Saturday, June 30, 2007

Brain fitness movement gets star face

Thanks to Mind Hacks for the FYI/link to a post announcing that a media star (Nicole Kidman) is now a spokesperson for one of Ninetendo's brain fitness products. Clearly the "tipping point" on brain fitness going mainstream has occurred (or has been recently passed).

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Wearable technology

Thanks to the Intelligent Machines blog for the FYI post re: "ten wearable technologies that can help a human resemble a cyborg machine." Interesting stuff

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

More on ADHD and poor internal mental clock

Another research study (Rommelse et al., 2007) suggesting a deficit in the internal brain clock may be associated with (diagnostic marker?) ADHD in children (click here for prior post). In particular, the ability to reproduce time intervals (time reproduction tasks) was found to be related to a potential diagnosis of ADHD in young children.

Once again...another study linking various mental functions and clinical disorders and the functioning of the internal brain clock...tick, tock, tick, tock......
  • Objective: Time reproduction is deficient in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Whether this deficit is familial and could therefore serve as a candidate endophenotype has not been previously investigated. It is unknown whether timing deficits are also measurable in adolescent children with ADHD and nonaffected siblings. Method: These issues were investigated in 226 children with ADHD, 188 nonaffected siblings, and 162 normal controls ages 5 to 19. Children participated in a visual and auditory time reproduction task. They reproduced interval lengths of 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20 seconds. Results: Children with ADHD and their nonaffected siblings were less precise than controls, particularly when task difficulty was systematically increased. Time reproduction skills were familial. Time reproduction deficits were more pronounced in younger children with ADHD than in older children. Children with ADHD could be clearly dissociated from control children until the age of 9. After this age, group differences were somewhat attenuated, but were still present. Differences between nonaffected siblings and controls were constant across the age range studied. Deficits were unaffected by modality. Conclusions: Time reproduction may serve as a candidate endophenotype for ADHD, predominantly in younger children with (a genetic risk for) ADHD.

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Rhythm and reading research- I've got rhthym....I've got....

Another study suggesting a link between an aspect of mental-time keeping (rhythm perception and production; also click here for related bibliography) and reading achievement. Although a small study (n=53), longitudinal research by David et al. (2007), reported in the Journal of Research in Reading, continues to suggest a link between reading ability and the cognitive abilities governed by an underlying brain clock.




Abstract

  • Rhythm production in 53 children in grade 1 was investigated as a predictor of reading ability in the same children in grades 1–5. This paper reports the results of correlations and hierarchical regression analyses, controlling for shared variance between phonological awareness and naming speed. Rhythm was correlated significantly with both phonological awareness and naming speed. Rhythm predicted significant variance in reading ability at each grade level. Once phonological awareness was controlled, however, rhythm was a significant predictor only in grade 5. When naming speed was controlled, rhythm predicted unique variance in reading ability in grades 2, 3 and 5. Implications for the relationship between rhythm and the development of reading skills are discussed.
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Friday, June 15, 2007

Auditory timing/processing malleability

It is no secret that I love skimming the brief contemporary research synthesis articles published in Current Directions in Psychological Science.

Today I ran across an interesting review (Kraus and Banai, 2007) touching on the malleability/training of auditory processing (Ga) abilities, and, of particular interest to this blog, research touching on auditory timing (mediated by the brainstem) was covered. The article reinforces my belief that brain-based auditory temporal processing timing training interventions may hold promise in education.

Check it out.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Musican vs non-musician beat tapping research study

More empirical research by Repp (2007) on rhythm perception and production (check out currently posted information on this branch at IQ Brain Clock EWOK) in another musician vs non-musician beat tapping article (this time to a slow beat). Check it out.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Random tidbits from the mind blogosphere 6-8-07

  • Check out the DI blog's "blogging on the brain" post for a number of interesting links to posts regarding (a) fun brain training games, (b) tonal similarities between music and language, (c) genetic differences between speakers of tonal and non-tonal languages, (d) the role of Bayesian networks in motor control, (e) new genetic risk factor for Alzheimers, (f) the potential educational implications of neuroscience, (g) the role of executive function and math.....plus many more interesting tidbits. The DI blog rocks!
  • Thanks to Mind Hacks for the "know blood; know the brain" post - a post directing readers some of the key scientific papers on brain scanning and blood flow.
  • Learn about "multiple cognitive maps" via a Mouse Trap post
  • Though provoking post at Neuroethics and Law Blog re: "the seductive allure of Neuroscience"
  • Intelligent Machines has a post re: the maturation of speech recognition technology

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

New motor learning research from MIT

I just stumbled across a new blog (Perusing Psychology) that had an interesting post re: a new MIT study that presents a new way at looking at motor learning.





