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Machine Behavior Needs to Be an Academic Discipline - Issue 58: Self

What if physiologists were the only people who study human behavior at all scales: from how the human body functions, to how social norms emerge, to …

How validating their distorted memories helps people with dementia

What is the best way to help people who have dementia? Many interventions are aimed at enabling them to retain self-defining memories and beliefs. In …


Leaping from firing neurons to human behaviour is tempting, but it’s a perilous gap


When the self slips

Individuals living with depersonalisation disorder bring vivid insight to the question of whether the self is an illusion<i>By Anna Ciaunica & Jane</i> …


Life on the slippery Earth

Aztec moral philosophy has profound differences from the Greek tradition, not least its acceptance that nobody is perfect<i>By Sebastian Purcell</i>Read at …

Ancient History

The fallacy of obviousness

A new interpretation of a classic psychology experiment will change your view of perception, judgment – even human nature<i>By Teppo Felin</i>Read at Aeon


The deep roots of writing

Was writing invented for accounting and administration or did it evolve from religious movements, sorcery and dreams?<i>By Michael Erard</i>Read at Aeon

Ancient History

Animal pain is about communication, not just feeling

If you watch kids at a local playground, sooner or later one of them will run around and fall face-first to the ground. For a moment, there's likely …

If you can’t choose wisely, choose randomly – Michael Schulson

<i>We could start with birds, or we could start with Greeks. Each option has advantages.</i><i><br>Let’s flip a coin. Heads and it’s the Greeks, tails and it’s the</i> …

Central Africa

What’s the best option?

It seems only logical: if A is better than B, and B is better than C, then A is better than C. Right? Not necessarily<i>By Larry Temkin</i>Read at Aeon

The addiction habit

Addiction changes the brain but it's not a disease that can be cured with medicine. In fact, it's learned – like a habit<i>By Marc Lewis</i>Read at Aeon

"My Brain Made Me Do It" Is Becoming a More Common Criminal Defense

After Richard Hodges pleaded guilty to cocaine possession and residential burglary, he appeared somewhat dazed and kept asking questions that had …

Duke University

Animal agents

Can they shape their own lives? Or the course of history? It's time to reconsider the significance of animal agency<i>By Amanda Rees</i>Read at Aeon

Local links run the world

Networks regulate everything from ant colonies and middle schools to epidemics and the internet. Here’s how they work<i>By Deborah M Gordon</i>Read at Aeon

Your brain does not process information and it is not a computer – Robert Epstein

No matter how hard they try, brain scientists and cognitive psychologists will never find a copy of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony in the brain – or copies …


Contrary to recent opinion, there is such a thing as the self, and it is empirically amenable to scientific investigation<i>By Şerife Tekin</i>Read at Aeon

Evolution unleashed

Is evolutionary science due for a major overhaul – or is talk of ‘revolution’ misguided?<i>By Kevin Laland</i>Read at Aeon

The minds of plants

From the memories of flowers to the sociability of trees, the cognitive capacities of our vegetal cousins are all around us<i>By Laura Ruggles</i>Read at …

Freud in the scanner

A revival of interest in the power of introspection and thought has brought Freud’s ideas back into the scientific fold<i>By M M Owen</i>Read at Aeon

Even if genes affect intelligence, we can’t engineer cleverness

First, let me tell you how smart I am. So smart. My fifth-grade teacher said I was gifted in mathematics and, looking back, I have to admit that she …

Nos actions sont-elles vraiment régies par notre conscience ?

Être conscient, vous savez ce que cela signifie. C’est évident : ce sens commun qui nous fait ressentir une sensibilité personnelle. Elle nous donne …


Who first buried the dead?

Evidence of burial rites by the primitive, small-brained Homo naledi suggests that symbolic behaviour is very ancient indeed<i>By Paige Madison</i>Read at …

Pigs, parrots and people: the problem of animal personality

Earlier this year, in a warehouse in south London, I watched as a pair of pyjama-clad musicians tried to entertain an audience of two placidly …

Life is not easily bounded

Working out where one hare ends and another begins is easy; a siphonophore, not so much. What is an individual in nature?<i>By Derek J Skillings</i>Read at …

Change becomes you

Being the same person over time is not about holding on to every aspect of your current self but about changing purposefully<i>By Kevin Tobia</i>Read at Aeon

Nobody is normal

Are you average? Typical? Ideal? Adequate? The idea of ‘normal’ is a historical construct and it's time we got rid of it<i>By Jonathan Sholl</i>Read at Aeon

Pire que l’autre, la nouvelle science économique

La théorie économique dominante, dite « néoclassique », vit des jours difficiles. Non seulement les liens incestueux de ses spécialistes avec les …

Neurosciences contre sciences sociales : l’erreur de Frédéric Lordon

A l’occasion du prix Nobel d’Économie remis à Richard Thaler, Frédéric Lordon – directeur de recherche à l’EHESS et collaborateur régulier du Monde …

Le « Nobel », l'économie et les neurosciences

En plus d'être celle des marrons, l'automne serait-il également la saison des petits pâtés éradicateurs-scientistes ? 2016 nous avait gratifiés du « …

Obesity Is Not Like Being "Addicted to Food"

<i>Credit: Image courtesy of Aalto University</i><br>Is it possible to be “addicted” to food, much like an addiction to substances (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, …