2011-03-19 Spike activity

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

The Boston Globe has a fascinating piece on the psychological benefits of solitude. “What we do better without other people around.” No smirking now.

The colour of depression. Neuroskeptic investigates its association with the colours black and blue.

The New York Times has an obituary for Owsley Stanley – one of the most prolific and discerning producers of LSD the world has ever seen.

Can people tell whether abstract art is by a child or a chimp? Not Exactly Rocket Science has the surprising answer.

Science News has a piece on the latest developments in the science of wiring computer chips with nerve cells. I think we’re at the dodgy 16k RAM pack stage.

There’s an excellent interview on addiction and substance use with ex-addict and writer James Brown over at Addiction Inbox.

Slate has an great piece on why it could be counter-productive to start fact-based education too early by developmental psychologist Alison Gopnick.

V.S. Ramachandran is challenged about his mirror neurons and autism theory and gets a bit crotchety in an interview with Neurophilosophy.

NeuroPod hits the wires with a new edition on gender and PTSD, prion disease and pain.

How to Build Hallucinogenic Goggles. We Alone On Earth has the plans.

Wired Science covers a study finding that robot nurses are less weird when they don’t talk. Robot nurse bed baths yet to be studied.

There’s a wonderful piece on one of the most influential books in the history of psychiatry, Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy, over at Providentia.

The Guardian reports on the US military’s new social-media-centred PsyOps and propaganda campaign. Think weaponised RickRolls.

The psychology of homework. A new field dawns and the sunrise is captured by The BPS Research Digest.

Science News covers a study finding that stock traders can stay in the black just by following the crowd.

Heavier men get paid more, heavier women get paid less. The BPS Occupational Digest on the weight salary link.

The New York Times has a brief but informative piece on the biological basis of left-handedness.

A fascinating piece on the amplifying effect of cities – except for their effect on pro-social behaviour – over at The Frontal Cortex.

3 Comments

  1. Emmy
    Posted March 19, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    I wonder, did the Arbesman and Christakis study factor in the *opportunities* for charitable giving? At first I thought it would be a simple matter of numbers, but maybe it’s not. In my short time working with the public I could have sworn that people were more chipper and nicer during serious snowstorms. Always thought that was a community-survival thing.

  2. Michael Woelk
    Posted March 22, 2011 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    “No smirking now.” – dammit, too late!

  3. Zanapplepie
    Posted March 23, 2011 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Not to be the weird conspiracy commenter, but these pieces are interesting to consider with respect to your Guardian article:

    http://www.alternet.org/media/149197/are_right-wing_libertarian_internet_trolls_getting_paid_to_dumb_down_online_conversations?page=2

    http://exiledonline.com/how-long-has-new-media-strategies-been-trolling-wikipedia-on-the-kochs-behalf/

    The Guardian article says “it would be unlawful to ‘address US audiences’ with such technology” although it’s not easy to believe.

    These levels and types of masquerading are scary and disheartening.

    Thanks.


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