And Now for Something Completely Different: Encephalon 74

circusI’ve been following the Encephalon blog carnival for many moons, so I was honored to be asked to host the 74th edition of what has become the premiere showcase for the best of the best in brain and mind blogging.  We’re rabid Monty Python fans here at Neuronarrative, so this edition is crafted in the tradition of that estimable show without equal.  And here we go…

One, being the number of the first section.

Cognitive Daily starts off the carnival with an excellent post called Even non-musicians can express musical intentions with just one note, which addresses the question: Does it take a music expert to convey emotion through music, or can anyone do it?  Per usual, Cognitive Daily does a thorough job of pointing us to the answer, and you’ll come away knowing you’ve definately learned something.

john_cleeseAnd while we’re talking about emotion, let’s silly walk on over to Generally Thinking where we find a post entitled Six Success-Enhancing Behaviours that Good Moods Bring You, which discusses research that teases out six quite pragmatic results of maintaining a sunny disposition. Leaves me thinking that it’s mighty important to always look on the bright side of life.

Over at Brain Stimulant, you’ll discover a trenchant discussion of Free Will and the Brain, which doesn’t only delve into the neuroscience behind one of humanity’s perennial questions, but also a bit of quantum mechanics and a generous portion of philosophy of mind. Weighty stuff this, indeed. 

Before we go on, one question…is this the right place for an argument?

Good. Now, where were we? Ah yes…

I shall now taunt you a second time! 

The Neurocritic comes in with two entries, and both warrant mention.  The first is called  None of Us are Saints that discusses the case of Albert Fish, serial child killer and cannibal who was executed in 1936. He planned a notorious kidnapping and murder in a meticulous fashion but suffered from religious delusions. Was he sane or insane? 

silly walkThe second entry is entitled A New Clitoral Homunculus? (you read that correctly) about a serious fMRI study that mapped the somatosensory representation of the clitoris in 15 healthy women. The study involved electrical stimulation of the dorsal clitoral nerve (all very clinical, no sexual arousal involved. At least none that we can mention here).

For stimulation of a completely different sort, take a wander over to AK’S Rambling Thoughts and read Concepts, Cognition, and Anthropomorphism, an erudite exploration into how the use of symbols and concepts significantly predated the development of language.  Fasten your seatbelts because it’s a solid read.   

Right!  By the way, with all the reading we brain and mind bloggers do, have I mentioned how much my brain hurts? I could really use a good Brain Specialist!

Three shall be the number of the section that you shall count, and the number of the counting shall be three.

Neuroanthropology brings us an excellent post called In Praise of Partial Explanation (and Flowcharts), a stalwart defense of the use of flowcharts and diagramming.  Let me tell you something fellow readers, you’ll not find a more thorough and readable discussion of flow charts and diagrams and how they enable us to make sense of complicated topics. Quote me on that.

Monty_Python-Spot-The-Looney-FCAt Sharp Brains, we’re treated to a piece entitled Preparing Society for the Cognitive Age that’s reprinted with permission from the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience.  Discussing the latest questions in the brain fitness field, the article suggests that advances in brain health in the 21st century are not unlike the remarkable advances in cardiovascular health in the 20th century.  Good stuff.

Also from Sharp Brains, we have a worthwhile interview with the CEO of the AAA Foundation on a new cognitive based driver safety program called DriveSharp. Cutting edge and immensely relevant.

Now here’s a question you don’t hear every day: Why do schizophrenics smoke cigarettes? That’s the topic on tap at Brain Blogger,  and it’s addressed splendidly.  Dopamine, attention, memory and sensory gating all cross paths in this well-referenced piece. You’ll finish wanting to learn more, and the author has provided the sources to get you there.

Here’s another question: What sort of delusion, do you think, leads one to want to become a lion tamer? 

And now onto the last scene. A smashing scene with some lovely acting.

Neurospeculation brings us a post entitled A new test for semispatial neglect about an article in the Annals of Neurology that originated from a question asked in a high school classroom.  I won’t give away the punchline, but let me say that they’ve got some smart students at Eastchester High. 

Channel N Video gives us a video submission called Schizophrenic Man Terrifies Kids at Party, below.

You can read more about the video at the excellent site, Channel N, right here.

Finally, the always engaging Dr. Shock brings us a brief but informative post entitled Motives for Online Gaming  that covers a study focused on, as the title suggests, why young adults play online video games.  Here’s a hint: it’s more than just about wearing cool headsets and virtually pistol whipping noobs.


Thanks to everyone who submitted entries for this edition — it has been my distinct pleasure to host. The next edition of Encephalon will be hosted by Ionian Enchantment on September 14th, back on its regular fortnightly schedule. Send your entries to

rabbit_2Now, carry forth with your search for the Grail. Just remember, don’t risk another frontal assault from the rabbit…it’s dynamite! (nudge, nudge, wink, wink, know what I mean?)


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10 responses to “And Now for Something Completely Different: Encephalon 74

  1. Pingback: Monty Python Encephalon « Neuroanthropology

  2. AK

    Lot of good stuff here. Thanks for including mine.

  3. Sandra

    Fun times! Thanks.

  4. Great edition, David!

  5. Pingback: And Now for Something Completely Different: Encephalon 74 | Dr Shock MD PhD

  6. Pingback: Science Report » Blog Archive » And Now for Something Completely Different: Encephalon 74

  7. Pingback: » Encephalon brain & mind blog carnival   « Brain Fitness Revolution at SharpBrains     

  8. Pingback: Carnival of Carnivals Aug. 31, 2009 « Crossing the Streams

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