Monthly Archives: April 2006

Torn by lightning

I’ve never understood what it is I’m not supposed to feel like a bird on the wing in a swollen sky my mind is torn by lightning as it flies from the thunder behind From the play 4.48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane. Kane suffered from intense periods of depression throughout her life. 4.48 Psychosis was […]

US Supreme Court reviews insanity defence

PBS has streaming video and a careful analysis of the case of Eric Michael Clark, who at 17 and while mentally ill, shot and killed a police officer in Arizona. His case is currently the basis for a Supreme Court review of the insanity defence in US law. Clark had reportedly been diagnosed with paranoid […]

Phantom paralysis

This month’s brilliant Out of Mind column in Prospect magazine, written by psychiatrist Robert Drummond and Alexanader Linklater, deputy editor of the mag, is about a cambonian woman with phantom paralysis. The woman’s husband died recently following a massive stroke. They’d been married 42 years. An earlier stroke had left him with a weak arm […]

Who’s the greatest?

The Royal Institution are running an event on Thursday 27th April in London entitled Who’s the greatest? Minds that changed our minds where the greatest contributors to modern psychology and psychiatry will be debated. The four luminaries being championed include inventor of psychoanlaysis Sigmund Freud, philosopher and psychiatrist Karl Jaspers, psychologist and intelligence researcher Hans […]

2006-04-21 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: People who experience ‘near-death experiences’ are also more likely to experience ‘REM intrusion’ – the mometary presence of sleep or dream-like states during wakefulness (see also here). A study reports that racial diversity within a group of jurors improves deliberation and group decision making. […]

Electronic media causing ADHD?

Neuroscientist Baroness Greenfield was featured on Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning [realaudio] arguing that children are being medicated for ADHD when the problem might be caused by the over-use of ‘electronic media’ leading to short attention spans. One of the difficulties with this argument is that an attention problem in children with ADHD has […]

Lingerie sharpens the financial mind

According to recent news reports, the sight of lingerie or a sexy woman significantly impairs male decision making. Unfortunately, the details have got a little blurred in the re-telling from the original research paper – to the point where most reports flatly contradict the study’s conclusions. The study involved a well-researched financial task known as […]

Shake it baby!

BBC News are reporting that Belgian researchers are using a modified version of Duke Nukem 3D in brain imaging studies – unaware that Duke Nukem has been used in brain-scanning experiments since 1998. The image on the left is from a 1998 paper published in Science by Dr Eleanor Maguire and colleagues. The paper is […]

Mind and brain on Research TV

I’ve just discovered ‘Research TV’ which features loads of free videos, or ‘vodcasts’, including several on psychology and neuroscience: Link to Scanning brainwaves to read the mind, about combining MEG and fMRI brain imaging techniques. Link to Hemianopia: looking into the dark. Link to A happy marriage helps beat flu. Link to Fit to fight […]

Sleep-retardant properties of my ex-girlfriend

The cover feature in this month’s Null Hypothesis is an empirical investigation into one researcher’s experiences of having a sleep-retardant girlfriend. The paper is available as a pdf and was written by human computer interaction researcher Ryan Baker in an attempt to fathom why he was sleeping so poorly. Baker selected the possible causes and […]

Stephen Fry and neuropsychiatric genetics

Actor, writer and film director Stephen Fry recently visited the neuropsychiatric genetics unit at Cardiff University – which is not a combination I’d ever thought I’d be writing about. Fry has bipolar disorder, sometimes called manic depression, which can cause manic highs or deep disabling depressions. His visit was apparently part of a BBC documentary […]

When does the brain develop maths?

An innovative study just published in the open-access science journal PLoS Biology provides intriguing evidence that the brain dedicates a region to understanding maths by as early as four years-old. The researchers, led by neuroscientist Jessica Cantlon, used fMRI to brain-scan adults and four year-old children while they watched collections of shapes flash up in […]

Goths and mental health

There’s an informed and critical review of the recent coverage about goths, self-harm and success, over at the Anxiety, Addiction and Depression Treatments blog. One recent study from Glasgow suggested that although goth kids have a higher rates of self-harm, it is more likely that self-harmers are drawn to the goth subculture than vice-versa, as […]

Kitsch movie posters from the planet brain

I’ve just discovered that the search term ‘brain movie poster’ brings up a collection of neuroscience-themed B-movie posters on popular image search engines. It’s interesting that the majority are from the 50s and 60s, the same time that both mass-produced psychiatric drugs and neuroscience research became widespread. Maybe this spawned popular concern about the potential […]

10 minutes of advice

A strange auction I just found on EBay… Someone offering 10 minutes of advice about anything you want. Perhaps I could ask about ways to solve the hard problem of consciousness?

Australian AITM on the psychology of terrorism

Radio National’s excellent All the the Mind focuses on the psychology of terrorism, cutting through some of the common myths about the personalities and motivations of those who commit terrorist acts. Contrary to the political rhetoric, there is little evidence for terrorists being mentally unbalanced, although many have suffered previous trauma in their lives. The […]


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