Monthly Archives: February 2007

A transhumanist dictionary

George Dvorsky has published a guide to the terms and buzzwords of transhumanism – an optimistic movement that seeks to apply current and future scientific discoveries to extending human experience and abilities. Transhumanists are interested in neuroscience as a way of improving on the natural human range, either through optimising the biological systems already present […]

Mad love

Highlighting the striking parallels between our least understood and most exalted states of mind, Nietzsche commented that “there is always some madness in love”. Perhaps the reason love has such a good reputation when compared to other forms of madness, is its effect on mood. Euphoria, arousal, elation, talkativeness and flights of fancy can fill […]

The power of praise

There’s a fascinating article in The New York Magazine about the dramatic effects of different types of praise on a child’s success when tackling new challenges. A team of researchers led by Prof Carole Dweck asked children to complete a series of short tests, and randomly divided into groups. Each child was given a single […]

Extra Senses

A new five part series called ‘Extra Senses’ has just started on BBC Radio 4, looking into the science behind sensations beyond the ordinary touch, sight, smell and sound. Today’s show was on pain and features some excruciating sounds from a man eating a lightbulb (“the most painful part could be tomorrow morning”!) as well […]

Prescribe two, get one free

A new psychiatric journal called Clinical Schizophrenia is launching in April that will have a novel distribution policy. If you’re in the top 70% of antipsychotic drug prescribers in America, you’ll get your copy free. The journal is intending to publish prestigious studies on the treatment of schizophrenia. So it not only acts as an […]

Stephen Pinker on The Colbert Report

Cognitive scientist Steven Pinker was a guest on the comedy show The Colbert Report where he talks about the brain, language and having bad hair days. Pure Pedantry has embedded video of the interview if you want to catch the quickfire questions and cognitive one-liners. For those not familiar with the format of the show, […]

Encephalon 16

Welcome to the 16th edition of the psychology and neuroscience writing carnival Encephalon hosted this time on Mind Hacks. We’ve had a flood of articles submitted, covering everything from time perception to sexuality in dreaming, so continue reading for these and more!

Beauty and the average girl

Flickr user Pierre Tourigny has created a series of composite images from popular portrait rating website Hot or Not? that nicely demonstrates our bias for perceiving average faces as beautiful. He’s made average images from a series of female faces but divided them up into the scoring categories, so there’s an average of faces rated […]

Our memory is our coherence

“You have to begin to lose your memory, if only in bits and pieces, to realize that memory is what makes our lives. Life without memory is no life at all, just as an intelligence without the possibility of expression is not really an intelligence. Our memory is our coherence, our reason, our feeling, even […]

Neurophilosophers in The New Yorker

The Feb 12th edition of The New Yorker has an extensive article on neurophilosophers Paul and Patricia Churchland. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the article is available online, even to subscribers, but is worth checking out if you catch a copy in the library or on news stands as it’s an in-depth look into their […]

2007-02-09 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Three psychiatrists have started producing a regular, engaging and somewhat quixotic podcast called My Three Shrinks. The Neurophilosopher investigates a new form of artificial limb that feeds back touch sensations. Approximately 6 out of every 100 words are affected by repetitions, corrections or hesitations. […]

Drug breakthrough for fashionable new mental illness

Life-changing new drug Havidol (chemical name Avafynetyme HCl) has just been marketed for the widely under-recognised disorder Dysphoric Social Attention Consumption Deficit Anxiety Disorder (DSACDAD). DSACDAD is a new diagnosis where sufferers experience symptoms such as “worrying about life, feeling tense, restless, or fatigued, being concerned about their weight, noticing signs of aging, feeling stress […]

A Whiter Shade of Searle

The Boston Globe has a brief interview with philosopher John Searle where he’s quizzed about his views on consciousness, computation and consensus. Despite having a back catalogue stretching back to the 60s, prog rock band Procol Harum are popularly remembered as ‘the band who did A Whiter Shade of Pale’. Similarly, despite his wide-ranging work, […]

The psychology of risk and security

Security expert Bruce Schneier has written a remarkably insightful article on the psychology of security trade-offs and risk assessment. He’s not a psychologist by trade, although has obviously spent a lot of time researching the various studies that are relevant to the sort of decision making we engage in when trying to estimate how risky […]

Secret antipsychotic drug documents now online

Pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly has been in the news recently over sealed documents leaked to the New York Times which suggest that they covered-up the dangers of their popular antipsychotic drug olanzapine. In particular, it has been alleged that Eli Lilly knew about the drug’s side-effects before they were widely known but deliberately tried to […]

Last call for the encephalon express

We will be hosting the 16th edition of the psychology and neuroscience writing carnival Encephalon, next Monday (12th), here on Mind Hacks. If you have written a post or article about the mind, brain or behaviour for the web and want to share your hard work, you can submit a link here to have it […]


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