2010-08-20 Spike activity

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

New Scientist has a good feature article on how ‘crossing the senses‘ can help blind people ‘see’ with sounds and the like.

There’s good update on the biology and effects of the recently ex-‘legal high’ mephedrone over at DrugMonkey.

NPR has been running a good series on ‘How Evolution Gave Us The Human Edge’ that has lots of interesting psychology segments.

fMRI analysis in 1000 words. Awesome guide to the multiple complex steps involved in turning a brain scan into a scientific data point from the top-notch Neuroskeptic.

The Guardian asks stupid question ‘The internet: is it changing the way we think?’ (everything we interact with does) but it turns out to be a thoughtful discussion on the impact of technology on our lives from a number of contributors.

Biologist PZ Myers says that transhumanist and brain simulation enthusiast Ray Kurzweil ‘doesn’t understand the brain’. Kurzweil responds.

Case Study, the excellent series looking at the background of famous psychology case studies on BBC Radio 4 is still ongoing. Because the BBC live in the dark ages, you can only listen to a streamed version for 7 days before the latest episode disappears. Be quick, worth catching.

The number of books in the house predicts child success at school and work better than parent’s education and occupation in countries around the world, according to a study covered by Evidence Based Mummy.

The New York Times has an extended article on the psychology of 20-Somethings and the whether the period is becoming a life-stage categorised as ‘emerging adulthood’. Slate takes a critical look at the piece.

Like it or not, parents shape their children’s sexual preferences. The latest Bering in Mind column covers how sexuality develops in childhood. Not a wealth of data but an interesting take.

Wired UK starts the first in a series of monthly ‘Lab Notes’ columns on quirky psych studies. It kicks off a piece on the science of positive thinking.

There’s been a fantastic series on how kids understand numbers over Child’s Play. The latest piece about the neuropsychology of numbers and numeracy is a good starting place.

Newsweek has a brilliant article on why cholesterol levels seem to have a stronger genetic basis than personality. Great introduction to understanding the challenges and trials of genetics for thought and behaviour.

Forensic psychology blog In the News has been at the American Psychological Association annual conference and has sent back some great dispatches.

Slate takes a skeptical look at the claims that adolescents are reaching puberty at and earlier and earlier age.

Innovative philosophers Eric Schwitzgebel and Joshua Knobe mull whether studying ethics makes you more ethical and tackle the studies that suggest the opposite in a great video discussion over at The Splintered Mind.

Scientific American Mind has an article discussing evidence that the cholesterol lowering drugs statins may impact on memory.

The chaps over at Neuroanthropology have written a couple of brilliant pieces that take a look at the assumptions behind the ‘scientists go rafting’ tech and the brain piece that ran recently in The New York Times.

The Fortean Times has considers why the CIA became interested in the ‘LSD in the water supply’ idea.

There’s a discussion of how one of the most famous cases of demonic possession influenced the history of psychiatry over at Providentia.

The Psychologist September issue is freely available, in full, online. You can read it here.

Six causes of social disinhibition on the internet are discussed by PsyBlog. Oddly, ChatRoulette is not listed.

Nature has a fantastic open article on how neuroscientists are trying to breach the blood-brain barrier to avoid having to pipe new treatments directly into the brain in complex and sometimes risky operations.

How to apologise. The BPS Research Digest has some great coverage of which apologies work best for whom.

National Geographic has an eye-opening piece about the incest taboo has traditionally been suspended for royal families.

The necessity of the vagueness of language is discussed by Mark Changizi. I love the phrase “higher-order vagueness”.

The New York Times has a narrated slide-show by an urban explorer photographer who takes photos of abandoned psychiatric hospitals.

There is a funny and sarcastic analysis of a recent study on whether the toy boy / cougar phenomenon really exists over at The Last Psychiatrist.

The Sun, a popular British newspaper of ill repute, has an unlikely photo mock-up of a girl injecting enough heroin to kill a horse, into her elbow, with the safety cap still on the syringe.

The genetics of cocaine addiction has recently begun to focus on the brain protein MeCP2. Addiction Inbox covers the buzz.

The Atlantic has a fantastic article on the evolution of technology and why the ‘this tech is dead’ approach is far from reality.

One Comment

  1. Posted August 20, 2010 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    Well, in fact the problem is not the safety cap: it is not the green plastic tip in the photo, it is just the base of the needle. But look the angle of the syringe and the arm: the girl is injecting herself in the bone, not in the vein. Wow.


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