News and analysis on the implications of brain science

Monkeys taught to pass mirror self-awareness test

by Bob Yirka | February 14, 2017

For many years, cognitive researchers have relied on the mirror self-recognition test as a means for determining if an animal is capable of self-awareness. But a team of researchers at the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences has found that rhesus monkeys can pass the mirror self-awareness test if they are first taught how mirrors work.

Why advances in treating those with brain injuries require advances in respecting their rights

by Joseph J. Fins

Montana Standard | January 26, 2017

Many people see the 21st Century Cures Act as a boon for medical research, but researcher Joseph Fins also see it as "legislation that will help realize the civil rights of people with severe brain injury. With new understanding and better neurotechnologies, we can help patients communicate and reengage with their world. The long arc of justice demands nothing less for citizens with severe brain injury."

Neuroethics and the Third Offset Strategy

by Jonathan Moreno

The Neuroethics Blog | January 24, 2017

A new U.S. strategic doctrine called the third offset poses an important challenge for the field of neuroethics.

Doppler Labs wants to put two extra brains in your ears

by Dave Gershgorn

Quartz | January 19, 2017

The company is capitalizing on a gap in the market—well-designed, high-quality wireless earbuds that don’t make you look like an early-aughts Bluetooth dad. But Doppler is also vying to redefine the way we hear, and by extension how we interact with the world around us, by giving our ears their own assistants.

What Can fMRI Tell Us About Mental Illness?

by Neuroskeptic

Discover Magazine | January 14, 2017

Results of a recent meta-analysis were surprising: It turned out that there were very few differences between different disorders in terms of the distribution of the group differences across the brain.

How Much Does It Hurt?

by John Walsh

Mosaic Science | January 10, 2017

Aching, throbbing, searing, excruciating – pain is difficult to describe and impossible to see. So how can doctors measure it? John Walsh finds out about new ways of assessing the agony.

The Phineas Gage Effect

by Kevin Tobia

Aeon | December 21, 2016

When someone changes for the worse, we see a totally different person. But what happens if the change is for the better?

No, Scientists Cannot Predict Whether Toddlers Will Become Criminals

Gizmodo | December 21, 2016

Earlier this month, a new study came out suggesting that it’s possible to predict whether a toddler will become a criminal, based on neurological exams. The only trouble is, that’s not actually what the study found.

Manipulating Memories: The Ethics of Yesterday’s Science Fiction and Today’s Reality

by Julie M. Robillard, PhD, and Judy Illes, PhD

AMA Journal of Ethics | December 20, 2016

Memory manipulation represents a particularly complex challenge for scientists, who conduct research, and for clinicians, who seek to use the results to heal patients or reduce their suffering. It also represents a challenge for ethicists who bring questions and frameworks to bear on the issues to ensure that ethical science is not hampered, that the allocation of benefits is just, that risk is mitigated in research, and that the dissemination of discoveries and new knowledge benefits society as a whole.

Neuroethics and the BRAIN Initiative

by Nicky Penttila

Dana Foundation blog | December 19, 2016

We report on a panel discussion from last week’s BRAIN Initiative investigators meeting, which focused on ethical questions of consciousness, identity, and guidelines for future research

See also

My Grandparents Survived the Cultural Revolution: Have I Inherited Their Trauma?

Mosaic | December 13, 2016

Shayla Love’s mother and grandparents lived through China’s Cultural Revolution – now she wants to know what biological traces of their trauma she carries within her today.

Do We all Have Split Brains?

by Neuroskeptic

Discover Magazine Neuroskeptic Blog | December 8, 2016

When you’re doing two things at once – like listening to the radio while driving – your brain organizes itself into two, functionally independent networks, almost as if you temporarily have two brains, according to a new study.

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