Monthly Archives: October 2007

The beauty of false depth

The image is one of many beautiful street art images from artist and architect Kurt Wenner who uses false perspective to give the images an impression of a 3D structure when viewed from a certain angle. Wenner uses the same optical manipulation as Julian Beever, whose work we covered previously on Mind Hacks. It takes […]

Strobing numbers show saccadic vision

This week’s New Scientist has a brief letter which describes an elegant demonstration of visual processing during eye movements. When you move your eyes (known as a saccade), visual input is suppressed, so less information is processed by the brain during the move. This can be easily demonstrated, as described in one of the hacks […]

Hypermemory and amnesia in National Geographic

Neurophilosophy has alerted me to the fact that National Geographic magazine has a fantastic cover feature on memory, forgetting, amnesia and hyper-recall in this month’s issue. It’s both freely available online and is accompanied by an interactive 3D brain map of the key memory structures. The article discusses some of the extremes of memory that […]

I ask you a question, I wanna know why

Dr Lolita Shant√© Gooden is New York-based psychologist with a block rockin’ background. Under the stage name Roxanne Shant√© she revolutionised hip-hop at the age of 14 when she recorded a direct reply to a popular hip-hop track which became a hit in its own right. This was one of the first rounds in an […]

Psychic studies may be influenced by suggestion

The BPS Research Digest has discussed a recent study that analysed recordings of parapsychology experiments and has found that some of the positive findings may be due to experimenters unconsciously prompting the participants as they gave their answers. The experiments used the Ganzfeld technique where one participant has diffuse white light and auditory noise played […]

Encephalon 34

The 34th edition of the psychology and neuroscience writing carnival Encephalon has just arrived with the best in the last fortnight’s mind and brain writing. On this occasion it’s hosted by the Distributed Neuron blog, which is part of an ambitious project to create biologically inspired neural network technology. A couple of my favourites in […]

Feel good necklace

The scientifically accurate molecular jewellery store Made With Molecules has produced this wonderfully alluring endorphin necklace. The necklace accurately depicts the structure of human beta-endorphin and is wrought in silver to adorn someone who will undoubtedly make you feel as good as the opioid brain chemical itself. It is handmade by biochemist turned artisan Dr […]

Musicophilia goes live

NPR public radio has recently broadcast two interviews with Oliver Sacks about the cases in his new book Musicophilia – which tackles the neurology of music. The first interview is only eight minutes and the second, which you’ll have to scroll down to the bottom of the page for, is a more in-depth half hour […]

The Tumour in the Rue Morgue

Poe’s final days are as mysterious as the best of his Gothic tales. He was found in the streets of Baltimore, delirious and disturbed before dying the following week in a state of distress. Many theories have been suggested as to what caused his confusion and eventual death, from poisoning, to a suicide attempt, to […]

Power of birth order

Time magazine has a great article discussing psychological differences that have been picked up by research looking at birth order effects. Interestingly, while first and last borns seems to have distinct traits, middle children are still a bit of a mystery. Birth order effects seem to be one of those things that can be reliably […]

To the bunkers! No really, to the bunkers

In another sign the robot revolution is coming, a robot cannon used by the South African military malfunctioned and tragically killed nine and wounded fourteen after firing uncontrollably. Mechanised self-targeting machine guns with artificial intelligence systems to distinguish between targets (e.g. humans) and non-targets (e.g. trees) are becomingly increasingly common. Last year Samsung announced that […]

Forced normalization

I love the way this completely startling fact is dropped into a sentence about one of the pioneers of German neurology: The work of Wilhelm Griesinger (1817-1868) (whose father was murdered by the family’s insane piano teacher) marks the birth of neurology in Germany. The excerpt is from a book I’m reading called Forced Normalization […]

2007-10-19 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Third time lucky? After the third time time, it’s seemingly not luck, because we think it’s a pattern, according to research covered by the BPS Research Digest. Why has Steven Pinker studied verbs for 20 years? Discover magazine publishes an interview and sets up […]

These brains rule

It’s a timeless story. Boy meets girl. Boy annoys girl. Girl goes off on a brain eating rampage before battling her creator and finishing the day at a zombie pool party. I’m not entirely sure what it’s all about, but then again, I don’t think this rather bizarre music video was designed to have any […]

The relationship between money and happiness

Newsweek has a brief article on what research has told us about the link between money and happiness. Essentially, more money makes you happier until you’re comfortable, and then, it really doesn’t do much good. Interestingly though, a study that looked at how happy a number of similarly earning young people were, found that the […]

BBC series has an odd definition of alternative

The BBC have announced a new series which will investigate the scientific basis of three ‘alternative therapies’: reflexology, hypnosis and meditation – except that two of them, hypnosis and meditation, are well-supported scientifically validated treatments. In fact, systematic reviews have found hypnosis to be an effective treatment for reducing nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy, distress […]


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