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MIND Guest Blog

MIND Guest Blog

Commentary invited by editors of Scientific American Mind

Happiness Should Be a Verb

Flourishing should be the new happiness. What most pursue now ignores old wisdom and the logic of our biology. A verb capturing the required recurring effort is better than a noun describing the desired static state--by nature, not a thing we can be or get but that we do...

June 7, 2013 — Jag Bhalla

Decoding Space and Time in the Brain

"...henceforth, space by itself, and time by itself, are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a kind of union between the two will preserve an independent reality." This now iconic quote spoken by Hermann Minkowski in 1906 captured the spirit of Albert Einstein's recently published special theory of relativity...

June 3, 2013 — Aiden Arnold

Colonoscopies Clarify Inner Workings of Minds

Memories are story shaped. As are understandings. To remember, or make sense of, a thing is to have a story about it. Colonoscopies and correcting cathartic errors can probe the inner workings of these stored stories...

May 31, 2013 — Jag Bhalla

The Cognitive Science of Star Trek

Star Trek needs more advanced cognitive science. The work of Kahneman can augment one of its central philosophical themes. We now have less warped models of intuition, logic, and morality...

May 24, 2013 — Jag Bhalla

What's Individuality, and Where Does It Come From?

"Let's say you have an axe. Just a cheap one, from Home Depot," opens the horror-comedy novel John Dies at the End. "On one bitter winter day, you use said axe to behead a man." This blow splinters the axe's handle - so the story goes - so you get the hardware store stick a new handle on the blade...

May 22, 2013 — Ben Thomas

What Rational Really Means

The word rational is widely misused. Scientists often apply it unnaturally, in ways that conflict with our biology. Nobel laureates Daniel Kahneman and Gary Becker, and their respective schools of thought, are on opposite sides of this breach with our nature...

May 17, 2013 — Jag Bhalla

The Bias Within The Bias

Recall this pivotal scene from the 1997 movie, Men in Black . James Edwards (Will Smith, or Agent J) arrives at the headquarters of MiB - a secret agency that protects Earth from extraterrestrial threats - to compete with "the best of the best" for a position...

May 15, 2013 — Samuel McNerney

Kahneman's Clarity: Using Mysterious Coinage in Science

Feeling is a form of thinking. Both are ways of processing data, though one is faster. Establishing those re-conceptions required a powerful under-noticed scientific technique that needs no instruments or mathematics, just new language...

May 10, 2013 — Jag Bhalla

Human Brain Cells Alive in Mouse Brains

Into brains of newborn mice, researchers implanted human "progenitor cells." These mature into a type of brain cell called astrocytes (see below). They grew into human astrocytes, crowding out mouse astrocytes...

May 9, 2013 — John McCarthy

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