Monthly Archives: February 2006

San Diego Serenade

Well, okay, not really a serenade but the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference, which kicks off in San Diego next week, on 6 March. I (Matt) will be there, speaking about my new project, playsh, the Playful Shell. And since the conference organisers also published Mind Hacks, I figure a few readers of this blog may […]

the price is right regardless of the cost

Zac at writes about an experimental test of buying irrationality using Ebay. Quoting: Test auctions on eBay showed that most people prefer to pay a low price for an item and also pay postage (American: "shipping") than pay a higher price and get free postage, even when the former added up to more than […]

Mind and brain portals launch on Wikipedia

Wikipedia now has both a mind and brain portal and a psychology portal which promise not only to keep you up-to-date with the latest encyclopaedic happenings, but also to broadcast news and messages for the psychology and neuroscience community. The mind and brain portal seems to have been kicked-off by Italian philosopher Francesco Franco (username […]

Dancing, religion and sex

Link to what you get when you mix a choreographer, six cognitive scientists, ten dancers and an anthropologist. Via The Quarter, where art, science and politics meet. Philosopher and neo-Darwinian Daniel Dennett has a new book out that attempts to explain the human penchant for religiosity in terms of memes. Guardian review here. Quick on […]

Influence (by Robert Cialdini)

Influence by Robert Cialdini is an excellent, excellent, book. Not only does it present voluminous evidence on the social psychology of persuasion and compliance, but it does succinctly and engagingly, mixing academic references with historical vignettes and personal anecdotes. The book discuss how techniques of persuasion work, grouping them under six major headings, and for […]

Brain Tutor package available online

BrainTutor is a free-to-download neuroanatomy package from the same people that make the brain scan analysis software BrainVoyager. It allows you to rotate and ‘slice through’ a brain scan in 2D and 3D, and click on specific areas to get their names. It’s straightforward to use, and is available for Linux, Mac OSX and Windows. […]

Cognitive psychology of belief in the supernatural

The current issue of American Scientist has an excellent feature article on ‘The Cognitive Psychology of Belief in the Supernatural’. It argues that our ability to reason about other people’s intentions underlies many common supernatural beliefs. In other words, we have a tendency to see intentions and consciousness even in mechanical aspects of the world. […]


who crashed through their minds in jail waiting for    impossible criminals with golden heads and the    charm of reality in their hearts who sang sweet    blues to Alcatraz, who retired to Mexico to cultivate a habit, or Rocky    Mount to tender Buddha or Tangiers to boys    or Southern Pacific to the black locomotive or    Harvard […]

Chris McKinstry has left the building

Controversial artificial intelligence researcher and maverick cognitive science visionary Chris McKinstry took his own life last month. Chris founded Mindpixel, a collaborative AI project which aimed to collate a mass of machine-usable human knowledge online. He also ran the now offline Mindpixel blog, where he posted AI news and opinions. His ideas were often highly […]

Secret LSD tests now being compensated

British secret intelligence service MI6 has agreed to compensate soldiers who were dosed with LSD without their consent during the 1950s, according to an article in The Guardian. Similar experiments were carried out by a number of governments during the 1950s and 60s, in an attempt to create ‘mind control programmes’ and ‘truth drugs’. One […]

where do implicit associations come from?

The Implicit Association Test [1] is a sorting task which reveals something about our automatic, non-deliberate, associations [2]. The part of the test which betrays our automatic associations is a combination of two simpler sorting tasks. Both simple tasks involve sorting words and pictures into categories which are assigned to the left and right (by […]

More quirky neuroscience video

Woah! While searching for more random brain clips, I’ve just found this video on the brain from BBC comedy programme ‘Look Around You‘. The programme is designed to be a satire of BBC schools programming that any UK school child in the early 80s will recognise. The style is impeccably reproduced, so if you never […]

2006-02-24 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: A new study from Duke University Medical Center suggests that half of US Presidents were mentally ill at some stage. Food from the sea shore fuelled human brain evolution, claims researcher. New study reports that boys and girls show different rates of cognitive development […]

Music from EEG

I’ve just found an article from defunct Canadian digital art and culture magazine HorizonZero that traces the history of electronic music generated from human EEG recordings. In the late 1960s, Richard Teitelbaum was a member of the innovative Rome-based live electronic music group Musica Elettronica Viva (MEV). In performances of Spacecraft (1967) he used various […]

Pinky and the Brain sing neuroanatomy

BrainBlog discovered a video clip from the cartoon show Pinky and the Brain online, where the mousey duo sing about neuroanatomy. They do a surprisingly good job of it. If it wasn’t for the fact that Pinky is bouncing around on a piece of elastic shouting “Brainstem! Brainstem!” it would be fine academic material. And […]

Malcolm Gladwell profiled

Sunday‚Äôs Observer featured an in-depth profile by Rachel Donadio of Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Blink. ‚ÄúWith a writerly verve and strong narrative powers, he leavens serious social science research with zany characters and pithy, easily digestible anecdotes.‚Äù Gladwell‚Äôs publishing success ‚Äì Tipping Point has sold 1.7 million copies in N. America […]


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