Unrelated to all that, 12/6 edition

Can you believe it is December already?

On the blog

I addressed the difference between ‘learning socially’ and ‘social learning’. I find the idea that behavior can adapt without any direct learning occurring to be quite fascinating.

I also discussed how visual object recognition can improve when other modes of information, such as semantic concepts, are added.

Finally, I discovered that I am either a liar or a crackpot.


David Dobbs wrote an article titled ‘Die, selfish gene, die’. My impression was that the idea that he was attack was not the one that is presented in the book The Selfish Gene, but rather some kind of strawman. In fairness, Dobbs backtracked on his twitter pretty quickly and clarified his point by restricting it quite heavily. While the writing is undeniably great, the article itself is fairly misleading which leads me to wonder whether that makes it good or bad science writing? I was going to post on it, but my fear got the better of me and I decided I didn’t know enough evolutionary theory to feel comfortable attacking the article. Jerry Coyne does the job that I wanted to do, with more authority though probably also more venom.

See 100 years of breed ‘improvement’ (pictured above)

The average grade given at Harvard is an A, and one professor is ‘bravely’ fighting that grade inflation by giving a second private, meaningless, grade.

The role of genes in learning across species; a great new blog!

We are seriously defunding the NIH

A shepherd has 120 sheep and 5 dogs. How old is he? When kids are taught to a test, the problem-solving skills they develop are not necessarily the ones that you want them to.

This is a synaptic vesicle! It’s crazy busy

The Stanford Prison Experiment is widely cited, but remember that the average is not the whole: individual participants reacted in very distinct ways.

No, humans are not chimp-pig hybrids. Apparently that was a possibility?

Why do I always wake up 5 minutes before my alarm goes off? I find that I can do this on trips even when it is not my normal waking-time.

Upping your theory game. Something that neuroscientists really need to do.

In the journals

A multiplicative reinforcement learning model capturing learning dynamics and interindividual variability in mice (pubmed)

Optogenetic activation of an inhibitory network enhances feedforward functional connectivity in auditory cortex (doi)

Dietary choice behavior in Caenorhabditis elegans (doi)


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