Monthly Archives: September 2012

Does social psychology have a prejudice problem?

The Weekly Standard has a scorching article that takes ‘liberal psychopundits’ to task for suggesting that science supports their view that conservatives are ‘heartless and stupid’. It comes on the heels of a new study that found that social psychology professors were more likely to be liberal (no surprise there) but rather more shockingly were […]

Artist treats psychiatric hospital stay as art residency

Claude Heiland-Allen is an artist who specialises in mathematical, algorithmic and science-based art. When he was recently admitted to a psychiatric hospital he decided to treat his stay “as an artist-in-residence opportunity” – producing fractal images by freehand drawings. You can see some of the amazing work on his website. He explains the background to […]

The Lancet, [temporarily] seized by irony

The Lancet has just a launched a special collection on how epilepsy is a global health problem particularly in lower-income countries. According to several of the articles, one of the key problems that drives the medical neglect of people with epilepsy is a lack of accurate information about the condition for health professionals and the […]

Growing up in Broadmoor

Novelist Patrick McGrath talks about his childhood as the son of a psychiatrist growing up in the grounds of Broadmoor – one of Britain’s highest security psychiatric hospitals – in an article for Intelligent Life. Broadmoor Hospital has a special and undeserved place in the British psyche – stereotyped as ‘the real-life equivalent of Arkham […]

The inner object

The Lancet has a wonderful article on how medicine has understood how strange objects have ended up in the body and how this has influenced our understanding of the body and behaviour. The piece notes that cases where people have swallowed or inserted foreign bodies into themselves have been important for surgery and even anatomy […]

Sleight-of-hand causes a moral reversal

Just over half of participants in survey of moral opinions argued for the reverse of what they first claimed when their answers were secretly switched. The thoroughly delightful study is open-access from PLOS One but is also described in a news piece for Nature. The researchers, led by Lars Hall, a cognitive scientist at Lund […]

Schizophrenia beyond the brain

The Wilson Quarterly has an excellent article about the rebirth of interest in how social experiences affect the development of schizophrenia. It’s written by the brilliant anthropologist Tanya Marie Luhrmann, who tracks how the enthusiasm for a completely neurobiological explanation for the disorder has now begun to wane. It’s worth saying that this extreme neurobiological […]

BBC Column: auction psychology

My BBC Future column from last week. The original is here The reason we end up overspending is a result of one unavoidably irrational part of the bidding process – and that’s ourselves. The allure and tension of an auction are familiar to most of us – let’s face it, we all like the idea […]

Fake pot industry generating novel, untested drugs

There’s an excellent article on the highs and increasing lows of the synthetic marijuana ‘legal high’ industry in the Broward Palm Beach New Times. The piece is an in-depth account of how a legal high company called Mr. Nice Guy became the biggest fake pot manufacturer in the US. It describes in detail how the […]

Avoiding the shadows

The Lancet has a powerful essay on children born from rape and the social and psychological consequences for mother, child and community. I’ll let the article speak for itself as it carefully articulates how the relationship between mother and child can be affected by these tragic events. There is one point worth highlighting, however. The […]

A comment on Szasz

One of the most interesting commentaries I’ve ever read on Thomas Szasz, the long-time critic of psychiatry who recently passed away, has been left as a comment in the obituary we recently published. The comment is by ‘Aporeticist’ and he or she is clearly a fierce critic of modern psychiatry (to the point of indulging […]

Unwritten rules of the road

The latest edition of The Psychologist has a fantastic discussion on the psychology of how drivers, cyclists and pedestrians interact. Rather appropriately, it’s with psychologist Ian Walker, who makes lots of interesting points about how different road users are perceived and how that affects behaviour. …the lack of understanding of the cyclist outgroup seems to […]

Human Touch

A curious article has just appeared in the latest edition of the International Journal of Group Psychotherapy. The opening line of the summary is oddly delightful: The group, with its intensity, interaction, roles and dynamics, is an important unit of experience in everyday life, in psychotherapy groups, and in Bruce Springsteen’s music. The author, psychotherapist […]

Hallucinations caused by lightning

A 23-year-old mountain climber was hit by a lightning bolt and awoke in hospital to find herself experiencing bizarre hallucinations. The case, reported in BMJ Case Reports, describes how the healthy young woman was mountaineering with her climbing partner when they heard heard cracking thunder and were thrown to the ground by a massive shockwave. […]

Thomas Szasz has left the building

The brilliant, infuriating, persistent, renegade psychiatrist Thomas Szasz has died. Szasz is usually associated with anti-psychiatry but he rejected the label and really had nothing in common with the likes of R.D Laing, David Cooper and the rest. You can see this in his work. He had two main arguments. The first was that the […]

The Cognitive Science Safari

Just a quick note to anyone who ends up here because of the Wall Street Journal article, more info about the ‘cognitive science safari’ in Berlin can be found here.

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