Monthly Archives: April 2008

Solar powered EEG headset

The New Scientist Tech Blog has an interesting article on a new prototype EEG machine that, like all others, is designed to read electrical activity from the brain. The novelty is that it is totally enclosed in an earphones-like headset and is solar-powered. Apparently, it also generates power from the body’s own heat. The new […]

Doctor Who Hears Voices torrent online

The recent UK TV docudrama, The Doctor Who Hears Voices, that we discussed previously has appeared on torrent servers and seems available for download. I’ve not yet seen the programme or fully downloaded it myself yet, but I’m assuming it works OK. Clinical psychologist Rufus May plays himself. An interesting choice because he was diagnosed […]

Does economics make you selfish?

Philosopher Eric Schwitzgebel has been investigating whether ethics professors are more moral than other people, and it turns out, they’re possibly less. He’s now turned his attention to economics and wonders whether too much exposure to ‘rational choice theory‘ – that says it’s always rational to maximise profit – makes people more selfish. Surprisingly, there […]

Hofmann gone to the great Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

At 9 am this morning, Albert Hofmann, chemist and creator of LSD, died in his home in Switzerland. Hofmann died at the grand old age of 102 and saw the psychedelic drug he called his “problem child” spark the interest of psychologists and psychiatrists, inspire a generation of 1960s flower children, and earn the ire […]

Encephalon 44 wants you!

The 44th edition of the psychology and neuroscience writing carnival Encephalon has just been released by the ever-excellent Cognitive Daily. What with the flurry of recent interest in neuroscience studies predicting the imminent death of our concept of free will, this edition has a slyly satirical slant on your ability to resist. A couple of […]

Evolution of the troubled mind

I just listened to a recent edition of ABC Radio National’s All in the Mind on evolutionary approaches to mental illness. While the topic isn’t new, it’s interesting that the two clinicians try to directly apply some of the ideas to their work treating patients with mental disorders. Almost all evolutionary accounts of mental illness […]

Dr Mezmer’s Dictionary of Bad Psychology

The Devil’s Dictionary was a famously satirical book by Ambrose Bierce where he lampooned almost everything, in alphabetical order. He famously defined the brain as “an apparatus with which we think we think”, but now, a similarly cutting dictionary has been dedicated to psychology. Dr Mezmer’s Dictionary of Bad Psychology contains a wealth of useful […]

Viktor Frankl and Man’s Search for Meaning

I’ve just finished reading the wonderful Man’s Search for Meaning, a 1946 book written by psychiatrist and neurologist Viktor E. Frankl, where he discusses his experiences and observations as a Nazi concentration camp inmate. The book comes in two parts, the first recounts Frankl’s experience as an inmate in two concentration camps; the second discusses […]

A serotonin chat-up line worthy of appreciation

In response to my throwaway comment about a finding a suitable chat-up line for someone with the molecular structure of serotonin tattooed on their butt, I am eternally grateful to the commenter ‘tmplikeachilles’ for suggesting the inspired line: “Your place or monoamine?” You sir, are a genius.

My mind on my money and my money on my mind

This is an excerpt from quite possibly the geekiest forensic pathology article I have ever read. Three pathologists discuss the physics of how a Mexican coin ended up in the brain of a dead shooting victim. They speculate he may have been holding it in his hand while shielding his head and the bullet impacted […]

The history and psychology of wine

The May issue of The Psychologist has a freely available cover article on wine which takes a suitably meandering route through the history and psychology of the fermented grape. It’s full of fascinating facts from times past mixed in with recent findings from research studies. I particularly liked this section, which starts with an ancient […]

2008-04-25 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: BBC science programme The Material World has a great feature on the blood-brain barrier. I love the blood-brain barrier! In light of the recent resurgence of a penis theft panic in Congo, here’s a link to an old article of mine on the psychology […]

Sexy serotonin tattoo

Carl Zimmer has been collecting science tattoos for a while now, but recently posted this tattoo of Hayley who has the molecular structure of serotonin tattooed elegantly over her body. I’m sure there’s some relevant chat-up line for exactly such a situation when you meet someone with serotonin tattooed across their butt, but I’m too […]

I’m on the drug that killed Paul Erdős

In the wake of the Nature survey that found that 20% of scientists admit to using brain enhancing drugs, Wired has just published an article detailing what drugs their scientist readers use to keep on keepin’ on. Although the drugs issue is obviously the headline-grabber, the publication also has a great feature on cognitive enhancement […]

Champagne neuronova

Not a moment after I wonder whether Nature Neuroscience’s podcast has succumbed to rock n’ roll disaster, one of the NeuroPod team calls in to say all is well and the new edition is online. Kerri from NeuroPod here. I’m happy to report that after a few months’ break, NeuroPod is back (April’s edition went […]

Sweets with a neurotransmitter as an ingredient

We’ve featured various sorts of brain candy sweets before on Mind Hacks, but the Japanese sweets Aha! Brain take the concept a step further by including an actual neurotransmitter as an ingredient. The lime flavour includes the neurotransmitter GABA, while other flavours have branched chain amino acids and something called forskolin in them instead. All […]


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