Monthly Archives: April 2014

A reality rabbit-hole from the dream world

I’ve got an article in The Observer about how the science of lucid dreaming is being pushed forward by the development of ‘in-dream’ experiments. A lucid dream is where you become aware you are dreaming and where you can potentially change elements of the dream as it happens. The piece discusses how eye movements allow […]

Spike activity 25-04-2014

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Induced hallucination turns doctors into pizza chefs. New Scientist on a recent brain stimulation study that sadly didn’t actually get doctors to make pizza. The Telelgraph has an interesting piece on human vision and its impossibilities. There’s an excellent piece in The Guardian asking […]

Research Digest #3: Getting to grips with implicit bias

My third and final post at the BPS Research Digest is now up: Getting to grips with implicit bias. Here’s the intro: Implicit attitudes are one of the hottest topics in social psychology. Now a massive new study directly compares methods for changing them. The results are both good and bad for those who believe […]

Heartbreak among the roses

British Pathé, the vintage news organisation, have released all of their archive online including some fascinating newsreels on psychiatric institutions of times past. A particularly interesting film is Inside Rampton! a 1957 newsreel which focuses on Rampton Secure Hospital – which was, and still is, one of England’s three highest security psychiatric hospitals. The others […]

Research Digest post #2

My time in the BPS Research Digest hotseat continues. Today’s post is about a lovely study by Stuart Ritchie and colleagues which uses a unique dataset to look at the effect of alcohol on cognitive function across the lifespan. Here’s the intro: The cognitive cost or benefit of booze depends on your genes, suggests a […]

Research Digest posts, #1: A self-fulfilling fallacy?

This week I will be blogging over at the BPS Research Digest. The Digest was written for over ten years by psychology-writer extraordinaire Christian Jarrett, and I’m one of a series of guest editors during the transition period to a new permanent editor. My first piece is now up, and here is the opening: Lady […]

Why all babies love peekaboo

Peekaboo is a game played over the world, crossing language and cultural barriers. Why is it so universal? Perhaps because it’s such a powerful learning tool. One of us hides our eyes and then slowly reveals them. This causes peals of laughter from a baby, which causes us to laugh in turn. Then we do […]

A history of the mind in 25 parts

BBC Radio 4 has just kicked off a 25-part radio series called ‘In Search of Ourselves: A History of Psychology and the Mind’. Because the BBC are not very good at the internet, there are no podcasts – streaming audio only, and each episode disappears after seven days. Good to see the BBC are still […]

Detecting inner consciousness

Mosaic has an excellent in-depth article on researchers who are trying to detect signs of consciousness in patients who have fallen into coma-like states. The piece meshes the work of neuroscientists Adrian Owen, Nicholas Schiff and Steven Laureys who are independently looking at how to detect signs of consciousness in unresponsive brain-injured patients. It’s an […]

Spike activity 18-04-2014

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Wired has a fascinating interview with psychopath researcher Kent Kiehl. He of the mobile brain scanner. Scanning brain energy could help predict who will wake from vegetative state. Interesting piece on preliminary research covered by The Conversation Contrary to news stories, a recent study […]

Indie reports on surprising structure of artists’ brains

Artists brains are ‘structurally different’ according to The Independent, who report on a small, thought-provoking but as yet quite preliminary study. The image used to illustrate the article (the one on the right) is described as showing “more grey and white matter in artists’ brains connected to visual imagination and fine motor control”. This could […]

It’s your own time you’re wasting

British teachers have voted to receive training in neuroscience ‘to improve classroom practice’ according to a report in the Times Educational Supplement and the debate sounded like a full-on serial head-desker. The idea of asking for neuroscience training at all sounds a little curious but the intro seemed like it could be quite reasonable: Members […]

The biases of pop psychology

I just found this great piece at Scientific American that makes a fascinating point about how pop psychology books that inform us about our biases tend not to inform us about our most important bias – the effect of making things into stories – despite the fact that they rely on it to get their […]

Spike activity 11-04-2014

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Things I’ve learned since being sectioned. Good piece on the appropriately named Sectioned blog. The New York Times covers the latest in rising fads in proposed psychiatric diagnoses: sluggish cognitive tempo. Don’t Throw Out The Baby With The Dead Salmon. Neuroskeptic discusses critiques of […]

Coma alarm dreams

Intensive Care Medicine has published a wonderfully written and vivid account from a teenager who spent time brain injured and hallucinating in an intensive care unit. The writer describes how he was admitted to intensive care at the age of 15 after suffering a head injury and had intense and bizarre hallucinations which are, as […]

Circumstances of the life and brain

Neurosurgeon Henry Marsh has written a philosophical, incisive and exasperated book about brain surgery called Do No Harm. It’s a hugely entertaining read as Marsh takes us through the practical and emotional process of operating, or not operating, on patients with neurological disorders. He does a lot of moaning – about hospital management, computerisation, administration […]

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