Monthly Archives: June 2014

Spike activity 27-06-2014

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Slate has a piece on developmental psychology’s WEIRD problem. Most kids in child psychology studies are from very restricted social groups – rich, educated families. Facebook manipulated stories in users’ newsfeeds to conduct experiments on emotional contagion. Don’t remember signing the consent form for […]

A spook’s guide to the psychology of deception

Last February, a file from the Edward Snowden leaks was released from a 2012 GCHQ presentation called ‘The Art of Deception: Training for Online Covert Operations’. It describes the ‘Online Covert Action Accreditation’ course which draws heavily on the psychology of influence and persuasion. This post will look at how they’re piecing together the science […]

Brains in their feat

Footballers skills seem light years from our own. But, Tom Stafford argues, the jaw-dropping talents on the World Cup pitch have more in common with everyday life than you might think. The first week of the 2014 World Cup has already given us a clutch of classic moments: Robin Van Persie’s perfect header to open […]

The normality trap

I remember taking a bus to London Bridge when, after a few stops, a woman got on who seemed to move with a subtle but twitchy disregard for her surroundings. She found herself a seat among the Saturday shoppers and divided her time between looking out the window and responding to invisible companions, occasionally shouting […]

How often do men really think about sex?

Every seven seconds? Probably not. But rather than wonder about whether this is true, Tom Stafford asks how on earth you can actually prove it or not. We’ve all been told that men think about you-know-what far too often – every seven seconds, by some accounts. Most of us have entertained this idea for long […]

Spike activity 20-06-2014

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: OK Go’s new music video is like standing naked under a waterfall of optical illusions while wearing hipster spectacles. The mighty Neurocritic looks at advances in physical brain tweaking and the possible rebirth of paradise engineering. The Dana Foundation has an excellent piece on […]

A peek inside The Skeleton Cupboard

You’ll get more out of The Skeleton Cupboard, Tanyan Byron’s account of her training as a clinical psychologist, if you read the epilogue first. It tells you that the patients described in the book are fictional, to preserve confidentiality, but indicates that the stories were representative of real situations. This is a common device in […]

Nostalgia: Why it is good for you

The past is not just a foreign country, but also one we are all exiled from. Like all exiles, we sometimes long to return. That longing is called nostalgia. Whether it is triggered by a photograph, a first kiss or a treasured possession, nostalgia evokes a particular sense of time or place. We all know […]

Spike activity 06-06-2014

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Psychedelic chemist, godfather of Ecstasy, and lover of phenethylamines, Alexander Shulgin, has left the building. PhysOrg has an obituary. New Republic looks back at 50 years of the landmark account of psychosis ‘I Never Promised You a Rose Garden’. The US Secret Service wants […]

A festival of anxious art

If you’re in London during June, the Anxiety Arts Festival is surprisingly diverse and interesting series of events that looks at anxiety through film, theatre and visual arts. The festival is being curated by the Mental Health Foundation who have put together a genuinely exciting programme that avoids the curse of constant niceness and goes […]

Happy Birthday Tetris!

Released on 6th of June 1984, Tetris is 30 years old today. Here’s a video where I try and explain something of the psychology of Tetris: All credit for the graphics to Andrew Twist. What I say in the video is based on an article I wrote a while back for BBC Future. As well […]

Spike activity 30-05-2014

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: If you’ve not been keeping up with the internet, there’s been a replication crisis hoedown and everyone’s had a go on the violin. Political Science Replication had a good summary. Schnall’s reply, the rise of ‘negative psychology’ and a pointed response. Military Plans To […]

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