2006-03-17

More on neurowords

Neuromarketing is not that new, so reading a story in EurekAlert about "a groundbreaking new study" that is supposedly "the first to use fMRI to assess consumer perceptions" is a little disappointing. Neurowords aren't spreading through the lexicon so quickly.

OneLook Dictionary Search turns up a long list of neurowords (thanks Shawn!) that do appear in dictionaries online. Others, including neuromarketing, are bound to appear soon. Aspies activists will probably lobby to get "neurotypical" in the Oxford English Dictionary (the ultimate authority on neologism acceptance). Others will appear in time, and in more flexible dictionaries first, as they're noticed. I intend to bring them to the attention of some of those editors - the neuroword contest is bringing in many that ought to be popularized.

But names don't need dictionaries. Business names, titles and intarweb pseudonyms are entirely creative entities, the more unique the better.

NeuroInsights compiled a list of neurotechnology businesses and found 65 of them were prefixed with neuro. (Zack Lynch blogged about it, with links to all the companies, here in Brain Waves.) Neurologix, Neuronetrix, Neuronyx, and NeuroMetrix illustrate a subcategory of neurowords - mix "neuro" with an "x" for a truly shiny high tech name.

Elsewhere online you can find a lot of blogs, books, and journals named with neurowords. Among my RSS feeds, I've got 17 sources.

But aside from adding instant meaning to a descriptive name, neurowords are quite practical. As neuroinformatics develop, subcategorizing into more and more neurowords is useful. In my del.icio.us tags I have 13 categories created from them (and intend to add more at the end of the contest). As a neuroinformaniac I need to be able to sort with as much specificity as possible. The fact neurowords can be creative and amusing too, is just a bonus.

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Brain Awareness Week, yay - today's neurosong is punk rock. The Undead - Hitler's Brain. Science fiction and myth popularized the idea that Hitler's brain was saved, and functioning, in a jar, leading to many similar stories and satire like the celebrity heads in Futurama. Irregular Webcomic once held a contest to caption a sequence of photos involving Hitler's brain in a jar; funny results are here. (Hint: winning entry involves a goldfish.)

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