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  • May 21, 2017
  • 11:50 AM

Predictive Processing: the role of confidence and precision

by Sergio Graziosi in Writing my own user manual - Sergio Graziosi's Blog

This is the second post in a series inspired by Andy Clark’s book “Surfing Uncertainty“. In the previous post I’ve mentioned that an important concept in the Predictive Processing (PP) framework is the role of confidence. Confidence (in a prediction)…Read more ›... Read more »

Kanai R, Komura Y, Shipp S, & Friston K. (2015) Cerebral hierarchies: predictive processing, precision and the pulvinar. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 370(1668). PMID: 25823866  

  • May 6, 2017
  • 02:04 PM

Partisan Review: “Surfing Uncertainty”, by Andy Clark.

by Sergio Graziosi in Writing my own user manual - Sergio Graziosi's Blog

Sometimes it happens that reading a book ignites a seemingly unstoppable whirlpool of ideas. The book in question is “Surfing Uncertainty: Prediction, Action, and the Embodied Mind” by Andy Clark. Why is this a partisan review? Because Clark himself had…Read more ›... Read more »

  • April 15, 2017
  • 05:12 PM


by Sergio Graziosi in Writing my own user manual - Sergio Graziosi's Blog

In the past few months I’ve spent some time looking for trouble on Twitter. I’ve found some (mild and polite), which translated into plenty food for thought, and eventually allowed me to put some order in my thoughts. The matter…Read more ›... Read more »

Kahneman, D. (2011) Thinking, Fast and Slow. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. info:other/978-0374275631

  • July 18, 2014
  • 04:06 AM

Book Review: Visual Experience: Sensation, Cognition and Constancy

by Farid Pazhoohi in Epistemophil

Mankind has always been interested in the way people perceive the world and this has become one of its main concerns reflected in the fact that early explanations for visual perception date back to ancient Greece. Studies of visual perception were pursued merely in the field of philosophy until the 20th century, when psychologists, and […]... Read more »

  • September 13, 2011
  • 09:38 AM

Programming Free Will: creative robots

by Björn Brembs in

I wasn't planning to comment on Kerri Smith's piece on Free Will (probably paywalled) in the last issue of Nature magazine. However, this morning I read a paper on Free Will in robots (or rather 'agents'), which urged me to suggest some updates to the sadly (otherwise Ms. Smith is producing outstanding work, especially her podcasts!) outdated discussion in the Nature article.Her article starts out with a modern variation of Libet's famous experiments. These experiments can be caricatured like th........ Read more »

  • June 2, 2011
  • 03:37 PM

Lost in (Western) Translation

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

There is a sense in which we are all cultural narcissists. By this, I mean that because all of us are acculturated at a particular time and in a particular place, we have a strong tendency to view other times and places through our own cultural lens. These lenses are prismatic and what we see [...]... Read more »

  • April 24, 2011
  • 02:13 PM

Guess This Psychiatric Disorder

by Psychbytes in Psychbytes

Here’s a question for you psychiatrists and clinical psychologists out there. What disorder is characterized by the following symptoms:1. Congenital onset2. Dwarfism3. Emotional lability and immaturity4. Knowledge deficits5. Legume anorexiaNational surveys over the past 20 years have shown that this condition is present in approximately a quarter of the US population at any given time. Still stumped?The name of this “debilitating disorder” is…..wait for it…..CHILD........ Read more »

Jordan W. Smoller. (1985) The etiology and treatment of childhood. Journal of Polymorphous Perversity, 2(2), 3-7. info:/

  • March 11, 2011
  • 10:03 AM

looking for a ghost in the machine, redux

by Greg Fish in weird things

Sometimes I envy philosophers. In what other discipline can one write extensive papers based on a random idea, just running with it for pages on end to see how far it will go? Whenever I have to describe an algorithm, there’s always some the nagging about showing time complexity, in Θ(g(x)) if possible, with a [...]... Read more »

Nick Bostrom. (2003) Are you living in a computer simulation?. Philosophical Quarterly, 53(211), 243-255. info:/

  • December 29, 2010
  • 05:03 PM

Using Google to Tell Real Science from Fads

by David Berreby in Mind Matters

Most hot ideas and discoveries fade with time. But some scientific papers are genuine breakthroughs, whose importance only increases as the decades pass. This one, published in Science last week, which describes a database of words from millions of books digitized by Google—4 percent of all books ...Read More
... Read more »

  • December 23, 2010
  • 10:08 PM

Three Cheers for Failure!

by David Berreby in Mind Matters

Last week I vowed to pay more attention to replication in psychology experiments. Repeated experiments are an important test of whether a finding is "really out there" or an accident, so, as a number of psychologists have been saying lately to the public, it is kind of a problem that many ...Read More
... Read more »

Jennifer V. Fayard, Amandeep K. Bassi, Daniel M. Bernstein, & Brent W. Roberts. (2009) Is cleanliness next to godliness? Dispelling old wives’ tales: Failure to replicate Zhong and Liljenquist (2006). Journal of Articles in Support of the Null Hypothesis, 6(2), 21-29. info:other/1539-8714

