The Cat Brain Cliff Notes

Modha is working on SyNAPSE, a project that couldn't be more different. With SyNAPSE, DARPA wants to create electronics that take a page out of the brain's book. The stated purpose is to "investigate innovative approaches that enable revolutionary advances in neuromorphic electronic devices that are scalable to biological levels.

At IEEE Spectrum, via Mind Hacks

A very clear and straightforward discussion of the "Scientists have simulated a cat brain!" "Did not!" "Did too!" kerfuffle of the last week or two

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Jonah Lehrer last year: Can a thinking, remembering, decision-making, biologically accurate brain be built from a supercomputer?

Markram is dismissive of most computational neuroscience. “It’s not interested enough in the biology,” he says. “What they typically do is begin with a brain function they want to model”—like object detection or sentence recognition—“and then try to see if they can get a computer to replicate that function. The problem is that if you ask a hundred computational neuroscientists to build a functional model, you’ll get a hundred different answers. These models might help us think about the brain, but they don’t really help us understand it. If you want your model to represent reality, then you’ve got to model it on reality.”

via seedmagazine.com

The cognitive benefits of time-space synaesthesia : Neurophilosophy

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via scienceblogs.com

Spatial metaphors to describe time are quite common (we speak of events as "coming up", for example), but true time/space synaesthesia is pretty rare. This article also talks a bit about how researchers confirm that a subject is experiencing real synaesthesia, and isn't just claiming a perception they don't actually experience.

Brief reports on notable cogneuro papers of 2009.

In 2009, Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics began to publish “News From the Field,” a series of brief reports similar to the “Research Highlights” section of Nature. In each issue, each Associate Editor reports on one new paper from outside the journal’s pages that might be of interest to readers of AP&P. We have noted topics from the robustness of visual memory, to alleged misuse of statistics in fMRI studies, to taste receptors for carbonation. At the end of our first year, we have compiled all of the News From the Field into a single document that you can download here. We hope you enjoy it.

at www.psychonomic.org