Monthly Archives: February 2009

Looking into the mind of God

This week’s New Scientist has an interesting article summarising the current thinking on the psychology of religion. The research treats religion and belief in God or other supernatural entities as a natural consequence of how the brain works. This has taken two main strands in the research literature: the first is that these tendencies to […]

NeuroPod on pheromones, neural nets, fMRI and sleep

The latest Nature Neuropod neuroscience podcast has just hit the net, with a great selection of discussions and interviews covering everything from pheromones and sexual attraction to the impact of poor quality sleep on memory. This final section on an intriguing and recently published study found that even mild disturbance that didn’t wake the sleeper […]

The hashish inspired art of Jean-Martin Charcot

While searching for material on the famous 19th Century French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot, I noticed that a number of online art shops sell drawings he did, apparently while under the influence of hashish – so I’ve been trying to find out more. The strip above is only part of the image, as despite the fact […]

Like tears in the rain

The New York Times has a great short article on the science of crying, covering recent studies that have investigated the common idea that it is a useful way of releasing pent-up emotion. The idea that crying is cathartic has been researched more than I realised with numerous large scale studies tackling in what situations […]

Hello, my name is Trouble

Time magazine has an interesting article on links between given names and behaviour, with a new study finding children with unpopular names are more likely to be get in trouble with the law. This doesn’t mean that being called an unusual name causes criminality – the article notes that boys with unpopular names are likelier […]

If Freud were a woman

I’ve just found this clever short essay that parodies Freud by imagining that he was a woman. It discusses the work of Phyllis Freud, rather than the better known Sigmund, who puts a female perspective in the centre of his male-centric theories. As Phyllis observed…there was ‚Äúyet another surprising effect of womb envy, or the […]

Peering into the darkness, through the key hole

Locked-in syndrome is a dramatic condition where, after brain stem damage, patients are conscious but paralysed and can only communicate with the outside world by an eye-blink or muscle twitch. Because of limited communication it has been difficult to assess the impact of the damage on thinking and reasoning, but a French team have created […]

Literature and psychiatry

This month’s British Journal of Psychiatry has another one of its fantastic ‘psychiatry in 100 words’ series, with this month’s column focusing on literature. The short piece is by psychiatrist Femi Oyebode who is the author of a recent book (pictured on the left) on the subject that covers everything from literary accounts of drug […]

The long term effects of banging heads on the field

Sportsmen who suffer concussion in early adulthood may experience long-term reduction in brain function well into later life, according to a study released this week. Although the study had only 40 participants, it is striking as it looked at the effects 30 years after the original concussions and used a wide and diverse range of […]


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