Monthly Archives: March 2006

2006-03-31 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Carl Zimmer tackles a common claim about the brain’s fuel consumption. Photographer David Maisel has created a touching project photographing unclaimed cannisters of ashes of ex-psychiatric patients found in an abandoned psychiatric hospital. New breed of video games aim to keep the mind and […]

Cognitive control and Tourette’s tics

I’ve just noticed that Christian has written up a great summary of recent research which suggests that people with Tourette Syndrome, a neurological condition that causes involuntary movements or vocal outbursts, have better ‘cognitive control’ than people without the syndrome. This is quite surprising, as at first site, you might think that people with Tourette’s […]

Grey matter, the developing brain and intelligence

A report in today’s Nature describes an association between IQ score and changes in the thickness of the brain’s grey matter through childhood and adolesence. The researchers, led by neuroscientist Philip Shaw, used structural MRI scans to measure changes in the brain, and scanned the same children as they grew up. Crucially, the findings do […]

Treating shell-shock during World War 1

“In leading his patients to understand that breakdown was nothing to be ashamed of, that horror and fear were inevitable responses to the trauma of war and were better acknowledged than suppressed, that feelings of tenderness for other men were natural and right, that tears were an acceptable and helpful part of grieving, he was […]

Deathbed phenomena

The Glasgow Herald reports on the work of neuropsychiatrist Peter Fenwick, who is investigating ‘deathbed phenomena’, the unusual experiences that are often reported by a dying patient or their relatives. Fenwick and his team have just published the results of a study in the American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Care that notes that these […]

The dating game

Wise words to us all from Luke Jackson, a 13 year-old with Asperger Syndrome, who has written a book full of information and advice for teenagers with the condition called Freaks, Geeks and Asperger Syndrome. The following is from the section on dating (p176): If the person asks something like ‘Does my bum look fat?’ […]

Action potential on Wikipedia

The Wikipedia article on the action potential is just beautiful – clearly written and wonderfully illustrated. The action potential is the electrical impulse that travels along nerve cells, facilitating communication throughout the brain and peripheral nervous system. The action potential was researched by Alan Hodgkin and Andrew Huxley, who managed to generate equations which explained […]

New Psyche on ‘action in perception’

A new edition of Psyche, the journal of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness, has just been published online, and is a special issue on ‘action in perception’. The edition is curated by philosopher Alva No√´ and takes a novel approach to understanding conscious perception. The main idea of this book is that […]

Week 3 book draw

A couple of weeks ago, I posted some thoughts on Mind Performance Hacks, a new book from Ron Hale-Evans and O’Reilly (there are sample hacks online and you can browse the support site for it). When I made that post, we got hold of some copies from the publisher, and we’ve been having a weekly […]

Unknown White Male under the microscope

Cognitive Daily and The Washington Post cast a sceptical eye over the recently released documentary Unknown White Male which claims to depict two years in the life of someone with a curious form of amnesia. Cognitive Daily examines the representation of memory in the film, and how closely it accords with what is known about […]

Week 2, book draw winners

Entry to the second Mind Performance Hacks free book draw from last Monday is now closed. All that’s left to do is randomly select the 2 winners. Here we go (I’ll do it in the same way as the first draw)… And congratulations Jacob Krall and Chris Berry–well done! I’ll be in touch shortly to […]

Zombie t-shirt

Is the person next to you conscious? It might be impossible to tell, and they could be a zombie – someone who acts exactly like a conscious being, but who has no conscious experience at all. Philosophers have devised this idea, not necessarilly because they believe zombies exist, but to show that if they did, […]

Is religion a product of mind and evolution?

There’s been a lot of interest about naturalistic approaches to religion recently, largely related to the release of Daniel Dennett’s new polemical book Breaking the Spell. In a similar vein, the New Times has an in-depth article about much of the empirical research that’s fuelling the debate. Crucially, this research is not simply tackling the […]

Circadian rhythms of human copulation

Circadia has a post about a brief study on how patterns of human love-making change during the day. Unsurprisingly, the most common times are before going to sleep and after waking up. Notably, the original paper uses the scientific term ‘nycthemeral’ (meaning daily). This must be one of the most lovely sounding words I’ve discovered […]

1001 links

Mind Hacks has reached the 1000 link mark on social bookmarking site Some of the comments are priceless. A few of my favourites… “Crazy/beautiful” “Curiosidades sobre la mente” [¬°Gracias!] “Mind Hacks is a collection of probes into the moment-by-moment workings of our brain with a view to understanding ourselves a little better and learning […]

2006-03-24 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Tom Lunt asks web visitors to name my brain tumour. A series of fits, terrors and crying spells hit children in Chechnya and is blamed on mass hysteria. Psychologist Lauren Slater discusses the common ‘wonder-drug to toxic tablet’ story of new psychotropic medicines in […]


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