2009-12-11 Spike activity

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

<img align="left" src="http://mindhacks-legacy.s3.amazonaws.com/2005/01/spike.jpg&quot; width="102" height="120"

New Scientist has an excellent piece on homosexuality throughout the animal kingdom.

Action video games “induce a general speeding of perceptual reaction times without decreases in accuracy of performance” according to a scientific review article in Current Directions in Psychological Science. To be widely publicised by Susan Greenfield. Oh no, my mistake.

Wired Science covers an interesting archaeological study finding possible signs of mass cannibalism from 7,000 years ago.

There’s well written, competent although slightly behind the curve article in Science News on the difficulties with functional brain scan cognitive neuroscience.

Dr Petra has more on the ‘in preparation’ and not very effective sex drug for women, flibanserin.

Well lookie here. The Economist uncovers UK government refusal to release its own report on the effectiveness of its anti-drugs strategy because it might ‘confuse the public’.

Not Exactly Rocket Science covers a fantastic study that found that testosterone made people more selfish, but only if they knew they were taking it.

You can find a working torrent of the recent and excellent BBC Horizon documentary ‘Why Do We Talk?’ on the psychology and neuroscience of speech and language here.

The New York Times reports on research finding that fathers can also experience post-partum (post-birth of child) depression.

There’s a fantastic article on the cognitive benefits of travel by Jonah Lehrer over at his blog Frontal Cortex.

Forbes magazine may be the first mainstream publication to get past the hype of commercial neuromarketing companies with an appropriately skeptical article.

“To a psychologist, climate change looks as if it was designed to be ignored”. Interesting article from The Washington Post.

Neuron Culture announces that if you liked the recent Atlantic ‘Orchid and the Dandelion’ article on how risk genes may really be sensitivity genes, science writer David Dobbs has agreed a deal to write a book riffing on the idea.

Brain structure and circuitry offer clues to consciousness in non-mammals, says an interesting cross-species article in Science News.

New Scientist has a piece on how the gaze of a computer generated disembodied head is being used to study the ability to follow eye direction and create shared or joint attention – a key social skill.

If you’ve not heard the latest RadioLab do so. A beautiful programme on numbers with plenty of psychology material.

Not Exactly Rocket Science has another great piece on a study finding fear memory associations can be reduced if a reminder of the feared thing is briefly presented a short while before an ‘extinction trial’ – a string of other reminders.

A blog at The Economist reports that the reported inmate suicides at Guantanamo Bay are <a href="Death at Guant√°namo
http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2009/12/death_at_guantanamo”>unlikely to have been suicides.

Neuroworld is a new and promising looking brain science blog over at recently launched True/Slant network.

The lack of a fully formed prefrontal cortex may help young kids accumulate knowledge rapidly, according to research covered by the LA Times.

The Splintered Mind has news that Eric Schwitzgebel’s brilliant study on whether ethicists steal more books has appeared in the journal Philosophical Psychology.

A wonderfully contrarian review of a new book on art and evolution called The Play’s the Thing appears in American Scientist

Science Daily reports that a hidden sensory system discovered in the skin.

Antidepressants linked to personality changes, particularly a reduction in neuroticism, according to new study covered by the LA Times. Which, if you’re familiar with Eyesenck’s concept of neuroticism is a pretty unsurprising finding.

Science Now reports on study finding that first-borns are less co-operative in an economic bargaining game.

There’s a profile of psychologist and Deputy Director of the US Office of National Drug Control Policy who has faced numerous addiction problems in the family in The New York Times.

Metafiler picks up on an interesting new survey on ‘what philosophers believe‘ – tracking everything from political orientation to their take on hot philosophical issues.

My day with the mental health professionals. The Guardian has a life in the day of a community psychiatric team in a tough bit of North London.

New Scientist has a piece on a new brain imaging study looking at the neural correlates of not fulfilling a promise in an investment game. Daft headline, but it turns out the hubris is from the original badly titled original study.

The psychology of social status is discussed in an excellent piece for Scientific American’s Mind Matters blog.

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