from month 07/2008

Cognition, Culture and Caricature

You may, like me, have seen the cover of the 14th of July New Yorker depicting a Barack Obama as a Muslim and Michelle Obama as a terrorist, with a portrait of Osama Bin Laden on the wall and an American flag burning in the fireplace, and understood that the intention was to satirize not them ...

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Culture and the Brain

In the last Nature Reviews Neuroscience, a paper reviewing the work showing cultural differences in brain activation. I'm afraid there's no non-gated version, but here's the abstract: Our brains and minds are shaped by our experiences, which mainly occur in the context of the culture ...

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The debate over maths in the Amazon: still counting points

Another paper, in Cognition, about the mathematical abilities of Amazonians. This time, the Gibson/Everett view scored one point. They claim that language for numbers is not what allows us to use concepts of exact quantities for big sets. It merely helps us to keep them in mind. [from the ...

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The natural order of events

An interesting paper in the last PNAS. Susan Goldin-Meadow and her colleagues have demonstrated that speakers from very different language groups all process the order of events in a similar way in non-linguistic tasks. A point against the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. The abstract says it all: ...

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Neurotheology as an American Myth

Over at The Immanent Frame, historian Leigh Eric Schmidt has a paper about the current fMRI craze in religious studies (actually, The Immanent Frame has several posts about neurotheology). According to Schmidt, neurotheology is just one manifestation of a deep trend in American thought. American ...

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