Monthly Archives: October 2012

BBC Future column: The Psychology Of Tetris

Last week’s BBC Future column. The original is here. There’s a more melancholy and personal version of this column I could have written called ‘I lost years of my life to Sid Meier’s ‘Civiliation’, but since the game is now out on iphone I didn’t have time to write it. How the secret to the […]

Plug n’ play cosmic dust brain t-shirt

The Imaginary Foundation do an amazing t-shirt of someone plugging in a huge cosmic dust covered brain. It’s available in guys and gals styles but sadly doesn’t come with any cosmic dust to make your own accessories.  

A brief reheating of the refrigerator mother

The Telegraph has a well-intentioned but confused article about how child neglect affects the brain and what can be done about it. What’s the difference between these two brains? asks The Telegraph. “The primary cause of the extraordinary difference between the brains of these two three-year-old children,” says the journalist, “is the way they were […]

British Psy Ops in Afghanistan

BBC News has an extremely rare article on the UK military’s psychological operations group and their work in Afghanistan. The piece reports how the 15 (UK) Psychological Operations Group have been given the Firmin Sword of Peace – an accolade recognising the building of community relations awarded by, well, the UK military. Get your plaudits […]

Hark! What light through yonder neuron breaks

An unintentionally funny first line from a new study on the neuroscience of love. The lifetime prevalence of romantic love is extremely high, as romantic love strikes nearly 100% of the people at one or more times during their life. As a comparison, the lifetime prevalence of experiencing any mental disorder is “only” 46.4% (National […]

Press Release Spam (an interlude)

Sorry to interrupt your normal psych/neuro programming, but this is just a short note to say that I have retired the email address. If you wish to contact me or Vaughan, please tweet us (details in rightbar). I’ve retired the email address because of the amount of PR spam I’ve been getting, which has […]

The neuroscience of sexual attractions

A recent edition of radio programme KERA Think has a fantastic discussion on development and the neuroscience of sexual attraction in its many forms. The programme is a discussion with Simon LeVay, a neuroscientist who raised a lot of eyebrows by finding differences in the brain structure of gay and straight men in a 1991 […]

Deeper into forensic bias

For the recent Observer article on forensic science and the psychological biases that affect it, I spoke to cognitive scientist Itiel Dror about his work. I could only include some brief quotes from a more in-depth exchange, so for those wanting more on the psychology of forensic examining, here’s Dror on how evidence can be […]

Interviews with interrogators

Author Dominic Streatfeild interviewed many trained military, intelligence and police interrogators for his book Brainwash and I’ve just realised he’s put the full text of the interviews online. They’re in equal measures fascinating, disturbing and sometimes worryingly relevant, as the ‘war on terror’ still relies on many of the same physical coercion techniques used in […]

Neural skull

Some more amazing artwork from parallel universe neuro designer Emilio Garcia. You may remember we’ve previously featured Garcia’s jumping brain and brain print skate decks on Mind Hacks.   Link to Garcia’s Skull Brain piece.

Let slip the coins of war

A fascinating short excerpt from a new study that estimates war and population change in Ancient Rome from finds of stashed coins. It turns out that the coin hoards are a surprisingly good guide to human behaviour: The reasons for this correlation are not hard to fathom. People tend to hide their valuables in times […]

A history of ideas about the brain

Being Human has an excellent article on how ideas about the function of the brain have evolved over the centuries. The piece is by respected science writer Carl Zimmer who wrote a fantastic book on the dawn of modern neuroscience called Soul Made Flesh. This new article is a whistle stop tour of how our […]

Hallucinations on the radio

BBC Radio 4 has just broadcast a documentary entitled ‘Hallucination – Through the Doors of Perception’ that charts the various ways in which we can experience freewheeling and autonomous perceptions. You can hear it streamed online here or you can download it as a podcast but only for 7 more days, as like French cheese, […]

Feeling sheepish

Quite possibly the strangest news story I have ever come across. It starts out strange, gets stranger and then finishes on a trumpeting pageant of strangeness. From GhanaWeb: “People who practice bestiality threaten society”-psychologist A psychologist at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Rev. Ekow Jackson says people who have sex with animals are potential threats […]

A psychological bias in DNA testing

I’ve got a piece in today’s Observer about how psychological biases can affect DNA testing from crime scenes. It seems counter-intuitive, but that’s largely because we’ve come to accept the idea that DNA is a sort of individual genetic ‘serial number’ that just needs to be ‘read off’ from a biological sample – but the […]

Human error in psychology research: a rough guide

Science writer Ed Yong has just posted the audio of a fantastic talk on problems in psychology research and how to fix them. The talk was delivered at Bristol University but is remarkably direct and he pulls no punches in pointing out psychology’s scientific flaws. Interestingly, Yong makes the point that this is not a […]


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