooperation. Proceedings of the 36th annual conference of the Cognitive Science Society. arXiv: 1405.0041v1

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