Monthly Archives: April 2011

Ketamine – biography of a space agent

Ketamine is both a powerful hallucinogenic drug and an effective anaesthetic that can create striking out-of-body experiences. The history of ‘Taming the Ketamine Tiger’ is recounted by the doctor who has been most involved in researching and understanding the curious compound in an open-access article published in Anesthesiology. The author is the wonderfully named Edward […]

The death of the mind

Business Week has an important article on how internet companies are using the massive data sets collected from the minutia of users’ behaviour to influence customer choices. The article is a useful insight into how tech companies are basing their entire profit model on the ability to model and manipulate human behaviour but the implication […]

Sports car advert based on entirely new organ

Car makers Audi have launched a fantastic brain-themed video commercial to promote their new range of money-themed sports cars. It incorporates the brain as well as lots of neuroanatomy shaped graphics. An approach rarely taken with the usual penis-based marketing campaigns. It seems the neuroadvert is aimed at academic neuroscientists who would only have to […]

A neurologist, fighting to the last

The San Francisco Chronicle has a striking article about a neurologist who is dying from the disease he has researched all his professional career. He is writing his last paper as he slowly gives way. The condition is called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, which slowly destroys neurons in […]

Three Christs winner

Many thanks to all who entered our Three Christs competition and what a fantastic response we had. The entries in the comments stretch from the bizarre to the philosophical to the profound and are enormously good fun to read. However we do have a winner. In answer to the question “You’re working in a psychiatric […]

A connoisseur’s list of essential psychology

Every month since 2008 The Psychologist magazine has run an interview with a leading psychologist where they ask them to name one book or journal article, either contemporary or historical, that all psychologists should read. The BPS Research Digest has compiled all the answers into handy and fascinating list. A few of the answers: Mistakes […]

The yin and yang of the LSD revolution

Neurotribes has a fantastic interview with the author of a new book on the relationship between Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg and their role in the LSD counter-culture that is still echoing through science and culture. The interview is with Peter Conners, author of White Hand Society, a book that examines the relationship between the two […]

A history of killing

The psychology of murder is the topic of a fantastic edition of ABC Radio’s All in the Mind that looks at the changing motivations behind the most serious of crimes. You might think that the reasons for committing murder have been relatively constant across time, even if the perceived necessity has been been changed by […]

Three Christs return and are waiting to be won

The New York Review of Books has just reprinted the classic book ‘The Three Christs of Ypsilanti’ documenting psychologist Milton Rokeach’s offbeat experiment where he brought three delusional Christs together in the same psychiatric hospital. I wrote about the astounding but somewhat ethically dubious study in a recent article for Slate if you want some […]

Time flies when you’re having fun

The New Yorker has a fantastic profile of neuroscientist David Eagleman that captures both his playful approach to science and his intriguing work on how we perceive time. Eagleman is one of the most engaging thinkers in neuroscience – equally at home tackling fascinating areas of cognitive science and writing playful books about the afterlife. […]

Arresting suicide by cop

‘Suicide by cop‘ is a fairly recent concept that has come to light after cases of people who seemingly provoked police shootings in an attempt to end their own lives. Miller-McCune magazine has an excellent article on how the police are increasingly recognising this as a problem and are working towards diverting these situations to […]

The exceptional mourning of twins

I’ve just found an amazing article that looks at how the death of twins is mourned in cultures around the world. The journal Twin Research and Human Genetics is usually dedicated to the science of twin studies – a key method for understanding the role of genetics and the environment on the development of human […]

The Rough Guide to Psychology

Friend of mindhacks.com and contributor to the original Mind Hacks book, Christian Jarrett has written the “The Rough Guide to Psychology“, published this month, and a right rip roaring read it is too. It’s a whistle-stop tour through all aspects of the science of mind and behaviour, which reveals just how diverse and rich the […]

How to jail the innocent

The Innocence Project has used DNA technology to overturn hundreds of wrongful convictions. Slate has an excellent two part series on the two main reasons why these people were falsely jailed: eyewitness misidentifications and false confessions. The series is by law professor Brandon Garrett who has analysed the first overturned 250 cases to examine the […]

Hearing the voices of colours

A spectacular case of psychosis, rather oddly described as ‘Methamphetamine Induced Synesthesia’, in a case report just published in The American Journal on Addictions. The report concerns a 30-year-old gentleman from the Iranian city of Shiraz with a long-standing history of drug use who recently started smoking crystal: Six months PTA [prior to admission] (October […]

Not in your wildest dreams

Scientific American has just started a new series where scientists describe questions which fascinate them but which they don’t think can be answered by science. The first article is by sleep and dream neuroscientist Robert Stickgold who wonders whether we could ever understand the significance of dreams. The idea: Dreams often feel profoundly meaningful, bizarre […]

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