Monthly Archives: August 2005

Reduplicative paramnesia

Reduplicative paramnesia is the delusional belief that a place or location has been duplicated, existing in two or more places simultaneously, or that it has been ‘relocated’ to another site. It is one of the delusional misidentification syndromes and, although rare, is most commonly associated with acquired brain injury, particularly simultaneous damage to the right […]

Women’s psychology magazine to launch in UK

A new glossy women’s magazine is due to launch in the UK that covers philosophy and psychology, as well as celebrity interviews and lifestyle stories. Psychologies already exists in France, where the French version (pictured on the right) sells over 300,000 copies a month. It is hoped that UK women will be similarly intrigued by […]

Fortean Times on Koestler Parapsychology Unit

September’s edition of the Fortean Times has a lead article on Edinburgh University’s Koestler Parapsychology Unit and the state of parapsychology research today. The research centre is supported by money left in the will of controversial author Arthur Koestler, who had a long-standing interest, and some personal experience, with paranormal phenomena. In contrast to much […]

On hair and leadership

For at least half a century Americans have shown a marked aversion to electing bald men to their nation’s highest office. Excluding Gerald Ford (1974-77) who was bald but not elected, the last bald president was Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-61). Europeans have been more sympathetic to the bare-headed politico (Churchill, Papandreou, Simitis, Giscard d’Estaing, Mitterand, […]

Death to common sense

Online science think-tank Edge has a discussion about the role of common sense theories in explaining physics and cognitive science. Science writer John Horgan bemoanes the fact that scientific theories have become so complex and fantastical that common sense has gone out of the window. He cites various examples in the physical and ‘mind sciences’ […]

2005-08-26 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Manchester University initiates a survey on out-of-body experiences – which you can participate in here. Workaholics are better in bed claims questionable recent study. The placebo effect causes real-life opioids to flood the brain. Change blindness is particularly associated with a small area of […]

Hack #103: See more with your eyes closed

A reader writes (thanks nick!) Not gonna impress any girls with this one, but… I was looking at my mother’s ceiling fan the other day trying to determine how many blades it had. It was on its highest setting so it was nearly impossible to do. Until I blinked. If you blink rapidly, it disrupts […]

Getting to grips with grasping

Reach and grasp a willing colleague by the arm, now let them go, and pick up a pen or pencil instead. The first movement requires a power grip, flexing all the fingers together towards the palm, the second movement uses a precision grip involving the thumb and forefinger. Easy to do? Apparently yes, but the […]

Is daydreaming linked to Alzheimer’s ?

A recent brain scanning study has been widely reported as suggesting that Alzheimer’s disease is linked to the brain functions of daydreaming. The actual study is both complex and interesting, although not as clear cut as the headlines make out. Th research project, led by neuroscientist Randy Buckner, conducted brain scans on 10 people with […]

changing diet might allow you to see infrared

Thanks to Eric Lundquis for typing this up and putting it on the internet. It’s an experiment done by the army and cited by Rubin, M. L., and Walls, G. L. (1969). Fundamentals of visual science. Springfield, Ill.: Thomas, p. 546, which is in turn cited Sekuler, R., and Blake, R. (1994). Perception (3rd ed.). […]

Cultural cognition update

As an update to the last post, on cognitive differences between Eastern and Western societies, Richard Nisbett was on BBC All in the Mind last night to discuss his findings. He talks about the experimental results just released, as well his wider studies which have resulted in his book The Geography of Thought: How Asians […]

Chinese and Americans differ in visual analysis

An experiment conducted by psychologist Richard Nisbett suggests that Chinese and American people analyse scenes differently. The Americans focused on the main object in the picture, while the Chinese took a more holistic approach, and examined more of the visual context. Traditionally, Western societies are characterised as ‘individualistic’ and Eastern societies as ‘collectivist’, suggesting that […]

Cabinet on neural network pioneer Walter Pitts

An article from art and culture magazine Cabinet discusses the prodigious and tragic life of neural network pioneer Walter Pitts, who was one of the major forces in the early development of computational models of the mind and brain. Pitts started attending university lectures, uninvited, during his teenage years, and by the age of 17 […]

BBC Click Online on ‘Blue Brain’ simulation project

BBC Technology TV show Click Online recently visited the team behind the (somewhat unlikely) claim that they are intending to ‘simulate the whole brain‘ with a supercomputer. Despite the hype surrounding the launch, the project should be genuinely useful in producing simulations that will allow the function of individual brain cells and theories about more […]

2005-08-19 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Erotic or gory images prevent the processing of other images for a (very) short time. The mysterious “junk DNA” may have an important role in guiding brain development. Mobile brain-scanner proposed to detect possible stroke in an ambulance. A piece in The Herald asks […]

Evolutionary psychology: The fightback

A piece by Amanda Schaffer on Slate charts the growing opposition to evolutionary psychology. Although this opposition has always been present, it is being increasingly based on scientific rather than political arguments. Previous criticisms of evolutionary psychology (EP), such as Rose and Rose’s ‘Alas Poor Darwin’, have not always been received well, with some reviews […]

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