Monthly Archives: November 2008

Neuroscience In Our Time

BBC Radio 4’s excellent discussion programme In Our Time just had an interesting edition on neuroscience – what it does, how it does it, and what it’s telling us about the function of the mind and brain. It’s generally a very interesting discussion, although does get a bit confused towards the end during a discussion […]

Online psychosis

The New York Times has an article about the interaction between the internet and psychosis that explored online communities that may be focused on delusional beliefs or comprised almost entirely of people who are having psychotic experiences. If this seems slightly familiar, it’s because it’s partly based on a social network analysis study I did […]

Chick sent me high e

Psychologist Mih√°ly Cs√≠kszentmih√°lyi is best known for his research on ‘flow‘. Sometimes known as being ‘in the zone’, it’s where people lose themselves in their particular talent. His talk to the TED conference has just been put online where he describes how he’s being trying to capture this particular form of peak experience. The Hungarian […]

Gladwell on Outliers

New York Magazine profiles prolific mind-focused science writer Malcom Gladwell and previews his upcoming book on the unpredictable factors that propel the super-successful to the top. Gladwell writes incredibly compelling books about psychology and culture that have been wildly popular. The article mentions a multi-million dollar advance for his forthcoming book Outliers. I have to […]

Purple brain death

In 1964 the journal Medicine, Science and the Law published an article entitled ‘Unusual Cases 2 – The Purple Brain Death’. Sadly, the journal is no longer in print and the article isn’t available so I have absolutely no idea what it was about, but it sounds intriguing doesn’t it? If anyone ever does find […]

Parental gene fight theory of mental illness

The New York Times discusses a new theory on the link between schizophrenia and autism that suggests that each may depend on the outcome of a battle between the genetic information we inherit from each parent. According to the theory – more genes from the father increases the chance of autistic traits, while more from […]

The not very near death experience

I’ve just discovered this fantastic 1990 study from The Lancet that investigated near death experiences reported by patients. However, it did something quite different from most other studies – it actually checked to see whether the patients were actually near death or not – and many of them weren’t. The study looked at the experiences […]

BBC All in the Mind kicks off with race, law and suicide

A new season of BBC Radio 4’s All in the Mind has just started and begins with a discussion of a fantastic study that used a version of the popular children’s game Guess Who? to investigate the social niceties of discussing race. The programme also tackles the UK’s new mental health act and the alarmingly […]

Encephalon 58 gets Highlighted

The 58th edition of the Encephalon psychology and neuroscience writing carnival has just appeared online, this time hosted by health and science site Highlight Health. A couple of my favourites include an excellent piece on Combining Cognits on what we know about the development of pain perception in unborn children and an article from Ouroboros […]

Holy hypnosis sent to baffle materialists

In a recent discussion of news that creationist-allied campaigners are suggesting neuroscience implies a non-materialist (e.g. soul-based) human existence, I mentioned this was old news as Nobel-prize winning physiologist John Eccles had argued much the same in the early 20th century. However, I recently got back to reading The Discovery of the Unconscious, Ellenberger’s huge […]

The art of digital synaesthesia

Artist and researcher Mitchell Whitelaw wrote an interesting and in-depth article on the links between audio-visual fusion art and synaesthesia for the Senses and Society journal. Whitelaw has just put the piece online, has illustrated it with embedded videos of some of the stunning pieces he references, but also discusses the neuroscience of synaesthesia with […]

The War of the War of the Worlds

RadioLab make the most beautiful, compelling programmes. They recently broadcast a truly excellent edition on the War of the Worlds radio dramatisation, which has sparked mass panics, not once, not twice, but three times, over a period of more than two decades. The most famous adaptation of H.G. Well’s novel was created by Orson Wells […]

Mystery callers and lost in space

Neurophilosophy has recently published two excellent articles that discuss the recent discovery of very selective psychological problems: one person can’t recognise people by their voice, the other can’t navigate through streets. In themselves, these sorts of disorders are not that surprising, but they help us understand how the brain develops. Actually, scratch that last sentence. […]

2008-11-07 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Neurophilosophy has a fantastic ’60 Minutes’ documentary on brain computer interfaces. Dana’s Cerebrum magazine has an excellent article on ‘connectomics‘ or the neuroscience of tracing the ‘wiring’ of the brain. PsychCentral has an excellent piece on the psychological research on ‘friends with benefits‘, less […]

Encultured drug cravings and dopamine

Scientific American Mind’s Mind Matters blog has a great interview with neuroanthropologist Daniel Lende who discusses why we need an understanding of both culture and neuroscience to get a fully integrated account of human thought and behaviour. Lende discusses his work on integrating cultural factors and the neuroscience of the dopamine reward system in a […]

A passive aptitude of soul

I’ve just got round to listening to a September edition of ABC Radio National’s The Philosopher’s Zone on Frankenstein, science and philosophy in the Romantic period. Tragically, the mp3 is no longer available, but one of the people on the programme read out a fantastic Benjamin Franklin quote on Mesmerism. Franklin was charged by the […]


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