Monthly Archives: July 2010

2010-07-30 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Popular Science reports on proposals to study the obscure hallucinogen ibogain as a treatment for opiate addiction. A study on how money restricts life’s pleasures is covered by PsyBlog. Yale Alumni Magazine looks at research “which seeks to use robots not to perform tasks […]

Booty calling

Someone, somewhere, can look you straight in the eye and say “I’ve got a PhD in booty call research”. A new study just published online in the Journal of Sex Research investigates where the booty call falls on the spectrum of relationships. Positioning the Booty-Call Relationship on the Spectrum of Relationships: Sexual but More Emotional […]

The experiment requires that you continue

Spanish daily El Pa√≠s recently published an article on psychologist Stanley Milgram which had this amazing photo of the young conformity researcher where he looks surprisingly beatnick. Sadly the photo isn’t dated but it makes quite a contrast to the better known photos where he looks much more like the typical professor of the age. […]

Poker face science

The best ‘poker face’ is probably not a neutral expression, but a happy one, as it led to a greater number of opponent mistakes in a study just published in PLoS One. The research looked at how poker playing was influenced by the emotional expression of opponents and discovered that blank and threatening expressions had […]

Plastic punk

Some awesome geek moves from the science of phonetics, as applied to the new wave punk classic ‘√áa Plane Pour Moi’ previously and falsely believed to have been sung by Plastic Bertrand. From the AV Club report: A staple of any new-wave dance night (ask a white person), ‚ÄúCa Plane Pour Moi‚Äù made a chart-stopping […]

From on hayo

An amazing passage about the use of coca among of the indigenous Kogi and Ika people of Colombia, taken from p24 of anthropologist Wade Davis’ magical book on the ethnobotany of ceremonial chemicals, One River. In a sacred landscape in which every plant is a manifestation of the divine, the chewing of hayo, a variety […]

SciFoo bound

Mind Hacks updates may be a little hit and miss over the next week as I’m off to San Francisco for SciFoo – the Nature / Google / O’Reilly science anti-conference. Apart from conferencing I’ll be sleeping on floors and wandering the streets but normal service should be resumed in a week.

Rebranding Freud

McSweeney’s has a funny piece where Freud visits the ad agency Sterling Cooper from the Mad Men television series: FREUD: Well, as you know, we’ve dominated psychology for decades. But lately we’ve begun losing our share of the market to Behaviorism. People want a more comforting interpretation of their lives. They don’t want to be […]

Through a monitor darkly

An online meth house, created in virtual world Second Life, has been created, tested and found to reliably induce drug cravings in methamphetamine users – in an experimental study just published in the journal Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior. A ‘meth house’ is where methamphetamine users go to buy, take or make speed and regular users […]

The case of the unknown father

Arthur Conan Doyle is famous for the creation of Sherlock Holmes but a lot less is known about his father. Practical Neurology has an interesting article about art and epilepsy which discusses Doyle senior’s artistic talents and how he was eventually committed to an asylum. Probably more famous as the father of Arthur Conan, Charles […]

How murder fell out of fashion with the rich

Murder has become largely confined to the poor and disadvantaged whereas historical records show that in times gone past it was used equally by all levels of society. This is taken from a 1997 study called ‘The Decline of Elite Homocide’, published in the journal Criminology, which attempts to explain how homicide has become less […]

A bit of all right

An interesting point made in a new book about the psychology of being wrong, appropriately called Being Wrong by author Kathryn Schulz. Taken from The New York Times book review: Schulz begins with a question that should puzzle us more than it does: Why do we love being right? After all, she writes, ‚Äúunlike many […]

Stanley Milgram, the 70s TV drama

The website for ‘The Man Who Shocked the World’, a biography of Stanley Milgram, is a goldmine of information about the psychologist who became famous for his obedience experiments. The little known facts section has an interesting snippet about a 70s TV drama based on the experiments which starred William Shatner as the Milgram character. […]

2010-07-23 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Newsweek has an excellent series on the psychology and culture of beauty. ‘A single brief electrical pulse to the hippocampus caused momentary amnesia’. Neuroskeptic covers a fascinating human study. AP News has an interesting piece on whether mind-bending movies set in mental space are […]

Attraction runs in the family

The ‘incest taboo‘ is the aversion to being sexually attracted to our own family and evolutionary psychology has suggested it is an inherited adaptation to promote genetic diversity. A brilliant study just published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin provides evidence that this is actually a cultural phenomenon, received wisdom if you like, […]

There’s a party in my dream and everyone’s invited

The consistently amusing NCBI ROFL blog has found a fantastic case study, originally published in Sleep Medicine, of a woman who started sending emails during sleeping-walking episodes when her dose of sleeping pill zolpidem was increased. As we’ve discussed previously, zolpidem has an association with unusual sleepwalking behaviours, but sending email invitations to dream parties […]


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