Category Archives: A tortured academic history…

Straddling the border between personal and professional

(Very) short story time: When did you know you would become a scientist?

For me, there were a million moments, but many of them were spent listening to this record album.


If you google this record (long enough) or find it in a record store, you’ll see the wealth of detail it has. I felt weird sensations as I listened to this as a kid, like I was right there observing. The recordings inside the den are just fascinating. The long player came out in 1971; it did serious battle on the turntable against my older sisters’ Led Zeppelin and Carole King.

I was seven years old. 

There is a blurb here…

Any stories from you? Anybody know this record?


Poll: Have *you* ever felt the Rubber Hand Illusion?

We’ve got a lot of cognitively-oriented folks out there, and much talk about the Rubber Hand illusion and how it can be fruitfully used as a research tool (for example, Chris at Mixing Memory has an excellent post about the RHI and the mirror neuron system). 

So I’ve wondered — have any of you experienced this illusion? Care to comment on the phenomenology?

Here are the response categories:

Never tried it          Tried it and it didn’t work well          Tried it and it worked!

Waaaay back: The Gym at the Memory Disorders Research Center, Boston, 1995-1997

I think of some of these MDRC coworkers and wonder where they are (or, if I know where they are, how they are doing — post a comment!).

Adele Hutchinson: Adele worked for the Aphasia Center, and I’m sure she went to grad school at Wayne State.

David Nugent: Always a deep interest in film, and it looks like he is exercising the love

Bonnie Wong: Bonnie published with members of the MDRC more than any of us. I can’t find her now…

Cate Brawn Fortier: Wow, I tell stories to students of Cate “the airpuff machine lady” and how the amnesic patients could remember her…Can’t find her now.

On another note from that era, a few of our patients were profiled in a 20/20 episode originally aired in 1997 called “Yesterday’s Gone”.  A long time ago now I lost my tape of the episode, so over the past year I’ve twice requested a copy from ABC, from the department specifically charged with providing old programs. They cannot fulfill my request! What incompetence! Arrrgggghhh….

Ned Garvin

Ned Garvin, epistemologist extraordinaire, died this June. He was only 57 years old. Ned was instrumental in my hiring at Albion College, and was the kindest and smartest person I’ve met in 25 years of academic life so far. The other night I attended a memorial event for him at the college. Not surprisingly, the event was held in the same auditorium where just a few years earlier V.S. Ramachandran spoke at Ned’s invitation!

Former students from all around the country came, many who are presently in neuroscience or philosophy graduate programs. Other folks who followed different careers paths were there in large numbers, too. Continue reading