Monthly Archives: May 2006

The Science of Happiness

Psychologist Daniel Gilbert writes about the psychology of happiness and pleasure in a new article for Edge. He argues that science should be striving to understand happiness, both to capture this sublime aspect of human existence, and to enable us to increase happiness as we go about our daily lives. For the last decade I’ve […]

Developing Intelligence finishes ‘seven sins’ series

Cognitive scientist and owner of the Developing Intelligence blog Chris Chatham has finished his series on memory distortions, arguing that common forms of memory failure can be explained within a concise model of maintenance, search, and monitoring. The ‘seven sins’ are a reference to a more complex model put forward by psychologist Dan Schacter, in […]

Is Morgellons a marketing campaign?

The comments page of the earlier article on the psychology of Morgellons mention that there are rumours that the whole thing is a viral marketing campaign for the upcoming Philip K. Dick movie A Scanner Darkly – it’s a theory that PKD would have been pround of, but almost certainly untrue. It wouldn’t be the […]

Neurochemistry of street drugs – animated!

Omni Brain managed to find a wonderful Dutch website where the neurochemistry of common street drugs is illustrated as step-by-step animations. If you ever wondered exactly how ecstasy, cannabis, speed, cocaine, heroine, alcohol or nicotine have their effect in the brain, now’s your chance to find out. The animations give the detailed effects of the […]

Neurosurgery on BBC Book of the Week

Just a quick note to say that BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week this week is Brain Matters by Katrina Firlik (mentioned previously here and here on Mind Hacks). The book tackles Firlik’s work as a neurosurgeon and will be broadcast in five parts. Each will be available online for a week after broadcast.

World’s radio on mental health

This week’s BBC Radio 4 world radio roundup show A World in Your Ear featured highlights from recent broadcasts on mental health from around the globe. In an excerpt from Sudan Radio counsellor Moses Mayuen Akuein discusses his work with trauma victims caught up in Darfur conflict, while Real Jamaican Radio discusses maintaining good mental […]

The curious case of Morgellons disease

Morgellons is claimed to be a new form of skin disease by its sufferers but has been largely ignored by the medical community and some have claimed it is, in reality, a psychotic syndrome akin to delusional parasitosis. Outraged by the accusation that their symptoms may be a result of mental illness, proponents are producing […]

Reactive Colours launches

Innovative autism community software project Reactive Colours had its official launch the other day, and is now sporting a new website and numerous ‘reactivities’ to download and play online. The project is designed to encourage individuals with autistic spectrum differences and learning disabilities to use computers, through which they can develop mouse, keyboard, programming and […]

Open-access science moves forward

A couple of encouraging pieces of news for those following the progress of open-access science journals: The open access medical journal PLoS Clinical Trials has just launched, and recent research shows that science published in open journals is more widely cited and distributed. PLoS Clinical Trials aims to publish studies into the effectiveness of treatments, […]

2006-05-19 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: As much sci-fi brain art as you can shake a stick at (via BrainWaves) …and one amazing picture of neuronanoart (via Neurofuture). Professor Alan Harvey discusses neural transplantation on ABC Radio’s In Conversation. The New York Times on the neuroscience of chronic pain. BBC […]

Chocolate is cold comfort

A review of scientific studies has found that chocolate, long used as an emotional pick-me-up, more often prolongs a bad mood rather than helps it. In an article currently in press for the Journal of Affective Disorders, psychiatrist Gordon Parker and his team gathered evidence from decades of studies into the mood-altering effects of the […]

Flash back

I’m always impressed by the way Cognitive Daily manage to break down sometimes quite complex research into straightforward explanations, and their and try-it-yourself experiment on visual working memory is no exception. Their article is a wonderful tour through a recent paper that examines visual memory for briefly presented scenes.

Frontiers of time perception

BBC Radio 4 science programme Frontiers examines the psychology and neuroscience of time perception and considers how the sense of time can be warped when we’re put under stress. In one part, the programme talks to psychologist David Eagleman who’s been running experiments with people doing ‘SCAD diving‘ – an activity where you jump free-fall […]

Philosophy of Mind on Wikipedia

The Wikipedia article on the Philosophy of Mind is featured on the online encyclopaedia’s front page today, demonstrating how the philosophy articles have greatly improved during the last year. The article gives a clear and comprehensive overview of this key field and is beautifully illustrated throughout. Philosophy has a bit of an image problem among […]

Case Notes epilepsy special and Wada musings

Just in case you’re still looking for ways to mark National Epilepsy week, a recent edition of Case Notes had a special on epilepsy, outlining the science and impact of this curious condition. In one particularly interesting section, they discuss research on using neuroimaging to replace the Wada test – the procedure where the barbiturate […]

Five minutes with neurosurgeon Katrina Firlik

Neurosurgeon and author Dr Katrina Firlik has kindly agreed to answer a few questions about her interest in brain surgery and neuroscience. She also tells me that her new book (featured previously on Mind Hacks) has been released in the UK under the name Brain Matters (ISBN 0297848070). Apparently, she will be in the UK […]


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