Post Of The Week – Sunday 2nd October 2016

1) HM Yet Again

Here is another piece about HM. This one features an interview with Brenda Milner, now in her nineties and one of the original researchers of HM. There’s a reminder of a detail which is on the video on the Types Of Long Term Memory of a study by Milner in which HM was able to learn to trace the outline of a star using a mirror. There’s also a contrast between the new Dittrich book and an earlier fictionalised account.


2) More On Split Brains

This video acts as a companion to the one we have been using on split brain patients. It features the same interviewer, Alan Alda, some 20 years after the one we use in class was made. Brain imaging is far more complex now than it was 20 years ago. This video shows that these patients still raise central questions about personality and consciousness.


3) Jo Boaler And Working Memory

Jo Boaler is professor of mathematics education at Stanford University. She uses brain science to explain how to teach Maths better. She’s come under fire because of some statements she has made about working memory in a leaflet for parents. This document has gone online from a couple of people who suggest more psychologically accurate ways of making claims about memory research and maths. This shows how difficult it is to apply psychological research without lapsing into error and making exaggerated claims. On the positive side, this paper ties in with the things we have been saying both in Year 1 and Year 2 about the complexity of brain function in relation to mathematics. There isn’t one part of the brain which is mathematical or logical. Very many parts are involved.


4) Imaging The Brain

Here’s an article which explains more about the controversy which has arisen over fMRI. There are some challenges here but also no reason for thinking that fMRI is fatally flawed as a method of studying the brain.

This article explains some research into how the brain processes the meaning of words. It demonstrates well a point we have made in lessons: language function is spread over many areas of the brain.

This link takes you to a news release about the work of Earl Miller. It challenges the compartmentalised view of the cortex where each area has a different job. This view has arisen partly because of what appears in text books but also because of how fMRI works. Miller’s method tracks electrical activity rather than blood flow. It offers a more dynamic picture of how the brain works.

Here he is talking about working memory and distractions.


5) Lily Bailey On OCD

She has a new book out. She talks about OCD here.


6) Women And Autism

In Year 2, we are going to be looking into research into autism as an example of gender bias. Here is a piece about recent qualitative research into the experience of women with autism. It shows the often disturbing consequences of a system of diagnosis which is designed around the male experience of autism.


7) James Flynn

James Flynn did a TED talk a few years ago about how intelligence test scores change over time. It is here.

Here is a piece about him from BBC Future


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