Monthly Archives: August 2007

Inside Intuition

Can you trust your gut instincts? A BBC Radio 4 documentary ‘Inside Intuition’ offers to address the issue. It’s on this friday – that’s the 17th August – at 11am. Those of you busy or outside of the UK, check the BBC’s fantastic Listen Again pages during the week after broadcast. BBC Press release here […]

Cerebrum – Dana’s online neuroscience magazine

Dana, the neuroscience education charity, have an online magazine called Cerebrum that has monthly articles on emerging ideas in brain science. The latest article is on ‘cosmetic neurology‘, also known as ‘cosmetic pharmacology’, where medical advances are used not to treat diseases but to help with the more day-to-day problems of living or to actually […]

The Civil War phantom limb

Below is an early report of a phantom limb – the perception of feeling from a limb which has since been removed – from the partly-autobiographical fiction of American Civil War physician and writer Silas Weir Mitchell. It recounts the effect in a Civil War soldier who had both legs amputated after suffering battlefield injuries. […]

A casebook of Victorian psychiatric patients

I’ve just discovered that Amazon has an excerpt, detailing three patients, from the book Presumed Curable: An Illustrated Casebook of Victorian Psychiatric Patients in Bethlem Hospital (ISBN 1871816483) as part of its ‘look inside’ feature. The book includes photographs of patients from the Bethlem Royal Hospital, the world’s oldest psychiatric hospital, from the end of […]

2007-08-10 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: NPR has a radio show about a new book on ‘cognitive dissonance’, the process that motivates us to resolve conflicts between our thoughts and actions. Mixing Memory has a wonderfully insightful look at a recent study on mirror neurons, animacy, and gesture. This is […]

Electrocution during sexual activity

Another in my occasional series on the surprising diversity of human sexuality as demonstrated by the forensic pathology literature. This is a case report from the The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology on a couple who sadly died while trying a fatal mix of sex and electricity. Warning: it’s a little uncomfortable in […]

Win a prize! Awkward acronyms in cognitive science

BBC News is reporting that Scotland has launched a ¬£40 million neuroscience research project called SINAPSE, short for ‘Scottish Imaging Network: A Platform for Scientific Excellence’. SINAPSE joins a long list of awkward acronyms in the world of psychology and neuroscience, and I’d like to launch a competition to find the most inventive. These days, […]

In deep: the sociology of gang culture

The Freakanomics blog has an insightful interview with sociologist Prof Sudhir Venkatesh who spends time with US street gangs studying gang culture and organised crime. Q: What role do women play in gangs? A: In the 1970s and 1980s, female gangs were independent organizations in places like New York, Chicago, Cleveland, and Milwaukee. They tended […]

Excellent BBC Brain Story series available online

I’ve just noticed that probably one of the best TV series on psychology and neuroscience ever produced, the BBC’s Brain Story, is available on public bittorrent servers for download. It is a six part series covering virtually every area of contemporary neuropsychology, including the major researchers, discoveries, techniques and even many of the patients who […]

Fresh psychologist torture role revelations

The last fortnight has been a grim period for psychology as a two major news sources have published additional revelations about the key role of psychologists in military interrogations that many deem tantamount to torture under international law. As we’ve reported earlier, online news source Salon have been investigating the role of contracted psychologists in […]

Brands affect perceptions of preschoolers

A recently published study on brand influence has reported that preschool children perceive carrots to taste better when they come out of a McDonald’s bag, even though the company doesn’t sell carrots. The study shows that even very young children have internalised advertising and that it significantly affects their perception of the outside world. Perhaps […]

Questioning Alzheimer’s

BBC Radio 4’s medical programme Check Up just broadcast a phone in on Alzheimer’s disease with neuroscientist Prof Clive Ballard. The programme tackles issues of diagnosis, treatment and what actually happens in the brain. I’m often surprised about how little people know about this relatively common neurological disorder. One of the most common questions I […]

Sage psychology journals free ’till September

The BPS Research Digest has discovered that all 36 psychology journals by academic publisher Sage have been made freely available until the September. Some require a free registration to view, but some key journals are available right off the bat, including Personality and Social Psychology Review (the May edition is particularly good). The BPSRD has […]

Wheat from the chaff in neuro-journalism

The Neuro-Journalism Mill is a blog run by science organisation the McDonnell Foundation that examines recent brain press stories and marks them as wheat – high quality accurate neuroscience stories, or chaff – exaggerated, inaccurate or oversimplified hack pieces. Wouldn’t you know it, the ‘chaff‘ articles vastly outnumber the ‘wheat‘. Actually, some of the ‘chaff’ […]

A social history of death and dying

BBC Radio 4’s social history and sociology programme Thinking Allowed recently had a programme on how death and dying customs have changed over time and how obituaries say as much about society as they do about the deceased. A guest on the show is sociologist Prof Allan Kelehear who discusses his book A Social History […]

OCD in Time Magazine

Time magazine has a feature article on the science and treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD, where a person is affected by intrusive thoughts, or feels compelled to complete repetitive actions, or both. It is strongly linked to anxiety, and a typical pattern is where an intrusive thought causes stress, and the person feels […]


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