Monthly Archives: July 2010

Phantom pregnancy, in men

ABC Radio National’s Life Matters has a brief segment on the fascinating Couvade syndrome, also known as sympathetic pregnancy, where male partners of expectant women start feeling the physical effects of being pregnant. This can range from aches and pain, to food cravings, to morning sickness, to full on ‘pseudocyesis’ or phantom pregnancy which involves […]

Could a brain parasite be responsible for everything?

Slate has a tongue-in-cheek article making the case that national levels of infection with the toxoplasma gondii parasite could be responsible for World Cup success. It’s timely because the parasite has most recently been discussed in the press due to a new study that found a correlation between infection rates and national IQ levels. However, […]

The mighty fortress of belief

Bad Science has an excellent piece on the psychology of how we deal with evidence that challenges our cherished beliefs. Needless to say, our most common reaction is to try and undermine the evidence rather than adjust our beliefs. The classic paper on the last of those strategies is from Lord in 1979: they took […]

A contagion of social symptoms

There’s a fascinating study just published online by the journal Epidemiology that examines how many reports of chemical spills may in fact be ‘mass hysteria’ or ‘mass psychogenic illness‘. Psychogenic illness is where medical problems appear; like paralysis, irritation, loss of consciousness, headaches and so on; despite there being no damage to the body or […]

Lady psychologists, the interwebs need you

The BPS Research Digest has just finished a series of interviews with psychology and neuroscience bloggers that includes some of the best known mind on brain sites on the net. If you’re a Mind Hacks reader, you’ll probably recognise most of the blogs as we often link to them, but I was struck by the […]

2010-07-02 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: NPR have just completed a three part series on violence, psychopaths and the brain. Bring back the fat cats? Hunger increases financial risk-taking according to a new study covered by the BPS Research Digest. Time has an in-depth article that covers cocaine’s growth as […]

That’s what they want you to believe

The Psychologist has a fascinating article on the psychology of conspiracy theories, looking at what characteristics are associated with believing in sinister far-reaching explanations and what role these beliefs play in society. I was particularly interested in one part where they note that we are influenced by such ideas even when we’re not aware of […]

If there were genes for homelessness

This month’s British Journal of Psychiatry has a quietly powerful poem by psychiatrist Sean Spence which highlights the sometimes uncomfortable misconnection between the problems we study and the problems we face. Spence is well-known for his work in cognitive neuropsychiatry although has had a long-standing interest in treating mental health difficulties in those living on […]


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