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Dyslexia and temporal processing - IQ Brain Clock EWOK updated

Finally something more significant and substantive to report. Part of the reason for my sporadic posting has been my efforts to update the Tick Tock Talk: IQ Brain Clock EWOK (Evolving Web of Knowledge).



I've been very intrigued with the research literature suggesting a link between temporal processing and severe reading disorders (dyslexia). As I dug around, I found a relatively large body of contemporary research that has suggested, and has investigated, a possible causal link between auditory temporal processing mental timing mechanisms and dyslexia. I pulled this literature together and have added it as a new branch on the IQ Brain Clock EWOK. Below are links to the new stuff :

  • Visit the complete clickable map. The new material is under the "Group differences and clinical disorders" main branch" - first click on the Dyslexia notes icon for a brief intro. The click on the "References, abstracts and articles" notes icon for the gold mine of material.
The meat of the new material is in the References, abstract and articles branch. When you open the this branches notes you will find a listing of key research references. For most of the articles I was able to locate a copy of the article abstract, which I also included. And, for the frosting on the cake, for most articles I was able to locate pdf copies of the actual articles. You can view and read these articles by clicking on the "(click here)" hyperlink included directly after the reference citation.

Enjoy.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Neurotech reports


I just learned of a new resource to state abreast of developments in the field of Neurotechnology. Check out Neurotech Reports. Sign up for the free email newsletter.

Below is a "blurb" that describes the primary purpose of this service:

  • Neurotechnology, the application of electronics and engineering to the human nervous system, has now reached a level of commercial and scientific maturity that will produce enormous benefits to patients and profits to investors. Hundreds of thousands of people have already been helped by neurostimulation products that restore hearing to the deaf, movement to the paralyzed, and
    relief to those with chronic pain or neurological disorders. Please join us as we monitor the growth of this new industry and track the progress from medical technology to commercial products.
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Friday, June 01, 2007

Mental timing research buzz--4 Acta Psychologica articles


The journal Acta Psychologica recently published (or has "in press") a number of articles dealing with different aspects of mental/interval timing. Check out the following. The next revision of the IQ Brain Clock EWOK will includes these articles.

Warning....these are not lite reading.


Fortin et al (in press). Temporal order in memory and interval timing: An interference analysis (click here).
  • Topics covered include (but are not limited to) the interference effect in time perception, the attention allocation model (which accounts for numerous research findings in time estimation research),as well as good summaries of the brain structures/locations involved in different aspects of the mental time-keeper model (e.g., the accumulator of the pacemaker accumulator model residing in the striatal structures). I found the introduction a good overview of some established findings in the mental time-keeping research. The primary empirical results of this study suggest that timing is especially dependent on resources also used in processing temporal order in memory.
Vatakis and Spence (in press). Evaluating the influence of the ‘unity assumption’ on the temporal perception of realistic audiovisual stimuli (click here)
  • The primary focus of this investigation is on the "unity assumption" which the authors describe as the following -- "whenever two or more sensory inputs are highly consistent (in one or more dimension(s); such as time, space, temporal patterning, number, and semantic content), observers will be more likely to treat them as referring to the same underlying multisensory event rather than as referring to separate unimodal events. Consequently, observers will be more likely to assume that the sensory inputs have a common spatiotemporal origin, and hence will be more likely to bind them into a single unified percept."
Droit-Volet and Rattat (2007). A further analysis of time bisection behavior in children with and without reference memory: The similarity and the partition task (click here)
  • If you have checked out the IQ Brain Clock EWOK, you will recognize the first author of this article....Droit-Volet, who has published consistently in this area of study. These investigators use the classic time bisection task. The bottom line conclusion--"the present study provides us with an insight into how children perform a temporal bisection task when compared with adults. It shows that, unlike in adults, the provision of referent durations improves children’s bisection performance by helping them to establish criterion duration. Indeed, our data suggest that children exhibit a variability both in the establishment of a criterion duration and in the encoding of time."
Ulbrich et al. (2007). Temporal reproduction: Further evidence for two processes (click here)
  • In the mental time-keeping research it is often suggested that different mechanisms processing temporal intervals above and below 2-3 seconds (although the research results have been mixed). The results support the notion of two different processes. The authors concluded "our results are in accordance with the conceptual idea of Fraisse (1984) that differentiates between perception of duration (intervals up to 3s) and estimation of duration (intervals onger than 3 s). He suggests that shorter durations might be “perceived” as a unit.

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