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May 29, 2008

Alan Wallace lectures at PERCRO lab









The PERCRO – Perceptual Robotics Laboratory, from Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, is presenting a series of lectures by Alan Wallace on June 17th, 18th and 19th, 2008.

Dr. Wallace, a scholar and practitioner of Buddhism since 1970, has taught Buddhist theory and meditation worldwide since 1976. Having devoted fourteen years to training as a Tibetan Buddhist monk, ordained by H. H. the Dalai Lama, he went on to earn an undergraduate degree in physics and the philosophy of science at Amherst College and a doctorate in religious studies at Stanford. With his unique background, Alan Wallace brings deep experience and applied skills to the challenge of integrating traditional Indo-Tibetan Buddhism with the modern world, continually seeking innovative ways to integrate Buddhist contemplative practices with Western science to advance the study of the mind.

The three lectures will deal with the results of the collaboration between psychologists and neuroscientists that took physiological and psychological measurements of people involved in an intensive mediation retreat; the convergences between Buddhism and Physics and the Question of Free Will.


May 27, 2008

Spatial memories of virtual environments

Spatial memories of virtual environments: how egocentric experience, intrinsic structure, and extrinsic structure interact.

Psychon Bull Rev. 2008 Apr;15(2):322-7

Authors: Kelly JW, McNamara TP

Previous research has uncovered three primary cues that influence spatial memory organization:egocentric experience, intrinsic structure (object defined), and extrinsic structure (environment defined). In the present experiments, we assessed the relative importance of these cues when all three were available during learning. Participants learned layouts from two perspectives in immersive virtual reality. In Experiment 1, axes defined by intrinsic and extrinsic structures were in conflict, and learning occurred from two perspectives, each aligned with either the intrinsic or the extrinsic structure. Spatial memories were organized around a reference direction selected from the first perspective, regardless of its alignment with intrinsic or extrinsic structures. In Experiment 2, axes defined by intrinsic and extrinsic structures were congruent, and spatial memories were organized around reference axes defined by those congruent structures, rather than by the initially experienced view. The findings are discussed in the context of spatial memory theory as it relates to real and virtual environments.

Combining Mindfulness Meditation with Cognitive-Behavior Therapy for Insomnia

Combining Mindfulness Meditation with Cognitive-Behavior Therapy for Insomnia: A Treatment-Development Study.

Behav Ther. 2008 Jun;39(2):171-182

Authors: Ong JC, Shapiro SL, Manber R

This treatment-development study is a Stage I evaluation of an intervention that combines mindfulness meditation with cognitive-behavior therapy for insomnia (CBT-I). Thirty adults who met research diagnostic criteria for Psychophysiological Insomnia (Edinger et al., 2004) participated in a 6-week, multi-component group intervention using mindfulness meditation, sleep restriction, stimulus control, sleep education, and sleep hygiene. Sleep diaries and self-reported pre-sleep arousal were assessed weekly while secondary measures of insomnia severity, arousal, mindfulness skills, and daytime functioning were assessed at pre-treatment and post-treatment. Data collected on recruitment, retention, compliance, and satisfaction indicate that the treatment protocol is feasible to deliver and is acceptable for individuals seeking treatment for insomnia. The overall patterns of change with treatment demonstrated statistically and clinically significant improvements in several nighttime symptoms of insomnia as well as statistically significant reductions in pre-sleep arousal, sleep effort, and dysfunctional sleep-related cognitions. In addition, a significant correlation was found between the number of meditation sessions and changes on a trait measure of arousal. Together, the findings indicate that mindfulness meditation can be combined with CBT-I and this integrated intervention is associated with reductions in both sleep and sleep-related arousal. Further testing of this intervention using randomized controlled trials is warranted to evaluate the efficacy of the intervention for this population and the specific effects of each component on sleep and both psychological and physiological arousal.

23:37 Posted in Meditation & brain | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: meditation

May 15, 2008

Fusion Man - I wish I could fly

'Fusion Man', aka Yves Rossy, flies with a jet-powered single wing over the Alps in Bex, Switzerland, Wednesday, May 14, 2008.


An ancient dream comes true...

(AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)


May 12, 2008

HCI 2008: Culture, Creativity, Interaction - Liverpool, UK

HCI2008 Culture, Creativity, Interaction - September 1-5, 2008

HCI researchers, students and practitioners are invited to HCI 2008 to be hosted by Liverpool John Moores University, UK, next September (1st - 5th). Submissions are now open for the remaining categories . HCI 2008 is the 22nd running of the British HCI conference; one of Europe's largest and longest running HCI conferences. Accepted papers will be archived in the ACM Digital Library and the BCS eWiCS Library.

The tag line for 2008 is “Culture, Creativity, Interaction” reflecting the fact that in 2008 Liverpool is the European Capital of Culture. Throughout the year there will be cultural events ranging from community arts to headline events such as the Turner Prize. In the week before the conference there will be the Annual Beatles Week and immediately afterwards Liverpool will host the British Academy Festival of Science. The Biennial Festival of Contemporary Art also takes place, starting September. Our cultural theme reflects not just events in Liverpool but also recent developments in HCI where the arts and humanities offer us both new insights and new challenges. Though “culture” is not the only theme for the conference we hope to reflect the cultural events happening in the rest of the city and on Merseyside. Our hope is that culture will be a unifying theme for the various strands that form the HCI family of disciplines.

Liverpool itself has undergone a renaissance in recent decades and many of the city's projects will have reached their culmination in 2008. So as Liverpool is being re-made it may also be time to reflect on how HCI might be re-made. What new challenges do we face?  How many of our current approaches and methods meet these challenges? What has to change in HCI if we are to continue making progress? We look forward to submissions addressing new challenges and overturning accepted convention, or confirming past practice.


Via Technology Review 

Players of a new online game called Foldit will help design three-dimensional protein structures for HIV vaccines, and enzymes for repairing DNA in diseased tissues. David Baker, a leading protein scientist at the University of Washington, teamed up with computer scientists to create the game.




01:35 Posted in Serious games | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: serious gaming

May 08, 2008

Meditation with yoga, group therapy with hypnosis, and psychoeducation for long-term depressed mood

Meditation with yoga, group therapy with hypnosis, and psychoeducation for long-term depressed mood: a randomized pilot trial.

J Clin Psychol. 2008 May 5;

Authors: Butler LD, Waelde LC, Hastings TA, Chen XH, Symons B, Marshall J, Kaufman A, Nagy TF, Blasey CM, Seibert EO, Spiegel D

This randomized pilot study investigated the effects of meditation with yoga (and psychoeducation) versus group therapy with hypnosis (and psychoeducation) versus psychoeducation alone on diagnostic status and symptom levels among 46 individuals with long-term depressive disorders. Results indicate that significantly more meditation group participants experienced a remission than did controls at 9-month follow-up. Eight hypnosis group participants also experienced a remission, but the difference from controls was not statistically significant. Three control participants, but no meditation or hypnosis participants, developed a new depressive episode during the study, though this difference did not reach statistical significance in any case. Although all groups reported some reduction in symptom levels, they did not differ significantly in that outcome. Overall, these results suggest that these two interventions show promise for treating low- to moderate-level depression. (c) 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol 64(7): 1-15, 2008.

The shape of music

Via KurzweilAI.net

Three music professors have developed a method called "geometrical music theory" that translates the language of musical theory into that of contemporary geometry. (Dmitri Tymoczko, Princeton University) They categorize sequences of notes, like chords, rhythms and scales into "families" that can be represented by points in complex geometrical spaces.