Nature’s Culture

In another blogging heads interview (and in a related blog), John Horgan explores with David Rothenberg the significance of beauty in scientific thinking.  Rothenberg’s new book Survival of the Beautiful, is the subject of much of their discussion.  While the conversation centers on questions of beauty (how biology does or does not take it into […]

Grid cells and time cells in rats, continuity, and the monkey’s mind

I have often said that I get particular pleasure from mathematics that defies common sense expectations.  A simple example would be the observation that two things can be the same size even though one of them is contained in the other – like the set of natural numbers and the set of positive even integers.   […]

Number Sense: What we can’t do? or What we can see

A number of websites have reported on a recent study, that correlated innate number sense with mathematical ability.  A concise report of the study can be found in the Johns Hopkins University Gazette, published by the institution where the study was done.  The study’s results confirm a correlation between the strength of ones number sense […]

Changing the Evolutionary Minded?

I found myself tied a bit to the theme of last week’s blog when my attention was brought to a very recent article in PLoS Biology called Darwin in Mind: New Opportunities for Evolutionary Psychology.  In it a team of biologists, psychologists and philosophers from the Netherlands, the United States and Scotland, suggest that the […]

Bugs in the brain?

NPR recently hosted an interview with Dean Buonomano, neuroscientist and author of the book Brain Bugs: How The Brain’s Flaws Shape Our Lives.

I usually like evolutionary perspectives, and enjoy thoughts on how our experience, however abstract and complex it may seem, is somehow built on the biological stuff of our world. But the best […]

Ants, Instincts and Vectors

I happened upon an article in Plus about the vector analysis that ants seem to be using to find their way home.  Studies exploring insect navigation tools are relevant, not only to building robot navigation tools, but also to understanding the extent to which cognitive structures exist in other living things (and, perhaps, how they […]