Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘cognition’

Language and executive functioning in the brain

A couple years ago, I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Angie Laird, a professor at UTHSCSA‘s Research Imaging Institute. Her work involves mapping pathways of neural activity using neuroimaging data and connecting these pathways to behavioral and cognitive processes. During our meeting, Dr. Laird shared with me some fascinating discoveries, which were recently published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience (Laird et al., 2011).

Let me just say that I am not a neuroscientist. I’d need a whole stack of books (and maybe some classes) in order to fully understand this paper. Still, this paper—specifically Figure 4—has stuck with me. Every so often, I come back to it, still trying to wrap my head around what it means. Read more

Losing time

If you haven’t heard of it, WNYC’s Radiolab is an excellent radio show/podcast. Radiolab describes itself as a show where “the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience.” I highly, highly recommend it.

The episode “In the Running” talks about Diane Van Deren, an ultra-runner who has won several 50- and 100-mile races. Because of a seizure disorder, a large chunk of her temporal lobe was surgically removed. Importantly, the temporal lobe helps us to understand time and space. After the surgery, Diane developed short-term memory loss. Spatial and temporal reasoning became more difficult for her. But when she started ultra-running, these deficits gave her an important advantage: she loses track of time. To listen to the episode, click the audio player below (episode starts 3 minutes in):

Read more