A graduate student – named Ogi – studying Cognitive Neuroscience of memory (that the exact description of what I did in graduate school as well) decides to use his understanding of memory to gain an edge in “Who wants to be a millionaire”. The article written in first person explains how memory works in an easy to understand manner. It is also an interesting example of a scientist using their research on themselves and observing themselves in the process.
For his $16,000 question – “Which country first published the inflammatory cartoons of the prophet Mohammed?”, Ogi used priming (to activate memories of a conversation he had with a friend about the issue) and successfully recalled that the country was Denmark.
I almost choked over my morning cup of coffee when I saw an instant experiment about the brain response to Superbowl ads on the Memeorandum front page. An instant-science experiment, what the heck is an instant experiment? The goal of the study was to simply watch some people react to the SuperBowl ads while they were in the magnet, and draw some inferences regarding effective ads.
Recently, I have been struck by how often I come across articles about fMRI research in newspapers and popular blogs. Articles that earlier used to remain confined to Cognitive Neuroscience Journals. A weekend article in New York Times comments on the same trend. As if just to highlight this point, there was a another article in the Magazine section about scientists looking for the deception center in the brain using fMRI. Quoting from the New York Times from whom I stole the phrase “The brain becomes a pop star”.
Neuro-economics is a burgeoning field, that I have written about before. Read about a fascinating experiment in trust, using a game scenario like economists often do. The twist is that both the participants are in the fMRI scanner so their brain activity can be watched by scientists.
The terms of the game were like this: “At the beginning of each round, Belur could put up to $20 in play. Any investment automatically tripled. Tang then decided how much to return and how much to keep.