Monthly Archives: July 2005

Art, mind and belief

The Haunch of Venison Gallery in London has a show that has collected art on the themes of mind and belief. It has pieces by a number of renowned contemporary artists, and includes an intriguing piece by Nathan Coley, who focuses on the Jerusalem syndrome. This controversial condition was first identified by psychiatrist Yair Bar […]

Social science research forum launches

An internet discussion board has been launched to allow psychologists and social scientists to swap advice, queries and concerns about research into human behaviour. It’s free to join and should be a useful resource for researchers wanting advice on anything from ethics and implementation, to statistics and presentation. Link to the ‘Research Companion Forum’.

Attack of the porno-zombies

The Guardian reports on psychologist Judith Reisman, who argues that pornography is an ‘erototoxin’ that damages the brain, impairing cognition and rational thought: “According to Dr Judith Reisman, pornography affects the physical structure of your brain turning you into a porno-zombie. Porn, she says, is an “erototoxin”, producing an addictive “drug cocktail” of testosterone, oxytocin, […]

Review in BBC Focus Magazine

The August edition of BBC Focus magazine includes this favourable review of Mind Hacks – Four out of five, which means ‘great’ by their scale!

What on earth is ‘brain sex’ ?

On Sunday night, the BBC ran the first part of their Secrets of the Sexes series which claimed to rank the show’s participants by ‘brain sex‘, on a scale from 100% male brain to 100% female brain. The trouble is, there is no objective measure of the sex of the brain, making the whole idea […]

Are antidepresssants any better than placebo ?

A review article in this week’s British Medical Journal questions whether antidepressants have any more effect than placebo. The report, authored by psychiatrist Joanna Moncrieff and psychologist Irving Kirsch, analyzes data used in previous healthcare recommendations, concerning a class of antidepressants called SSRIs, of which Prozac is the most famous. They argue that the improvements […]

Wisdom, old age, and maintaining the brain’s edge

Mind Hacks favourite All in the Mind has an special on wisdom, learning and the development of the brain through the lifespan: None of us are getting any younger. As our bodies show signs of wear, so do our brains. We get forgetful, are confronted by new ideas and perplexed by new technologies. The world […]

Coldwar nuclear fallout used to date brain cells

A paper in science journal Cell reports on a technique for carbon dating brain cells, based on the rise in atmospheric radiation from the testing of nuclear weapons during the Cold War. This testing resulted in a large rise in world-wide levels of environmental radiation, peaking in the mid-1960s. Because this radiation was absorbed via […]

2005-07-15 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: The Guardian has an article on the ethics and technology of ‘smart drugs‘. National Geographic on findings that dopamine boosting drugs for Parkinson’s disease can lead to compulsive gambling, sex and drinking. Why are auditory hallucinations (‘hearing voices’) usually male ? Sheffield researchers think […]

NewSci on music, depression and brain-cooling chips

This week’s New Scientist has three articles relevant to mind and brain science: An interview with controversial psychiatrist Peter Kramer, an article on the evolution of music, and an article on the development of brain-cooling anti-epilepsy chips. The chips are being developed by neurologist Steven Rothman and work on the principle that brain cells stop […]

Another look at mindsight

Last year, psychologist Ronald Rensink at the University of British Columbia proposed that some people have an alternative mode of visual experience ‚Äì one that involves sensing but not ‚Äòseeing‚Äô ‚Äì what Rensink dubbed ‚Äòmindsight‚Äô. Now his claims have been forcefully rebutted by Daniel Simons and colleagues who argue it‚Äôs far more mundane than that: […]

The psychology of terrorism

In the wake of suspicion that the London bombings were carried out by British nationals, many have asked what motivates acts of terror. Psychologist Andrew Silke studies the psychology of terrorism to try and find out. Despite the insanity of the acts, one of the most common myths is that terrorists are mentally unbalanced in […]

Health Report on coping with negative emotions

The latest edition of ABC Radio’s Health Report focuses on coping with negative thoughts and emotions, and the differing responses to fear in the brains of men and women. The programme also discusses research into how well young people can spot the signs of clinical depression and psychosis, an approach to helping people cope with […]

Musical hallucinations

The New York Times has an article on people who experience musical hallucinations. This form of hallucination is interesting, because they are often the only unusual experience a person will have, unlike in psychosis, where hallucinations may be part of a range of anomalous beliefs and experiences. Patients reported hearing a wide variety of songs, […]

The science of sleep paralysis

Science News has a major article discussing sleep paralysis, the state in which a person can wake, but remains in the paralysed state used to stop movements during dreaming. Sleep paralysis, sometimes called ‘awareness during sleep paralysis’, to distinguish it from the normal muscle inhibiting function of REM sleep, is now attracting a substantial amount […]

All in the Mind on the ‘orgasmic brain’

ABC Radio’s All in the Mind has a special on the neuroscience of orgasm and the use of brain scanning in understanding this complex event. The programme focuses on work being carried out by a Dutch team, who are now one of a number of research centres who are studying the neuroscience of orgasm and […]


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