Monthly Archives: February 2006

Scientists to study speed dating (again)

Professor Richard Wiseman talks about an upcoming study on speed dating in a BBC news story and is quoted as saying “This is the first time that speed dating has been used to assess the psychology of compatibility”. It seems Professor Wiseman has a short memory, as several studies have been published on speed dating, […]

Brain pin

Online badge retailer Lapel Pin Planet have designed a handcrafted pewter pin in the shape of the brain. It’s stylish and sure to be a conversation piece. Although, I suspect many of the conversations will start something like “Hey, nice badge, hang on, where’s the middle temporal gyrus?”. Hopefully though, if anyone notices that the […]

On lighting fires

If you’re not already tired of Valentine themed stories in the news, LiveScience have an interesting article discussing some of the recent developments in understanding the psychology and neuroscience of love and attraction. It’s not the most critical article in the world, taking most of the results from the studies as given, but does provide […]

Sweet nothings for your neuroscience honey

Interesting fact for Valentine’s Day: The retina is the only part of the central nervous system that is visible from outside the body. So when you’re looking deep into the eyes of your true love, you can say… “Darling, you have the most beautiful central nervous system I have ever seen.” And if that doesn’t […]

Preventing nuclear war

Now here’s an achievement that definitely deserves recognition, I’d say. Robert Jervis, the Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Affairs at Columbia University, is set to be awarded $20,000 by the National Academy of Sciences in America for carrying out psychological research that has helped prevent nuclear war. There must be a few people working […]

neuroscience and advertising

As well as semiotics and cognitive psychology there is another tool for understanding advertising – neuroscience! Enter neuromarketing [1]. Neuromarketing promises to tell you how your brain responds to branding, or which adverts during the superbowl are most effective (Vaughan did a great job on this one, here, and here), or how alert people are […]

Internet mind control and the diagnosis of delusions

A recent paper in the medical journal Psychopathology has analysed the links between websites of likely-delusional people who publish their experiences of ‘mind control’ on the internet, and has concluded that they challenge the psychiatric criteria for the diagnosis of delusions. One of the defining features of a delusion is that it should not be […]

Johnny panic and the bible of dreams

Every day from nine to five I sit at my desk facing the door of the office and type up other people’s dreams. Not just dreams. That wouldn’t be practical enough for my bosses. I type up also people’s daytime complaints: trouble with mother, trouble with father, trouble with the bottle, the bed, the headache […]

A century of intelligence

ABC Radio’s science show Ockham’s Razor marks the 100th anniversary of the creation of the intelligence test by examining its history and impact on modern psychology. The programme traces the development of the modern IQ test from the initial efforts of psychologist Alfred Binet and its roots in educational testing, to its controversial involvement in […]

2006-02-10 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: PLoS Medicine have a review article on the links between cannabis and psychosis. Psychologist Petra Boyton casts a critical eye on media reports that ‘sexual chemistry lasts just two years’. The Royal College of Nursing debate ‘harm minimisation‘ measures for people who self-harm. Beta-blocker […]

when choice is demotivating

Here’s a way to make people buy more of your stuff – give them fewer options. Douglas Coupland called the bewilderment induced by there being too many choices ‘option paralysis’ (‘Generation X’, 1991). Now social psychologists have caught on (‘When choice is demotivating’, 2000, [1]). Offer shoppers a choice of 24 jams and they are […]

Augmenting the mind with high technology

A couple of news stories have discussed the ‘Better Humans?’ report featured earlier on Mind Hacks: One article from The Guardian (actually an excerpt from the full report) on potential abuses of technology as ‘mind control’ by neuroscientist Steven Rose; and another on Radio 4’s Today Programme that interviewed Steven Rose and philosopher Nick Bostrom […]

Existential crisis

All this week over at the Huge Entity – Reasons YOU don’t exist, including a brief contribution by moi based on fundamental attribution error.

SciAmMind on ‘Halle Berry’ neurons and neurofeedback

A new edition of Scientific American Mind has been released and includes two web-published articles: one on recent research on grandmother cells (or ‘Halle Berry neurons’ as they’re becoming known) and another on the use of neurofeedback as a therapy and cognitive enhancer. ‘Halle Berry neurons’ are brain cells that supposedly activate in response to […]

advertising influences familiarity induces preference

We probably like to think that we’re too smart to be seduced by such “branding,” but we aren’t. If you ask test participants in a study to explain their preferences in music or art, they’ll come up with some account based on the qualities of the pieces themselves. Yet several studies have demonstrated that “familiarity […]

Mindfulness-based therapy in Time Magazine

Time magazine talks to psychologist Steven Hayes in an article about the development of ‘Acceptance and Commitment Therapy’ – an increasingly popular treatment for mental disorder. I’m not familiar with the name, but it seems to be a form of mindfulness-based therapy, originally developed by a team at Cambridge University, inspired by Buddhist meditation techniques, […]


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