Monthly Archives: January 2008

So long, and thanks for all the fish, suckers

SciAm’s Mind Matters blog has a completely fascinating post on the common assumption that humans have the the most complex brain of all the animals. Compared to a whale, however, our brain is smaller and has even less cortical folds. Does that mean they’re smarter? The article is by neuroscientist R. Douglas Fields and takes […]

The final score

“I wouldn’t recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they’ve always worked for me.” Who else, but the the inimitable Hunter S. Thompson.

The resistence of memory in hypnotic amnesia

Research just published in neuroscience journal Neuron has discovered some of the brain networks behind post-hypnotic amnesia. Importantly, the study might give us an insight into how memories are repressed from consciousness. Psychogenic amnesia is a type of memory disorder where there is no brain damage to explain the memory loss. Unlike amnesia after brain […]

Why we love (and flirt)

Time magazine has a couple of articles on the psychology of love, sex and attraction. The first looks at the science of love, from thoughts to hormones, and the second at what we know about flirting. The love article is a more in-depth look at the topic of the two articles, and touches on studies […]

Sensory Processing and Neurotopographics

While we’re on the subject of art and neuroscience I recently discovered a couple of pieces that caught my interest. The picture is a piece by Sandra Dawson called ‘Sensory Processing’ which has combined a cap used for EEG recordings of the brain with comforting objects and materials. I recycled two EEG caps, cut up […]

Not seeing the wood for the dendritic trees

The LA Times has an article by Jonah Lehrer arguing that we can’t solely understand the mind and brain by reductionism – the process of working out smaller and smaller components of what we’re trying to study. He argues that an approach that uses only measurement will never capture the complexity of subjective experience and […]

Wired on suicides of AI leading lights

Wired magazine has a feature article on the life, work and tragic deaths of two of the leading lights of Artificial Intelligence: Chris McKinstry and Push Singh. Singh was a young researcher at MIT’s AI lab while McKinstry was considered a maverick and most of his AI work was conducted independently. Both had a significant […]

Avalanches and Gnarls Barkley psychiatry mashup

Laptop Punk has created a mashup of two curiously complementary music videos: Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy and The Avalanches’ Frontier Psychiatrist. The original version of Frontier Psychiatrist is a turntable satire on clich√©s about psychiatry and mental illness taken from films of the 1950s, that include mental illness being dangerous, psychiatrists having couches and patients being […]

Test your corpus callosum

I’ve just discovered a wonderfully simple finger touch procedure that can test the function of your corpus callosum, a key brain structure that connects the two cortical hemispheres. It is called the ‘cross lateralization of fingertips test’ and was used in a 1991 study by Kazuo Satomi and colleagues. It relies on the fact that […]

The inner body

NPR’s radio show Talk of the Nation has a discussion with Sandra and Matthew Blakeslee, authors of a new book on the neuroscience of the body and movement. If you’re interested in the ideas of embodied cognition that we covered the other day, the discussion touches on many of the major findings in cognitive science […]

Power and consciousness with John Searle

Philosopher John Searle, most widely known for his ‘Chinese Room‘ thought experiment, is profiled in an article for The Times. The article is partly a review of his new book Freedom and Neurobiology, and partly a look back at the work and experiences which have shaped his current views on mind, brain and society. Searle, […]

An ode to ibuprofen

A lyrical tribute to the pain killer ibuprofen, written by poet Matt Harvey. The poem was written for BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Live, as they had Dr Stewart Adams on the programme discussing his discovery of the drug. The Telegraph has a great article on its discovery, which includes the fact that he tested the […]

Questioning the cognitive

American Scientist has two great reviews that tackle books on perhaps the most important theory of psychology: that the mind can be understood as an information processing system. This theory is known as the ‘cognitive approach’ and it assumes that the mind and brain can be usefully described as systems that transform and interpret different […]

2008-01-18 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: The BPS Research Digest covers some more amazing studies that find that our names are linked to our choices and performance. Games console chip to be used for MRI analysis reports io9. Mostly cool for the beautiful MRI tractography image. Furious Seasons covers a […]

Effect of antidepressants exaggerated due to buried data

The New England Journal of Medicine has just published a study that found the effectiveness of 12 of the most popular antidepressants has been exaggerated because pharmaceutical companies have been ‘hiding’ data from negative drug trials. Known as the ‘file drawer effect‘, it involves submitting only positive results to be published in scientific journals. This […]

Can stress stop the menstrual cycle?

Inkling has an interesting article on the effect of stress on the menstrual cycle that investigates the received wisdom that stress can prevent periods. It turns out the scientific studies have found no conclusive answer as they’ve returned mixed results, but this may be because they don’t adequately distinguish between physical stress and psychological stress. […]


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 26,895 other followers