Monthly Archives: July 2012

A stream of unconsciousness

I have just discovered that if you search Pinterest with the keyword psychology you get a wonderfully eclectic stream of psychological images that range from the frosting of pop culture to the depths of profound theory. In fact, it’s a bit like swimming around in the mind of a psychologist as they slowly drift off […]

Neurowords and the burden of responsibility

The New York Times has an excellent article about the fallacy of assuming that a brain-based explanation of behaviour automatically implies that the person is less responsible for their actions. The piece is by two psychologists, John Monterosso and Barry Schwartz, who discuss their research on how attributions of blame can be altered simply by […]

Hallucinating body flowers

A curious and kaleidoscopic case of hallucinations reported in the latest journal Arquivos de Neuro-Psiquiatria: A 95-year-old woman, with four years of schooling, had a seven-year history of DI [delusional infestation]. In the beginning, there were itching and prickling sensations on arms and head. Subsequently, she felt small worms, with different shapes and colors, crawling […]

All time high

The latest issue of The Psychologist has a fascinating article on why time can seem distorted after taking drugs. The piece is by psychologists Ruth Ogden and Cathy Montgomery who both research the effects of drugs, legal and illegal, on the mind and brain. The consumption of drugs and alcohol has long been known to […]

How the FBI sees the psychopath

The latest FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin is a special issue on the criminal psychopath. Apart from the use of eye-scorching clip-art, it’s notable more what it tells us about how the FBI approaches the concept of psychopathy than necessarily being a great introduction to the topic. Some of the most revealing articles are written by […]

Is mental health a smoke screen for society’s ills?

Somatosphere has a fantastic account of the debates rocking the world of global mental health – the still nascent field that aims to make mental health a world priority. The idea itself is sound in the general sense, but there is still a lot of argument about what it means to promote mental health and […]

BBC Future column: Why we love to hoard

Here’s last week’s column from BBC Future. The original is here. It’s not really about hoarding, its about the endowment effect and a really lovely piece of work that helped found the field of behavioural economics (and win Daniel Kahneman a Nobel prize). Oh, and I give some advice on how to de-clutter, lifehacker-style. Question: […]

The rebirth of hypnosis

I’ve got an article in today’s Observer about the re-emergence of hypnosis into the scientific mainstream despite the fact that the technique is still associated with stereotypes. The piece has been oddly titled ‘hypnosis is no laughing matter’, which kind of misses the point, because no-one laughs at it, but many scientists do find it […]

Berlin cognitive science safari: report

So I’m back from my time in Berlin at the BMW Guggenheim Lab. As announced previously, I was there to give a talk about how perception works, and how cities control our perception. If you’re a regular mindhacks.com reader nothing I said would have been earth-shattering – it was a tour through some basics of […]

No, the web is not driving us mad

Oh Newsweek, what have you done. The cover story in the latest edition is an embarrasing look at non-research that certainly doesn’t suggest that the internet is causing “extreme forms of mental illness”. The article is a litany of scientific stereotypes and exaggeration: The current incarnation of the Internet—portable, social, accelerated, and all-pervasive—may be making […]

BBC Future column: Why I am always unlucky but you are always careless

From lost keys to failed interviews, we blame other people for mishaps but never ourselves, because assuming causes helps us to make sense of the world. When my wife can’t find her keys, I assume it is because she is careless. When I can’t find my keys I naturally put it down to bad luck. […]

Projecting Nabokov

American Scholar has an excellent article on the use of psychology in the novels of Vladimir Nabokov – most famous as the author of Lolita. As is now standard for literary criticism the article includes lots of florid prose and a spurious reference to ‘mirror neurons‘, but get past the flouncing and it’s a brilliant […]

Made for PR Neuroscience

Times Higher Education has a short but revealing article about a ‘neuromarketing’ company called MindLab that keeps getting ‘accidentally’ associated with the University of Sussex. The ‘accidental’ association is not what makes the piece interesting, however, as it also gives an insight into a type of marketing that relies on the hype of neuroscience to […]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 24,095 other followers