Monthly Archives: February 2007

Love unlimited

New Scientist has a fascinating news report on the psychology of polyamory – the practice of having multiple partners with the full consent of everyone involved. Most Western societies have a focus on exclusively committed couples as the main family unit. In contrast, people who are polyamorous feel themselves capable of more than one loving […]

The iris is the window to the soul

A fascinating paper just released online suggests that patterns in the iris of the eye can give an indication of personality. The research has been led by psychologist Mats Larsson and looks at relationship between measures of personality and the ‘crypts, pigment dots, and contraction furrows’ of the iris. BBC News covers the research, as […]

Virtual reality to treat combat trauma

BBC News is reporting on a AAAS presentation on how virtual reality is being used to treat soldiers who have suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after combat. Symptoms of PTSD include intrusive memories, pathological avoidance of things related or loosely-related to the trauma, and persistent arousal. Cognitive behaviour therapy or CBT is one of the […]

Greetings cards for mental illness

Greetings card manufacturer Hallmark have released a new line of cards especially for the person in your life experiencing mental illness, such as depression or an eating disorder, or other traumatic and difficult times. ABC News has a report on the cards which are designed with colours to reflect the mood of the situation and […]

Top ten psychology studies

Jeremy Dean of PsyBlog is currently doing a run down of his top ten psychology studies and will conclude the series by asking for a vote for the reader’s favourite. He’s writing up each one as a separate article, so you get a flavour of what the study involved and how it changed our knowledge […]

SciAm Mind Matters

Scientific American have launched a new weekly blog seminar on the mind and brain where they target a particular study and get leading psychologists and neuroscientists give their take on it. The editors give a quick run down of the study itself, while the invited commentators pull out the crucial issues or points of controversy. […]

Five minutes with Howard Dully

Dave Isay, Piya Kochhar and Howard Dully produced one of the most powerful radio documentaries of 2005 where Howard told the story of his own lobotomy and the quest to make sense of the experience. A lobotomy is a type of brain surgery to disconnect parts of the frontal lobes from the rest of the […]

The human is the only animal that…

Psychologist Daniel Gilbert on the unwritten vow taken by psychologists. From p3 of Stumbling on Happiness (ISBN 9780007183135). Few people realise that psychologists also take a vow, promising that at some point in their professional lives they will publish a book, a chapter or at least an article that contains the sentence: ‘The human being […]

Why psychologists study twins

The BPS Research Digest has a concise article on a key way of determining how much genetics influences the expression of a psychological trait – the twin study. The article is part of a new series where professional researchers are asked to write short articles on key topics. This one is by Dr Angelica Ronald […]

This is your brain on Britney

Wendy, Stephanie and Marie, three high school psychology students, have voiced over Britney’s Baby One More Time video with lyrics about the occipital lobe. It is, dare I say, a work of genius (and very funny to boot). And if you’re interested in reading a study on the cognitive neuroscience of Britney’s brain, one was […]

The light and dark of attraction in SciAmMind

A new edition of Scientific American Mind has been published and, as is customary, two of their feature articles are online, each on a different end of the human attraction spectrum. The first looks at online dating and how the psychology of relationships is altered by perusing your potential partners on a website. One of […]

The science of happiness

The Harvard Magazine has an in-depth article on the psychology of happiness and personal growth. Whereas this was previously the domain of pop psychology and self-help books, the development of ‘positive psychology’ in the last decade has attracted serious researchers determined to understand how the mind and brain support positive attributes and emotions. We covered […]

2007-02-16 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Could it be magic? Extreme apparent mental causation. Mixing Memory investigates the psychology of magical thinking. The presence of genes for the immune system can go a little way to predicting how likely couples are to remain faithful. Corpus Callosum on a study showing […]

Chronic Brian damage

Another in the occasional series of PubMed typos. This time from the Scandanavian Journal of Social Medicine. The last line accidentally describes the effect of exposure to solvents on one unfortunate individual: A cohort study of disability pension and death among painters with special regard to disabling presenile dementia as an occupational disease. Scand J […]

Faces, faces everywhere

The New York Times has a brief article on why we have a tendency to see faces in chaotic or almost random visual scenes. The tendency to see meaning in essentially random data is variously known as apophenia or pareidolia, and statistically would be known as a Type I error – a false positive. Although […]

Cardiac arrest

Quick links from this year’s Valentine’s psychology stories: Early social experiences can influence adult behavior in romantic relationships. More on the same from the San Francisco Chronicle. Love activates the same brain areas as cocaine, reports the The New York Sun. It also activates the same brain areas as chess, but apparently that isn’t worthy […]


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