Monthly Archives: June 2005

Nine-way love

Researchers claim to have identified nine different types of love. In reality, it is more likely that they have simply classified love in nine different ways. For the curious however, the types include: The “Cupid’s dart” variety, in which couples – think Antony and Cleopatra or even Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in From Here […]

2005-06-17 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: RedNova reviews Plotkin’s book Evolutionary Thought in Psychology. There’s been a recent flurry of reinterest in the effect of the cat parasite toxoplasma gondii on human personality – see also PDF of related SciAm article. Cornell lawyers discuss the legality of using brain scans […]

Electronic voice phenomena: A history

The Fortean Times has published an online article about EVP, or electronic voice phenomena, the experience of hearing ‘voices’ in the background of sound recordings. The author of the piece has experienced EVP and believes the sounds to be spirits of the dead trying to communicate through the static. Whether you believe this explanation (or […]

NewSci on autism, free will and homo florensis

This week’s New Scientist has a slew of articles relevant to the mind, brain and behaviour. The most notable is on the developing ‘autism rights’ movement, which aims to reframe autism and Asperger’s syndrome as a normal (if perhaps, less common) human variation. This is championed by groups such as Aspies for Freedom, but has […]

The cognitive basis of good and evil

Michael Shermer, who writes the Skeptic column for Scientific American, and who is normally right on the mark has this to say about the concepts of Good and Evil: ‘The myth of good and evil is grounded in Christian theology and the belief that such forces exist independently of their carriers,’ You can read the […]

Consciousness as a life / death decision maker

Slate has an insightful article on the possible legal consequences of developments in the neuroscience of consciousness, including implications for issues such abortion and right-to-die cases. It also discusses some of the history and disparities between how different groups define life and death. Religious conservatives want the law to define life as the existence of […]

Minsky slams modern AI

Marvin Minsky, one of the founders of artificial intelligence research, has slammed modern AI as “brain dead”. Quoted in Wired magazine, he lambasted the last 30 years of work in the area, particularly the focus on creating AI driven autonomous robots. However, the article finishes on a throwaway comment about the ‘moving goal posts’ problem […]

Art and the altered mind

Rolldance is a blog started by artist Laurie Buenafe that highlights the intersections between art, the mind and mental illness. Creativity and mental illness have often been linked. A number of prolific artists who have been mentally ill, sometimes leading to some truly striking artwork, and many people suffering mental distress find relief in art […]

Psychosis and modern-day hysteria

Mind Hacks favourite All in the Mind had a split edition on Saturday, discussing the topics of hysteria (otherwise known as conversion disorder) and the neuroscience of psychosis. Conversion disorder is a poorly understood condition where physical symptoms, sometimes as severe as total paralysis, seem to be caused by psychological problems and have no basis […]

The madness of Batman

A story from NY Newsday queries professional psychologists about the mental health of Batman and the likely causes of his mental instability. Batman is a fascinating character, not least because his mind and motivations have become an integral plot device in many films and graphic novels. In fact, the portrayal of madness in the Batman […]

Behavioural and Brain Functions journal

Open access journals are good. Not only do they mean that the copyright on publicly funded-research doesn’t end in the hands of private companies, and that scientists don’t have to pay to read their own research, but it also means that everyone can read scientific research as it is communicated directly by scientists to their […]

A critical look at the genetics of orgasm

PsyBlog has done a great job of tracking down some critical views on recent reports that suggest there may be a genetic contribution to women’s ability to orgasm and whether this relates to an evolutionary role for sexual climax. The comments are from psychologist Dr Petra Boyton and bear reading in full. She criticises both […]

2005-06-10 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: A widely reported story suggests that Ashkenazi Jews may be genetically more likely to be highly intelligent. Full text of research paper here. Psychometrics, the science of measuring the mind, has a long tradition in Maori culture. Cool demonstration of the rapid afterimage effect. […]

BrainMeta

I’m not quite sure what BrainMeta is exactly, but it sure is interesting. It bills itself as a community site that was established for the purpose of accelerating the development of neuroscience through web-based initiatives, which include the development, implementation and support of a wide range of neuroinformatics tools, services, and databases. BrainMeta also functions […]

Mixed gender pornography boosts sperm production

Science journal Nature is reporting on a study which has found that sperm production is boosted when men view pornography including images of both men and women, rather than pornographic images of women only. Although this seems to go against common perceptions about male sexual preferences, it is consistent with the theory of sperm competition, […]

The genetics of female orgasm

New Scientist is reporting on a study into the <a href="genetics of the female orgasm. This is timely, as its evolutionary role is now a subject of much debate, as mentioned previously on Mind Hacks. Spector’s team asked more than 6000 female twins to fill out a confidential questionnaire about how often they achieved orgasm […]

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