Learning Sciences of Change

… for your learning: +350 posts

Learning Change Project

Written by learningchange

15/06/2012 at 12:30

Posted in Learning

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Social Neuroscience: Toward Understanding the Underpinnings of the Social Mind

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The field of social cognitive neuroscience has captured the attention of many researchers during the past ten years. Much of the impetus for this new field came from the development of functional neuroimaging methods that made it possible to unobtrusively measure brain activation over time. Using these methods over the last 30 years has allowed psychologists to move from simple validation questions — would flashing stimuli activate the visual cortex — to those about the functional specialization of brain regions– are there regions in the inferior temporal cortex dedicated to face processing– to questions that, just a decade ago, would have been considered to be intractable at such a level of analysis. These so-called “intractable” questions are the focus of the chapters in this book, which introduces social cognitive neuroscience research addressing questions of fundamental importance to social psychology: How do we understand and represent other people? How do we represent social groups? How do we regulate our emotions and socially undesirable responses? This book also presents innovative combinations of multiple methodologies, including behavioral experiments, computer modeling, functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) experiments, Event-Related Potential (ERP) experiments, and brain lesion studies. It is divided into four sections. The first three sections present the latest research on, respectively, understanding and representing other people, representing social groups, and the interplay of cognition and emotion in social regulation. In the fourth section, contributors step back and consider a range of novel topics that have emerged in the context of social neuroscience research: understanding social exclusion as pain, deconstructing our moral intuitions, understanding cooperative exchanges with other agents, and the effect of aging on brain function and its implications forwell-being. Taken together, these chapters provide a rich introduction to an exciting, rapidly developing and expanding field that promises a richer and deeper understanding of the social mind.

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Written by learningchange

21/04/2014 at 16:39

Studies link between babies’ learning abilities and future development

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Newborns are born largely blind, with dark, blurry, colourless and two-dimensional vision, Tseng says. While in the womb, there is no chance to develop vision. But they respond to auditory cues, which is why the best way to connect with newborns is to talk to them. At two months, they start to see a bit of colour – mainly red and green. By six months, they can see in full colour, although images remain quite blurry. By one year, Tseng says, they can see almost as well as adults. We started to study infants because at first we didn’t believe that they could learn at such a young age,” says Tseng, who has a PhD in psychology from University of California, Irvine, and has spent most of her career studying perception, attention and learning in adults. “But so far I am convinced that infants have more cognitive learning ability than previously thought,” she says. Through the studies, the researchers are also beginning to understand the correlation between an infant’s learning ability and his or her future development.

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Written by learningchange

21/04/2014 at 14:18

The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind

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For the first time in history, the secrets of the living brain are being revealed by a battery of high tech brain scans devised by physicists. Now what was once solely the province of science fiction has become a startling reality. Recording memories, telepathy, videotaping our dreams, mind control, avatars, and telekinesis are not only possible; they already exist. The Future of the Mind gives us an authoritative and compelling look at the astonishing research being done in top laboratories around the world—all based on the latest advancements in neuroscience and physics.  One day we might have a “smart pill” that can enhance our cognition; be able to upload our brain to a computer, neuron for neuron; send thoughts and emotions around the world on a “brain-net“; control computers and robots with our mind; push the very limits of immortality; and perhaps even send our consciousness across the universe.  Dr. Kaku takes us on a grand tour of what the future might hold, giving us not only a solid sense of how the brain functions but also how these technologies will change our daily lives. He even presents a radically new way to think about “consciousness” and applies it to provide fresh insight into mental illness, artificial intelligence and alien consciousness. With Dr. Kaku’s deep understanding of modern science and keen eye for future developments, The Future of the Mind is a scientific tour de force–an extraordinary, mind-boggling exploration of the frontiers of neuroscience.

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Written by learningchange

18/04/2014 at 12:05

Triggering Resilience to Depression

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Researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York have reversed depression-like behaviors in mice in an unexpected way. Rather than silencing the hyperactive neurons that triggered the rodents’ symptoms, the team boosted their activity even further. This triggered a compensatory, self-tuning response that brought the neurons’ firing—and the rodents’ behaviors—back to normal. “There’s a saying in Chinese: If you push something to an extreme, the only way it can go is in the opposite direction,” said Ming-Hu Han, who led the study, published today April 17 in Science. Although his team needs to confirm their results in humans, Han added, “it could give us new avenues for treating depression that are conceptually very different to the classical therapeutic strategy.” Rather than identifying the cause of an illness and reversing it, it may be possible to push those causes even harder and get the body to right itself.

