Monthly Archives: July 2009

Unique like everyone else

You’ve probably heard of the many cognitive bias studies where the vast majority of people rate themselves as among the best. Like the fact that 88% of college students rate themselves in the top 50% of drivers, 95% of college professors think they do above average work, and so on. In light of this, I’ve […]

A reflector for violence

I don’t know what to make of this, but the discovery is quite startling. It’s data from a World Health Organisation study on lethal violence, finding that the ratio between murder and suicide differs between countries, and in some countries differs between sexes. It suggests an interesting hypothesis, that cultural differences affect whether lethal violence […]

The neuroscience of an unwanted limb

ABC Catalyst has a completely astounding video on someone with ‘body integrity identity disorder’ who deliberately caused a leg amputation to feel satisfied with their body. It goes on to explore the neuroscience of body image and explores some of the best known body swap experiments. The voice over is a bit cheesy in places […]

For whom the ball tolls

I was just re-reading the excellent Prospect magazine article on psychotherapy and cricket when I was struck by a bit about the high rate of suicides in professional cricket players that I’d not noticed before. It mentions David Frith’s book Silence of the Heart which specifically focuses on the large numbers of ex-cricket pros who […]

neuro culture

neuro culture is a beautiful and interesting website that tracks the interaction between neuroscience and visual art as it develops across the world. It works as a cross between an online gallery and an art studies venture, looking at how artists are making sense of the increasing awareness and interest in the brain through all […]

2009-07-10 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: PsyBlog covers the numerous studies that have found your name influences your performance or preferences. Professor Baroness Susan Greenfield thinks that her increasingly bizarre warnings about the ‘neurological dangers’ of Twitter are equivalent to when people first starting saying smoking caused cancer. Except they […]

Keep on keepin’ on

The New York Times has a fantastic profile of ultramarathon runner Diane Van Deren who became a world class endurance athlete after having brain surgery to remove a large chunk of her right temporal lobe. The surgery was to treat otherwise untreatable epilepsy and has left her with memory and organisation difficulties, neither of which […]

Brand new second hand

Newsweek has an interesting article about the reality of unconscious plagiarism – otherwise known as ‘cryptomnesia’. The article describes apparently genuine cases in terms of source memory – the ability to not only to remember information but also where it came from. When you remember a great idea, was it one of yours, it did […]

Calcium rushes in – Vesicles go BOOM

Rarely does one see a tribute to both the Wu-Tang Clan and the biochemistry of neuronal signalling in the same place, but it has been done, and the results are nothing short of a musical spectacular. It’s a hip hop guide to neurobiology, so just sit back, relax and go with the flow (of ions […]

Pain? What pain?

Pain research often involves investigating the link between the subjective experience of what’s hurting compared to brain activation, mental state or situation. While past research has reported gender differences in pain thresholds, a new study casts a hazy light across the field by finding that men consistently report less pain when talking to female researchers. […]

NeuroPod on virtual lesions, vision bias and reply

The latest edition of the Nature NeuroPod podcast is now available. It has the usual collection of cutting edge brain stories but is particularly good for an introduction to transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS, a technique that allows researchers to temporarily ‘switch off’ bits of the human brain during experiments. TMS is really just a […]

The long dark nightie of the soul

It’s an age old story. Girl meets boy. We presume girl loses boy, because she goes mad in a shoe shop. Girl is taken to hospital for a CT scan, then to an art gallery, and then hospital again where she trashes a room with lots of unnecessary medical equipment in a fit of despair. […]

Psychiatry’s diagnostic manual feuding continues

The storm over the new version of the diagnostic manual for psychiatrists shows no signs of dying down as a committee member has publicly resigned over concerns that new diagnoses are being created without proper regard to the scientific evidence. The 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental disorders, known as the […]

Without a brain

According to press reports Michael Jackson will be buried without his brain because it is still ‘hardening’. Although this may seem unusual, the ‘hardening’ process is actually a standard part of any post-mortem examination where the brain is thought to be important in the cause of death, such as in suspected overdose. It involves removing […]

SciAmMind on music, kids, the perfect and the pumped

The latest edition of Scientific American Mind has just hit the shelves with a number of freely available online articles covering music and its emotional kick, the tyranny of perfectionism, the drama of developing child and the neural benefits of exercise. One of the most interesting articles tackles a fascinating genetic effect called genomic imprinting […]

The long game

Prospect Magazine has a gently philosophical article on legendary England cricket captain and now, psychoanalyst, Mike Brearley. It weaves the philosophies of cricket and psychotherapy into a wonderful article that muses on the similarities between the test match and psychoanalysis, the Twenty20 and CBT. [Americans: skip this paragraph] Brearley captained England during the legendary 1981 […]


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