Monthly Archives: March 2010

The disembodied tic

There are numerous forms of body distortions and out-of-body experiences reported in the neurological literature but this is the first case I’ve found of someone who experienced tics that seemed to occur in external objects. The report was published in the journal Neurology in 1997 and concerns a man with Tourette’s syndrome, a condition of […]

Go Cognitive guide to the brain

Go Cognitive is an awesome free video archive of interviews and discussion that aims to explain some of the core topics in cognitive neuroscience. It’s a project of the University of Idaho who’ve managed to convince some of the leaders in the science of the brain to talk about their work. There are videos on […]

Future neuro-cognitive warfare

Every year the US Army holds an annual conference called the “Mad Scientist Future Technology Seminar” that considers blue sky ideas for the future of warfare. Wired’s Danger Room discusses the conference and links to an unclassified pdf summary of the meeting which contains this interesting paragraph about ‘neuro-cognitive warfare’: In the far term, beyond […]

In the blood

Wikipedia has a page on the idea that blood type predicts personality, a discredited theory that nevertheless remains widespread in Japanese and Korean popular culture. The idea seems to hold a similar cultural position as star signs and astrology and is used as a platform for discussing relationship compatibility and vague personality characteristics. This is […]

Skate deck neuroscience

Designer Emilio Garcia has created a series of skate decks decorated with fantastic cortex graphics. It means every time you boardslide, you can see exactly how your brain has been lesioned. Garcia is the same designer we’ve featured before on Mind Hacks, where we discussed his unusual jumping brain model. Link to Garcia’s brain pattern […]

2010-03-05 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Time magazine reports on how darkness can encourage dishonest acts even when anonymity is accounted for. A study finding a link with aversion to inequality an activity in the ventral striatum is brilliantly covered by The Frontal Cortex. The Point of Inquiry podcast has […]

How reliable are fMRI results?

A new study has looked at the reliability of fMRI brain scanning results over time, finding that the same experiment will only only be moderately reproducible when conducted at two different times, suggesting that fMRI is much less reliable than most researchers assume. The authors of the paper are the same ones who brought us […]

In Our Time on the Infant Brain

This morning’s edition of BBC Radio 4’s brilliant In Our Time was dedicated to the infant brain and has a wide ranging discussion about how ideas about the early development of the child developed into the modern age of neuroscience. The streamed version will be available on the website permanently, but if you want to […]

Cocaine, surgery and an experiment too far

William Stewart Halsted is known as the ‘father of American surgery’ and was widely-known to have been addicted to both cocaine and morphine for large stretches of his life. I always assumed this was due to recreational sampling of the medicine cabinet but it turns out it was the rather unfortunate result of some initially […]

All aboard the baby brain

The March edition of The Psychologist has just appeared online and has two freely available articles: one article investigates whether women really suffer a reduction in mental sharpness during pregnancy, and another interviews baby psychologist Alison Gopnik about her work. This idea that pregnancy causes a slight reduction in mental sharpness, sometimes known as ‘baby […]

Tipsy thinking

Seed Magazine has a great short article on misperceptions and counter-intuitive findings concerning alcohol and drinking. The piece covers whether alcohol break-down product acetaldehyde plays as much a part in drunkenness as alcohol itself, misperceptions about the chances of women having their drink spiked to facilitate sexual assault, and mothers’ perceptions about their kids future […]

Violent video games: small causal link with aggression

A new study just published in Psychological Bulletin has reviewed studies on the effects of violent video games and concludes that they cause a small but reliable increase in aggressive behaviour and anti-social thinking. The study, led by psychologist Craig Anderson, is a type of meta-analysis which attempts to mathematically aggregate the results of past […]

Sex on drugs

I just found a study which specifically investigated which drugs are preferred by clubbers for sex. The study was completed in Spain and it turns out booze is the punter’s favourite, clearly contradicting the widely-held theory that alcohol was invented to help British people have sex. [Which drugs are preferred for sex in nightlife recreational […]

When the ship goes down

The New York Times covers a new study on the co-operative behaviour of passengers when two famous sea-faring passenger liners sunk: the Lusitania sank fast, leading to every-man-for-themself type escape behaviour, whereas the Titanic took almost three hours to sink, meaning women and children were given priority and rank and social class were respected. It […]

Dark clouds and their silver linings

The New York Times has a thought-provoking article on the possible advantages of depression, suggesting that the negative form of thinking associated with depression may encourage people to focus on their problems to help them solve the life dilemmas that have contributed to their low mood. The piece explores the idea that rumination, the constant […]

A Shorter history of psychiatric diagnosis

The Wall Street Journal has an excellent article by historian of psychiatry, Edward Shorter, about the raft of new changes in the proposed revision of the DSM-V ‘psychiatric bible’ and how they reflect our changing ideas about mental illness. For some reason the piece has been given the stupid of title of ‘Why Psychiatry Needs […]


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