2009-06-26 Spike activity

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

The Wall Street Journal vaguely thinks about the benefits of daydreaming and a wandering mind for creativity.

There’s more video of Philip Zimbardo discussing the psychology of time over at Fora.tv

The Independent reveals that some people use drugs to enhance the mind because they’ve never been used in this way, ever, in history and we are being challenged with a dilemma so new it can barely be conceived by the human mind.

Is it acceptable for people to take methylphenidate to enhance performance? asks the British Medical Journal. A two part debate.

The Boston Globe has an interesting piece on how American college students choice of major is influenced by what their friends have chosen.

Sleeping on a complex decision may be a bad choice, reports New Scientist covering new research aiming to rehabilitate conscious decision-making.

Cognitive Daily covers a rare instance where single language speakers perform better than bilinguals – in spatial negative priming experiments. A chat-up line for a million Italian exchange students is born.

Metafilter collects a bunch of evidence on domestic violence by women suggesting that it happens at an equal rate to domestic violence by men,

Unconscious science stereotype associations predict size of science gender gap across 34 countries, according to a study covered by Not Exactly Rocket Science.

The Atlantic has an article on technology and the brain which doesn’t suck. It’s not great – it just assumes that we suffer from information overload without any evidence and doesn’t mention a single study in the area – but it doesn’t pretend to be anything different.

People are more likely to comply with requests into the right ear, suggests a study in a night club covered by Wired Science. Sadly, the researchers were just asking for cigarettes.

New Scientist reports on a study of business communication that found email exchange patterns can predict impending doom.

Who do senior psychiatrists go to for psychological help? asks The New York Times. To Boston, it seems, where apparently they’re all still psychoanalysts.

Is it me, or did this study find that breast implants cure depression? Should make for an interesting randomized controlled trial. I’m trying to imagine the placebo condition.

Somatosphere has a thought-provoking post about why psychiatry researchers are reluctant to reveal their own use of medication.

Language may be key to developing the ability to understand other people’s minds, says research on deaf signers covered by New Scientist. There’s actually much previous research on this. A great 1999 study on this is available as a pdf.

Bad Astronomy has a fully <a href="Optical illusion
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2009/06/24/the-blue-and-the-green/”>awesome visual illusion!

ABC Radio National’s Late Night Live has a <a href="http://www.abc.net.au/rn/latenightlive/stories/2009/2596450.htm
“>discussion on mind enhancing drugs in universities. Has a funny informal style and a question that starts “If you were trying to become a big swinging dick at Harvard…”

New Scientist discusses a study on how celebrities stay famous regardless of talent. Illustrated with a picture of Paris Hilton, which is more ironic than they realise.

Innovative social psychologist John Bargh is interviewed over at Edge.

Talking of which, Bargh fires the first salvo in a Psychology Today debate on free will. Uber social psychologist Roy Baumesiter takes up the challenge.

Rock Stars of Science PR stunt pairs up biomedical scientists with rock legends for awkward photo shoots. Get me Porn Stars of Science and I might raise an eyebrow.

To the bunkers! Domestic robots built to have a taste for flesh according to New Scientist.

The Smithsonian Magazine discusses whether the cross-species von Economo neurons are specially tuned for social interaction.

US seniors are ‘smarter’ than their UK counterparts, finds new study reported by New Scientist. Ours make better tea though, and I know what I prefer.

Scientific American has an article on the science of economic bubbles and busts.

Mind Hacks’ Tom has a excellent looking article in this month’s Prospect Magazine on the links between improvisation and post-brain injury confabulation that been jailed behind a pay wall. Anyone seen a copy in the wild?

One Comment

  1. JJ
    Posted June 28, 2009 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    “Metafilter collects a bunch of evidence on domestic violence by women suggesting that it happens at an equal rate to domestic violence by men,” — and a lot that says it doesn’t. There are many comments, putting several points of view. I would expect Mindhacks to understand the implications of the indirect evidence of a serious skew available through murder statistics. Unless you believe that many women are deliberately dying as a spiteful act of aggression against innnocent men?
    I would also have hoped that Mindhacks would evaluate “Who gains by saying this?” The implications of that are very worrying — particularly with the comments explicitly suggesting not that DV services for men should be improved, but that support for women should be removed.


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