Monthly Archives: September 2007

BBC sexual behaviour series begins

BBC Radio 4 is running a special season on sexuality that will cover everything from the history cultural views on sex to the medical aspects of sexual dysfunction. The season spans a number of the BBC’s regular programmes over the next two weeks and has a remarkably wide remit. Programmes tackle social issues, behaviour and […]

Encephalon 31 pitches up

Psychology and neuroscience carnival, Encephalon, has just been posted online by Dr Deborah Serani and contains some of the best in the last fortnight’s mind and brain writing. A couple of my favourites include a piece on the possible natural selection of genes that increase risk for schizophrenia and an excellent analysis of the popular […]

The changing face of psychoanalysis

The New York Times has an article on the changing fortunes of the New York Psychoanalytic Institute and why psychoanalysis is being increasingly marginalised in mental health. Psychoanalysis, the name for both the theory practice of psychological treatment developed by Freud, was once the driving force behind American psychiatry and the only game in town […]

Fractals from the brain

Neurophilosophy has found a series of simply beautiful images created by using the electrical activity of the brain to seed fractal patterns. They’re generated by BrainPaint, a custom system for neurofeedback – a technique in which a person connected to an EEG machine sees the output of their brain visualised in real-time. This allows people […]

Osama Bin Language Acquistion

Silent for three years, Osama Bin Laden just released a video tape in which he name drops academic Noam Chomsky, suggesting that while in hiding, he’s become familiar with the American researcher’s extensive work. Exclusively, Mind Hacks publishes a deleted section from an earlier draft of Bin Laden’s latest speech that lays out his demands […]

Ethics, power and faustian pacts

Renowned psychologist Dr Mary Pipher has handed back her American Psychological Association presidential award in protest at the organisation’s refusal to ban participation in US military interrogations which some deem to be torture under the Geneva Convention. However, the whole issue of psychologists participation in government interrogations shadows a significant, but little mentioned, change in […]

Autistic children immune to contagious yawns

The BPS Research Digest reports that children with autism are seemingly ‘immune’ to contagious yawning – perhaps as a result of their reduced social awareness. Yawning is mysterious: no-one really knows why we do it, but we do know it’s reliably ‘contagious’. Seeing someone yawn, or indeed, just thinking about someone else yawning, makes us […]

2007-09-07 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: ADHD is so last season: 4000% increase in US ‘child bipolar’ diagnosis. BBC Radio 4′s science programme The Material World spends a week with students at the psychology summer school. Science News lists caffeine levels in almost all the popular soft drinks. I’ve been […]

Gambling on social hype

There was a interesting segment on NPR Radio’s Talk of the Nation the other week on the psychology of the stock market that discussed what the science of social behaviour can tell us about the causes of booms and busts. The guest on the show was Michael Mauboussin, professor of finance and author of a […]

Too much, too young, too little, too late?

Computer games may contribute to mental illness in children, but for adults they protect against cognitive decline, at least according to neuroscientist Susan Greenfield. However, the evidence for these claims is non-existent for the former, and only preliminary for the latter. Baroness Greenfield has lent her name, and investment cash, to the ‘brain training’ game […]

Radio and the dormant brain

A charming short article from the July 23, 1923 edition of Time magazine, about the supposedly receptive nature of the dormant brain. Needless to say, sleeping radio operators were not adopted as the mainstay of the US Navy’s communication system. It is true, however, that during the hypnagogic state, the transition from wakefulness into sleep, […]

Infowar: strike early, strike often

The Washington Post has a timely article about the psychology of believing news reports, even when they’ve been retracted – suggesting that if false information is presented early, it is more likely to be believed, while subsequent attempts to correct the information may, in fact, strengthen the false impression. The article starts with results from […]

Psychiatrist denounces own ghostwritten article as ‘crap’

The Carlat Psychiatry Blog contacted psychiatrist Prof C. Lindsay DeVane about an article on antidepressant drug interactions he apparently co-authored for the medical journal CNS Spectrums. In reply, DeVane noted that the article was ghost-written on behalf of a drug company and denounced it as “piece of commercial crap” and ‘ridiculous’, ‘inaccurate’ and ‘simplistic’. DeVane […]

Sampling The Stuff of Thought

3 Quarks Daily has an extended review of Steven Pinker’s new book The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature that highlights one of the many curiosities of the English language. …what I’d like to try to do here is give you a flavor of the kinds of things the book is […]

Psychiatrists are least religious medical speciality

A just published study that looked at the religious beliefs of different types of medical doctors in the US has found that psychiatrists are the least religious among the medical specialities. The study also found that non-psychiatrist physicians who were religious, were least likely to refer a patient with symptoms of mental illness to a […]

Mystery of Jackson’s missing bust and lost music

John Hughlings Jackson was one of ‘fathers’ of modern neurology and the picture on the right is of his bust, which resides in the Institute of Neurology library in London. However, it’s actually a copy as the original went missing and its location is still something of a mystery. The original was carved in marble […]

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