Brain and Mind articles

Our former scibling David Dobbs has posted/published two interesting articles about recent findings in neuroscience and behavior:

The Gregarious Brain in New York Times Magazine, about the Williams Syndrome:

If a person suffers the small genetic accident that creates Williams syndrome, he'll live with not only some fairly conventional cognitive deficits, like trouble with space and numbers, but also a strange set of traits that researchers call the Williams social phenotype or, less formally, the "Williams personality": a love of company and conversation combined, often awkwardly, with a poor understanding of social dynamics and a lack of social inhibition. The combination creates some memorable encounters.

It's just your imagination -- Or is it your memory? on the SciAm blog:

As we explored in the very first Mind Matters post, neuroscientists everywhere agree that the hippocampus is crucial to memory -- but have rich and interesting disagreements about how this brain area creates and manages memory and what roles it might play in cognition. This debate was freshly enlivened in early 2007 when an innovative paper by Demis Hassabis (a former chess prodigy and games designer) and colleagues at the renowned University College London lab of Eleanor Maguire proposed that the hippocampus is vital not just for memory but also for imagination. As hippocampal researcher Andre Fenton notes in his review below, this discovery suggests both a vital new role for the hippocampus and a narrative-building mechanism common to memory, imagination, and thought. Interesting new ground, Fenton finds, but not without its hazards.


More like this

Ed Yong, Mo Costandi, Scientific American, and others have covered nicely a new paper finding that people with WIlliams syndrome (a condition I've been interested in since writing a long feature about it for the Times Magazine a few years back) show little or no racial bias. But I wanted to add one…
David Dobbs has a wonderful article in the most recent Times Magazine on Williams syndrome, a development disorder that results in a bizarre mixture of cognitive strengths and deficits: Williams syndrome rises from a genetic accident during meiosis, when DNA's double helix is divided into two…
Yesterday's edition of the journal Current Biology featured an interesting study on Williams Syndrome, a genetic condition marked by cognitive deficits but also a several common personality traits. People with Williams are excessively outgoing and friendly, are often musically talented, and, most…
We have been talking about this paper in PNAS around the lab, so I thought I would share. Hassabis et al, publishing in PNAS, have shown that patients with hippocampal damage lack the ability to imagine novel situations. This is a truly interesting finding, but it isn't why I want to talk about…

Working in the field cognitive neuroscience, I must say both articles are really interesting and well written! The Hippocampus research has made huge impact on the field.


Andreas @ Sharpbrains