Tuesday, September 26, 2006

News 2 Use, Get Yer News 2 Use Here

Replace Football with Jazz Choir, Damn it!

A Canadian research study has linked early music training in children with increased memory capacity key to improved literacy skills, math aptitudes and general IQ. After tracking two groups of students aged four through six – one musically trained and the other not – improvements in the musically trained were noted in just four months.

Reading stuff like this makes me wonder why school districts always have enough funds for sports teams, but are always cutting those expendable music programs. Maybe in a future, or more sensible alternate, human society, we'll have battle of the bands instead of clash of the pigskin titans.

Have I ever mentioned that I think the only legitimate sports should be competition ballroom dancing, Latin and Standard?

Those Mirror Neurons are Busy Guys!

(Last week's News 2 Use showed a link between empathy and mirror neurons. Now...)

German research suggests that when a human watches sexually arousing images, the brain reacts as if the watcher is actively involved. In other words, seeing and doing elicit the same neurological response.

This particular study is on visual images. I wonder how the brain reacts when it reads a description of sexual activity. My guess is that the female brain responds to literary stimulation with much the same enthusiasm as the male brain does to visual, and between this post and the last we have enumerated the neuroscience behind romance novels.

Are We Neurological Hostages?

Neurosurgery patients have discovered, by accident, that stimulation of certain areas of the brain induces an experience known by schizophrenics as "the shadow self." Those in psychotic states and these stimulated surgery patients experienced the hallucination of shadowy presence linked to their own. However, some people experienced the shadowy presence as positive or neutral, while others felt that the presence was malign and manipulative.

The more I read about neuroscience, the more I marvel at how we are at the mercy of our brain function. And how we may someday be at the mercy of people who can control our brain function. Psychosis as WMD, anyone?


Christine said...

Neurologic Hostages? That's great. What a fantastic idea, that the shadow self can be brought to bear and experienced alongside the normal self, through brain manipulation. What if the shadow self is left 'on' due to continual or too much stimulation? Would you get internal war? Could the shadow win? Ohhh, Joyce, excellent story fodder.

SpecRom Joyce said...

The more I learn about neuroscience the more I feel a hostage to my biology.