Monthly Archives: May 2007

The strength of weak touches

The BPS Research Digest covers a simple yet fascinating study on the power on lightly touching someone’s arm when trying to persuade them. In this case, the psychology study involved a man asking women to dance or for their phone numbers. A good-looking man approached 120 women in a night club over a period of […]

Selling disgust

An article in Time magazine discusses how an understanding of the psychology of disgust is being applied to selling products and the arrangement of items in supermarkets. One key finding has been that disgust is heavily linked to ideas of contamination and this holds even when there’s no risk – just the idea is enough. […]

Dispelling ghostly images with electromagnets

In a study investigating how the brain generates paranormal experiences and psychotic states, researchers used strong electromagnets to alter brain function and found they could reduce the number of times healthy volunteers saw spontaneously experienced false perceptions. The researchers altered the function of the temporal lobes with a method called transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS […]

Wiring the brain for synaesthesia

Neurophilosopher has a great article on a brain scanning study showing that people with synaesthesia have different patterns of brain connections compared to non-synaesthetes. You read a lot of articles on the brain that use phrases like “wired differently”, suggesting that the connections in the brain are altered. As the connections in our brain are […]

Neuroplastic fantastic

The New York Times has a review of a new book on how people have overcome brain damage through neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to re-organise itself. While this is nothing new, the brain has always had this ability, the discovery is relatively recent and rehabilitation is increasingly designed to take advantage of this process. […]

Memory exploratorium

San Francisco’s interactive science museum Exploratorium has a fantastic online memory exhibit, that includes articles, games, demonstrations and lectures from leading memory researchers. The exhibit looks at the science of memory, as well as how it is used in art. There’s a great article that explains memory distortions via Philip K. Dick and a try-it-yourself […]

Finding the wily thief

A study that followed the lives of young males for 20 years has found that cognitive ability predicted whether the person was likely to engage in violence or theft if they had a tendency for antisocial behaviour. Way back in ’79, the researchers recruited 698 males from 12 to 18 years of age from a […]

The paradoxes of mental accounting

The Washington Post has a fascinating article on the psychology of mental accounting – a seemingly simple process but one which seems to have curious effects on how we decide to spend our money. The article suggests we mentally divide our money for different purposes, and tend to be reluctant to change our thinking, even […]

Virtual insanity

Wired and The New York Times have just each published an article about the use of virtual reality to simulate the experiences of schizophrenic psychosis. This is a PR success for its creator, Janssen-Cilag Pharmaceuticals, but its hardly news, as they’ve been showing the system since 2000. The system originally had the appalling name ‘Paved […]

Polish psychologists ordered to assess Tinky Winky

A Polish government minister has ordered psychologists to investigate whether BBC TV show Teletubbies promotes homosexuality in children. Yes, you read that right the first time. Here’s some of the story from BBC News: The spokesperson for children’s rights in Poland, Ewa Sowinska, singled out Tinky Winky, the purple character with a triangular aerial on […]

The state of commercial neuroscience

NeuroInsights have released a report on the neurotechnology industry that uncovers the growing market for brain-based goods and services. The 350 page report will set you back $4,500 (that’s almost $13 dollars a page!), but has been summarised by Zack Lynch, the company’s managing director, on his blog. Some of the highlights include: 2006 venture […]

Brain patch

An artist on Etsy is selling this wonderful iron-on brain patch based on an antique anatomical illustration. For only $5 plus packing, you can get one of these delivered to your door and attached to, well, whatever you’d want a beautiful brain illustration attached to. And if you can’t think of any reason you’d want […]

Setting yourself back 30 years with hypnosis

Celebrity hypnotist Paul McKenna on BBC Radio 4’s music programme, Desert Island Discs: “When you hear a song, back in say the 70s, the first time you heard it, it sounded absolutely fantastic and it’ll never sound like that again. So, I age regressed myself – I know this sounds a little unusual – and […]

Broadcasting from the silent land

If you’ve got half an hour, you could do a lot worse than spending it listening to ABC Radio National’s All in the Mind interview with neuropsychologist Dr Paul Broks, author of Into the Silent Land (ISBN 1843540347). Broks writes in a part philosophical, part hallucinatory style, focusing on patients whose understanding and experience of […]

Guide to Psychology Blogs

PsyBlog has just published the first part of a guide to online psychology and neuroscience blogs, and says some jolly nice things about Mind Hacks in the process. PsyBlog author Jeremy also highlights a few more of the many good online reads, but is too modest to mention himself, so I thought I’d pitch in […]

Inkling on Human Nature

I’ve just discovered online science mag Inkling Magazine and noticed that their Human Nature section is full of great mind and brain articles. Recent articles cover the safety of antidepressants for teenagers, the health risks of love and a brief interview with neuroscientist, author and stroke survivor Jill Bolte Taylor. There’s a whole stack more, […]

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