Monthly Archives: November 2013

Neuroscience and its place in the social world

This is the first of three posts that will cover three important books about how the science of mind, brain and mental health, interfaces with society at large. First off, I want to discuss an excellent book called Neuro: The New Brain Sciences and the Management of the Mind published this year by sociologists of […]

2013-11-29 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Science News reports on a ‘brain training’ app that actually seems to be a data gathering tool for big data neuropsychology research. Interesting if not a bit ethically dubious. The US Military’s science wing DARPA wants to fix broken brains and restore lost memories. […]

Extending new senses through implanted magnets

In 2006, journalist Quinn Norton had a magnet implanted in her finger so she could ‘sense’ magnetic fields. An article on the ABC Radio National website shows how this simple concept has been taken to its next level by the body modification community to find new ways of integrating magnetic fields into our senses. Before […]

Do violent video games make teens ‘eat and cheat’ more?

By Tom Stafford, University of Sheffield The Headlines Business Standard: Violent video games make teens eat more, cheat more Scienceblog.com: Teens ‘Eat more, cheat more’ after playing violent video games The Times of India: Violent video games make teens cheat more The story Playing the violent video game Grand Theft Auto made teenagers more aggressive, […]

You are a data series in a profit-making algorithm

If you only read one psychology article in the next few months, make it the startling and unsettling Atlantic piece on how ‘people analytics’ is being applied to managing, selecting, and promoting employees. The idea behind people analytics is that job performance can be measured and predicted by analysing the huge amount of behavioural data […]

2013-11-23 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Prosthetics to replace amputated hands can fall into the uncanny valley reports Science News. The New York Times covers the nascent science of female aggression. Can gambling machines prevent addiction? asks Scientific American Mind. Answer: of course. Will they? No. NPR has an excellent […]

A ray directly from “Delhi University”

A series of ‘bizarre delusions’ from patients diagnosed with schizophrenia described in a new paper just published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine: “Some rays are there in me, which create magnetic field and I have the power to affect TV signals. Body is producing charge; whenever I touch anything I get electric current. […]

Listening for the voices of the dead

I’ve got an article in The Observer about our tendency to perceive meaning where there is none and how this inadvertently popped up in one of the strangest episodes in the history of psychology. The article discuss the work of psychologist Konstantīns Raudive who began to believe that he could hear the voices of the […]

With every language, a personality?

The Medieval Emperor Charlemagne famously said that “to have another language is to possess a second soul” but the idea that we express different personality traits when we speak another language has usually been left as anecdote. But The Economist takes this a step further and examines the science behind this idea – which may […]

Look before you tweak: a history of amphetamine

I’ve just found a fascinating article in the American Journal of Public Health on ‘America’s First Amphetamine Epidemic’ and how it compares to the current boom in meth and Ritalin use. The first amphetamine epidemic ran from 1929–1971 and was largely based on easily available over-the-counter speed in the form of ‘pep pills’, widely abused […]

2013-11-09 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: The worst neurobollocks infographics on the web – found by the neurobollocks blog. The symptoms of cyberchondria. Only Human covers an interesting study on online hypochondria. The Chicago Reader has a profile of razor-sharp psychologist and voice-hearer Nev Jones. The trials and benefits of […]

How muggers size up your walk

The way people move can influence the likelihood of an attack by a stranger. The good news, though, is that altering this can reduce the chances of being targeted. How you move gives a lot away. Maybe too much, if the wrong person is watching. We think, for instance, that the way people walk can […]

A multitude of PTSDs

A new paper in Perspectives in Psychological Science looked at all the possible combinations of symptoms that could achieve a DSM-5 diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder and found there are now 636,120 ways to have PTSD. This shows one of the many drawbacks of having a ‘check-list’ approach to classifying mental disorder. 636,120 Ways to […]

Hofstadter’s digital thoughts

The Atlantic has an amazing in-depth article on how Douglas Hofstadter, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gödel, Escher, Bach, has been quietly working in the background of artificial intelligence on the deep problems of the mind. Hofstadter’s vision of AI – as something that could help us understand the mind rather than just a way […]

2013-11-01 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Alcohol, Sleep, and Why You Might Re-think that Nightcap. Gaines, On Brains on why booze isn’t the best sleep promoter. The Verge reports on the shocking state of evidence in disaster response psychology. A neuroscience study on a patient in a coma-like vegetative state […]

My punitive superego is lighting up my brain

This sentence actually appeared in the British Journal of Psychiatry: Carhart-Harris et al’s finding of activation of Cg25 region of the cingulate gyrus in profound depression is consistent with the idea of an interpersonally isolated and punitive superego desperately trying to prevent overwhelming Pankseppian modalities impulses of panic and rage from reaching consciousness. Find that […]

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