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This category contains 11 posts

Treatment of pediatric hearing loss with cochlear implantation

Lee Ware, Dasha Kenlan, John Penn, Kendra Campbell, Tara Shrout, Keith Albrektson, Jason Chisholm, Daniel Hudson Introduction Cochlear implants, approved for children by the FDA in 1990, are implantable, 2-component devices designed to transmit sound information from the external environment to a patient’s auditory processing circuitry. The external component (placed behind the ear) and internal … Continue reading

Human Hearing Loss

Hearing loss affects as much as 5% of the global human population and its negative consequences, often exacerbated by cultural bias or distributive injustice, include delayed cognitive and language development, learning deficits and poor academic performance, chronic unemployment and dependency, poverty, elevated risk of harm and poor health. I conducted a review of open access journals and other freely available resources to identify the principal causes of hearing loss; its consequences for individuals, communities, and states; and potential interventions most appropriate for developing and low-resource countries where hearing loss is currently most prevalent and its burdens most egregious. Continue reading

Incognito: an overview and critique

Neuroscientist David Eagleman begins his third book, Incognito: the secret lives of the brain, in panoramic Sagan-esque style, immediately striking a resonant harmony between lucidity and enthusiasm for the significance of his topic. The thesis? Human consciousness emerges from the physical attributes and activities of the brain, but is only a small part of the brain’s business; what else the brain is up to is normally inaccessible and mysterious, but our science, Eagleman asserts, is now uncovering its secrets. Continue reading

Summary and Critique of Cope et al.

BACKGROUND In Hemispheric Asymmetries during Processing of Immoral Stimuli 1, Cope et al. report the results of three fMRI studies consistent with the hypothesis that, among humans, the specialized circuitry involved in processing negative morally laden stimuli is lateralized in the left hemisphere. To contextualize their research, Cope et al. describe Broca’s early recognition of … Continue reading

CVS Modulates Moral Judgments

Few things feel more intuitive than our sense of right and wrong. How do agency, valence, and processing levels of moral stimuli influence this sense, and are the circuits involved lateralized in one or the other cerebral hemispheres? To address these questions, I used caloric vestibular stimulation (CVS) treatments followed by the Explicit Moral Judgment Test (EMJT) to probe the biological circuitry of moral judgments. Subjects’ moral evaluations were modulated by CVS treatments across agency, valence, and processing variables, providing evidence for the lateralization of newly identified moral modules concerned with positive-subtraction and self-positive processing. Continue reading

Medical Expertise

As an aspiring physician, medical expertise is something I hope to progressively develop during medical school, internship and residency, fellowship training, and eventually, clinical practice. The knowledge base upon which this expertise will be built has already begun to be established, though the process has often seemed disjointed and the information, to varying degrees, sometimes … Continue reading

Attention, Performance, and Memory

Summary of several chapters from Eysenck and Keane’s Cognitive Psychology, sixth edition (2010) Contrary to early interpretations of shadowing task results, it now appears that unattended stimuli receive considerable processing before being blocked by attentional filters. Theorists continue to debate the relative position of the attentional bottleneck, either early in the auditory processing circuit or … Continue reading

The Value of Eyewitness Accounts

To my favorite teenage person, Youth is often accompanied by a sense of infallibility, an overzealous confidence in the quality and quantity of one’s knowledge base, and a gross underestimation of one’s ignorance. Few things are as well positioned to tame such conceit as scientific tests of the accuracy of our everyday memory. But demonstrating … Continue reading

A Visionary Week

Vision was thematically woven through my week in a number of interesting ways. Of course, my readings and lab work in cognitive psychology were central, but the topic was also featured in a book I’m reading for a neurobiology course, Incognito by David Eagleman, and sustained during a field trip to the Bodies Revealed exhibit … Continue reading

An Overview of Cognitive Psychology

Cognitive psychology, simply stated, is the study of the nervous system’s information processing. It includes the circuitry that performs such processing, as well as the behaviors following from it. As Neisser first defined it, “cognition refers to all the processes by which the sensory input is transformed, reduced, elaborated, stored, recovered, and used” (Neisser, 1967, … Continue reading

Morality: Evolution’s Winning Gambit

The evolutionary and neurobiological investigations of morality are only just beginning, but they are already shedding light on the contexts that must have shaped our capacity and propensity for moral judgment and behavior, and on the circuitry that generates our sense of right and wrong and compels us to act accordingly. We are slowly building … Continue reading

Morality: A Sexually Dimorphic Domain?

Gender-based phenotypic differences are hotly debated in every domain in which they are proposed to exist, and perhaps in no context more so than the brain. Gender differences in moral processing has been a topic more of theoretical psychology than experimental, with little correlation between the findings of the few experiments conducted and the many … Continue reading