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All posts; Tags Include "Aesthetics"

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  • September 15, 2016
  • 10:10 AM
  • 918 views

Paralympic athletes and the rise of the cyborgs

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

Para and super? The Olympics are over. They’ve brought us some good stories, some nice records, and (self-citation alert!) a humble blog post about the ethics of doping. But the Paralympics, their less mediatized cousin, are in full swing. Paralympians from all over the world gather to wow us with their athletic prowess in the Paralympic […]... Read more »

  • August 31, 2014
  • 07:36 PM
  • 1,176 views

Whitman Was Not a Neuroscientist

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Do I contradict myself?Very well then I contradict myself,(I am large, I contain multitudes.)-Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself" (from Leaves of Grass)Science is the search for objective truth based on physical laws of the universe. Scientific theories try to explain the consistent and predictable behavior of natural systems. They are generally reductionist, meaning that complex systems are reduced to simpler and more fundamental elements. The principles of physics, for instance, are expressed in th........ Read more »

  • July 18, 2014
  • 04:06 AM
  • 624 views

Book Review: Visual Experience: Sensation, Cognition and Constancy

by Farid Pazhoohi in Epistemophil

Mankind has always been interested in the way people perceive the world and this has become one of its main concerns reflected in the fact that early explanations for visual perception date back to ancient Greece. Studies of visual perception were pursued merely in the field of philosophy until the 20th century, when psychologists, and […]... Read more »

  • September 22, 2013
  • 07:56 AM
  • 1,163 views

Neurological Art History

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

“Wound man” woodcut by Johannes de Ketham, originally appearing in Fasciculus medicinae (1491). This image is from Fasiculo de medicina (1494), a translation into Italian by Sebastiano Manilio.We rationalize, we dissimilate, we pretend: we pretend that modern medicine is a rational science, all facts, no nonsense, and just what it seems. But we have only to tap its glossy veneer for it to split wide open, and reveal to us its roots and foundations, its old dark heart of metaphysics, mys........ Read more »

  • September 16, 2013
  • 02:23 AM
  • 1,332 views

Everything's Unscented

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

If you were forced to sacrifice one of your five senses, which would it be? Most people wouldn't consider losing their vision or hearing. It would be really dangerous to completely lose your sense of touch, so that won't be an option in our hypothetical scenario. So we're left with the chemical senses of smell and taste. I think most of us would choose one of these two.But what about someone who can't smell?  How can they miss something they've never known?“If I had to lose one of my sens........ Read more »

Karstensen HG, & Tommerup N. (2012) Isolated and syndromic forms of congenital anosmia. Clinical genetics, 81(3), 210-5. PMID: 21895637  

Tafalla M. (2013) A world without the olfactory dimension. Anatomical record (Hoboken, N.J. : 2007), 296(9), 1287-96. PMID: 23907763  

  • August 26, 2012
  • 04:33 AM
  • 1,204 views

The Art of Delicate Sadness

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

Sad Noh masks (from Fig. 1 of Osaka et al., 2012).Noh is a traditional style of Japanese theater where the actors wear masks to convey facial expressions. Many of the masks are known for their ambiguity:As it is often difficult to tell the actual feelings expressed in a noh mask, it is said to be made with a “neutral” expression. The mask carver tries to instill a variety of emotions in the mask. It is up to the performer to imbue the mask with emotion. One of the techniques used in thi........ Read more »

  • June 19, 2012
  • 12:29 PM
  • 1,382 views

The Evolution of Music

by Iddo Friedberg in Byte Size Biology


A collaboration between a group in Imperial College and Media Interaction group in Japan yielded a really cool website: darwintunes.org. The idea is to apply Darwinian-like selection to music. Starting form a garble, after several generations producing something that is actually melodic and listen-able. Or a Katy Perry tune. Whatever. The selective force being the appeal of the tune to the listener. ... Read more »

Robert M. MacCallum, Matthias Mauchb, Austin Burta, & Armand M. Leroia. (2012) (2012-06-18) Evolution of music by public choice. . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1203182109  

  • May 18, 2012
  • 05:54 PM
  • 1,402 views

Study: Want to Look Aggressive? Wear Black

by David Berreby in Mind Matters


Psychology is rich in findings that emerge from complex statistics done on the behavior of college students behaving for money or course credit. It's fair to wonder, then, how well those findings relate to the real world: Maybe a result is peculiar to undergrads, or maybe it's a subtle effect that ...Read More
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  • April 11, 2012
  • 03:01 PM
  • 1,738 views

The Social Punishment of Samantha Brick

by Miss Behavior in The Scorpion and the Frog

An interesting thing happened this week in the world of collective human behavior. But before we go into that, let me ask you two questions: Have you heard of Samantha Brick? On a scale of 1 to 10, how attractive do you think she is? Samantha Brick, a journalist, wrote an article for the Daily Mail called “'There are downsides to looking this pretty': Why women hate me for being beautiful”. Naturally, the response to hearing a story like this is, “Well, what does she look like?” Luckily ........ Read more »

  • January 6, 2012
  • 09:00 AM
  • 1,430 views

Questioning Permanence: Would You Get a QR Code Tattoo?

by Krystal D'Costa in Anthropology in Practice

Are you inked? I’m not, though I’ve thought about it seriously and have a pretty good idea of what I would get and where I would put it—if I could work up the nerve to get in the chair. I’ll tell you one thing: It most certainly is not a QR code like Fred Bosch, who [...]









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Dye, I. (1989) The tattoos of Early American Seafarers, 1796-1818. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 133(4), 520-554. info:/

Schildkrout, E. (2004) Inscribing the Body. Annual Review of Anthropology, 33(1), 319-344. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.anthro.33.070203.143947  

  • September 6, 2008
  • 11:32 PM
  • 2,161 views

Pain & Paintings: Beholding Beauty Reduces Pain Perception and Laser Evoked Potentials

by The Neurocritic in The Neurocritic

-Marcel Duchamp, Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2Neuroesthetics, a term coined by Semir Zeki, is "the attempt to use neuroscience to understand art and aesthetic behaviour" (as defined in an excellent overview by BRAINETHICS). Some would say the venture is anathema, that reductionistic explanations of the sublime are misguided at best and destructive at worst. Others hold that since all qualia emanate from the brain, a neuroscientific approach is the only true way to understand aest........ Read more »

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