Monthly Archives: April 2006

Thalbourne on the psychology of the paranormal

ABC Radio National’s In Conversation had a recent discussion about paranormal belief and experience with psychologist Dr Michael Thalbourne. Thalbourne has conducted a huge amount of experimental research on psychological correlates of belief in the paranormal and what sort of mechanisms might predispose someone to have supernatural experiences. Although his research and views are occasionally […]

2006-04-14 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Study finds more white matter in auditory cortex of people who have a gift for languages. Male and female brains are differently active, even during rest, reports brain imaging study. Recent experiment suggests successful community cooperation may rely on a way of punishing noncooperators. […]

Little girl lost

Insight into self-harming from Lovisa Pahlson-Moller, a 22-year-old who said she first self-harmed when she was just six years old. She hasn’t cut herself for two years thanks partly to the relief that’s come from writing a book about her feelings. Interview and book extract. Also there’s an extended interview here with Chris Holley, the […]

NewSci head electricity and ‘myth’ of mood drugs

Today’s New Scientist has two articles of interest to mind and brain enthusiasts: a critical analysis of mood stablising drugs, and an account of a new brain intervention that involves passing a small electrical current through the head. The article on mood stabilisers is largely an edited version of an article by psychiatrist David Healy […]

Mixing Memory on the ‘hostile media effect’

Cognitive science blog Mixing Memory highlights the hostile media effect whereby people assume a report of an event is biased towards an opposing view if it appears in the mass media. This is despite the fact that when the same report is presented in another format (as an essay, for example) it is assumed to […]

Forced medication for execution

US Judge Wayne Salvant has ordered that Steven Kenneth Staley, a death-row inmate who is so severely mentally ill as to be unable to comprehend his situation, can be forcibly medicated so he can be executed while mentally competent. A stay of execution was previously granted as he was judged not to understand his situation […]

SciAmMind on AI and alcoholism

The publishing of Scientific American Mind seems to have settled down into a bimonthly cycle with a new issue on the shelves and two of the articles freely available online. The first tackles how successfully computer simulations of the mind represent genuine human thought and to what extent they will have to rely on simulating […]

A Sense of Scale

Psychiatric nurse and mixed media artist Ben Guiver’s experimental radio broadcast is available to download today. The show – a kind of remix of texts by Francois Roustang, Will Self, Hakim Bey, Adam Phillips and Jean Baudrillard – complements his exhibition of photographs and paintings at London’s Foundry called “A sense of Scale”, and will […]

Disease mongering for fun and profit

Open-access journal PLoS Medicine has a special on disease mongering – the practice of promoting medical conditions in an effort to boost drug sales. Drugs are, of course, incredibly useful in treating suffering and disease, but their reality doesn’t always match the marketing of either the compound or the diagnosis. For example, the definition of […]

The freakonomic take on bird flu

Steven Levitt, the economist, and Stephen Dubner, the journalist ‚Äì authors of Freakonomics ‚Äì appeared on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme yesterday. The pair are (in)famous for their alternative explanations of historical phenomena, based on their application of economic tools of analysis to social patterns. For example, they‚Äôve argued that the 50 per cent […]

Gladwell on late-bloomers and prodigies in art

Malcolm Gladwell recently gave a lecture on ‘prodigies and late bloomers in art’ which has been audio archived on The New Yorker website. The lecture is an engaging tour through the lives of some famous late-starting artists and musings on what contributed to their latent talent, including painter Paul C√©zanne and legendary rock-and-roll band Fleetwood […]

Impulsive acts

The New York Times has an article which examines the sometimes contradictory psychology of impulsivity. Doing new things is often among lists which promise us ‘ways to happiness’ in magazines and books, and yet problems with impulse control have been cited as a major factor in everything from ADHD to drug and gambling addiction. One […]

SciAm online special on The Child’s Mind

Apparently Scientific American have been doing ‘online only’ specials for a while, but they completely passed me by until they just released one on the The Child’s Mind. It’s a collection of various articles that have been published in SciAm over the past few years on developmental psychology and neuroscience. The issue is not freely […]

Fragmented minds part II online

Part II of the Australian All in the Mind two-part series on schizophrenia is now online. The second part focuses on the current range of treatments for people diagnosed with the condition. This includes both pharmacological and psychological approaches, and the programme discusses the current state of research and the advantages and disadvantages of various […]

Gladwell on Tilly on the sociology of explanations

Malcolm Gladwell writes an insightful review of “Why?” (ISBN 069112521X) by renowned sociologist Charles Tilly that tackles the social context and motivations for providing explanations. A recent article in The Guardian also discussed the new book and summarised Tilly’s five ‘types’ of explanation: There are, Tilly suggests, at least five different ways to explain why […]

Week 4, book draw winners

Sunday night means entry to this week’s Mind Performance Hacks book draw is now closed. A drumroll, please, while I pick this week’s winners (as before, with an added sort to make the uniq command work properly)… and our two winners are John Doppke and Jose Antonio Ortega. Congratulations! I’ll be in touch to get […]


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