Cyborg Anthropology

Bridging the gap between traditional and cyborg anthropology.
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Computing and Neurological Effects

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Die 5 Biologischen Naturgesetze - Die Dokumentation

A good introduction (in German with English subtitles) for understanding how the brain and body function. Useful as a base information architecture for understanding how computers might affect the brain.

Your Brain on Computers - Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime

August 24, 2010 By MATT RICHTEL | NYTimes

"Technology makes the tiniest windows of time entertaining, and potentially productive. But scientists point to an unanticipated side effect: when people keep their brains busy with digital input, they are forfeiting downtime that could allow them to better learn and remember information, or come up with new ideas.
Ms. Bates, for example, might be clearer-headed if she went for a run outside, away from her devices, research suggests.
At the University of California, San Francisco, scientists have found that when rats have a new experience, like exploring an unfamiliar area, their brains show new patterns of activity. But only when the rats take a break from their exploration do they process those patterns in a way that seems to create a persistent memory of the experience.
The researchers suspect that the findings also apply to how humans learn.
“Almost certainly, downtime lets the brain go over experiences it’s had, solidify them and turn them into permanent long-term memories,” said Loren Frank, assistant professor in the department of physiology at the university, where he specializes in learning and memory. He said he believed that when the brain was constantly stimulated, “you prevent this learning process.”

The Difference Engine: Rewiring the brain

Aug 6th 2010, 14:50 by N.V. | LOS ANGELES

"The problem, says Mr Carr, is that most of us with access to the web spend at least a couple of hours a day online—and sometimes much more. During that time, we tend to repeat the same or similar actions over and over again. As we go through these motions, the net delivers a steady stream of inputs to our visual, somatosensory and auditory cortices. “The net's cacophony of stimuli short-circuits both conscious and unconscious thought, preventing people from thinking either deeply or creatively.” There is evidence, the author affirms, that the internet is damaging people’s long-term memory consolidation that he singles out as the true basis of intelligence".

Lifehacker: How to Rebuild Your Attention Span and Focus

Jul 27, 2010 09:00 AM

"Neuroplasticity is how your brain changes its organization over time to deal with new experiences. It involves physical changes inside of the brain based on the particular tasks the brain is asked to complete. It's why the hippocampus of a seasoned taxi driver in London is larger than average, and how a meditating monk grows grey matter. Your brain isn't a mythological deity but a physical part of your body that needs to be taken care of just like the rest of your body. And your body responds to two things really well — diet and exercise. Let's presume your brain, being a part of the body, also does".

The Charlie Rose Brain Series

Starts in 2010

The Charlie Rose Brain Series explores one of sciences final frontiers, the study of the human brain.
Over the next year Charlie will interview the most knowledgeable scientists and researchers in hopes of illuminating a new topic of study. Each monthly episode will examine different subjects of the brain, including perception, social interaction, aging and creativity.
We will also look at scientific discovery and advances in technology, in the hope that someday terrible illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s will be history.
Our special colleague on this journey is Dr. Eric Kandel. He is a psychiatrist and neuroscientist and professor at Columbia University. He’s also affiliated with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
He received the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 2000 for his research into the biological mechanisms of learning and memory.