2010-08-13 Spike activity

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

NPR has an excellent short piece on when we became ‘mentally modern’ and began to use symbolic thought.

The awesome Neuroskeptic covers a mind-boggling new study that reported the use of anti-depressant and quit-smoking drug bupropion to treat Starcraft addiction in South Korean teens.

Seed Magazine discusses the psychology of isolation in space – in an excerpt from Mary Roach’s forthcoming book on space travel.

Dodgy headline but there’s a fascinating discussion of cultural differences in self-reflection and mood between the US and Russia over at The Frontal Cortex.

Wired Science covers new research that helps explain why some sleepers can successfully block out the external world and others awake at the slightest flutter.

Is it possible to believe that you’re dead? Philosopher Lisa Bortolotti discusses belief and delusion over at The Splintered Mind.

The Guardian on why autism can’t be diagnosed with brain scans, despite the week’s headlines. See the lead author’s response here.

That runner’s high may not be endorphins after all – but your brain’s cannabinoid system. Addiction Inbox covers research on the neuroscience of exercise and feeling good.

New Scientist reports on research finding that depression dulls your sense of smell.

There’s a guide to becoming a professional agony aunt or uncle, over at Dr Petra.

The New York Times covers a new study suggesting that human ancestors were using stone tools and sometimes consuming meat at least 800,000 years earlier than previously thought.

Ten psychology studies on Twitter and how people use it are reviewed over at PsyBlog.

Reuters covers a new systematic review finding little evidence that antidepressants are helpful for children with autism.

Somewhat mysteriously, a retracted paper on treating cluster headaches with an LSD-like compound is re-instated after four years. We’re still not sure why but Retraction Watch covers the story.

The Boston Globe covers the all-over-the-internet news that a 2002 paper on monkey cognition has been retracted and big name author Mark Hauser ‘on leave’ for a year from his Harvard lab.

There’s an interview with the creator of the excellent Psychiatric Tales graphic novel over at Frontier Psychiatrist.

RadioLab have a fantastic and playful visual essay on the flexibility of words.

Brainless slime mould makes decisions like humans in new research covered by Not Exactly Rocket Science. Don’t miss the mind-blowing video of the slime mould navigating a maze!

New Scientist covers a study finding that social rejection raises the risk of inflammation diseases that arthritis.

Are children from collectivist cultures more likely to say it’s okay to lie for the group? asks the BPS Research Digest. The answer, it turns out, is that there less likely to think so than kids from more individualist cultures.

CNN covers the much echoed research findings that women in China, the United States, England and Germany said they found men pictured wearing red, or surrounded by the color, more sexually attractive. The full text of the study is online as a pdf.

Help Language Log to get Barak Obama to sing Let It Be. Less crazy than it sounds.

The Independent covers the UK government’s continuing romance with behavioural economics.

Have ‘mirror neurons’ been misinterpreted? Talking Brains covers an interesting take on the pop science favourites.

Dilbert wrestles with placebo.

Machines, computation and metaphors for the mind are discussed over at Child’s Play

The New York Times discusses how large scale data sharing has led to some crucial advances in understanding Alzheimer’s disease. Also check the audio.

One Comment

  1. cavall de quer
    Posted August 15, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    “….they found men pictured wearing red, or surrounded by the color, more sexually attractive.”
    – that’s odd, I’ve always considered that men look their best and most attractive in black and white, no matter how much they venture into other colours, patterns etc.


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