Monthly Archives: March 2005

Am I genetic ?

A new three-part series called Two’s a Crowd has started on BBC Radio 4, tackling the the biology of personal identity. It got a few trailers on air, but has otherwise slipped surruptitiously onto the schedule with not so much as a supporting web page. Luckily, the programme is available as a realaudio archive for […]

Fighting for mental space

Adbusters activist Kalle Lasn is interviewed on another fascinating editon of ABC Radio National’s All in the Mind, arguing that we should try and reclaim the ‘mental space’ increasingly occupied by brands, advertisements and slogans. Lasn argues that our increasingly information rich society is causing psychological interference and inhibiting creative thought, while media manipulation is […]

Brain injury: how much do you know ?

Today marks the start of Brain and Brain Injury Awareness week, an event to alert people to the exciting developments in the world of neuroscience and pass on some potentially life saving information. Brain Awareness Week is an international event, so there may be events near you. A great deal of our knowledge of how […]

The science of brainwashing

In the 2004 film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the fictional company Lacuna Inc. offers to alter the mind by erasing painful memories. A new book on ‘brainwashing’ by neurobiologist Kathleen Taylor questions whether such technology is likely to exist by looking at the history of such claims and the science of ‘thought control’. […]

The psychology and neuroscience of gifted children

The Boston Globe has an excellent article about the psychology of gifted children and how many of them have fared in adult life. It describes the difficulties some have in adjusting, and the importance of maintaining traditonal childhood activities. Consider the contrasting fates of two prodigies from the early 20th century. Norbert Wiener entered Tufts […]

Through the k-hole

What do squat parties in Brixton, vetinarians in Buckinghamshire, and cereals in Budgens have in common?* The answer, of course, is Special K.** Ketamine is a tranquillising agent that was widely used until patients began to complain of its hallucinogenic effects, which they experienced when coming out of sedation. Not too fun. Except, of course, […]

2005-03-11 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: More articles on the neuropsychology of religious experience (from The Times) and synaesthesia (from Wired). Laughter, it seems, is good for the heart. New Scientist article on a new breed of lie-detector that measures blood flow in the face. “You’re in a desert walking […]

Inner space in outer space

A recent article from ‘Inside Bay Area’ discusses the work of psychiatrist Nick Kanas and his team, who study the minds of astronauts. Kanas heads up the Human Interactions in Space project, that studies the psychology of space travel, both to improve mission efficiency and maintain mental health during its completion. The research team uses […]

The taste of musical notes

A paper published in recent issue of the scientific journal Nature, describes a case of a woman who has the synaesthetic experience of tasting sounds and seeing them as specific colours. She is a professional musician and uses her unique gift to pick out specific notes and tone intervals. Her abilities were tested by asking […]

How would clones think ?

In Michael Marshall Smith’s novel Spares, a disaffected cop decides to free human clones, kept for their body parts. Although fiction, Smith’s book presents an interesting thought experiment and brings some salient questions to mind. For example, what would be the psychological effect of discovering that you had been cloned, or actually were a clone […]

National Geographic on the Mind

The latest issue of the National Geographic magazine is a special issue on the mind. It contains a compelling account of open brain surgery, where, as is usual, the patient is conscious and given tests during the operation to make sure removed sections are not crucial for language. The other articles cover a variety of […]

Cognitive Daily

The world of psychology blogging gets bigger and bigger – or at least my knowledge of it does. Welcome Cognitive Daily – ‘a new cognitive psychology article nearly every day’, and that has to be a good thing

2005-03-04 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Judges are likely to rate people who perform last in a competition more highly, regardless of their ability. Boston authorities are investigating an ex-stripper to see if she has been pretending to be a psychologist. An excellent article on the burgeoning field of ‘neurotheology‘ […]

Mind Hacks at Foyles, March 23rd

When I was a kid, I remember making a trip to London and visiting Foyles bookshop for the first time. In the days before book superstores, Foyles was unimaginably vast, and dense, and amazing. That was a special day. Years later, there aren’t books piled everywhere, the maze of shelves and rooms has been untangled, […]

Quirks and Quarks

This saturday, Mind Hacks goes audio – you can hear an interview I did yesterday with a Canadian radio show, CBC’s Quirks and Quarks (“the show that defi[n]es science”!). It’s broadcast on Saturdays on CBC Radio One from 12:06 – 1pm. You can hear me discussing the book and going through a few of the […]

Simulating seizures

Engineers from UC Berkley have created a mathematical model of the brain as it undergoes an epileptic seizure, and matched it with recordings taken from electrodes implanted into the brain of a person with epilepsy. Epilepsy is often described as a ‘storm’ of electrical signals, suggesting lots of random and chaotic brain activity, but in […]


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