Monday, July 30, 2007

Amygdala Balls

I am always a sucker for primate research, and even more so when the lead scientist of a study that sparks my interest is a woman. So today I’d like to draw your attention to the work of Katerina Semendeferi of the University of California. Dr. Semendeferi is comparing the brains of different primate species of varying degrees of social ability in order to understand what allows us to identify the emotional states of others. The theory du jour seems to be that a round-ish region of the brain called the amygdala might be veritable empathy center, evolved to help members of cooperative social groups know which members of the community they should trust, and which should be avoided. So, the next time you are stuck in a conversation with some block-head who tries to chalk up all your insights to some mysterious women’s intuition, perhaps it will help to know that he is in fact arguing that we have bigger, well…

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