Monthly Archives: April 2008

Neuroscience of meditation and attention

This month’s Trends in Cognitive Sciences has a fantastic review article on the neuroscience of meditation – focusing on how the contemplative practice alters and sharpens the brain’s attention systems. The full article is available online as a pdf, and discusses what cognitive science studies have told us about the short and long-term impact of […]

Neuro killed the radio star

The excellent Neuroanthropology has just had a brief round up of podcasts on neuroscience or anthropology so you can satisfy all your brain science and human diversity listening desires. It’s a really comprehensive list (and the anthropology podcasts are completely new to me) so there’s likely to be something to discover even if you’re the […]

Eric Kandel on drugs, neurobiology and the unconscious

Neurophilosophy has found a new video interview with neurobiologist Eric Kandel who talks about everything from long-term memory to free will to the unconscious. Essentially, it’s a series of short reveries and soundbites where Kandel gives his views on a series of topics. Part of it is obviously PR for his company (which is trying […]

Hearing voices with your head in the sand

UK TV station Channel 4 broadcast a docudrama last night called The Doctor Who Hears Voices, a fictionalised account of an apparently real-life situation where psychologist Rufus May (who played himself) treated a junior doctor who began hearing hallucinated voices. I’ve not seen it yet, although should be interesting viewing as May is a UK […]

War psychiatry – in 100 words

Every month, the British Journal of Psychiatry has a 100 word summary of key issues in mental health and psychopathology. March’s edition had a fantastic summary of military psychiatry by consultant psychiatrist to the UK Army, Simon Wessely. War is hell, but it can be a job‚Äìa strange job in which one voluntarily (these days) […]

Woody Allen on psychoanalysis

YouTube has a classic 1970 interview with Woody Allen who talks about his extensive experience of psychoanalysis. By the time the interview took place, he’d already spent 13 years being analysed in the classic Freudian tradition. The interview itself is quite funny in places, as he mixes some facts about himself with lines obviously played […]

Language and schizophrenia make us uniquely human

ABC Radio National’s science programme Ockham’s Razor just had a fascinating edition on a maverick theory about schizophrenia and the evolution of language. It purports to discuss the history of schizophrenia but is really a great summary of psychiatrist Tim Crow’s theory that schizophrenia is the consequence of the human evolution of language. Crow is […]

Human Terrain System still a source of conflict

Newsweek recently published an article that was highly critical of the Pentagon’s Human Terrain System, the controversial project that deploys anthropologists and related social scientists alongside the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan to better understand the cultures of these occupied countries. The latest coverage has reignited a row in the world of academic anthropology, […]

Brain cake!

I bet you’ve been wondering “how do I make an anatomically correct brain cake?” Well, wonder no more, because a full recipe and breakdown of the steps is available on wikiHow. Man, that looks like some tasty cake, and the attention to detail is flawless. Plus, everyone can have a go at their favourite neurosurgical […]

Police shooting differs by age, race, sex, education

A study on police officers from Riverside County in California has found that the likelihood of the officer using deadly force is linked to their age, race, sex and experience of previous shootings. Male officers were more likely to shoot than females. White officers were more likely to shoot than other ethnic groups. Shooting was […]

Drug adverts full of unsupported claims

We’re so used to drug companies burying data, spinning their results, ghostwriting papers, ‘financially incentivising’ doctors and designing biased studies, you’d just assume that if drug advert cited a research it would back up the claim being made for the medication. According to a new study, you’d often be wrong. The Royal Society of Chemistry’s […]

2008-04-18 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: The economics of MILF! Slate explores how economics and game theory explain the shortage of available, appealing men in the 30s and beyond. Has a selection bias found in the ‘Monty Hall problem’ affected findings in certain types of cognitive dissonance research? NYT’s TierneyLab […]

Insomnia, mirror neurons and the recanting of bluster

This week’s Nature has a couple of interesting books reviews: one on insomnia, and another on mirror neurons. The review of the mirror neuron book is by V.S. Ramachandran who also recants one of his famous and more outlandish statements made almost a decade ago. Insomniac is a book on the trials, tribulations and scientific […]

Does Freudian repression exist?

Psychologist Yacov Rofé has written a damning article in the Review of General Psychology summarising the evidence from studies on the cognitive science of memory and arguing that the repression of memory, as described by Freud, doesn’t exist. Rofé is careful to point out that Freud’s ideas about the repression of memory were not that […]

Growing up on antidepressants

The New York Times has an article on the increasing number of people who have been on antidepressants drugs since their childhood years and have experienced ‘growing up’ while medicated. Still, what do we know about the effects of, say, 15 to 20 years of antidepressant drug treatment that begins in adolescence or childhood? Not […]

Cognitive biases as public policy

The LA Times has an interesting article on whether the sorts of decision-making biases identified by behavioural economists should be used to promote public policy objectives. The idea is based on the fact that we are more likely to choose certain options depending on how they’re presented. In fact, supermarkets take advantage of this in […]

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