Monthly Archives: November 2008

2008-11-21 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: The Situationist has a fantastic video example of a classic experimental philosophy set-up. The TSA’s ‘behavior detection‘ is wrong more than 99 percent of the time, reports USA Today. Maybe that’s because it’s based on some rather dodgy techniques, as we reported in August […]

The excellent Cognition and Culture blog

Cognition and Culture is a fantastic new group blog by a distinguished group of writers who include some of the leading figures in neuroscience, psychology and anthropology. It’s from the International Cognition and Culture Institute and contains articles on everything from whether ‘cold’ and ‘warm’ are universal metaphors for relationships to the unexpected impact of […]

All together now

If there were prizes for sheer genius, this would get the top spot. Psychologist Alan Reifman teaches psychology and he also writes song lyrics. When he sees something psychological that particularly inspires him, he writes a song about it to the tune of a popular hit and posts it on his social psychology lyrics blog. […]

How synaesthesia grows in childhood, and dies out

Synaesthesia is well studied in adults and is thought to be a result of unusual connections created during brain development, but it has been hardly studied in children – until now. A new study published online in Brain searched for letter-colour synaesthetes in 6-8 year old children and found not only are they relatively common, […]

Shaking the foundations of the hidden bias test

The New York Times takes a look at the ongoing controversy over one of the newest and most popular tests in psychology that claims to be able to detect hidden ‘implicit’ biases. The test is the Implicit Association Test or IAT and we’ve discussed in it more detail before but it essentially relies on the […]

Still on the move

Scientific American has a fantastic gallery of visual illusions images created both by artists and scientists that produce dramatic false motion from still images. There’s 12 images, but the one pictured is my favourite which is simply described like so: “This illusion is a contemporary variation on the Ouchi pattern, by Kitaoka”. As with many […]

An epidemic of depression?

Psychiatric News has a thought-provoking article criticising the current definition of major depression, suggesting that it has lead to normal sadness being diagnosed as a serious mental illness. The authors give an abbreviated version of the argument they make in their book The Loss of Sadness: How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Misery Into Depressive Disorder. They […]

The eternal quest for the cut-and-dry brain injury

The annual Society for Neuroscience conference is currently underway in Washington DC and Technology Review has a couple of article that reports on some of the highlights. One piece is particularly interesting as it focuses on the use diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), a type of MRI scan that identifies the white matter nerve pathways in […]

Mirror’s Edge as proprioception hack

Mirror’s Edge is a first person computer game in which you play an urban free-runner, leaping, sliding, and generally acting fly across the roofs of a dystopian city (see the trailer here). It looks good. In fact, it looks amazing. But, reportedly, to actually play it is even better, sickeningly better. Clive Thompson, writing for […]

Jumping Brain

The Jumping Brain is a limited edition toy created by artist Emilio Garcia that is a detailed plastic model of the brain, with, erm… webbed feat. It comes in traditional lab demo gray, as well as red, green and blue and even has its own MySpace page. The development of the project is even documented […]

Ganzfeld hallucinations

The cognitive science journal Cortex has just released a special issue on the neuropsychology of paranormal experiences and belief, and contains a fantastic article on hallucinations induced by the Ganzfeld procedure. The Ganzfeld procedure exposes the participant to ‘unstructured’ sensations usually by placing half ping-pong balls over the eyes so they can only see diffuse […]

New psychiatric diagnoses developed in secret

The LA Times has an op-ed piece on the current arguments over whether the new version of the DSM, the influential diagnostic manual of mental illness, should be developed transparently or whether decisions should continue to be made in secret as is currently the case. The DSM-V is due out in May 2012, and all […]

An unusual and poignant brain injury

Sometimes, medical case studies are powerful as much because of what they leave out as what they contain, as in an uncomfortably moving 1935 case report of a young lady who attempted suicide with a hand gun. It’s available online as a pdf and the point of the article is to report the remarkable fact […]

The dance of consciousness

Edge has a fascinating video interview with philosopher Alva Noë who discusses his work on the philosophy of consciousness, arguing that we will be led astray if we think of consciousness solely as a brain process that happens within us without reference to how we act in the world. Noë is primarily arguing for a […]

She Blinded Me with Science

It’s an age old story. Boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy is psychoanalysed, psychologically tested, strapped into a brain machine and plays the girl like a giant cello before escaping on a motorbike and throwing the wheelchair-bound doctor into the river. Yes, it’s the video for Thomas Dolby’s 1982 synth-pop hit She Blinded Me […]

2008-11-14 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Do women get bitchier as they get older? Only if they‚Äôre faced with research like this, says Dr Petra. Cognitive Daily ask another one of their compelling questions: can a blind person whose vision is restored understand what she sees? Temporarily open-access special issue […]


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