May 28, 2011

A Conversation on the Neuroethics of Deep Brain Stimulation

In this webcast provided by the Dana Foundation, Drs. Philip Campbell, Joseph Fins, Jonathan Moreno and Helen Mayberg discussed the ethical considerations of using deep brain stimulation. The topics covered in this interesting discussion included surgical experimentation, consciousness, depression, technology and public policy. Dr. Judy Illes served as the moderator.

Click here for the webcast.

Click here for an edited transcript of the discussion.

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March 17, 2011

BBC4′s “In Our Time”: Discussion on Free Will

In a BBC broadcastMelvyn Bragg and his guests Simon Blackburn, Helen Beebee, and Galen Strawson discuss the philosophical idea of free will.

From the broadcast description:

“Free will – the extent to which we are free to choose our own actions – is one of the most absorbing philosophical problems, debated by almost every great thinker of the last two thousand years. In a universe apparently governed by physical laws, is it possible for individuals to be responsible for their own actions? Or are our lives simply proceeding along preordained paths? Determinism – the doctrine that every event is the inevitable consequence of what goes before – seems to suggest so.

Many intellectuals have concluded that free will is logically impossible. The philosopher Baruch Spinoza regarded it as a delusion. Albert Einstein wrote: “Human beings, in their thinking, feeling and acting are not free agents but are as causally bound as the stars in their motion.” But in the Enlightenment, philosophers including David Hume found ways in which free will and determinism could be reconciled. Recent scientific developments mean that this debate remains as lively today as it was in the ancient world.”

Click here to listen to the broadcast.

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March 10, 2011

Can Someone in a Vegetative State Communicate Thoughts?

In this short video (about 4 mins) from the New York Times, David Corcoran discusses evidence from an fMRI study that suggests that people in a vegetative state can communicate thoughts.

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March 8, 2011

Can You Beat a Computer at Paper-Scissors-Rock?

To see if you can outwit a computer at Paper-Scissors-Rock, check out this interactive feature in the New York Times. The feature demonstrates basic artificial intelligence, and allows you to play against the computer at two different levels: novice, where the computer learns from scratch; and veteran, where the computer uses over 200,000 rounds of experience against you.

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March 3, 2011

Interactive Video: Progression of Alzheimer’s in the Brain

Click here for an interactive video showing the progression of Alzheimer’s in the brain from the Globe and Mail.




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March 1, 2011

A short video on the brain and concussions

Click here for a short clip on concussions and the brain provided by CBC.

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November 10, 2010

“What Babies Want” – An exploration of the Consciousness of Infants


DVD Documentary starring Charlie Rose, Noah Wyle, and Joseph Chilton Pearce.

What Babies Want is an award winning documentary film that explores the profoundly important and sacred opportunity we have in bringing children into the world. Filled with captivating stories and infused with Noah Wyle’s warmth as narrator, the film demonstrates how life patterns are established at birth and  before. The documentary includes groundbreaking information on early development as well as appearances by the real experts: babies and families.

Research is now showing us that our society is a product of how we welcome and raise our children. When babies are welcomed with love and warmth and given the immediate opportunity to bond with parents,  they develop minds that are coherent and flexible, ready in turn to make compassionate and meaningful connections with others as they grow.

As we learn how early relationships shape the structure and function of the brain, we are also gaining a new appreciation of the wisdom of ancient cultures that understood the importance of welcoming children before, during and after the moment of birth.

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November 9, 2009

Wired for Hunger: The Brain and Obesity

From the Dana Foundation:For most of human history, food was not readily available; storing energy helped ensure survival. Humans thus evolved to eat whenever food is at hand-a tendency that in the modern world may contribute to widespread obesity. Researchers are starting to determine the brain circuitry responsible for this default “eat” message. Marcelo Dietrich and Tamas Horvath tell the story of false starts and measured successes in obesity research. They propose that developing successful obesity therapy may require combining drug therapy with psychological or psychiatric approaches, as well as exercise. In the sidebar, they examine the opposite of obesity: anorexia nervosa.

Click here for the complete article.

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Consciousness: Two College-Level Webcourses

web resource — alice @ 10:45 pm



With Dr. Bernard J. Baars

Center for Consciousness Studies
The University of Arizona

See website for course outline and registration forms:

Brief Summary:

Both courses will run November 14, 2009 through February 7, 2010 with a Winter Break from December 20 to January 4.

You will receive weekly podcasts, pdf lectures, and Experiential Labs. We will meet in live Discussion Groups each weekend.

Consciousness: The WebCourse will have Discussion Groups each Saturday and Sunday morning from 10am -12 noon, Pacific Time. Course Members are invited to participate live for one or two hours.

If you cannot join us at those times, we will have an Asynchronous Discussion Group for you as well.

The Advanced Seminar will meet via the web on Sunday afternoons from 2-4 pm.

Dr. Baars will send you audio lectures (podcasts) each week of the 10-week term, along with written lectures. We will have Experiential Labs each week, to allow you to explore your own experiences in various interesting ways.

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October 4, 2009

Web-based Courses on Consciousness

web resource,workshop — alice @ 2:56 am

Center for Consciousness Studies


FALL 2009

Registration OPEN

November 14, 2009 to FEBRUARY 7, 2010




Both taught by Dr. Bernard J. Baars

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July 29, 2009

Survey: Neuroscience in Economics and Marketing?

web resource — thomasr @ 1:08 am


We would like to invite you to take part to this survey. Your answers will help to gather information about the perceptions and thoughts about the use of brain science methods in non-medical settings.


