2009-04-10 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news:

Tom has a fantastic post and brief radio segment on the psychology of coffee.

Savant and synaesthete Daniel Tammet gives an interesting interview on the neuroscience of exceptional abilities on the Quirks and Quarks radio show.

The New Republic has an extended review of ‘Hysterical Men’, a new well-regarded book on the neglected history of male hysteria.

Most psychiatrists who wrote clinical guidelines for the American Psychiatric Association had financial ties to drug companies, reports Medical News Today.

Not Exactly Rocket Science covers a nice study that shows <a href="http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/2009/04/our_moral_thermostat_-_why_being_good_can_give_people_licens.php
“>moral behaviour is more like a balancing act than a recital.

An elegant study of how scratching stops an itch is covered by BBC News.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the much discussed ‘Voodoo Correlations in Social Neuroscience’ paper, will now be <a href="http://chronicle.com/news/article/6236/a-much-debated-neuroscience-paper-has-lost-its-voodoo
“>retitled ‘Puzzlingly High Correlations in fMRI Studies of Emotion, Personality, and Social Cognition’ on its May publication.

There’s a great round-up of recent sex and science news on Dr Petra.

An article on the effects of poverty on brain development was published by Economist. You must read an excellent follow-up by Language Log showing all is not what it seems.

BBC News reports on seemingly higher rates of birth defects in babies of women sedated as children in UK care homes.

People with schizophrenia are not susceptible to the hollow-mask illusion, reports New Scientist with cool hollow-mask video.

Scientific American Mind has an interesting piece about mapping the brain circuits in depression for the purpose of modulating them with deep brain stimulation. More background on Neuron Culture.

Investigative journalist Phil Dawdy gives an ass-kicking pharma-sceptical interview on Christopher Lane’s Psychology Today blog.

Psychologist Colin Ross wins the James Randi Educational Foundation award for pseudoscience for his claim that he can send electromagnetic beams out of his eyes and capture them with a machine. Gives him something to do when he’s not writing articles for Scientology magazines I suppose.

Wired has a short but sweet piece on pioneering neurosurgeon Harvey Cushing.

Even isolated cultures understand emotions conveyed by Western music, suggest research expertly covered by Cognitive Daily.

The Times has a piece on psychiatrist and Big Pharma target / critic David Healy, branded the ‘enfant terrible’ of psychiatry.

Brain decline reflected in patient’s brush strokes, with photos from New Scientist.

SciAm Mind Matters has an interview with free-thinking developmental psychologist Judith Rich Harris on who influences the social development of children.

High-tech hobbit phrenology? Homo floresiensis may have been cognitively advanced suggests skull study reported in Science News.

Salon reports on a US Army psychologist caught on tape saying “I am under a lot of pressure to not diagnose PTSD“.

An intriguing new theory on why fever helps autism and how it could finger the brain area the locus coeruleus as key is covered in Time. Scientific paper here.

American Psychological Association Monitor magazine has a two part special on neuroimaging in psychology.

Neuroanthropology finds some vintage Oliver Sacks video footage and discusses the importance of integrating neurobiological and cultural viewpoints.

There’s a fascinating piece on the effect of gendered nouns on perception, plus a great experiment testing Shakespeare’s maxim ‘a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet’, on NPR radio.

Wired has a beautiful image gallery entitled ‘How to Map Neural Circuits With an Electron Microscope’.

A study on people with Parkinson’s disease being bad at lying is covered by Pure Pedantry.

PsyBlog asks whether visual attention can be truly divided.

Mind Hacks thinks about renaming Spike Activity to Spike Train because they’re so damn long these days.

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