Thursday, August 14, 2008

Basketball expertise

Interesting post at the FRONTAL CORTEX about a study of basketball
shooting expertise.

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Brain Clock Research Byte # 2: Auditory temporal processing and Parkinson's

Internal brain clock timing mechanisms have been repeatedly identified as central to understanding Parkinson's disease. Yet another article, this time in Neuropsycholgia, by Guehl et al. (2008), implicates auditory temporal processing as a fundamental cognitive deficit.

Of significance is the hypothesis (which is contrary to the most popular hypothesis of a slowing of the internal clock or pacemaker) that deficient auditory temporal processing may be a function of memory or attention. The focus on attention is consistent with research that has speculated that controlled executive attention, which is primarily regulated by the prefrontal cortex, may play a key role in mental time-keeping.

  • Previous research has suggested that Parkinson’s disease (PD) impairs perceptual acuity in the temporal domain. In the present study, psychophysical tests assessing several aspects of auditory temporal processing were administered to a group of PD patients treated with bilateral subthalamic nucleus (STN) stimulation and to a normal control group. Each patient was tested in three clinical conditions: without treatment, with levodopa therapy, and during STN stimulation. In all three conditions, the patients showed a significant deficit in the detection of very short temporal gaps within noise bursts and in the discrimination between the durations of two well-detectable time intervals (circa 50 ms) bounded by two temporally non-contiguous pairs of clicks. However, the patients showed no deficit in the detection of a temporal break produced by a local interval change in an otherwise isochronous sequence of 10 clicks spaced by 50-ms intervals. The latter result contradicts previous suggestions that PD slows down an internal clock or pacemaker involved in the perception of short durations. In this regard, we reinterpret previous evidence. Remarkably, the patients’ deficits were not diminished by levodopa therapy; in contrast, STN stimulation slightly improved performance, overall. We tentatively ascribe the deficit observed in the gap-detection test to a dysfunctioning of the auditory cortex, impairing its ability to track rapid fluctuations in sound intensity. We argue that the deficit in the duration-discrimination test is the consequence of an impairment in memory and/or attention rather than in the perception of time per se.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Summer blogging, mobile blogging, push mobile blogging, etc.

I need to apologize to my regular readers for not posting much in the way of creative and unique content this summer. I've simply been swamped with summer activities and major projects that are sucking up all my time (blogging done is my spare hobby time). In addition, since getting my iPhone, I've been experimenting with mobile blogging...with all posts coming directly from my little phone. It is a personal blog called Mobile IQ.

One thing folks may have noticed is that I've made more brief and somewhat messy FYI posts to my two major blogs (IQs Corner; the IQ Brain Clock). These posts have also come from my iPhone. Via the use of Mobile Bloglines, I get constant RSS feeds of stories at other interesting blogs. When I see something of interest, it only takes a few taps on my iPhone screen to send an FYI post to my major blog. It is very quick and sweet...actually quite amazing. Unfortunately, the downside is that the URL links come through in their full messy splendor...they are not neatly embedded in the text. But, the instant "push-to-my-major-blogs" speed outweighs the less-than-perfect neatness of regular posts. I could go in later (on my primary computer) and clean everything up....but that defeats the purpose of instant mobile push posts.

Enough idle chatter. I'm hoping to start more regular posts very soon...possibly even toady. Your patience and continued patronage to my blog is much appreciated.

Brain error detection

From Scientific American

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Magic and neuroscience

Interesting post at MIND HACKS regarding how studying magic can help
understand brain functions.

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Friday, August 01, 2008

Mind Hacks spike activity

Mind Hacks has a regular post of links to great posts located at other
blogs. Here is an example.

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