Monthly Archives: May 2005

the emperor’s new paradigm

And to follow up on recent posts (here, and here) on evolutionary psychology there is a new review in the latest edition of Trends in Cognitive Sciences: Evolutionary psychology: the emperor’s new paradigm David J. Buller Trends in Cognitive Sciences Volume 9, Issue 6 , June 2005, Pages 277-283 Abstract For some evolutionary psychology is […]

Using technology to add cyborg senses

A team of researchers will use technology to extend the human senses, allowing people to sense magnetic fields, experience sight via tactile vibrations and see behind them. The experiment is being conducted by Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics, and artist and researcher Sarah Angliss – who has spent several years experimenting with the sensory […]

Scott Adams and focal dystonia

Scott Adams, the artist behind the comic Dilbert, has a movement disorder called focal dystonia that prevents him from drawing in the regular way. It, and his response to it, are discussed in an article in the Washington Post. Focal dystonia, which can affect the hand (where it’s commonly called “writer’s cramp” when it affects […]

Brain freeze and ‘ice cream headaches’ is a website dedicated to ‘ice cream headaches’, a condition sometimes known as ‘brain freeze’. It hosts a short yet strangely compelling movie of people causing headaches in themselves with slushed ice drinks. A 1997 article in the British Medical Journal explained why cold things cause headaches, and describes some good old-fashioned self-experimentation in […]

Sagittal section t-shirt

Vote-to-print t-shirt shop Threadless must have some neuroscience fans amongst their users, as they’ve just printed another brain-based t-shirt. This time it’s an abstract interpretation of a sagittal section through the head and brain, with the corpus callosum a riot of decorative trim. Know of any other mind- or brain-based t-shirts ? Let us know. […]

Are we designed for violence?

Are we wired for violence – is it brain-based, an original sin never to be expelled? Or could it be less indelible than we fear?

Psychologist Susan Blackmore on taking drugs for inspiration

Psychologist Susan Blackmore has written an article for the Daily Telegraph, arguing that taking drugs has provided inspiration for her work. So can drugs be creative? I would say so, although the dangers are great – not just the dangers inherent in any drug use, but the danger of coming to rely on them too […]

2005-05-27 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Ex-automotive engineer is attempting to understand the brain in terms of thermodynamics and energy transfer. Trying to describe the taste of wine in flowery language may ruin memory for its taste. Scientists discover brain areas for understanding sarcasm. Full text of scientific paper is […]

New Scientist on brain optimisation

New Scientist have put their cover article on brain optimising technologies online – which covers everything from nutrition to neurofeedback. Their story, 11 steps to a better brain, looks at the science behind techniques that have been shown to boost mental performance. Some of the techniques are fairly common-sense approaches, like sleeping well and exercising, […]

Minds Designed For Murder?

The notable evolutionary psychologist David Buss thinks that Murder is in our blood. Specifically that homicide isn’t a rare pathology, or the product of social forces, of culture, poverty or poor parenting – but is an evolutionary adaptation that we all share. He’s saying that in the right circumstances we will all kill, because ancestors […]

Internet delusions

A report in the medical journal Psychopathology notes that psychotic delusions increasingly concern the internet, suggesting high-technology can fulfil the role of malign ‘magical’ forces often experienced in psychosis. Traditionally, psychiatry has considered the content of delusions as irrelevant and only sees the ‘form’ of a belief as important in diagnosis and treatment. For example, […]

SciAm Mind on the darker side of human nature

The latest edition of Scientific American Mind has just hit the shelves. Two articles have been made freely available online – one on lying and deceit and the other on the psychology of bullying. The cover story on lying discusses the adaptive advantages of deception in its various forms throughout both the plant and animal […]

Dr. Victoria Zdrok on the psychology of sex

Dr. Victoria Zdrok is an ex-lawyer, international model, author, webmistress and clinical psychologist, and she has agreed to share her insights into the sexual psyche with Mind Hacks.   Providing a unique perspective on the amorous mind, Dr. Zdrok talks about her influences as a psychologist, her views on the current state of sex research […]

BBC Discovery on Memory

Discovery, the science programme from the BBC World Service, starts the first of a four part series on the psychology and neuroscience of memory. “…its extraordinary capabilities, how and why it can go wrong – from the vivid intrusions of memory in post traumatic stress disorder to our uncanny ability to adopt memories that aren’t […]

Happy birthday morphine

21st May is morphine’s 200th birthday – we’ve had the pain-killing poppy extract for two centuries and it has had a massive impact on medicine. Strangely, one of the most important effects was found when it was never used… Anaesthetist Henry Beecher was involved in treating wounded soldiers during World War II. During particularly fierce […]

2005-05-20 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Brain injury can have unconcious but significant effects on artistic style and expression. Babies who have difficult births and a family history of mental illness are more likely to develop autism researchers find. The ex-editor of the BMJ, writing in PLoS Medicine, slams drug […]


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