Monthly Archives: August 2008

The genius of Harvey Cushing

Neurophilosophy has a beautifully illustrated and carefully researched article on Harvey Cushing one of the greatest neurosurgeons of the 20th century and a pioneer in treating previously inoperable brain tumours. The article has loads of fantastic photos of Cushing at work, and also includes the one of his remarkably detailed drawings, illustrated in the image […]

Strip Club Hunter, or the attractions of anatomy

It’s hard to start a paragraph with “I was strolling through London’s red light district the other evening…” without seeming a little dubious, but it’s the truth, so I shall have to begin by sounding suspect. If your suspicions have already been raised, I doubt that if I say that I became interested in one […]

Experienced drivers perceive the road differently

Experienced drivers are not only better skilled at the actions of driving, but learn to perceive and attend to the road in a different way We found that novices eye-movements were different from those of the more experienced drivers in several ways, though the extent of scanning on a particular section of dual carriageway was […]

2008-08-22 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: If you’re after a level-headed discussion of the ‘contraceptive pill makes girls go for Mr Wrong’ story, Dr Petra has a great review. SciAm Mind Matters has a great article by the Cognitive Daily duo on how tone deafness and bad singing may not […]

Colic psychology

I’ve just found a surprisingly psychological New Yorker article on colic, the persistent and mysterious episodes of crying that affects some newborn babies. I always thoughts that colic was just discomfort caused by trapped wind but apparently this is just one theory and the cause of colic is still medically unexplained. The crying tends to […]

Francis Crick inadvertently raises criminal robot army

Scientific American’s Mind Matters blog covers an interesting study that found that altering people’s belief in free will also altered the likelihood of participants being dishonest in a test of mental ability. To achieve this, the study used part of Francis Crick’s book The Astonishing Hypothesis that argues against the everyday concept of free will […]

Placebo – interactive ingredients

BBC Radio 4 has just broadcast the first part of a fantastic two part series on placebo, the most effective evidence-based treatment known to science. It’s written and presented by Bad Science’s Ben Goldacre and is a wonderful trip through the history and science of what we know about this most psychological of treatments. One […]

Judging trustworthiness in the face

The Boston Globe has a fantastic article on the psychology of trustworthiness judgements and how they can be taken advantage of by con-men. The article explores studies which have looked at various influences on our judgements of trust. One of the most interesting parts is where they cover research that has systematically altered pictures until […]

The best jobs in life are free

The BPS Research Digest covers a recent study finding that volunteers are actually more committed than paid staff in an organisation, in line with studies showing that payment tends to reduce people’s productivity and enjoyment for the same work compared to when it’s done for free. A recent study published in the Quarterly Journal of […]

Neurowar report online

After some exploring of links, the ‘neurowar’ report we mentioned the other day is freely available online, albeit in a non-portable format that doesn’t seem to be displayed very reliably. Some pages don’t seem to load and I assumed this was to restrict the online version but it turns out it’s just a bit badly […]

Encephalon 52 raises its hand

The 52nd edition of the Encephalon psychology and neuroscience writing carnival has just arrived, this time hosted by the excellent Ouroboros. A couple of my favourites include a post on the latest science of ‘grandmother cells‘ at the combining cognits blog (the new name for the excellent ‘Memoirs of a Postgrad’) and another on neuroimaging […]

Tweaking with Sherlock Holmes

I just found this fascinating aside on Sherlock Holmes in a 1973 paper on amphetamine psychosis, suggesting that the cocaine-using Holmes displayed the classic repetitive behaviour often seen in frequent users of dopamine-acting stimulants. The paper discusses what was known about the pharmacology of amphetamine in the early 1970s and how it relates to psychosis, […]

Psycho killer – Qu’est-ce que c’est?

Bad Science has an excellent article about the almost unreported news that homicides by people with mental illness have dropped dramatically in England and Wales, despite the fact that murders by people without mental illness have increased. Right now I‚Äôm looking at a press release on a story which seems pretty important to me: people […]

Neurowar of words

Wired Science covers a recent US military report on military threats from the latest developments in neuroscience as well as how brain research could be ‘weaponised’ to enhance soldiers’ capabilities or disable enemy fighters. It’s a bit difficult to judge the quality of the report, as unlike the recent in-depth report from the JASON Pentagon […]

Knitting delusions from thoughts

An insightful excerpt from psychologist Peter Chadwick’s chapter from an excellent new academic book on the science of persecutory delusions. Chadwick is a clinical psychologist and leading psychosis researcher who has experienced madness first hand. When looking at Hopper’s forlorn paintings one has the feeling that no moment in life need be wasted. Hopper captures […]

2008-08-15 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Sharp Brains has a thoughtful piece on the hoped-for demise of dementia. Peter Donnelly gives an excellent TED talk on how juries are fooled by statistics. Channel N finds an interesting video lecture on the conditioned fear response and combat resilience in the armed […]

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