Monthly Archives: November 2008

2008-11-28 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Excellent coverage of a fascinating study from both Neurophilosophy and Not Exactly Rocket Science: visual magnification of a painful hand can increase felt pain and swelling in the hand, using a lens to make it look smaller does the reverse. Edge has an article […]

Don’t get high on your own supply – enflurane edition

Another in our occasional series of articles on the importance of the motto “don’t get high on your own supply”. This edition concerns the case of an anaesthetist who was testing some of his own anaesthetics while driving. From a case report from Forensic Science International: A 42-year-old anaesthetist firstly was observed sitting in a […]

Hallucinating Lilliput

Lilliputian hallucinations are where small figures of animals or people appear as visions, often in the bottom half of the visual field, sometimes as dancing, playful creatures. Last year the German Journal of Psychiatry published a fascinating English-language article about these curious perceptual distortions. They can appear in a number of conditions, including psychosis and […]

Walking the line: the danger of sinus neurosurgery

I’ve just found this gripping article from The Guardian by photojournalist Tom Bible who was diagnosed with a rare and life threatening brain tumour and had an equally rare and life threatening operation to remove it. The tumour was located in the superior sagittal sinus, one of the major veins that drains blood from the […]

Inner space at the final frontier

The Psychologist has a truly fantastic article on astronaut psychology, treating off-world mental health problems, and the interpersonal dynamics of the space mission. It is thoroughly fascinating, exceptionally well-written and even contains an interview with astronaut Dr Jay Buckley “a crew member with STS-90, Space Shuttle Columbia’s 16-day Neurolab mission in 1998. The seven-member crew […]

When I get that feeling, I need sociosexual healing

New Scientist has an article on the psychology and biology on sleeping around – which has been given the wonderfully gentle and inviting name of ‘sociosexuality’ in the research literature. Rather predictably, the article contains the rather tired ‘men spread their seed, women look for long term partners’ evolutionary psychology explanation, but also does a […]

Awesome multi-slice brain puzzle

The photos are of a mysterious and inventive brain puzzle that seems to have popped up on various places on the web. It allows you to 3D slice an MRI brain scan in multiple ways, and unlike other puzzles, it needs to be assembled with the picture on the inside. Curiously, the various web pages […]

Mental illness in children: medical issue or fig leaf?

Dana’s online mind and brain magazine Cerebrum has a critical and thought-provoking article arguing that mental illnesses like ADHD and child bipolar disorder are too often being used as fig leaves for social problems that we prefer to think of as blame-free genetic disorders that can be treated with simple-solution medications. The piece is by […]

The myth of urban loneliness

New York Magazine has an extensive and interesting piece arguing that ‘urban loneliness’ – the idea that people in densely populated cities are more lonely than people in the country, may be a myth. The article looks at recent concerns, partly driven by popular books, that single living and hence loneliness is massively increasing in […]

The enchanting Encephalon 59

The 59th edition of the Encephalon psychology and neuroscience writing carnival has just appeared online on the wonderfully named Ionian Enchantment and has all the latest in the last fortnight’s mind and brain writing. A couple of my favourites include an interesting piece on the development of dance classes for people with Parkinson’s disease from […]

Not connecting with faces in the street and in the brain

Not Exactly Rocket Science has a great write-up of a recent study that may explain why some people are born without the ability to recognise faces – a condition known as congenital prosopagnosia. Face recognition is particularly associated with a part of the temporal lobe called the fusiform gyrus. Although it’s controversial whether this area […]

Grounding the helicopter parents

The New Yorker has an extended review and discussion of various new books critical of the increasing trend for parents to be overinvolved in their children’s lives owing to the trend for ‘intelligence boosting’ products and activities. It’s a nicely balanced article that highlights some of the worst trends in ‘overparenting’ while also pointing out […]

Making Sense of Bastards

A 2005 article from business psychology journal Organization Studies discusses the psychology of being a bastard. It has a serious point, but is just hilarious for the contrast between the academic language and the subject matter. The serious point behind the article, written by psychologist David Sims, is to look at how people in business […]

The perils of not realising scaffolding is a metaphor

Life magazine have recently put their entire photo archive on Google Images and the Too Many Interests blog has picked out some of the most surprising psychology images. The image on the right is my favourite, and probably results from psychologists trying to answer the question ‘how many babies does it take to change a […]

Adultery for heroin users

A list of ingredients found by chemical analysis that have been used to cut street heroin sold in New York City from 1991 to 1996. As reported in a 2000 review paper on trends in NYC heroin adulterants: Acetaminophen (Analgesic) Aminopyrine (Anti-inflammatory) Amitryptaline (Anti-depressant) Antipyrine (Body water measurement) Benzoczine (Anesthetic) Caffeine (Stimulant) Cocaine (Stimulant) d-metamphetamine […]

New RadioLab on the psychology of choice

The excellent RadioLab has returned with a new series and the first is a programme on the psychology of how we make choices, and what can go wrong when brain damage prevents us from making decisions. The RadioLab team talk to psychologist Barry Schwartz, author of the ‘Paradox of Choice’ on why more choice means […]


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