Monthly Archives: February 2005

Research Digest blog

Mind Hacks contributor Christian Jarrett [Hacks #18, #62, #66] has started a blog for the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest. Writes the BPS: Each fortnight we send out an email full of fun, engaging accounts of the most exciting new research, together with invaluable syllabus advice. This unmissable service is aimed primarily at undergraduate and […]

The science and curiosities of psychology

Professor Anthony Walsh has compiled a comprehensive guide to psychology, full of curiosities, images and tutorials. Some of my favourites include images of trepanning devices from the middle ages, a case study of Mollie Fancher, a curious patient from the 19th century and a Dr Walsh’s own guide to classroom decorum! This is one of […]

better to light a candle?

She says: It’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness He says: I wouldn’t be so sure, maybe a candle would destroy your night-vision – without the candle your eyes could adjust to the lowered light levels (a process called adaptation, [Hack #26]) She says: But if you’re in total darkness, there’s […]

2005-02-25 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: An area of the brain may be responsible for warning us of risky outcomes and the possibility of making future mistakes. New Scientist publishes a lead article on the use of psychedelic drugs for treating mental distress online. Recent evidence suggests that some migraines […]

New series of BBC ‘All in the Mind’ online

‘All in the Mind’, BBC Radio 4’s programme on the mind, brain and mental health starts a new season this week. Each week’s edition is archived on the programme’s website, so you can listen in to the latest. The website also has a comprehensive archive of previous shows, so you can revisit any programme from […]

‘Mirror neurons’ track thoughts and intentions

In research published in PLoS Biology, scientists led by Marco Iacoboni discovered that the brain’s “mirror neurons” are active when we are trying to work out other people’s thoughts and intentions. ‘Mirror neurons’ are a set of cells in the frontal lobe of the brain, named because as well as being active when we execute […]

The one hundred most influential works in cognitive science

The Cognitive Science society has voted on The one hundred most influential works in cognitive science from the 20th century. Although we have tended to refer to the contents of Mind Hacks as ‘cognitive neuroscience’, much of what we’ve written about is classic cognitive science material. It was this discipline that first aimed to use […]

Book links

Already own Mind Hacks? You’ll know that there are many links to demos on the Web, and in the End Notes. So you don’t have to type these in, we’ve put all the book links on a single page. Keep it handy! We’ll be updating that page to give replacements for dead links as-and-when they […]

How to open the brain to everyone

The development of science needs the free flow of information, so scientists can both build on and test the work of others, and so the public can make informed democratic decisions about the role of science in society. Most scientific journals are run by publishing companies that own the articles they publish. In fact, the […]

History of neuropsychology: Guaranteed safe!

Professor Derek J. Smith has a detailed and comprehensively annotated neuropsychology timeline on his website. For those of you who are worried that this thorough review of the history of brain science is just a honeypot, filled with fake links to gambling and porn sites, you may be rest assured that: The remote hyperlinks have […]

Brain candle

A candle in the shape of a brain. Say no more… (except perhaps, that the cerebellum seems rather squashed). Link to catalog item from

‘A Genius Explains’

There was an interesting piece in last weekend’s Guardian (A Genius Explains) about a high-functioning autistic who is also a savant (i.e. he’s got amazingly intellectual abilities – he can recall pi to 22,514 decimal places for example). Autistic savants are more common than non-autistic savants, but usually they aren’t able to quite so lucidly […]

2005-02-18 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: A recent study shows that the preference for side of body used to cradle infants is linked to the dominant hemisphere of the mother’s brain. Another example of how observing simple behaviours (like kissing) can show underlying brain structure. Alphabets and writing may have […]

What you lookin’ at?

The eyes are the primary social signal. It’s the eyes we spend most of the time looking (“To See, Act” [Hack #15]). Even when the other person is talking, we look most at the eyes, not the mouth. We use them to signal turn-taking in conversation, to read emotions from, like fear…and we use them […]

D√©j√† vu: Overdrawn at the memory bank

D√©j√† vu is one of the most fascinating of experiences and, until recently, was thought of as an interesting anomaly but virtually impossible to study scientifically. This has recently begun to change. Psychologist Alan Brown is one of a number of scientists who have begun making considerable headway in researching this curious but fleeting state. […]

Abstract structure need not be based on language

Grammar-impaired patients with problems in parsing sentences can parse sums. This weighs against the argument that language underpins our capacity for abstract thought: these individuals have problems with telling “dog bites man” from “man bites dog” but no similar problems with 112-45 vs 45-112. Aphasia and other language problems stemming from brain damage can indeed […]


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