Monthly Archives: October 2009

Liberation psychology graffiti

I’ve just seen my first genuine piece of psychology graffiti. The picture is from a wall in Universidad de Antioquia and the graffiti is promoting a conference on the application of ‘liberation psychology’ to preventing violence and helping the victims of violence in Colombia. The text in Spanish is roughly translated as “We propose a […]

2009-10-30 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: <img align="left" src="; width="102" height="120" ABC Radio National’s All in the Mind has an interesting discussion on addiction and free will. I recommend the extended version here. The New York Times has an excellent personal account of psychosis. There’s an awesome post on a […]

Monkey brain surgeon

Online t-shirt company Psycho Reindeer have this fantastic monkey brain surgeon t-shirt with which you can proudly display your brain tinkering tendencies. It’s only $14 and looks kinda funky. If you do have a monkey by the way, it’s best not to let them do neurosurgery with a screwdriver as the t-shirt suggests. I always […]

Apply a female pigeon

The first neurology book printed in English was called ‘De Morbis Capitis’ and appeared in 1650. An old article from the Archives of Neurology discusses the book and has a lovely excerpt where it discusses numerous bizarre-sounding cures for brain diseases. The full title of the book is the wonderful “DE MORBIS CAPITIS; Or, Of […]

Five minutes with Meg Barker

Meg Barker is a psychologist who specialises in understanding non-conventional sexuality and relationships. As well as being a researcher, Meg is also a psychotherapist where she puts her research into practice to help people overcome sex and relationship difficulties. Having completed a great deal of research on bisexuality and ‘BDSM’ culture, Meg also has a […]

Social networks of murder

I’m just reading a long but gripping study that used social network analysis to look at murder as a social interaction between gangs in Chicago to understand how stable networks of retaliation are sustained over time. However, I was struck by this bit in the introduction, which really highlights the social nature of murder: But […]

An illusory interlude

I just found a some curious case reports on two people who had hallucinations in everyday life owing to unrecognised narcolepsy, but not realising it, they assumed their hallucinated episodes had genuinely occurred. Unlike in psychosis, where affected people often believe that their hallucinations are real, people who have narcolepsy and have hallucinations are usually […]

Tracked with pain

Today’s Nature has an excellent piece about an increasing and currently not well-researched trend for fMRI brain scan ‘neurofeedback’ treatments, where the patient is shown a visual representation of the activity of a certain brain area in the hope of learning to control it. In this case, the big idea is that a patient with […]

Visual illusions can be caused by imagination

A fantastic study just published in Cognition reports that the motion aftereffect illusion, where staring at something constantly moving in one direction causes illusory movement in the opposite direction when you look away, can be caused just by imagining that the movement is happening. The effect is occasionally called the ‘waterfall illusion’ because it can […]

Brain stories and neuronovels

n+1 has an excellent article on how neuroscience is making an increasing appearance in novels, not only as a subject, but also as a literary device to explore characters and explain their motivations. It marks the start of the trend from Ian McEwan‚Äôs Enduring Love and notes that in more recent years books such as […]

Dramatic sexuality changes after brain disturbance

The Neurocritic has compiled a collection of interesting neurological studies where a number of patients seems to have experienced a profound change in their sexual preferences as a result of brain disturbance. One of the most well-known of these studies is a recent case of a man who was convicted of paedophilia late in life, […]

Face of the giant panda sign

I’ve just discovered a curious medical finding that can be detected on MRI brain scans called the ‘face of the giant panda sign’ where, quite literally, it looks like there’s a panda face in the middle of the brain, indicating a specific pattern of neural damage. The image you can see on the left is […]

A poster to remember

While strolling through town the other day, I came across this fantastic memory and brain-themed poster. It’s from the University of Antioquia’s museum who are holding an art and literature competition to celebrate 200 years of Colombian independence. Click the image for a bigger version or hit the link below if you want to see […]

2009-10-23 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: <img align="left" src="; width="102" height="120" The single best article you’ll read on technology and the brain for a while is published in The Times. 300 words of sense. The Sydney Morning Herald covers an inattentional blindness study in mobile phone users and asks ‘Did […]

Size zero culture in Ancient Rome

We often think that pressure on young women to be thin is a modern phenomenon, but a fascinating letter to the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry published in 2000 noted that this is not a new development. The authors cite evidence from Ancient Rome showing a similar cultural pressures were […]

Time is of the essence

New Scientist has an excellent article on how the brain makes sense of time and looks at why certain intense experiences seem to trigger the perception that time has slowed down. It covers David Eagleman’s well-known study where he dropped people 30 metres into a safety net and while falling, asked them to read off […]


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