Monthly Archives: March 2007

Taking oxytocin helps empathy

Brain Ethics has found an intriguing study which suggests that giving people the hormone oxytocin makes them better at reading emotion from other people’s eyes. Oxytocin is a hormone that also works as a neurotransmitter, and is known to be involved in bonding experiences. It is released during sex, and also when mothers breast feed […]

Encephalon 18 at Pharyngula

The 18th edition of psychology and neuroscience writing carnival has been posted online, this time ably hosted on Pharyngula. PZ has grouped the posts into four categories: understanding brains, fixing brains, improving brains and evolving brains. A couple of my favourites include a study on how often neurosurgeons accidentally drop bits of the skull when […]

Help discover the link between music and personality

Jeremy Dean, owner of PsyBlog and postgraduate psychology researcher, is asking for participants to take part in an online study looking at the links between music preferences and personality. The psychology and neuroscience of music has recently become an exciting area, as indicated by the popularity of books and articles on the area. For example, […]

Treating brain injury with a sleeping pill

New Scientist has a short report on recent research again suggesting that sleeping pill zolpidem (trade name Ambien) might help people with impaired consciousness after brain injury. This comes after a 2006 study reported that zolpidem temporarily roused three brain-injured patients who were in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) a coma-like state of impaired consciousness. […]

Physical and psychological torture has similar impact

The New York Times reports on a study that interviewed people who had been either physically or psychologically tortured during the conflict in Yugoslavia and found both groups were equally likely to develop post traumatic stress disorder, otherwise known as PTSD. The research was led by Dr Metin Basoglu and has just been published in […]

Interactive websites make false memories more likely

Collision Detection has some interesting coverage of recently published research suggesting websites with interactive graphics are more likely to produce false memories about the pictured products than sites with static images. The article also makes an interesting point about the focus of consumer psychology in this area: One interesting thing [researcher] Schlosser points out is […]

Commercial brain computer interface on sale

Neurophilosopher reports on a commercial brain-computer interface system called g.MOBIlab that has just become available. The system comes in various versions that can be hooked up to PCs and PDAs using various interfaces including wireless and across the internet. To quote from the company’s website: g.MOBIlab – g.tec’s portable biosignal acquisition and analysis system – […]

How neurolaw is shaping the courtroom

The New York Times has an in-depth article on the increasing use of neuroscience evidence in court cases and how this is shaping concepts of justice and responsibility. The article examines the science and technology which is being used as the basis of this evidence and questions whether courts are competent to use the knowledge. […]

Eric Kandel’s reasons to be cheerful

Nobel prize-winning neuroscientist Eric Kandel has been asked to describe four advances in neuroscience from the past year that inspire optimism in an article for Edge. His choices demonstrate an eclectic interest in modern mind and brain science. The first is the discovery that MicroRNA is involved in synaptic connections and the second is advances […]

Mind and brain podcast guide

The BPS Research Digest has just published a comprehensive list of psychology and neuroscience podcasts available for your listening pleasure. It’s been put together by the BPSRD editor (our very own Dr Christian Jarrett) and is a fantastic guide to the best in mind and brain audio. It includes podcasts from universities, scientific journals and […]

Five minutes with Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin is a lawyer-turned-author who’s now pursuing happiness, by test-driving every principle, tip, theory, and scientific study she can find on the subject, and writing a book about her experiences as she goes. Sources of inspiration stretch from Aristotle to Oprah Winfrey, and her quest is being charted on her blog, the Happiness Project. […]

A critical view of transhumanism

ABC Radio’s All in the Mind just had an edition on transhumanism, where evolutionary psychologist Prof Leda Cosmides gives a critical commentary on the movement which seeks to to extend human abilities and lifespan through technology. The programme is particularly interesting, as transhumanism is still on the scientific fringe, and it’s rare to see one […]

Neuroscience, know thyself

The New English Review has a thought-provoking article by Theodore Dalrymple (the pen name of psychiatrist Anthony Daniels) who argues that modern neuroscience will not be able to provide a perfect self-understanding, and even if it could, disaster would follow. Dalrymple is an interesting character, as he’s one of the few conservative writers in the […]

AI system cited for unlicensed practice of law

The robot rebellion got a step closer this week as a US court cited a web-based artificial intelligence system for practising law without a license. The website provided legal advice based on an expert system – a database of knowledge that is often structured by the links and associations made by human experts in the […]

2007-03-09 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Prof Philip Zimbardo, of ‘Stanford Prison Experiment‘ fame, slams the US Government and the Abu Ghraib scandal in his outgoing speech. Developing Intelligence examines the possible role of dopamine in the binding problem and consciousness. How I tamed the voices in my head – […]

Near death experiences linked to sleep anomalies

Neurologist Prof Kevin Nelson and colleagues have just published a study in the journal Neurology showing that out-of-body experiences and near death experiences are more likely to occur in people who have unusual experiences when falling asleep or waking. Science Daily reports that: They found that an out-of-body experience is statistically as likely to occur […]


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