Monthly Archives: June 2013

Taking emotions at face value

Boston Magazine has a fascinating article on the work of psychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett who has been leading the charge against the idea that we recognise the same facial expression of emotion across the world. This was first suggested by Paul Ekman whose work suggested that humans can universally recognise six emotions: anger, disgust, fear, […]

Great cure but we lost the patient

The Journal of Neuroscience has a surprising case report of a patient who was treated with an implanted brain stimulator to treat severe movement side-effects from an extended period of taking antipsychotic drugs for behavioural problems. This is the background to the case: A 27-year-old woman with developmental delay and severe behavioural disturbance was treated […]

Workout music and your supplementary motor cortex

Why do we like to listen to tunes when we exercise? Psychologist Tom Stafford searches for answers within our brains, not the muscles we are exercising. Perhaps you have a favourite playlist for going to the gym or the park. Even if you haven’t, you’re certain to have seen joggers running along with headphones in […]

What is it like being nerve gassed?

I’ve just found an interesting article in the Journal of Pharmacy Practice that discusses the medical management of chemical weapons injuries. It has a particularly attention-grabbing section that describes the effects of being nerve gassed. I’ve pasted it below, but as it was dense with medical jargon, I’ve added explanations in square brackets. The nerve […]

A taxonomy of ayahuasca hallucinations

A wonderful list categorising hallucinations experienced by the Cashinahua people of Peru after drinking the hallucinogenic brew ayahuasca. 1. Brightly colored, large snakes 2. Jaguars and ocelots 3. Spirits, both of ayahuasca and others 4. Large trees, often falling trees 5. Lakes, frequently filled with anacondas and alligators 6. Cashinahua villages and those of other […]

Is social psychology really in crisis?

My latest ‘behind the headlines’ column for The Conversation. Probably all old news for you wised-up mindhacks.com readers, but here you go: The headlines Disputed results a fresh blow for social psychology Replication studies: Bad copy The story Controversy is simmering in the world of psychology research over claims that many famous effects reported in […]

An unrecognised revolution in street drug design

I’ve got an article in The Observer about the ongoing but little recognised revolution in street drug design being pushed forward by the ‘legal high’ market. Since 2008 we’ve seen the first genuine wave of ‘designer drugs’ that are being produced by science-savvy professional labs that are deliberately producing substances to avoid drug laws. New […]

A radio guide to global mental health

The BBC World Service is in the midst of an excellent series on global mental health – called The Truth About Mental Health. It is currently half-way through and is remarkably well done, looking at everything from the war in Syria, to the effects of solitary confinement, to treatment in developing countries. The programme also […]

Protect your head – the world is complex

The British Medical Journal has a fascinating editorial on the behavioural complexities behind the question of whether cycling helmets prevent head injuries. You would think that testing whether helmets prevent bikers from head injury would be a fairly straightforward affair. Maybe putting a bike helmet on a crash test dummy and throwing rocks at its […]

When giving reasons leads to worse decisions

We’re taught from childhood how important it is to explain how we feel and to always justify our actions. But does giving reasons always make things clearer, or could it sometimes distract us from our true feelings? One answer came from a study led by psychology professor Timothy Wilson at the University of Virginia, which […]

Drugs where the sun don’t shine: a cultural history

Through the history of humanity, every culture has made use of psychoactive substances. While smoking, eating and injecting have generated most interest, taking drugs through the nether regions has a remarkably long history. Firstly, let’s get your burning question out of the way. The reason someone might want to administer drugs through the vagina or […]

Crystal history

Spiegel Online has an excellent article that traces the history of methamphetamine from its early days as synthetic soldier fuel in Nazi Germany to its recent history as street crank. There is one curious bit though: Pervitin remained easy to obtain even after the war, on the black market or as a prescription drug from […]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,600 other followers