Monthly Archives: August 2005

Dalai Lama controversy continues

As previously reported on Mind Hacks, neuroscientist Jianguo G. Gu started an online petition protesting the Dalai Lama’s forthcoming lecture on neuroscience and meditation to the Society for Neuroscience’s Annual Conference. Now, the case for supporting the Dalai Lama’s appearance has been made, with an online petition supporting the invitation of the Buddhist religious leader. […]

The biology of sexual arousal and orientation

The Boston Globe has an exceptionally well researched article on the biology and neuropsychology of homosexuality. While the search for a single ‘gay gene’ in humans has pretty much been abandoned, a substantial amount of work is now being conducted into the role of genetic factors and the time spent in the womb on sexuality. […]

PTSD and combat stress

The BBC have created an in-depth website dedicated to understanding war-related PTSD and combat stress. In retrospect, there are accounts of combat stress from as far back as ancient times, although the long-term effects of combat-related trauma were first taken seriously as ‘shell shock’ during World War One. The psychiatrist W. H. R. Rivers was […]

Co-operative mind-brain weblog

Neurodudes is a psychology and neuroscience blog with a difference – it allows readers to login and post their own stories. The site’s regulars, Neville Sanjana and Bayle Shanks, make sure there’s always a wide variety of new material on the site, while significant additions from guest contributors provide pointers to some of the more […]

2005-08-12 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Threaten a man’s masculinity, and he’s more likely to support the war in Iraq, want to ban gay marriage and buy an SUV. Makes you wonder what George Bush’s homelife is like… New York Times reviews Clancy’s book on the psychology of self-confessed alien […]

The 2005 World Memory Championships

This weekend, the World Memory Championships are coming to Oxford University. The event is being hosted by the UK Festival of the Mind, which involves lectures from memory champions and experts on advanced learning techniques. On the BBC Radio Four Today programme this morning, Dominic O‚ÄôBrien, eight times World Memory Champion, demonstrated his ability to […]

Pulp symptoms

During a tide of public concern about the effect of comics on children, in 1955 EC Comics created a series of new ‘more wholesome’ titles. One of which, was a four part comic series about psychoanalysis. The public concern was largely in response to the views of psychiatrist Fredric Wertham. He argued, in his book […]

Mental illness, the media and stigmatisation

The latest issue of open-access medical journal PLoS Medicine has two articles discussing the campaign to destigmatise schizophrenia, and the role of the media in communicating health information. The first article notes that social stigma, rather than the effects of the condition itself, has been found to be the greatest problem facing people diagnosed with […]

Dennet on AI, intelligence and artificial paranoia

A classic Daniel Dennett article considers a curious chapter in AI history, where researcher Kenneth Colby used the Turing Test to see whether psychiatrists could distinguish between delusional patients and his natural language paranoia simulator ‘PARRY‘. PARRY was designed by Colby, who was both a psychiatrist and computer scientist, in an attempt to simulate the […]

Eli Lilly discounts on basis of withholding information

Stay Free Daily! has an article on a contract being used by pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, which promises discounts to large purchasers of antidepressants, as long as they don’t inform physicians about certain negative information about the drug. The Wall Street Journal have also covered the story (full text at Stay Free link): The Cymbalta […]

Trippy neuroscience videos

Waaaay back in the early 90’s, trippy videos were part and parcel of rave culture. Now with the Multimedia Neuroscience Education Project, you can relive the days of shiny rendered graphics and techno soundtracks – with a neurobiology twist! The site, created by a collaborative team based at Williams College, explains synaptic neurotransmission – the […]

Why we laugh…

The Economist, who seem to have a run of psychology article of late, has a brief article discussing theories of why we laugh: Why do people laugh at all? What is the point of it? Laughter is very contagious and this suggests that it may have become a part of human behaviour because it promotes […]

Jury decides Atkins is not retarded, death sentence imposed

In the face of contradictory IQ test results, a jury has decided that convicted US murderer Daryl Atkins is not legally retarded making him liable for the death penalty. Judge Prentis Smiley has set the execution date for December 2nd. The decision has been based on evidence from psychological testing to determine whether Atkins’ IQ […]

Pilot magazine for synaesthetes

Graphic designer Claire Mills has put together a magazine for people with synaesthesia, the uncommon condition where the senses are ‘connected’, so, for example, numbers have colours or tastes. Claire consulted a number of people with synaesthesia to discuss her ideas about the project, and thought carefully about how layout, fonts and themes might be […]

2005-08-05 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: With all-new date-first title. I’ve realised that MovableType chops the URL of each post, so every ‘Spike activity’ had the same URL. Hopefully, we should be fixed… Science News has a feature article on how pharmaceutical companies influence doctors’ drug prescriptions. Wired discuses research […]

Apple co-branding with cognitive neuroscience?

Apple seems to be targeting a new advert at neuroscientists. Dr Nouchine Hadjikhani is featured in the promotion, although at closer inspection, the intended audience are more likely to be people dazzled by the bright lights of brain scanning. The ad is interesting in that it touts her Apple system as a “vital tool” in […]


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