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Do animals have minds?

Posted April 24, 2013 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

Animal Wise: the thoughts and emotions of our fellow creatures, by Virginia Morell, Black Inc. Books, 2013. Laughing rats, name-calling wild parrots, archer-fish with a sense of humour, and educated ants; the naturalist Charles Darwin would have loved this book. The philosopher Rene Descartes would equally have found it deeply troubling. Both with good reason. […]

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Anticipation of stressful events may cause cellular ageing

Posted February 24, 2012 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

Psychologists have found people most threatened by the anticipation of stressful tasks looked older at the cellular level.  The ability to anticipate future events allows us to plan and exert control over our lives.  Anticipation may also contribute to stress-related increased risk for the diseases of aging, according to this study. The researchers studied 50 […]

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Me, a bird-brain? thank you for the compliment

Posted February 17, 2012 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

Humans move between ‘patches’ in their memory using the same strategy as bees flitting between flowers for pollen or birds searching among bushes for berries. When faced with a memory task, we focus on specific clusters of information and jump between them like a bird between bushes. For example, when hunting for animals in memory, most […]

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The stress reducing possibilities of Yogurt

Posted October 26, 2011 By Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

What might healthy mice swimming in water-filled containers in Ireland and Canada, and you immersed at work after a routinely healthy breakfast including yogurt, have in common?  A lot, the authors of a recent study have concluded.  The studies “suggest that certain organisms (Lactobacillus bacteria) may prove to be useful therapeutic adjuncts in stress-related disorders […]

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A great review just published in Nature Reviews Neuroscience reminded me of something that has continued to puzzle me off and on for many years – what are gut feelings?  In 2007 I read a fascinating book called Gut feelings: the intelligence of the unconscious by the cognitive psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer.  In it Gigerenzer looks […]

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