Monthly Archives: October 2005

Thinking about thoughts

Is yours a box or a Swiss army knife? Last Saturday‚Äôs Guardian carried an essay by Charles Fernyhough comparing the use of mind metaphors by psychologists and novelists. In fiction, the mind is often conceived as a container, be it an aviary confining the wildlife of human cognition, as in Plato‚Äôs Theaetetus, or the ante-rooms […]


Mind Hacks radio favourite All in the Mind has an edition on confabulation, the brain injury-related condition where patients produce sometimes bizarre false memories. Although patients obviously report untruths when asked a question, confabulation is not considered lying, as patients do not seem to be deliberately deceiving the listener. Some confabulations are fairly mundane. For […]


In blindsight you lose the conscious experience of vision due to loss of the visual cortex, but you retain the ability to respond to visual information (due to intact subcortical visual processing). You don’t think you can see, you have no experience of ‘seeing’, but you can make rudimentary visually guided behaviours. I’ve been told […]

2005-10-14 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Former wold champion boxer Frank Bruno admits cocaine may have played a part in his earlier mental breakdown. The LA Times discusses a form of religious obsessiveness called scrupulosity. A poem by Adrian Mitchell is chosen as the poem that most people would like […]

The moral brain

Where and how is human morality processed and represented by the brain? A freely available review by Jorge Moll and colleagues in the latest issue of Nature Reviews Neuroscience proposes a new model based on neuroimaging and clinical data ‚Äì the event-feature-emotion complex framework (EFEC) ‚Äì that makes specific predictions about the kinds of moral […]

Genetics of slow wave sleep

Researchers have identified a gene that seems to be involved in the amount of deep or ‘slow wave’ sleep a person gets during the night. Slow wave sleep, typically characterised by EEG readings of less than 5 cycles per second, is thought to be important for allowing the brain to change its structure. This process […]

Online survey aims to prevent missing persons

Researchers from the University of Sydney are asking anyone who has suffered from anxiety or depression to complete an online survey in a research project that is aiming to understand the role of mood and stress in motivating missing persons. Nearly 2,000 people go missing in the UK every year, with other countries also having […]

“Eyeballs sound like creaking doors”

ABC Radio’s Health Report has a programme about Superior Canal Dehiscence Syndrome, a condition that leads to supersensitive hearing. So sensitive, in fact, that whispers can sounds like thunder, and sufferers can hear their own bloodflow and eyeball movements. The condition is thought to occur due to a crack in the bony casing that surrounds […]

Ask philosophers about the mind

Ask Philosophers is a site where anyone can pose a question to be answered by some of the leading lights in world philosophy, including specialists in the philosophy of mind. Scientists are often disappointingly dismissive of philosophy, usually without a good understanding of the breadth and depth of the modern discipline. Philosophers are increasingly taking […]

2005-10-07 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Users are more likely to agree with opinions when they’re delivered by a computer generated head that mirrors their movements. The Times discusses a recent meeting on the ‘Science of Happiness and the new focus on ‘positive psychology’. An outbreak of a rare form […]

Brains needed!

The UK Parkinson’s Disease Society Tissue Bank is asking people to donate their brains after they die, to aide the fight against Parkinson’s disease. The service, located in London’s Imperial College, gets only one donation from someone with a healthy brain compared with 25 donations from people with Parkinson’s disease. Postmortem brains of healthy people […]

Scientific American web awards

Scientific American have given out their 2005 Science & Technology Web Awards and Mind Hacks made the list: For anyone who ever fell asleep in their own drool while trying to read a neuroscience textbook, welcome to Mind Hacks, Tom Stafford and Matt Webb’s riveting companion blog to their book of the same name, which […]

UK ‘Kinsey report’ reveals 1950s sex lives

BBC News describes a suppressed sexual behaviour survey conducted in the 1950s, in the wake of the Kinsey Reports that first described the then shocking truth about the sexual behaviour of American participants. The British survey followed the Kinsey’s studies by only a few years, but reportedly revealed information considered too uncomfortable to publicise and […]

Non-invasive neuroprosthetics

Nature reports that by simply recording the brain’s electrical signals from electrodes on the scalp, researchers have enabled trained participants to reliably control computer equipment, a feat normally associated with physical implants in the brain. This is part of the growing science of neuroprosthetics, that aims to create technology that directly interfaces with the brain. […]

‘Connectome’ call for human brain mappers

An article in open-access journal PLoS Computational Biology reviews current knowledge and calls for a comprehensive map of the brain’s connections. Echoing the aims of the Human Genome Project the authors argue that a detailed ‘connectome’ is needed to fully understand how different areas of the human brain interconnect. There is already a good understanding […]


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