Monthly Archives: June 2007

Amazon tribe challenges the structure of language

Chomsky famously argued that a core property of all language was recursion – the ability to include units of meaning inside other units. Anthropologist Daniel Everett argues in an article for Edge that the language of the Pirah√£ people is not like this, and might suggest that our understanding of the structure of language needs […]

Smuggling drugs into the brain

Open-access science journal PLoS Biology has a fascinating article on the latest developments in getting drugs across the blood-brain barrier – the body’s strict border control that keeps the brain free of foreign substances. The blood-brain barrier is a filtering system in the capillaries, the smallest blood vessels in the brain, to prevent molecules over […]

Fatherhood in the mind and brain

Both Time and Slate have just run articles on the often neglected field of fatherhood, where they report on the significant brain changes and unique psychological processes linked to male parenthood. I sometimes think you can’t blame fathers for feeling like they’re unimportant when science has relegated them to a footnote in the parenting process. […]

Unnatural selection

Overheard in a bookshop last week: “I’m looking for a book called The God Delusion. It’s by Richard Darwin.” Is this the first case of the God Capgras Delusion I wonder?

A Trephined Irish Skull

Many thanks to Alex and the Neurophilosopher, who sent in the article I had no luck getting hold of in the previous post on trepanation – the surgical technique of putting a hole in the skull. The brief article is from the 1923 edition of the anthropology journal Man and describes ninth century brain surgery […]

2007-06-15 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: The New York Times has an article on the controversial diagnosis of sensory integration disorder. Simon Baron-Cohen writes on The Biology of the Imagination in Entelechy magazine. Neanderthals were less likely to be mentally ill according to some speculative research. The Society for Neuroscience […]

The reflected relationship: the science of transference

This week’s Science News has an article on transference, originally a Freudian concept of how feelings from one relationship can affect another if the two people share similarities. In its simplest sense, transference is taking out your feelings of frustration on your partner when you’ve just had an argument with the bus driver. You’ve just […]

The latest in sleep science

A Blog Around the Clock has a couple of useful posts that collect the highlights from one of the biggest international sleep research conferences. Sleep 2007 finishes today in Minneapolis and is a mecca for psychologists and biologists wanting to understand this still mysterious process. If you want to have a look at exactly what’s […]

Like a hole in the head: An illustrated history of trepanation

Neurophilosopher has written an absolutely fantastic post on the history of trepanation – the surgical procedure that has been carried out since prehistoric times and involves drilling a hole in the head. Neurophilosopher always has great articles but this is also wonderfully illustrated and has all the gory details of this fascinating procedure. The trepanned […]

Cognitive science news mashup

CogNews.net is a website that takes feeds from a number of cognitive science sites and puts them in one place for your viewing pleasure. It has three categories with feeds from a few essential sites in each: Mind and Cognition (which includes us!), Neuroscience, and Artificial Intelligence and Robots. The site has been put together […]

New brain scan combines best of both

ScienceDaily reports that the first images from a new type of brain scanner that combines both magnetic and radiation-based imaging have been shown at a recent medical conference. The new technology is called MR/PET because it allows magnetic resonance and positron emission tomography scans to be conducted at the same time. MRI uses very strong […]

Bullets, bleeds and bangs – brain injury animations

Brain injury resource site Neuroskills has a nifty page of brain animations, including a selection showing how various types of brain injury occur. They’re a bit clunky in places and the point of injury seems to be illustrated with a small science-fiction-like stellar explosion, but they’re genuinely informative and quite fun to watch at times. […]

Mind Hacks is mercury

Humbug has put together a wonderful periodic table of blogs and it looks like Mind Hacks is the mercury of the internet. I’m hoping it’s because we’re shiny and interesting rather than neurotoxic. Link to Humbug periodic table.

The psychology of self-accusation, from 1902

Every month, the British Journal of Psychiatry has a section that prints 100-year-old excerpts from medical journals relevant to modern psychiatry. They are usually both fascinating and shocking. As a brief window on the past, they can show a very different understanding of mental disorder, but not always the respect that people with psychiatric difficulties […]

Detect lies by getting the story in reverse order

The Times has an interesting piece on a police interview technique that asks the suspect to tell the story in reverse order. A recent study has found this makes it more likely that liars will give themselves away. The research has been conducted by Prof Aldert Vrij and colleagues who specialise in the psychology of […]

The purpose of psychology

“The purpose of psychology is to give us a completely different idea of the things we know best.” A quote from the French writer and philosopher Paul Val√©ry.

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