Monthly Archives: September 2006

An ‘autism mum’

“You’re an autism mum. I see them all the time. I saw you that first day we met, how you agonised over your boy, mute in his pushchair while all the other pre-schoolers made their clever observations about the world; I see how you worry now over his odd way of walking, the animal noises […]

What is synesthesia?

There’s a useful article in this month’s Scientific American that poses the question ‘what is synesthesia?’ in the ‘ask the experts’ section. The question is answered by neuroscientists and synaesthesia researchers Thomas Palmeri, Randolph Blake and Ren√© Marois, who give a concise description of what its like to have synaesthesia as well as explaining some […]

2006-09-15 Spike activity

Quick links from the past [few weeks] in mind and brain news: Michael Crawford discusses The Schizophrenic Symptom of Flat Affect, including insights from his own experience. Can Freudian ideas help us explain fundamentalism and extremist ideologies? asks the New York Times Dopamine helps punters spot their ‘best bet’ according to a recent news story […]

World Hearing Voices Day today

Today has been designated as World Hearing Voices Day to raise awareness of the experience of hearing voices. Although the stereotype is that hearing voices is associated with mental illness, the majority of people who hear voices do not have mental illness and are never in need or help or assistance because of their experiences. […]

Fight to the death with AI robots

NERO is an award-winning futuristic computer game where the player trains squadrons of android soldiers, to be released and pitted against soldiers trained by another player. Crucially, the android soliders learn using a neural network that adapts via a genetic algorithm. For the NERO project we are using a specific neuroevolutionary algorithm called NEAT, Neuro-Evolution […]

Heavenly theories of memory

In particular, must a cognitive theory about memory that would please you be stated in a way that could be tested by brain scientists? Sure! But an even better idea might be to demand that a cognitive theory be stated in a way that the Almighty himself could pass judgment on. Legendary memory researcher Endel […]

Epilepsy Action on MySpace

UK epilepsy support charity Epilepsy Action has created a MySpace profile – the first neuro charity I know that has a page on the social networking site. It’s part of an drive to increase the availability of epilepsy information to young people. The page has updates on the latest news from the charity, as well […]

1st September BPS Research Digest and Synapse

A couple I missed when I was away… A new BPS Research Digest hit the net on 1st September with articles on job performance, season on birth and intelligence and the expert mind of the burglar among others. Also edition 6 of The Synapse neuroscience writing carnival arrived, with writing on everything from the detection […]

Zolpidem again

It seems the story about the sleeping-pill zolpidem potentially helping people in a persistent vegetative state has turned up again, virtually unchanged from when it first broke in May.

Dodgy science at the BA festival?

Continuing on from Vaughan’s discussion of Psi research at the BA Festival – I wonder if the likes of Prof. Lord Robert Winston ought to have been more concerned about some of the content in one of the mainstream BA Psychology Section seminars. Prof. Geoffrey Beattie of Big Brother fame was this year’s Psychology Section […]

Cognitive neuroscience free samples

Psychology Press have put together a slick site to promote and enhance their cognitive neuroscience books, and particularly their new textbook The Student’s Guide to Cognitive Neuroscience with sample chapters, downloads and a podcast available online. The books is written by Dr Jamie Ward who founded the synaesthesia research group at University College London and […]

No psi please, we’re British

The Telegraph reports that Professor Robert Winston has criticised the recent British Association Festival of Science for allowing an ‘unbalanced’ discussion of parapsychology as “I know of no serious properly done studies which make me feel that this is anything other than nonsense.” This is a little ironic, as Winston recently had adverts for ‘clever […]

6th Encephalon is up

The 6th edition of psychology and neuroscience writing carnival Encephalon is now available on Retrospectacle.

Bizarre case of consent

A curious news report from what sounds like a difficult court case: A man has been acquitted of raping a woman – because she had at least 14 personalities. In a bizarre case, a jury was told that the 40-year-old man was accused of sexually assaulting the woman 11 times in her home in 2004 […]

The life and death of Private Harry Farr

The Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine has a pdf of a gripping article on Private Harry Farr, a 25 year-old British soldier shot for cowardice during World War I, despite having being treated for shell-shock. As with all other WWI soldiers executed for cowardice, Farr was pardoned earlier this year by the British […]

Are beautiful people more intelligent?

There’s a curious article from The Guardian on the work of two researchers who are investigating the link between beauty and intelligence, and who argue that a genuine link exists. Are beautiful people more intelligent than the rest of us? Satoshi Kanazawa and Jody Kovar think so. In a 17-page study called Why Beautiful People […]


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