Any information that you provide will be confidential. All participants will be anonymous such that no personal information concerning you or your company will be made public either during, or after the completion and release of this study. The questionnaire should take about 10 minutes of your time. If you wish to receive a summary of the results (that you can pass on to your home company) please indicate at the end of this questionnaire and include your e-mail address. We will not use this e-mail for other purposes than for sending you the summary.


My name is Matteo Bellisario, and I am completing my final report for my Master Degree in Strategic Market Creation at the Copenhagen Business School, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

My academic supervisor for this research is Dr. Thomas Z. Rams�y, head of the Decision Neuroscience Research Group at the Copenhagen Business School and Danish Research Centre for Magnetic Resonance at Copenhagen University Hospital.

The results will be part of my Master Thesis, and may, if suitable, be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal.


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May 19, 2009

Neuroscience Meets Psychoanalysis

books,memory,neuroscience,web resource — alice @ 1:29 am

From the Dana Foundation: Dr. Pierre Magistretti and Dr. Francois Ansermet spoke with Dana Foundation Chairman William Safire about their book, Biology of Freedom: Neural Plasticity, Experience, and the Unconscious, and the bridge between neuroscience and psychoanalysis. The event took place on November 14, 2007 at the Dana Center in Washington, DC. 

Click here for the audio archive.

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Learning, Arts, and the Brain: the Dana Consortium Report on Arts and Cognition

From the Dana Foundation: The Dana Foundation released at a news conference on March 4, Learning, Arts, and the Brain, a three-year study at seven universities, which finds strong links between arts education and cognitive development. Speakers included Michael Gazzaniga, Ph.D., UC, Santa Barbara; Michael Posner, Ph.D., University of Oregon;  Elizabeth Spelke, Ph.D., Harvard University  and Brian Wandell, Ph.D., Stanford University.  Guy Mckhann, M.D., Johns Hopkins University gave a summary and Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts spoke of the study’s importance to the field of education.

Click here for the webcast archive.

Click here for the event transcript.

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March 31, 2009

Nature Precedings: Pre-publication research and preliminary findings

web resource — alice @ 10:15 pm

Contribute, comment and collaborate

Nature Precedings is a free online service from NPG that enables researchers in the life sciences to openly share preliminary findings, solicit community feedback, and claim priority over discoveries by posting preprint manuscripts, white papers, technical reports, posters, and presentations.

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December 8, 2008

H.M.’s Brain and the History of Memory

memory,web resource — alice @ 2:45 am

For an audio recording provided by the National Public Radio on patient H.M. and his contribution to memory research, click here.

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November 2, 2008

Online papers on consciousness

web resource — alice @ 11:52 pm

David Chalmers had compiled a directory of 2573 online papers on consciousness and related topics. Most of these papers are by academic philosophers or scientists. Click here to check out this great online resource.

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The Problem of Consciousness

essays,web resource — alice @ 12:26 am

John R. Searle 
Copyright John R. Searle. Click here for complete online text.

The most important scientific discovery of the present era will come when someone — or some group — discovers the answer to the following question: How exactly do neurobiological processes in the brain cause consciousness? This is the most important question facing us in the biological sciences, yet it is frequently evaded, and frequently misunderstood when not evaded. In order to clear the way for an understanding of this problem. I am going to begin to answer four questions: 1. What is consciousness? 2. What is the relation of consciousness to the brain? 3. What are some of the features that an empirical theory of consciousness should try to explain? 4. What are some common mistakes to avoid?

* An earlier version of this article has appeared in the publications of the CIBA Foundation. The theses advanced in this paper are presented in more detail and with more supporting argument in Searle, J.R. The Rediscovery of the Mind, MIT Press, 1992.

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August 31, 2007

Nature Network group on consciousness

web resource — thomasr @ 3:55 am

naturenetwork.gifAlfredo Pereira has initiated a Nature Network group on consciousness, termed Brain Physiology, Cognition and Consciousness. From the description of the group, we can read that:

This group is aimed at discussing recent findings about brain physiology and possible implications for the explanation of cognitive and conscious processing.

Our main topics include: Molecular Mechanisms: systems of transmitters, modulators, membrane receptors, and their participation in cognitive functions; Intracellular Signal-Transduction Pathways involved in cognitive functions; Brain Processes Supporting Memory, Attention and Executive Functions; Techniques for Measurement of Brain Activity and Imaging; Neuro-Astroglial Interactions; ERP, Oscillatory Synchrony and Other Correlates of Consciousness; Neurological and Psychiatric Phenomena Impacting Consciousness: loss of consciousness in Epilepsia, alterations of consciousness in Schizophrenia and Depression

Go check it out and contribute here.

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SciVee — YouTube for scientists

video,web resource — thomasr @ 3:17 am

scivee-logo-home.png A website being dubbed the YouTube for scientists has been launched, raising new hopes of bringing science closer to the people. SciVee allows scientists to upload published papers, as well as a podcast presenting the paper. As the site is relatively new, content is still fairly sparse. Those behind the initiative are however confident that it will contribute to the widespread dissemination and comprehension of science.

‘SciVee, created for scientists, by scientists, moves science beyond the printed word and lecture theatre, taking advantage of the Internet as a communication medium where scientists young and old have a place and avoice,’ explains the website.

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August 30, 2007

Get introduced to consciousness science now!

theory,web resource,workshop — thomasr @ 2:15 am

It is now time for the annual and popular on-line introductory course to consciousness science. Professors Baars and McGovern will lead you through the basic steps in this field, highlight important topics and findings, and invite you to in-depth discussions. Click on the banner to go to the webcourse website.


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