Monthly Archives: November 2006

Shifting to light

The first verse of the beautiful and evocative I Fellowed Sleep by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas: I fellowed sleep who kissed me in the brain, Let fall the tear of time; the sleeper‚Äôs eye, Shifting to light, turned on me like a moon. So, planing-heeled, I flew along my man And dropped on dreaming and […]

Doctor, I’m hearing voices (discussing psychiatry)

Both the British and American Journals of Psychiatry are now broadcasting their own monthly podcasts that discuss some of the feature articles in each month’s issue. Unlike many of the articles themselves, the podcasts are freely available to download from the moment they’re released. The British podcasts are hosted by Dr Raj Persaud and involve […]

Getting a head in childhood

The Times covers research published in the journal Paediatrics indicating that head size at one year old predicts intelligence in later childhood. A research team led by Dr Catherine Gale measured the head circumference of 633 children at birth, and regularly afterwards. The kept in contact with the families and assessed the children at 4 […]

Electrical brain stimulation for coma reversal

This is one I missed a couple of months ago: Wired had an article on a novel technique that might help rouse people from coma – applying electrical currents to spinal nerves to stimulate the brain. The surgeon mentioned in the story, Edwin Cooper, has published a number of studies on the technique, which involves […]

God moves in mysterious waves

Discover magazine has an excellent article on the neuroscience of religious or spiritual experience, an area sometimes known as neurotheology. Although researchers vary in their own spiritual beliefs, it is possible to be an atheist and still study spiritual experience. Just as a complete understanding of the visual system wouldn’t disprove the existence of any […]

Liquid psychiatry

Due to the public’s confusion over the difference between psychiatry and psychology, I have developed a minor hobby out of spotting the word ‘psychiatry’ in places it shouldn’t be. This was inspired by hearing someone on the bus accuse her friend of using ‘reverse psychiatry’ on her. Another one that seems to pop up is […]

Serotonin Christmas decorations

Purveyor of molecular gifts and jewellery Made With Molecules has just launched a new line for Christmas: serotonin Christmas decorations for your tree. They’ve also added to their existing range with jewellery made from the caffeine molecule, and the theobromine molecule – one of the psychoactive ingredients in chocolate. So if you want to decorate […]

Are you normal? Are you mad?

BBC Radio 4 is running a series at the moment called Am I Normal? that looks at differences in the body and mind. The most recent edition was on madness and psychosis, and the audio is available online. Psychosis is the mental state in which delusions and hallucinations are prominent, and is usually linked to […]

Synapse 12 arrives

Issue 12 of psychology and neuroscience writing carnival The Synapse is now welcoming readers with a selection of the lastest articles from the last week. This edition is hosted by Dr Deborah Serani and includes posts on everything from creativity to prion infection.

The Myth of Thomas Szasz

Controversial psychiatrist Thomas Szasz is the subject of an in-depth article in The New Atlantis magazine that re-examines his legacy and impact on psychiatry. Szasz has made some of the most important and cutting criticisms of modern psychiatry but is now largely ignored by both academia and patients’ rights groups. This is partly because the […]

If you’ve got it, flaunt it (P.S. You’ve got it)

The Economist has a short but uplifting article on research that suggests that we underestimate how good looking we are when compared to other members of the same sex, possibly to keep us on our toes and work hard to attract a partner. If you have ever sat alone in a bar, depressed by how […]

On testing the dead

The Financial Times has an article on recent research into Cotard delusion – a firm unshakeable belief that you’re dead – which can occur during mental illness or neurological disturbance. The article focuses on a study by Drs Ryan McKay and Lisa Cipolotti on a patient named ‘LU’ who presented with the delusion when being […]

Police taser a man having an epileptic seizure

ABC News report that Oakland police tasered a man having an epileptic seizure because he became agitated when restrained. They subsequently prosecuted him for assault and disorderly conduct. You couldn’t make it up if you tried. From a press release from the Epilepsy Foundation: The case in Michigan involved Daniel Beloungea, who was taking a […]

Neuroanatomy drawn in blood

Neurofuture’s Sandra Kiume, who seems to have a knack for discovering striking neuroart projects, has picked up on some pieces by Laura Splan, who has produced detailed neuroanatomy images drawn with her own blood. Thought Patterns is a series of images inspired by neuroanatomical structures. Each drawing was created using blood taken from my fingertips […]

2006-11-24 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Our obsession with physical appearance may not be so shallow, after all suggests an article in the Washington Post. The New York Times discusses how personal space and physical presence in one-to-one communication differs between cultures. More from PsyBlog’s series on emotion: Neural Correlates […]

B Fred Skinner

In some circles behaviourism is associated with a kind of fascism, or at the very least an austere puritanism (to contrast it with its nemesis, the literary/humanistic psychoanalysis). B.F. Skinner particularly suffers from this association, because of his pivotal role in the development of the science and philosophy of behaviourism, and perhaps because of some […]


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