Monthly Archives: March 2006

Freud’s not dead

Newsweek has a special edition on the legacy of Sigmund Freud and its relevance for the modern mind and brain sciences. The issue includes several articles and takes a comprehensive approach, looking at Freud’s early life as a neurologist, and interviews Nobel prize-winning neuroscientist Eric Kandel about the influence of Freud on modern psychiatry. The […]

White Lies (Don’t Do It)

Research shows dopamine has the same effect on the brain as taking cocaine! A fantastically backward scientific explanation from the transcript of a TV programme on the neuroscience of love. If you’re not familiar with why this is so silly, it’s because cocaine has its major effect by altering the dopamine system. The above explanation […]

Neuroessentialism

I’m a bit late to the neuroword party with this one, but here goes: Neuroessentialism – the belief in, or tactic of, invoking evidence, or merely terms, from neuroscience to justify claims at the psychological level. See also neuromysticism, neurobollocks. There’s a mild example of this in George Lakoff’s Don’t Think of An Elephant which […]

Inkblots

This page used to hold a picture and glowing recommendation for Off The Mark Cartoons. However, we received a threatening legal notice from them so we’ve withdrawn the picture. We’ve also withdrawn our recommendation because they seem to think that sending threats for $150,000 dollars, out-of-the-blue, with not so much as an introduction, is an […]

Ready for your close up?

Cognitive Daily has just published two fascinating articles on research showing that the angle at which a police interview is filmed can affect how well people judge whether a confession has been forced. The first article discusses a study which suggests that coerced confessions are much more likely to be picked up by jurors if […]

(un)emotional investment

Here’s a spin on the depressive realism story. Shiv et al (2005) found that substance abusers and those with brain damage affecting their emotions had enhanced performance on an investment task. According to the authors of the study, the normal controls were actually distracted from making optimum decisions by their emotional involvement in the task. […]

Neurologism

The winner of the Neurofuture create-a-new-‘neuroword’ contest has been announced as the very worthy… Neurologism: a word created by prefixing “neuro” to almost any normal word. …coined by Neil H.

A retro ‘Chinese room’ moment

This video is a 1972 documentary about the beginnings of ARPANET, the forerunner to the modern internet, developed by the U.S. Department of Defense In one scene, a woman is seen typing Chinese symbols into a computer, echoing a beautifully whimsical scene from John Searle‘s famous ‘Chinese room‘ thought experiment. Searle’s experiment addresses the question […]

Neurowords

Sandra Kiume, founder of the Neurofuture blog has kicked off a tongue-in-cheek competition to coin a new ‘neuroword’. Some of my favourites include the beautifully recursive “neurologism: a word created by prefixing ‘neuro’ to almost any normal word” (by Neil H) and “neuromanticism: the discipline that investigates neural correlates of love” (by Andrea Gaggioli). My […]

Eliminative materialism on Wikipedia

The Wikipedia article on eliminative materialism has undergone a radical transformation since the end of January. It is now a clear and comprehensive introduction to one of the most important philosophical approaches to modern cognitive science. Philosophers, unfortunately, have an image problem. Ask the average person in the street about what philosophers do and you’re […]

Week 2 book draw

If you missed it last week, I posted some thoughts on Mind Performance Hacks, a new book from Ron Hale-Evans and O’Reilly (you can read sample hacks and browse the support site for it). We managed to get some copies from the publisher, as they also published Mind Hacks, the book this blog spun out […]

Babbage in a bottle

I went to the Royal College of Surgeons’ Hunterian Museum on Saturday. They have the left hemisphere of Charles Babbage‘s brain, in a jar, on display.

Book draw winners, week 1

Hey folks, entry to the Mind Performance Hacks free book draw from last Monday is now closed. The email address has now been deactivated, and all that’s left to do is randomly select the 2 winners. Here we go (see how I did the selection after the jump)… And congratulations Adrian Neumann and Chris Elliott! […]

These are not my beautiful things!

Philip K Dick would have loved this kind of stuff: Capgras syndrome ‚Äì in which the patient believes their friends and relatives have been replaced by impersonators ‚Äì was first described in 1923 by the French psychiatrist J.M.J. Capgras in a paper with J. Reboul-Lachaux. Now Alireza Nejad and Khatereh Toofani at the Beheshti Hospital […]

Mind-controlled pong

A online video purports to show two people playing the classic video game Pong using what looks like an an EEG machine to read electrical activity from the brain. Although I’m no EEG expert, the kit looks authentic and it’s certainly a technically possible feat with the current state of neurofeedback research. So if anyone […]

Unwavering love of pharmaceutical companies

Satirical newspaper The Onion hits the mark with an article on PharmAmorin, “a prescription tablet developed by Pfizer to treat chronic distrust of large prescription-drug manufacturers”. One TV ad, set to debut during next Sunday’s 60 Minutes telecast, shows a woman relaxing in her living room and reading a newspaper headlined “Newest Drug Company Scandal […]

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