Monthly Archives: July 2007

The gender psychology of fair pay and haggling

The Washington Post has an article on a recent study suggesting that the pay disparity between men and women might be explained by the fact that women don’t ask for pay rises as much as men, and it may be because they’re worried about being seen as pushy and difficult. Crucially, the research also indicates […]

I also adore having several dishes on the table

Ben Goldacre has found a so-awful-lets-hope-it’s-a-hoax article that suggests that people with Down Syndrome and people from Asia might be genetically similar, because, well, they do similar things. Strictly speaking, of course, they’re quite right. In fact, apart from an extra 21st chromosome, most people, no matter where they come from, are genetically similar to […]

The philosophy of love

ABC Radio National’s The Philosopher’s Zone just had an edition on how philosophers through the ages have made sense of that most intense of human emotions, love. The guest on the show is philosopher Dr Linnell Secomb who’s the author of the new book Philosophy and Love from Plato to Popular Culture (ISBN 0748623671). Secomb […]

An illustrated history of lobotomy

My last place of work blocked huge swathes of the web, meaning I’m discovering I’ve missed some blog posts recently, including this wonderful Neurophilosophy article on the rise and fall of prefrontal lobotomy. It’s a fantastic tour through the history of how the procedure was developed, popularised and abandoned. It aptly illustrates that medical history […]

The controversial state of ‘hands on’ sex therapy

Dr Petra Boynton has written a fascinating article on sex surrogacy, the controversial practice of using ‘hands on’ tutoring as part of therapy for sexual disorders. ‘Sex therapy’ is an umbrella term for a number of established psychological and behavioural treatments for sexual difficulties. Most commonly, it involves a therapist working with a couple to […]

Night Falls Fast: Jamison on understanding suicide

I’ve just finished reading Kay Redfield Jamison’s book Night Falls Fast (ISBN 0375701478), a remarkably sensitive exploration of the difficult subject of suicide. Unlike Jamison’s better known books, An Unquiet Mind and Touched with Fire, you rarely see it in bookshops. It’s probably her least successful book, not least, I suspect, because of the subject […]

Goodbye Fair City

I leave Dublin today after working in the Fair City since spring. Many thanks to the psychologists I’ve worked with and learnt so much from, and the people of Dublin for their kind hospitality. The picture is taken from Sandycove Harbour, looking out across Dun Laoghaire and Dublin Bay. Only a few hundred yards from […]

Like being struck by lightning: Musicophilia

The July 23rd edition of The New Yorker has an article by Oliver Sacks on people who suddenly experience a passion and irresistible urge to listen to music after brain injury. The article itself is only available online as a brief summary, but there’s a freely available podcast where Sacks discusses the topic in more […]

SciAm special on the science of children and teens

Scientific American have just released one of their special editions of collected articles. This one is on ‘the early years’ and looks at the psychology and neuroscience of children, from infancy to the teenage years. The SciAm specials are just collections of their previously published articles, but put in one themed issue with no adverts. […]

Junkies and victims: addiction and the disease debate

Slate has an article by a psychologist and a psychiatrist who argue that addiction is not a ‘brain disease’, contrary to much of the recent rhetoric about drug abuse. This is one side of the debate that is driving our attempts to understand addiction. The ‘brain disease’ concept (also known as the ‘disease model’) is […]

2007-07-27 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Lifting someone’s mood makes them more likely to believe in the supernatural, reports the APA. New Scientist reports on research presented at a conference suggesting an oxytocin spray can boost the effect of cognitive therapy treatment for anxiety disorders. A website called We Feel […]

Couples’ faces grow more alike as they age

PsyBlog has picked up on a neat study from way back in ’87 that found that couples faces look more alike the longer they stay together, and the researchers suggest that empathy might play a part. The study asked a group of participants to judge how similar pairs of photographs were. Some of the photos […]

War causes trauma, death, satire

This week’s edition of satirical newspaper The Onion has a cutting ‘news’ story on both the Iraq war and psychology, highlighting the absurdity that arises from trying to quantify the bleedin’ obvious and discussing the shortcomings of the study in the press. The story supposedly concerns a study investigating the psychological impact of the Iraq […]

40 years on: Experiences of ‘gay conversion therapy’

This Saturday marks the 40th anniversary of the first major decriminalisation of male-male sexual acts in the UK. Dr Petra Boynton looks back at how the change came about and has dug up some fascinating articles on the experience of <a href=" “>patients and professionals who took part in ‘gay conversion therapy’ in the 60s […]

Albert Ellis has left the building

Albert Ellis, one of the co-founders of cognitive therapy, died yesterday at his home in New York. The Boston Herald has an obituary that captures some of his work and eccentric spirit. Ellis created ‘rational emotive behavior therapy’ (REBT) that stressed a rational approach to dealing with distressing cognitive distortions – a significant break from […]

Epilepsy: fighting myths and saving lives

BBC News reports on a recently published study that found that myths about epilepsy and its treatment are still widely believed, possibly putting people at risk. This post will tell you how to help someone having a seizure. The research project, led by Dr Sallie Baxendale, used the internet to survey over 4,500 people concerning […]


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