Monthly Archives: August 2005

PBS on outsider artist Henry Darger

Henry Darger was only known as a janitor for the majority of his life, until it was discovered, shortly before his death, that he had been working on an a 15,000 page manuscript since the age of 19. PBS has put a website up to accompany a TV programme about Darger, with commentaries, audio, video […]

An embryonic science

What were you doing for the 38 weeks before you were born? A hell of a lot actually, according to Professor Peter Hepper at Queen‚Äôs University, Belfast, who‚Äôs written about the nascent field of fetal psychology in the latest issue of The Psychologist magazine. The article is packed full of fascinating observations including the fact […]

BBC Material World on Chloroform

BBC Radio 4 science programme Material World investigates the science and history of chloroform, one of the the original anesthetics, first synthesised in 1831. Linda Stratmann, author of Chloroform: The Quest for Oblivion, and clinical toxicologist Professor John Henry, discuss its accidental discovery, early recreational popularity, original medical uses, how it is thought to work, […]

Francis Crick has left the building

The final paper of the late DNA pioneer and consciousness researcher Francis Crick has been published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. Written with his collaborator Christof Koch, it concerns a little known part of the brain called the claustrum. The claustrum is a thin sheet of grey matter that is parallel to […]

How culture shapes illness

Media analysis magazine Stay Free! has an interview with medical historian Edward Shorter on how psychiatric symptoms have changed over the years, showing, he claims, how we subconsciously express culturally acceptable distress. The interview was conducted in June 2003, which I missed it at the time, but Shorter’s work is usually too good to pass […]

Mixing Memory

A recent discovery of mine is the Mixing Memory blog that is choc-full of well written, carefully referenced posts about psychology and neuroscience. A couple of my recent favourites include a post about the neuroscience of morality and one discussing racial attitudes and how they’re reflected in the brain. Chris, the blog’s maintainer, has even […]

Confusing symbols and reality

The latest Scientific American discusses the development of symbolic thinking in children, in an article by child psychologist Judy DeLoache. Professor DeLoache was intrigued as to why young children sometimes try and pick up or use items in pictures, or fail to make sense of miniature objects – an error she calls ‘symbol confusion': Pictures […]

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