2010-11-26 Spike activity

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

The New York Times has an excellent piece by wide-thinking neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky: This Is Your Brain on Metaphors. Want more metaphors? This week’s ‘In Our Time’ had a history.

The web’s best optical illusion videos from io9.

The Guardian has an excellent piece covering some of the latest findings in the neuroscience of synaesthesia.

Thank you LanguageLog for the keeping it real coverage of The New York Times’ odd anecdote-led ‘Your Brain on Computers’ series.

New Scientist on a New York exhibition of Franz Messerschmidt’s sculptures – a series of “character heads” whose distorted facial features he believed had the power to ward off the demons that tormented him by pinching his thighs and abdomen.

Waiting for the sky gods of brain science. Oscillatory Thoughts takes a critical look at headline-making blue-sky-and-bluster neuroscience projects.

ScienceNews covers new research on bomb blast brain protection finding helmet visors may prevent shock waves entering through the face.

What makes a good gift? Irrationally Yours discusses how to select a present for maximum guilt-alleviating impact.

NPR has a brilliant piece on siblings, personality development, genetics, environment and why two people who grow up together can be so different.

A 15-minute writing exercise closes the gender gap in university-level physics according to research expertly covered by Not Exactly Rocket Science. Now someone hurry up and invent one for psychology so I look less of a klutz in front of my female colleagues.

The Morning News has a brilliant first-person account of someone caught up in compulsive gambling.

A diagnosis of schizophrenia exited the body of a white housewife, flew across the hospital, and landed on a young Black man from the housing projects of Detroit. Brilliant In the News piece on recent research on ‘how schizophrenia became a black disease’.

BBC Radio 3 had an surprisingly engrossing programme on when Freud met the composer Mahler. You have only two days left to listen to it and streaming only. Public funding in action.

Does having children really make us less happy, despite the contrary stereotype? Evidence Based Mummy has an excellent piece that delves into the detail.

The Wall Street Journal has a piece by VR pioneer Jaron Lanier on the psychology of being an avatar.

The ‘smell of fear’ makes us dangerous. The BPS Research Digest covers a piece on how the scent of anxious people encourages risk taking.

APA Monitor magazine for December has just arrived online. Lots of psychology goodness from the American Psychological Association.

A mirror neuron dance party for autism spectrum disorders. The Neurocritic tackles a funky if not wildly speculative treatment for ASD.

The New York Times covers the increasing use of virtual reality in psychological treatment.

The psychiatric hospital best known as the site for the filming of the 1975 movie “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” will soon be reopened for patients. Providentia has the news.

Time magazine has a piece on how posh people are worse at reading emotion in faces. Better manners though, and that’s what counts.

Do guns make violence more likely? Barking Up the Wrong Tree tackles a relevant study.

The Guardian has an important and interesting piece on false memory, unsound convictions and a legal system that still relies on the vagaries of recall.

‘Synthetic cannabis’ has been given an immediate and temporary ban in the United States. Addiction Inbox, as always, has brilliant coverage.

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