Baseball Toaster Aesthetics Blog
2006-11-04 11:08
by Ken Arneson

The brain is a freakishly efficient computer.

Developments in the understanding of short-term and long-term memories.

Humans have mirror neurons for sound. The brain treats musical patterns in similar ways to visual patterns and language.

A grammar of morality? Marc D. Hauser has written a book on how our moral intuitions work and why they evolved.

How Do You Look is an art exhibit exploring eye-hand coordination. There's a interesting comparison between an artist and a surgeon.

A neuroscientist defends his turf from outsiders. Somehow I think Kuhn predicted this response.

A primer on sex differences in the brain.

2006-11-06 11:38:39
1.   Blackfish
That stuff on sound/music and the "grammar of morality" is very interesting, especially when taken together.

A researcher at UCSD (I believe) whose name currently escapes me (I have it around here somewhere) found that when a person hears a grammatically incorrect sentence, a language center in the brain (Broca's area) fires the same response as when he hears a discordant note in a musical sequence, which would basically be the musical equivalent of bad grammar.

At that point, I think it's fair to question whether Broca's area is just a language center, or rather one that is meant to process highly ordered, sequential patterns, one specifically geared toward auditory patterns (though maybe not totally limited to them -- who knows). There are certainly other brain areas that act similarly (mirror neurons in the prefrontal cortex come to mind).

One idea I always wanted to explore thoroughly was whether Broca's area would see the same response in a discordant moral situation. It would take some time to get a procedure that could adequately isolate the moral component, but it certainly seems possible.

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