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Written by learningchange

18/04/2014 at 11:01

Posted in Depression

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Citizen social science and citizen data? Methodological and ethical challenges for social research

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This article examines the value of observation data collected by volunteers as they go about their daily activities. Many citizens are already creating digital data archives of their own lives through online activity including via social media communication. Citizens now have the potential to be the default fieldworkers of their own lives. This can be extended to examine the value of citizens systematically collecting data on the world around them for social science research. This pilot observation study required volunteers to follow a protocol and record the number of people seen begging. The study produced important findings on begging which informed a larger research project. However, challenging methodological and ethical issues are raised concerning the observation of public life. Even so, it is clear there is potential for what can be termed ‘citizen social science’, including continuous data collection where volunteers collaborate in social science research and observe and record data as they go about their daily lives. This approach to the way evidence can be collected and integrated into research has implications for the interfaces between being a citizen, knowledge processes and the state and presents an opportunity for a renewed idea of emancipatory social science.

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Written by learningchange

17/04/2014 at 15:09

Mapping social responsibility in science

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The vast majority of scientists want their research to be of use to society. They just disagree on how much society should interfere with what it is they study, and how they carry out their research,” says Glerup, who is working on a PhD project on scientific sociology at the Copenhagen Business School. Her research has shown that there are two different ideologies when it comes to research and public utility in the scientific community:

  • An ideology of internal control – the researchers know how the world works, so they are in a good position to find out how it should be. Therefore, they are ideally placed to judge about the public utility of their research.
  • An ideology of external control – social actors, such as politicians and organisations, know what is best for society, and this makes them ideally placed to determine what research should be done and how.

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Written by learningchange

16/04/2014 at 13:33

Quelles Synergies Sciences-Société pour Demain?

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Parce qu’elles visent à placer la recherche au cœur des enjeux les plus contemporains, les Rencontres Université–Société sont articulées autour de quatre thèmes faisant écho à la demande sociale : 1) Bien-être, handicap et santé; 2) Développement et durabilité; 3)  Qualité de vie et travail; 4) Art, culture, société. Universitaires, acteurs socio-économiques et culturels, grands témoins et médias ont proposé une restitution des travaux réalisés dans le cadre des ateliers et ont engagé la discussion avec le public à travers 4 tables rondes et un débat final.

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Written by learningchange

14/04/2014 at 20:40

Posted in Science, Society

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Brains plus Brawn and The Evolution of the Human Head

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I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of whether or not human evolution is a story of brains over brawn. I study the evolution of the human body and how and why the human body is the way it is, and I’ve worked a lot on both ends of the body. I’m very interested in feet and barefoot running and how our feet function, but I’ve also written and thought a lot about how and why our heads are the way they are. The more I study feet and heads, the more I realize that what’s in the middle also matters, and that we have this very strange idea —it goes back to mythology—that human evolution is primarily a story about brains, about intelligence, about technology triumphing over brawn.

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Read also: The Evolution of the Human Head

Written by learningchange

14/04/2014 at 14:34

Posted in Brains, Evolution, Head

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Neuro-aesthetics: Beauty Is in the Brain of the Beholder

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There are few things more personal than one’s aesthetic taste. When you really connect to a piece of art or music, it touches something deep inside. It moves you in a way that often escapes words. But what’s going on in your brain when you are moved like this? This question is explored in the recently-published paper,  Art reaches within: aesthetic experience, the self and the default mode network.  The study, undertaken by researchers from NYU and the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain.  The burgeoning field of  neuro-aesthetics attempts to address the mysteries of the human preoccupation with art by studying the underlying brain mechanisms. And,while understanding the artistic creative process itself is certainly a formidable challenge, many of the open questions concern the response to works of art by their viewers, listeners, and readers. What makes us so drawn to certain artistic creations, so influenced and moved by them? In recent years,we have learned a considerable amount from brain imaging studies about the neural correlates of aesthetic experience and how they relate to sensory, reward,and emotion neural processes.

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Read also: Art reaches within: aesthetic experience, the self and the default mode network

Written by learningchange

14/04/2014 at 14:22

Posted in Arts, Brains, Neuroaesthetics

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The Cognitive Behavioral Miracle – Controlling your Emotions

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The principles of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are based on a very simple idea: we feel according to what we think, in other words, our thoughts and cognitive constructions are at the root of our emotions and behavior patterns. CBT is based on three fundamental propositions:

  • Cognitive activity affects behavior;
  • Cognitive activity may be monitored and altered; and
  • Desired behavior change may be effected through cognitive change.

CBT is a fundamentally empowering approach, in that it has successfully identified certain ways of thinking that can make the difference between sanity and insanity, between happiness and unhappiness, and it has developed a variety of techniques to teach patients to substitute these dysfunctional patterns of thinking, which are often at the root of their problems.

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Written by learningchange

14/04/2014 at 13:43

Posted in Cognition, Emotions

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