Monthly Archives: June 2008

The itch is special

The New Yorker has an excellent article on the neurology of the itch, that curious cutaneous sensation that seems to be handled quite differently from other bodily sensations by the brain. I warn you, the article is quite icky in places, with a particularly stomach churning case study in one place, but I was quite […]

Breakdown in the Globe and Mail

All this week, Canada’s Globe and Mail has a fantastic special on mental health entitled Breakdown, relating the personal experiences of people who’ve experienced the extremes of thought and mood, and talking to some of the mental health professionals who work to assist people through times of mental turmoil. During the coming week, articles on […]

Encephalon 48 makes an entrance

Neuroanthropology has just released the latest edition of the Encephalon psychology and neuroscience writing carnival, where there’s a line-up of the last fortnight’s best in mind and brain blogging. A couple of my favourites include an interesting look at the science of out of body experiences, and another on the Amazonian Mundurucu tribe who have […]

Psychobabble and the expressions we love to hate

PsyBlog has asked readers to nominate the worst examples of psychobabble, to identify verbal crimes against neuroscience, and to nominate where the language of cognitive science is being most used and abused. The best of the worst will be collected and published online, so now’s your chance to name and shame. There are a few […]

Suicide, phone masts and magnetic underpants

The Sunday Express is one of the UK’s biggest selling Sunday papers and today’s front page is spectacularly half-cocked, attempting to link suicides to phone masts based on an unpublished study, by a man who sells cranky radiation protection devices, and who seems to have only the feintest grasp of neurobiology. Roger Coghill (incorrectly described […]

Popcorn reinforcement

Miss Conduct, one of the columnists from The Boston Globe, has picked up on our post about the uncanny resemblance between psychologist Joey Tempest and 80s rock legend Steven Pinker, and noted several other surprising likenesses in the world of cognitive science. Pictured is the probably-separated-at-birth behaviourist B.F. Skinner and popcorn mogul Orville Redenbacher. There […]

Female PsyOps soldier dies in Afghanistan

The papers are full of reports about Corporal Sarah Bryant, the first female soldier from the UK forces to die in Aghanistan at the tragically young age of 26. Bryant was serving in Afghanistan as a member of the 15 (UK) Psychological Operations Group, a tri-service PsyOps support service to the British Armed Forces. The […]

Rock psychology

The Guardian profiles the life and work of psychologist Steven Pinker, noting both his controversial views on human nature and his “trademark rock-star chic”. Here at Mind Hacks, we’re glad someone else has finally picked up on Professor Pinker’s rock n’ roll credentials as we’ve noted for some time that he bears an uncanny resemblance […]

2008-06-20 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Clear thinking science writer Carl Zimmer discusses the evolution of the mind in a video lecture. Pure Pedantry looks at a new study on serotonin and rejection in the Ultimatum Game. The increasingly excellent Frontier Psychiatrist has a good post on neurosyphilis. The New […]

Reality at the far reaches of the world

Anthropologist and explorer Wade Davis gave a couple of inspiring talks to the TED conference on how the beliefs and traditions of different cultures fundamentally alter not only views about the world, but the experience of reality itself. Both are fantastic, not only because Davis is a gripping speaker, but also because he highlights the […]

Good vibrations

While looking through the Journal of the American Medical Association, I found this fascinating and glowing review of Rachel Maines’ book ‘The Technology of Orgasm’ that uncovers the history of how vibrators were originally popularised created to cure ‘hysteria’ in women as a Victorian medical treatment. Hysteria has had many medical meanings through the millenia, […]

Counting in the language without numbers

The Pirah√£ are a tribe in the Brazilian Amazon who apparently don’t have words for specific numbers. A recent study reported by Science News suggests that despite this, the Pirah√£ people can do numerical tasks, challenging the idea that we need number words to think about and recognize exact quantities. The study was led by […]

Psychology Today blog network launches

Popular psychology magazine Psychology Today have launched their own blog network with some of the biggest names in psychology, psychiatry and philosophy of mind regularly writing for it. As a magazine, PsyToday has had a long reputation for being a bit populist and light on what most psychologists what actually think of as psychology. That […]

Number of bumper stickers predicts road rage

Pure Pedantry has picked up on a wonderful study that has found that incidences of road rage correlate with the number of bumper stickers a person has on their car. The abstract below suggests that bumper stickers are potentially an expression of territorial markers and that aggressive people are more likely to use more, but […]

Polishing the rough edges of neuroscience

Boss magazine has a great article on both the cutting edge and the rough edges of neuroscience, discussing how the rapid commercialisation of brain science is pushing us into grey areas of social change. The piece is by ABC All in the Mind journalist Natasha Mitchell and is only hampered by the fact it’s displayed […]

Return of the ‘gay brain’

News that a neuroimaging study has found that the brains of gay participants more closely resemble those of their straight, opposite sex counterparts is being widely reported, but one of the most interesting details is largely being ignored. The study was completed by neuroscientists Ivanka Savic and Per Lindstrom and had two parts. The first […]


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