Monthly Archives: April 2005

Uncovering hidden motives

TV programme Scientific American Frontiers has made online video available from a programme on the psychology and neuroscience of hidden motives. The first segment explores the brain’s reaction to ‘cool’ and ‘uncool’ products, a new field, christened neuromarketing. Other segments explore the Implicit Association Test, a relatively new technique for measuring unconconsious associations and biases, […]

2005-04-15 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Brain scanning study shows people with synaesthesia who experience colours from letters or numbers, show activation in the ‘colour cortex’ during the experience. A study finds that parents are more likely to give attention to good looking children. Researchers study interaction between psychological and […]

Neuroprosthetics on BBC Frontiers

Yesterday’s BBC Radio 4 science programme Frontiers discusses the developing science of neuroprosthetics, the science of controlling electronic devices by cortical implants or taking readings from the brain. The programme discusses the research involved in developing this technology, and has some interesting speculations from the scientists involved. This is from Miguel Nicolelis: Our hypothesis is […]

A Dancer Without A Body

A reader sent in a link to this piece of Flash artwork, Drift. The globes dance and drift, moving together in such a way as to suggest a person. The science behind this is discussed in Hack #77 ‘See A Person In Moving Lights’. The short story is that the way our brains pick out […]

Edge debate on sex, autism and engineering

The latest issue of online science and technnology magazine Edge interviews Simon Baron-Cohen, author of the book The Essential Difference, on autism, engineering and sex differences. The debate continues with contributions from eminent psychologists such as Stephen Pinker and Elizabeth Spelke. Baron-Cohen is proposing his ‘Assortive Mating Theory’. He argues that ‘systemizing’, a tendancy to […]

Classic case: Psychiatric treatment of ghost possession

In 1994 a curious case-report was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry. It described a man who believed he was possessed by a spirit and was successfully treated by medication. Unusually however, the article mentioned that other people had seen the ghost. Belief in possession is not uncommon in psychosis, the mental state that […]

subbliminal messages in music 2

Federico Just a short note about subliminal messages placed backwards in music – a reply to your questions about what I wrote to you the other day. Hope this helps, and I’m sorry i don’t have time to write more right now.

Sony patents direct brain input

In what could be more marketing ploy than innovation, Sony has patented a method for directly manipulating parts of the brain to allow computers to simulate sensory experiences. Sony’s idea is to use beams of ultrasound to penetrate the skull and stimulate specific brain areas involved in receiving or processing sensory information. If appropriate parts […]

Subliminal mesages in music

Federico Here we go. I’m no expert on subliminal messages, but I did some research on it a few years ago, and again recently for the book. The title of the section in Mind Hacks should give you a good clue as to scientific opinion “Hack #82: Subliminal Messages Are Weak and Simple”. Even that […]

2005-04-08 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: A brain imaging study suggest an area of the brain a particular area of the brain is active when deciding whether to trust someone. An article considers the link between blood sugar, mental performance and brain function. Attention is an important aspect of effective […]

Zoomquilt and the MAE

So one of the things that didn’t work so well at the Foyles talk was the demonstration of the Motion After Effect (or MAE to those of us who know and love it). Mick Porter has pointed out this animation zoomquilt which will definitely give you a good after-effect (thanks mick!). Zoom through the animation […]

Poetry requires more brain power than prose

A collaboration between the English department of St Andrews University and psychologists from Dundee has discovered that reading poetry involves deeper thought than prose. Psychologist Martin Fischer led a team that used an infra-red eyetracking device to measure how often the eyes moved across the page and within sentences, when people were reading poetry or […]

Neuroethics and Law Blog

Adam Kolber, Professor at the University of San Diego School of Law, has started a Neuroethics and Law Blog. I’m a big fan of specialist blogs; i think they play an important part in the knowledge economy of the net. So, welcome, Adam! Anyone who thinks they may be interested in the legal and ethical […]

Science of the psychic

A surprisingly level-headed article from the Sunday Herald discusses the history of Edinburgh University’s Koestler Parapsychology Unit, and its research into the unknown depths of the mind. The article gives a concise overview of research into ‘psi phenomenon’, such as precognition, clarevoyance and thought transference and considers many of the controversies in the field, with […]

Since I’m here in the cafe at Foyles

I just have to send a big appreciative Thanks! to the folks at Foyles, not just for hosting our talk the other week (and suggesting it!), but for making Foyles the store in London to buy Mind Hacks, and being great fun with it too. There are three people in particular: Anna, Dominic and Michael […]


Historian Anne Harrington discusses the public fascination with the lives of people with injured brains, recounted in books such as Oliver Sacks’ The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. Interviewed on ABC Radio National’s All in the Mind, Harrington considers how these detailed case studies have influenced neuroscience, from early description by Russian […]


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