Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news:
Time magazine asks why do heavy drinkers outlive non-drinkers? Your mileage may vary.
How good are we at estimating other people’s drunkenness? asks The BPS Research Digest.
IEEE Spectrum magazine has a good piece on attempts by commercial companies to get still-not-very-good ‘fMRI lie detection’ accepted into court.
There’s an excellent analysis of the recent study that found only 23% of people are without ‘personality disorder symptoms’ over at Neuroskeptic.
Wired Science covers research on how behaviour change spreads more rapidly through online networks when they’re more densely connected than real-life social networks.
Fake patients and simulated symptoms are discussed in an engaging analysis of the (in)famous Rosenhan experiment at Frontier Psychiatrist.
BBC Radio 4 has a documentary on on the ‘Pont St Esprit affair’ where a French town went strange for a few days with the CIA suspected of spiking the townspeople with LSD. More commentary on the documentary maker’s blog here.
There’s an excellent essay on taking the science vs post-modernism debate beyond extremism over at Fistful of Science.
Wired Dangerroom notes that the head of the US Military in Afghanistan has been making snide comments probably referencing the Human Terrain System – the military’s crack team of ‘weaponized anthropologists’.
Zipf’s law, the long-tail and the pattern of common and lesser-spotted words in language are tackled over at Child’s Play.
The New York Times has an extensive article asking can preschoolers be depressed?
You know those visual illusions that are two pictures at once but you seem to be only able to see one at a time and ‘flip’ between them? New Scientist discusses how the brain makes the switch.
Spoonful of Medicine briefly covers a study finding that regular cannabis smokers are more sensitive to pain than non-smokers.
My brief piece on strange objects that get stuck in MRI scanners is up at Wired UK: “An MRI machine disarmed an off-duty US police officer… The gun was pulled by the magnetic force, jamming her hand between the pistol and the machine and trapping the officer.”
Frontal Cortex covers the identifiable victim bias, where we’re more likely to have sympathy with individual victims than groups, in light of the trapped miners in Chile.
People who do ‘mental work-outs’ seem to get Alzheimer’s later than other people, but they can be hit harder when it strikes, according to new research covered by Science News.
Neuroanthropology has one of its last posts on its old site on how the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis (words shape our thoughts) gets inappropriately bashed as ‘dead science’. You know the blog has moved right?
There’s a piece on Bronze Age brain surgery over at New Scientist.
Advances in the History of Psychology blog is back after its summer recess.
All hail the launch of Philosophy TV. Looks great.
The Beast File has a brilliant video giving a visual guide to the history of MDMA / Ecstasy.
Experimental philosophy is discussed by Joshua Knobe, one of the field’s founders, over at Philosophy Bites.
The Human Edge over at National Public Radio asks if believing in God is evolutionarily advantageous.