Monthly Archives: February 2005

Fodor vs Pinker scrap continues

Philosopher Jerry Fodor and cognitive scientist Stephen Pinker are continuing their tussle over the structure of the mind in a recently published exchange. Pinker wrote a book in 1999 entitled ‘How the Mind Works‘ which argues that the mind can be understood as a computational or information processing device. This, he says, consists mostly of […]

An unusual case of a shrinking brain

A gentleman from Utah has a condition which is baffling brain scientists. The left side of his brain is shrinking, although the right-hand side seems fine. He is currently being investigated by neurologists at the University of Utah, Brain Institute. His brain scan is shown in the picture on the left. NB: brain scans done […]

Love looks not with the eyes…

“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind” says Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, perhaps explaining the strange behaviour of those in love. Love has long been linked to madness, and it’s easy to see why. People in love tend to hold unlikely and overly positive beliefs about their lovers, show signs […]

Male faces with feminine features more attractive

Recently released results from Dr Tony Little and his team, suggest that males with more feminine features are more widely attractive to women. Women who consider themselves highly attractive however, are more likely to go for classically masculine faces. Dr Little is interested in identifying the features of attractiveness and explaining why we might have […]

Fortean Times article on Outsider Art

The Fortean Times have just put a fantastic article online about Outsider Art. Although the term ‘Outsider Art’ is used to describe artists from a number of different backgrounds, the art of people who have been declared insane or mentally ill is especially prominent. The work can often be intricate, intense, disturbing and delightful, sometimes […]

2005-02-11 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Previously it was known that higher IQ predicts longer life, but it was not known exactly why. A recent study suggests that faster reaction times, which are known to be linked to higher IQ, may be one of the key factors. Recent research suggests […]

Psychopharmacology of emotion processing

Some more stuff I learned about at the EPS meeting below the fold.

Coma and the tyranny of mental life

A research team led by neurologist Nicholas Schiff has recently published a brain scanning study on two patients who may show evidence of an internal mental life, despite being in a coma-like “minimally conscious state”. MCS usually occurs after severe brain damage and is a condition where patients seem to be unconscious, but show intermittent […]

2005-02-04 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: An article on Alexander Shulgin chemist and author of PiHKAL, a book about the chemistry, pharmacology and experience of psychedelic drugs. Scientists unlock the secrets of sleep and elsewhere report that listening to relaxing music before going to bed can help with sleep problems. […]

New Scientist review

New Scientist reviews Mind Hacks: Which is nice. I’m pleased they picked up on all the links and references we give if you want to explore the phenomena further. Like another (very favourable) review said: “Mind Hacks” is helpfully structured to take you just as deep as you want to go. From which also […]

Alan Turing and the lusty robots

A news story in the online edition of the Guardian is reporting that a Korean professor has developed ‘artificial chromosomes’ that will allow robots to fell ‘lusty’ and have their own emotions and personality. It sounds like some good PR for what seems to be nothing more than a genetic algorithm approach to artificial intelligence. […]

Vive la difference

A news story about a recent meeting on bioethics in neuroscience reports that brain abnormalities are, well, not that abnormal: Judy Illes, a senior research scholar at the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics, said that she and others have found that 18 percent of healthy volunteers had some kind of brain anamoly. While only 2 […]

Ivan Noble, dies at 37

BBC science writer Ivan Noble, who has been charting his battle with neurological illness since being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour in 2002, died yesterday. His online diary gathered thousands of readers as he recorded an ongoing and moving account of the personal, medical and emotional aspects of living with brain cancer. The diary […]

Chimps fair or foul

I went to a conference a few years ago at the LSE; if you look at the speakers you’ll see why. Although it proved to be patchier than I’d hoped, I was captivated by Frans de Waal’s contribution, outlining some wonderful research on the social behaviour of apes. One highlight, which is now finally coming […]


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