  • December 17, 2010
  • 05:57 PM

Of Political Orgasms and the Scientific Method

by David Berreby in Mind Matters

This week's theme is epistemological unease in the sciences: Complaints in a number of disciplines that studies didn't really find the effects they're reporting. One reason for these worries is that many studies nowadays are never repeated. So today I'm going to consciously and rationally resist ...Read More
... Read more »

  • November 17, 2010
  • 10:30 AM

Unification: The Metaphysics of Physics

by Jörg Friedrich in Reading Nature

One of the great metaphysical ideas of theoretical physics is the conviction that the forces that act between the things must be described somehow uniform. But just the force that we experience in everyday life and feel completely without the use of measurement devices or even small tools, the gravitational force, will simply not be forced into a single model. Nevertheless, the theorist can not stop to seek a unified description of all forces.... Read more »

  • September 18, 2010
  • 11:26 PM

Why do we still publish research (via) papers?

by Daniel Mietchen in Research Cycle Research

Mind the bugs in the system: papers. Photo: Jenn Forman Orth When I lost a WiFi connection recently, I was left with the usual error message, which led me to look more attentively at the URL than I am used … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • July 23, 2010
  • 11:53 AM

The will and its freedom: biological evidence from invertebrates

by Björn Brembs in

A few weeks ago, Lars Chittka invited me to write an article "about free will in insects" for a Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Biological Sciences) Special Feature on 'Information processing in miniature brains' that he is editing. Given our work on spontaneity in flies and my mentor being Martin Heisenberg, how could I decline?I think I will first give a very brief overview of what people used to call "free will" and why it was such a controversy. I hope to get the gist across in about tw........ Read more »

  • July 20, 2010
  • 08:09 AM

Why you REALLY can’t trust small studies: the small study effect

by Michael Slezak in Good, Bad, and Bogus

You’ll often see loony zealots refer you to a study showing how effective their preferred treatment is — there usually is some small study supporting the use of almost any treatment.
You’ll also often hear people reply that the study was only small, so shouldn’t be trusted. But why shouldn’t you trust small studies? Sure, they [...]... Read more »

  • July 16, 2010
  • 09:59 AM

Parrots, People and Pedagogies: A Look at Teaching and Education

by GrrlScientist in Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Like anyone who has taught science courses, and probably like anyone who has ever taught anything to a classroom in the history of mankind, I've wondered how to motivate my students to really care about the material they are learning, beyond simply "studying for the test." For example, I have used a group method of study where groups of 4 students are each assigned a specific task: to become an expert in a particular area and to share their knowledge with the other groups. This method is only p........ Read more »

  • July 16, 2010
  • 05:23 AM

‘Gravity doesn’t exist’, says philosophically naive scientist/journalist

by Michael Slezak in Good, Bad, and Bogus

Reports of a physicist “taking on gravity” have recieved a bit of attention recently, with a New York Times article outlining Erik Verlinde’s idea that gravity is an emergent property of thermodynamics.
I think it’s great that the piece was written — even though apparently it hasn’t excited any physicists since the start of the year. Regardless [...]... Read more »

Erik P. Verlinde. (2010) On the Origin of Gravity and the Laws of Newton. arXiv: 1001.0785v1

Bertrand Russell. (1912) On the notion of cause. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society. info:other/

  • May 28, 2010
  • 10:22 AM

Falling Child Mortality - Where we are on Millennium Development Goal 4

by Ryan in Upon*the.People

The release several days ago of revised estimates for global child mortality showing that mortality has fallen faster than we previously expected was a cause for celebration. As one of the eight targets of the Millennium Development Goals, child mortality is among the better indicators we have for the health status of a given population, and is, in the words of Michael Marmot, "the health outcome most sensitive to the effects of absolute material deprivation."[Children in Burma; The Ir........ Read more »

  • March 30, 2010
  • 12:39 AM

Climate change and philosophy of science: Does climate science aim at truth?

by Michael Slezak in Good, Bad, and Bogus

A couple of weeks ago there was an interesting exchange in The Guardian between George Monbiot and Nicholas Maxwell, a philosopher of science from University College London. In his piece, Monbiot presents an excellent, if overly pessimistic, analysis of the psychology behind climate change denial. In his response, Maxwell draws on some interesting results from the philosophy [...]... Read more »

Cartwright, Nancy. (2004) Do the laws of physics state the facts?. Readings on the Laws of Nature. info:/

Kitcher, P. (1981) Explanatory Unification. Philosophy of Science, 48(4), 507. DOI: 10.1086/289019  

  • January 21, 2010
  • 10:25 PM

Actually, maybe economists did prove money can buy happiness…

by Michael Slezak in Good, Bad, and Bogus

A little while ago, I wrote a post about an article in Science about the relationship between “objective” measurements of “quality of life” and subjective measurements of “life-satisfaction”. The article found a very high correlation between these measurements leading the authors to claim that there was now “objective verification” of the subjective measurements often used [...]... Read more »

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