24 February 2006

Brand New Day

For some unexplicable reason, I'm moved to write the following:

Through the predawn darkness I spy the first light of morning. Perhaps that's reason enough.

13 February 2006

Mind Hacks

Mind Hacks - Tips & Tools for using Your Brain - Stafford & Webb, published by O'Reilly

This is a great book, a not-so Dummy's Guide to the practical appreciation of the human brain, and how we can use it... better.

  • Full of wonderful, simple experiments about the senses... more specifically vision and hearing.

  • Full of usage of online materials for simple experiments. You know that your science museum has arrived when your online exhibits are listed alongside more serious experimental psychology studies.

  • Proper citations

  • And most importantly, the first scientific explanation (that I've seen, at least) of why putting a pen between your teeth makes you feel happier (Voluntary facial action generates emotion-specific autonomic nervous system activity Leverson, ekman, Friesen, Psychophysiology 27(4) 363-384), and why you should think that you are great, happy and confident -- and in a way giving some validity to all of that positive reinforcement self-help fairy dusts (concept priming, emotion as a social bonding/communication tool, contextual memory and all that autonomic responses to emotion... again)

  • Why caffeine addiction is less an addiction to the chemical compound itself, but more a conditioned response to the stimuli... and NO, I WANT FRESH MILK ONLY, not that curlish white thing you consider dairy

  • Negatives
  • What about studies that don't support the 100 hacks listed?