Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news:
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The New York Times has an excellent personal account of psychosis.
There’s an awesome post on a new study about how phantom limbs can contort into impossible configurations at Neurophilosophy.
New York Magazine covers songs used in ‘war on terror’ torture and musicians’ protests over the use of their material.
How do we perceive speech after 150 kisses? Talking Brains covers an interesting conference poster.
BoingBoing reviews a new book on the use of psychedelic drugs throughout history.
There’s an in-depth review of ‘The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better’ in the London Review of Books.
A slide show from Discover Magazine outlines the social factors in obesity or ‘how to make your friends fat’.
Scientific American Mind has a short report on a randomised controlled trial on how empathy in doctors reduces the duration of the common cold.
The excellent Neuroskeptic has a careful analysis of recent studies and discussion on the best antidepressant.
Philosopher Gordon Marino writes an excellent piece on melancholy thinker S√∏ren Kierkegaard and issues of despair, depression and meaning in The New York Times.
Dr Petra has a fantastic sex research Q&A that covers a range of unquestioned or misreported pieces of ‘common knowledge’ and the evidence from the scientific literature.
The mighty BPS Research Digest discusses a fascinating study where a patient had an unexpected panic attack while being brain scanned, allowing an insight into the neural processes of panic.
Scientific American discusses asexuality, people who simply aren’t interested in sex. Another great piece from Jess Berring’s regular column.
An intriguing study on whether self-deception is genuinely possible is discussed by PsyBlog.
Language Log discusses the hypothesis that words for mother and father (e.g. mama and papa) are so similar across languages because it’s the first sounds children make and parents just assume their children are referring to them. As always, read the comments.
There’s a good piece on the neuroscience of obesity over at Dana’s excellent online magazine Cerebrum.
The New York Times has a good piece on the role of dopamine in motivation and wanting, dismissing the ‘reward system’ clich√© as old hat. Although it is seemingly unaware that this theory is not new and that the media have been mainly responsible for the gross dopamine = pleasure oversimplification.
Recent studies on the inaccurately named ‘brain scan mind reading’ approach are discussed by New Scientist.