Monthly Archives: April 2007

Power naps for better memory

Neurophilosopher has a great review of a recent study on how short naps help improve memory, and how this is supported by the brain. Participants were asked to learn an action task and were split into two groups. One group was allowed to have an afternoon nap, while the others remained awake. Afterwards, those who […]

The dynamics of crowd disasters

Science News has an intriguing article on how physicists have applied models of fluid dynamics to successfully understand dangerous crowd stampedes. The joint German-Saudi team were prompted to conduct the research by the tragic events of 2006 where hundreds were killed during a mass stampede during the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. Various physical […]

Mood slime

RAY: Peter, this is an incredible breakthrough. I mean, what a discovery! A psychoreactive substance! Whatever this stuff is, it responds to human emotional states. PETER: Mood slime. Oh, baby… WINSTON: You mean this stuff actually feeds on bad vibes. RAY: Like a cop in a donut factory. Dialogue from one of the only comedy […]

A Shock Wave of Brain Injuries

The Washington Post has just published an article on the worrying amount of brain damage suffered by US troops in Iraq because of shockwave injuries from roadside bombs known as improvised explosive devices or IEDs. These sorts of injuries tend not to damage the skull, but can cause significant injury as the brain rapidly accelerates […]

Encephalon 20 hits the net

The 20th edition of Encephalon has just been published containing the best in the last fortnight’s mind and brain writing. This edition is hosted by science writer Orli Van Mourik’s blog Neurontic and has everything from a neurologist answering questions on computers and consciousness, to studies suggesting that the brain (particularly in mothers) may be […]

Violence linked to price of beer

A research report published in Applied Economics has found that the number of patients with violence-related injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms is related to the price of beer. The paper is available online as a pdf and is from Cardiff University’s Violence and Society Research Group. The researchers examined admissions to 58 hospital accident […]

Yes or No would be very misleading

“We are accustomed to think of any particular response as either learned or innate, which is apt to be a source of confusion in thinking about things… Is the response inherited or acquired? The answer is, Neither: either Yes or No would be very misleading.” Pioneering neuropsychologist Donald Hebb highlights that fact that all human […]

This Week in the History of Psychology

Christopher Green, a professor of psychology at York University in Toronto produces a weekly podcast that examines crucial events in the history of psychology. Each episode of This Week in the History of Psychology looks at a significant development that happened in the same week during the past. Prof Green also runs the fantastic Classics […]

Top 10 influential psychotherapists

Psychotherapy Networker magazine is celebrating its 25th anniversary and has conducted a survey to find out the 10 most influential psychotherapists. Over two and a half thousand (presumably) American psychotherapists responded to the question “Over the last 25 years, which figures have most influenced your practice?” from which the top ten were compiled. This list […]

2007-04-06 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: The New York Times has a fantastic article on non-medical ways of dealing with auditory hallucinations and the growing hearing voices movement. Steven Pinker has been doing talks recently on the psychology of violence and published and article in Edge outlining his main arguments. […]

A study in consciousness

This month’s Prospect Magazine has an article by neuropsychologist Paul Broks that takes a recent book on consciousness as a starting point for an exploration of how the brain generates this curious form of self-awareness. The book in question is Nicholas Humphrey’s Seeing Red: A Study in Consciousness (ISBN 0674021797) that takes an evolutionary approach […]

Is waking a sleepwalker dangerous?

Scientific American has a short article that tackles the common idea that it is dangerous to wake people who are sleep walking. It turns out, it’s often dangerous not to rouse them from their sleep. The article discusses what causes sleepwalking, and the curious ways in which it can express itself. Still, more disconcerting than […]

Polonium-210 and psychiatric case histories

BBC Radio 4’s All in the Mind has just kicked off a new series with features on the psychological effects of Alexander Litvenenko’s Polonium-210 poisoning and whether there is still value in detailed individual case studies in psychiatry. Litvenenko’s poisoning made headline news and was a significant public health risk owing to the powerful radioactive […]

Shining lights, brain cells sparking

So I prescribed her, something to revive And surprise her, she’s liver and much more wiser Than the light I shine when my brain cells spark, Come to me so we can glow in the dark A curious combination of psychiatric metaphor and romantic storytelling from Eric B & Rakim’s 1990 track Mahogany. The hip […]

New Yorker on child bipolar controversy

April 9th’s New Yorker has a cracking article on the current controversy on whether it’s possible (or even valid) to diagnose bipolar disorder in children. The article comes at a time when the diagnosis of bipolar disorder is being increasingly used for young children with behavioural difficulties. It has been of particular interest after the […]

Review: Freedom & Neurobiology by John Searle

John Searle will be known to most cognitive scientists as the man behind the famous Chinese Room thought experiment. This is based around the idea that a man in a room translating Chinese symbols with the aid of a rulebook does not understand Chinese, any more than a computer producing intelligent-like (understanding-like, consciousness-like) behaviour due […]

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