Neuroeconomics, neuromarketing, neuroaesthetics, and neurotheology are just a few of the novel disciplines that have been inspired by a combination of ancient knowledge along with recent discoveries about how the human brain works.This fascinating and thought provoking new book critically questions our love affair with brain imaging.
It has been argued that numbers are spatially organized along a "mental number line" that facilitates left-hand responses to small numbers, and right-hand responses to large numbers. We hypothesized that whenever the representations of visual and numerical space are concurrently activated, interactions can occur between them, before response selection. A spatial prime is processed faster than a numerical target, and consistent with our hypothesis, we found that such a spatial prime affects non-spatial, verbal responses more when the prime follows a (...) numerical target (backward priming) then when it precedes it (forward priming). This finding emerged both in a number-comparison and a parity judgment task, and cannot be ascribed to a "Spatial-Numerical Association of Response Codes" (SNARC). Contrary to some earlier claims, we therefore conclude that visuospatial-numerical interactions do occur, even before response selection. (shrink)
The cognitive impairments shown by brain-damaged patients emphasize the role of task difficulty as a major determinant for performance. We discuss the proposal of Kurzban et al. in light of our findings on right-hemisphere–damaged patients, who show increasing awareness deficits for the contralesional hemispace when engaged with resource-consuming dual tasks. This phenomenon is readily explained by the assumption of unspecific depletable resources.
O'Brien & Opie argue that (1) only explicit representations give rise to conscious experience, and (2) explicit representations depend on stable patterns of activation. In neglect patients, the stimuli presented to the neglected hemifield are not consciously experienced but exert causal effects on the processing of other stimuli presented to the intact hemifield. We argue that O'Brien & Opie cannot account for a nonconscious representation that is stable, as attested by the fact that it affects behavior, but is neither potentially (...) explicit nor tacit. (shrink)