For the few scientists that earn a Nobel prize, the im- (h = 75), D.J. Scalapino (h = 75), G. Parisi (h = 73), pact and relevance of their research work is unquestion- S.G. Louie (h = 70), R. Jackiw (h = 69), F. Wilczek able. Among the rest of us, how does one quantify the (h = 68), C. Vafa (h = 66), M.B. Maple (h = 66), D.J. cumulative impact and relevance of an individual’s sci- Gross (h (...) = 66), M.S. Dresselhaus (h = 62), S.W. Hawkentific research output? In a world of not unlimited reing (h = 62). sources such quantification (even if potentially distaste- I argue that h is preferable to other single-number cri-. (shrink)
Sharing a public language facilitates particularly efficient forms of joint perception and action by giving interlocutors refined tools for directing attention and aligning conceptual models and action. We hypothesized that interlocutors who flexibly align their linguistic practices and converge on a shared language will improve their cooperative performance on joint tasks. To test this prediction, we employed a novel experimental design, in which pairs of participants cooperated linguistically to solve a perceptual task. We found that dyad members generally showed a (...) high propensity to adapt to each other’s linguistic practices. However, although general linguistic alignment did not have a positive effect on performance, the alignment of particular task-relevant vocabularies strongly correlated with collective performance. In other words, the more dyad members selectively aligned linguistic tools fit for the task, the better they performed. Our work thus uncovers the interplay between social dynamics and sensitivity to task affordances in successful cooperation. (shrink)
Health-related Quality of Life measures have recently been attacked from two directions, both of which criticize the preference-based method of evaluating health states they typically incorporate. One attack, based on work by Daniel Kahneman and others, argues that ‘experience’ is a better basis for evaluation. The other, inspired by Amartya Sen, argues that ‘capability’ should be the guiding concept. In addition, opinion differs as to whether health evaluation measures are best derived from consultations with the general public, with patients, or (...) with health professionals. And there is disagreement about whether these opinions should be solicited individually and aggregated, or derived instead from a process of collective deliberation. These distinctions yield a wide variety of possible approaches, with potentially differing policy implications. We consider some areas of disagreement between some of these approaches. We show that many of the perspectives seem to capture something important, such that it may be a mistake to reject any of them. Instead we suggest that some of the existing ‘instruments’ designed to measure HR QoLs may in fact successfully already combine these attributes, and with further refinement such instruments may be able to provide a reasonable reconciliation between the perspectives. (shrink)
The complete loss of visual awareness resulting from a lesion to the primary visual cortex (V1) suggests that this region is indispensable for conscious visual perception. There are however a number cases of conscious perception in the absence of V1 which appear to challenge this conclusion. These include reports of patients with bilateral V1 lesions sustained at an early age whose conscious vision has spontaneously recovered, as well as stroke patients who have recovered some conscious vision with the help of (...) rehabilitation programs. In addition, the phenomenon of hemianopic completion and percepts induced by brain stimulation suggest that V1 may not be necessary for conscious perception in all circumstances. Furthermore, that the visual abilities in the cat are associated with the recovery of normal extrastriate tuning properties rather than emulation of V1 functions suggests that there is nothing unique about the functional properties of this region in visual awareness. Rather, the dramatic effect of a V1 lesion on visual awareness may be due to its role in providing the majority of extrastriate visual input, the loss of which abolishes normal neural responsiveness throughout the visual cortex. (shrink)
The occipital face area (OFA) is face-selective. This enhanced activation to faces could reflect either generic face and shape-related processing or high-level conceptual processing of identity. Here we examined these two possibilities using a state-dependent transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) paradigm. The lateral occipital (LO) cortex which is activated non-selectively by various types of objects served as a control site. We localized OFA and LO on a per-participant basis using functional MRI. We then examined whether TMS applied to either of these (...) regions affected the ability of participants to decide whether two successively presented and physically different face images were of the same famous person or different famous people. TMS was applied during the delay between first and second face presentations to investigate whether neuronal populations in these regions played a causal role in mediating the behavioral effects of identity repetition. Behaviorally we found a robust identity repetition effect, with shorter reaction times when identity was repeated, regardless of the fact that the pictures were physically different. Surprisingly, TMS applied over LO (but not OFA) modulated overall reaction times, compared to the No TMS condition. But critically, we found no effects of TMS to either area that were modulated by identity repetition. Thus, we found no evidence to suggest that OFA or LO contain neuronal representations selective for the identity of famous faces which play a causal role in identity processing. Instead, these brain regions may be involved in the processing of more generic features of their preferred stimulus categories. (shrink)
Non-invasive neuroimaging in humans permits direct investigation of the potential role for mesodiencephalic structures in consciousness. Activity in the superior colliculus can be correlated with the contents of consciousness, but it can be also identified for stimuli of which the subject is unaware; and consciousness of some types of visual stimuli may not require the superior colliculus. (Published Online May 1 2007).
O'Regan & Noë (O&N) are pessimistic about the prospects for discovering the neural correlates of consciousness. They argue that there can be no one-to-one correspondence between awareness and patterns of neural activity in the brain, so a project attempting to identify the neural correlates of consciousness is doomed to failure. We believe that this degree of pessimism may be overstated; recent empirical data show some convergence in describing consistent patterns of neural activity associated with visual consciousness.