Monthly Archives: May 2007

Face contributes most to overall attractiveness

New Scientist has a short report suggesting that the face contributes more to the overall impression of attractiveness than the body. The research was led by biologist Marianne Peters who asked participants to rate the attractiveness of a number of people, presented as photographs of either the whole person, the face only or the body […]

Bioterrorism and the brain

ABC Radio National’s All in the Mind has a compelling discussion about the development and dangers of weapons designed to target the brain and nervous system. The guests on the programme are Prof Malcom Dando and Dr Mark Wheelis, who have recently written a paper for the International Red Cross entitled ‘Neurobiology: A Case Study […]

Weird world of the Psychological Atlas has a copy of a 1948 book entitled the Psychological Atlas that is full of weird and wonderful things from the world of 1940s psychology and beyond. It’s got some serious psychology in there, mixed in with the paranormal, weird and curious stuff, probably reflecting the public understanding of the field at the time. […]

Brain scan lie detection still truth or dare

The Scientist has an article on the latest developments in the world of fMRI lie detection, looking at how accurate and reliable the technology really is. This is a particularly hot topic because a commercial company, No Lie MRI, are marketing a brain scan lie detection service. This is despite the fact that neuroscientists and […]

2007-05-11 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: One I missed a while ago: Developing Intelligence looks at a paper that actually attempts to define consciousness (rather than relying on the usual “we all know what we’re talking about, don’t we?” definition). The Toronto Globe and Mail reports on research suggesting that […]

The art of non-verbal attraction

PsyBlog has just published a couple of short articles on non-verbal communication, one examining a common myth, and the other looking at how it indicates attraction between people who’ve just met. The first article is on the research that debunks the myth that ‘93% of communication is nonverbal’. Just the precision of those sorts of […]

Treating children, pushing drugs

The New York Times has another investigative article on the pharmaceutical industry, this time looking at how promotions aimed at psychiatrists encourage the prescription of antipsychotic drugs to children. As far as I know, none of the newer ‘atypical’ antipsychotics are licensed for children (actually, I’d be interested to hear otherwise). This doesn’t mean doctors […]

It’s not a quirk, it’s a feature

Prof Richard Wiseman tackles some of the quirkier findings in the psychological literature in a New Scientist article which has been made freely available online. The article accompanies the launch of Wiseman’s new book, Quirkology, which apparently looks at these sorts of curious research studies in more detail. He’s also created a very impressive inattentional […]

Five minutes with Petra Boynton

Dr Petra Boynton is a social psychologist, researcher, author, broadcaster, blogger, and award winning sex educator. She’s an advocate for evidence-based sex education, amid the largely sensationalist media coverage of the subject, and a tireless campaigner for sexual equality, having worked to improve media sex coverage both in the UK and internationally. As well as […]

Encephalon 22 hits the virtual shelves

Issue 22 of the Encephalon psychology and neuroscience writing carnival has just arrived, this time hosted by anthropologist John Hawks. A couple of my favourites include a compelling article from Madam Fathom on the evolution of the nervous system and another by Pure Pedantry on the complex considerations needed to answer the question ‘Do autistic […]

A brief history of neuroscience

There’s been a wonderful series of posts at neuroscience blog Neuroevolution which have charted the history of cognitive neuroscience from ancient Greece to the age of the brain scanner. There’s been 26 posts in all, each of them a beautifully illustrated snapshot of a groundbreaking discovery. The series tells the story of how we’ve come […]

Understanding wisdom

You would think they’d be lots of good psychological theories of wisdom, as it’s something we talk about all the time in everyday life, but there just isn’t. Psychologists have traditionally avoided the subject, although, thankfully, this is now starting to change and the New York Times has an in-depth article looking at some of […]

Submarine psychology

I just found this interesting snippet in a BBC News story about the development and imminent launch of the new Astute class Navy submarine: It may be one of the most sophisticated submarines ever built, but the project has been beset with problems. The three submarines are ¬£900m ($1.8bn) over budget and four years behind […]

Criminal violence and the brain

Open-access science journal PLoS Biology has another fantastic article that investigates what neuroscience tells about about the causes of antisocial behaviour and how damage to the brain can, in rare cases, lead someone to become violent. The article looks at research on the neuropsychology of violent criminals, as well as ‘forensic neurology’ – the science […]

Leyla, darling won’t you ease my worried mind

While looking for neuroscience videos we’ve found some pretty weird stuff on YouTube before, but despite their quirkiness, at least they made sense. This one’s just completely baffling. It seems to be a sort of love letter, presented as a brain diagram, with a disco backing track. Apparently it’s dedicated to someone called Leyla, and […]

Don’t stand so close to me

NPR has a short video report on how social conventions, like keeping personal space, transfer into virtual worlds like Second Life. The report focuses on the work of psychologist Nick Yee who we interviewed last November about his research into the social psychology of virtual worlds. Yee and the NPR reporter go and field test […]


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