Monthly Archives: July 2013

Love is a cognitive enhancer

Aeon magazine has an excellent article about how a study on the adoption of Romanian orphans has helped us understand the importance of early-life affection for brain development. It tracks the story of the Bucharest Early Intervention Project (BEIP), a US-based study that was inspired by seeing the appalling living conditions of orphans from the […]

A literary review of the DSM-5

Philosopher Ian Hacking, famous for analysing the effects of psychological and neuroscientific knowledge on how we understand ourselves, has reviewed the DSM-5 for the London Review of Books. It’s both an excellent look at what the whole DSM project has been designed to do and a cutting take on the checklist approach to diagnosis. It’s […]

What makes an extravert?

Why do some people prefer adventure and the company of others, while others favour being alone? It’s all to do with how the brain processes rewards. Will you spend Saturday night in a crowded bar, or curled up with a good book? Is your ideal holiday adventure sports with a large group of mates and, […]

The Mystery of The Cuckoo’s Calling

One of the computational linguists who applied forensic text analysis to JK Rowling’s books to uncover her as the author of The Cuckoo’s Calling describes the science behind his investigation in a post for Language Log. It seems Rowling’s authorship was originally leaked by her law firm and a UK newspaper turned to two academics […]

A proto-anthropology of the rock n’ roll groupie scene

The Groupies is a remarkable record. The 1969 LP features nothing but interviews with ‘super groupies’ who discuss the culture of sleeping around the 60′s rock n’ roll scene. It was made by, and featured, an 18 year-old version of the future Dr Cleo Odzer who shows her early interest in both sex and culture […]

Candidate neurotech for the billion dollar brain projects

Nature has an article that discusses candidate neuro-mapping technologies that may form the basis of the billion dollar brain projects that are just kicking off on either side of the Atlantic. Both Europe’s and Obama’s brain projects have set themselves the (possibly over-) ambitious goal of mapping the working brain on the neuron-by-neuron level. This […]

Like a kid in a brain candy store

Slate has got a great article that takes on the newly fashionable field of ‘neuromarketing’ and calls it out as an empty promise. The piece is written by neuroscientist Matt Wall who notes the upsurge in consumer EEG ‘brain wave’ technology has fuelled a boom in neuromarketing companies who claim that measuring the brain is […]

Why you think your phone is vibrating when it is not

Most of us experience false alarms with phones, and as Tom Stafford explains this happens because it is a common and unavoidable part of healthy brain function. Sensing phantom phone vibrations is a strangely common experience. Around 80% of us have imagined a phone vibrating in our pockets when it’s actually completely still. Almost 30% […]

Double matrix

This is quite possibly the least comprehensible abstract of a psychology article I have ever read. It starts off dense and wordy and ends up feeling like you’re huffing butane. The psychologization of humanitarian aid: skimming the battlefield and the disaster zone Hist Human Sci. 2011;24(3):103-22. De Vos J. Humanitarian aid’s psycho-therapeutic turn in the […]

I’m experiencing a lot of automaticity right now

Funny or Die is supposedly a comedy site but they seem to have a brief video tutorial on how to undertake neurally informed domestic negotiations. The credits of the video give special thanks to Dr Dan Siegel – founder of ‘the exciting field of interpersonal neurobiology’. I think that might be a joke though as […]

Life of a Neuro Pope

The late Pope John Paul II is to be made a saint by the Catholic church after having two miracles confirmed – both of which allegedly involved curing neurological disorders. As Popes go, John Paul was particularly interested in neuroscience and seems to have continued his interest in the, er, afterlife. His post-mortem miracles have […]

‘digital dementia’ lowdown – from The Conversation

The Headlines The Telegraph: Surge in ‘digital dementia’ The Daily Mail: ‘Digital dementia’ on the rise as young people increasingly rely on technology instead of their brain Fox News: Is ‘digital dementia’ plaguing teenagers? The Story South Korea has the highest proportion of people with smartphones, 67%. Nearly 1 in 5 use their phone for […]

The Connected Brain: Edinburgh

I’m giving at talk at the Edinburgh festival on August 9th, called The Connected Brain. It will be at Summerhall (Fringe Venue 26 during the festival), cost £3, and here is the blurb: Headlines often ask if facebook is making us shallow, or google eroding our memories. In this talk we will look “under the […]

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