Monthly Archives: January 2007

Beautiful 19th century papier mache brain

Medical history website Physick has some images of a wonderful papier mache brain created in the 19th Century as an anatomical aid for doctors. Human cadavers were difficult to get hold of in the 19th Century (at least legitimately) and the whole exercise was a bit murky, even for medical education. Consequently, a large number […]

Loved up through the power of hypnosis

A surprising study published last year in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs reported that hypnotism could be used to induce a realistic experience of being high on MDMA (aka ‘ecstasy’) in people who had taken the drug before. An extended nondrug MDMA-like experience evoked through posthypnotic suggestion J Psychoactive Drugs. 2006 Sep;38(3):273-83. Hastings A This […]

2007-01-12 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Cognitive Daily examines how sound affects our visual perception (with nifty video!). Does a US Government training cartoon make light of mental health issues in war veterans? Decide for yourself. Science reports that a new study uncovers exactly how solvent abuse affects the brain. […]

Experimental tripping for the US military

There’s an interesting interview over at 10 Zen Monkeys with psychiatrist James S. Ketchum who claims to have been director of psychopharmacology research for the US military when they were testing the potential of mind-altering drugs such as LSD and BZ. Ketchum has just released a book entitled Chemical Warfare: Secrets Almost Forgotten where he […]

Architectures of Control blog

Dan Lockton’s Architectures of Control blog is a must-read for anyone interested in the interface between design and psychology. In a recent post welcoming new readers Dan explains what the blog is about: Most of the posts look at ‚Äòarchitectures of control‚Äò designed into products, systems and environments, which seek to force the user to […]

Neurobiology of love

The Sixth International Conference on Neuroaesthetics will take place on January 20th and will focus on the neurobiology of love. The talks include everything from “Brain Activity During Male and Female Orgasms” from Prof Gert Holstege to “The Biological Concepts of Unity-in-Love and Annihilation-in-Love” by Prof Semir Zeki. This is a bit of a departure […]

Neural time travel

Science and Consciousness Review has a new feature article on how the brain allows us to revisit past times or predict the future, and how this sense can break down after brain injury. The article is by new SCR staffer, Alice Kim, who works in the lab of pioneering memory researcher Endel Tulving. Tulving developed […]

Secure Beneath the Watchful Eyes

BoingBoing links to an image of a London Underground crime prevention poster with a picture of disembodied eyes and the slogan ‘Secure Beneath the Watchful Eyes’. It could be a rather ill advised advert, unwittingly reminding London’s citizens of 1984-style totalitarian policing, or it could be a rare flash of post-9/11 irony in a public […]

Ironically, pessimists are more likely to die early

According to a brief article in the New York Times, research has shown that pessimists are, ironically, more likely to die earlier than optimists. The article discusses some research on dispositional optimism and pessimism and how it relates to health and risk for mortality. The study, led by Dr. Erik J. Giltay of the Psychiatric […]

The manual of madness

I’ve just found a wonderful article online that appeared a couple of years ago in The New Yorker retelling the curious and surprising story of how the DSM was written. The DSM is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Published by the American Psychiatric Association it gives the criteria that define different types […]

The anarchy of mad words

The following quote is from p29 of Veronika Decides to Die (ISBN 0722540442) by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho. It tells the story of a young woman who, after a failed suicide attempt, is admitted to a psychiatric hospital where she meets some curious and life-changing patients and medical staff. Paulo Coelho was admitted to a […]

Like Google Earth for the brain

Brain Maps is an online database of high resolution brain images that you can examine on the web or view with a point-and-zoom desktop application called StackVis. The team behind Brain Maps has uploaded brain images from a number of species, including humans, so you can point click, zoom and scroll your way across the […]

Is that a chair in your scanner?

Simply Physics has a wonderful page of photos depicting objects which have accidentally become stuck in MRI scanners because of the pull of the powerful magnets. These include chairs, floor cleaners, oxygen tanks and bits of medical equipment. They even have a video of a team of people trying to extract a swivel chair from […]

Augmented cognition

There’s a fantastic article over at The Neurophilosopher’s Blog on augmented cognition – technology that integrates with our cognitive abilities to extend our capabilities. We live in a time in which we are overwhelmed by information obtained from multiple sources, such as the internet, television, and radio. We are usually unable to give our undivided […]

2006-2007 in sex and sex research

Sex and relationship psychologist Petra Boyton has published her annual predictions for the year ahead in sex and sexuality and revisits last year’s predictions to see how they turned out. Unfortunately, the majority of ‘sex research’ stories that appear in the media are usually poorly conducted PR exercises with the barely disclosed aim of promoting, […]

MEG scanning the brain

Wired has a brief guide to one of the most recently developed and exciting brain imaging technologies – magnetoencephalography or MEG. The first thing you’ll notice about MEG machines is that they live in carefully shielded sealed rooms. The second you’ll notice is that they look like giant hair dryers. MEG works by picking up […]


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