Author Archives: christianjarrett

Battle of ideas

Are we paralysed by risk aversion? Is TV good for children? What do we want from science? These questions and many others will be debated at the second day of the Battle of Ideas Festival tomorrow (Sunday, 29th Oct) at the Royal College of Art, London, held in association with the Institute of Ideas. A […]

“Psychological harm is not a disease of the mind”

When the law and the mind come together… The former Tory leader Iain Duncan-Smith appeared on the Today programme this morning, promoting his call for a new law to be introduced to punish people who drive their partners to suicide. He says the current 1861 Offence Against the Person Act is inadequate because it requires […]

Charles Darwin complete works free online

The complete works of Charles Darwin are being published online, free for anyone to read and search. Among his many works, perhaps the one of most interest to Mind Hacks readers will be The expression of the emotions in man and animals, published in 1872. Link to Charles Darwin online.

Amazing brain writing prize

Do you fancy winning ¬£250 for writing a short article about brain science? If so, this could be for you – the website ‘Your Amazing Brain’, hosted by the science exhibition centre @Bristol, together with the European Dana Alliance for the Brain, and The British Neuroscience Association, are looking for a newspaper style science article […]

Dawkins’ new book on religion

‘The God Delusion’, Richard Dawkins’ forthcoming book on religion, is “incurious, dogmatic, rambling and self-contradictory” according to Andrew Brown (author of the Darwin Wars), writing in Prospect magazine. To a psychologist (or anyone taking a scientific approach to religion), what’s particularly of interest, is not so much whether or not God exists, but why so […]

An ‘autism mum’

“You’re an autism mum. I see them all the time. I saw you that first day we met, how you agonised over your boy, mute in his pushchair while all the other pre-schoolers made their clever observations about the world; I see how you worry now over his odd way of walking, the animal noises […]

Dodgy science at the BA festival?

Continuing on from Vaughan’s discussion of Psi research at the BA Festival – I wonder if the likes of Prof. Lord Robert Winston ought to have been more concerned about some of the content in one of the mainstream BA Psychology Section seminars. Prof. Geoffrey Beattie of Big Brother fame was this year’s Psychology Section […]

More Coldplay than Radiohead

The runaway success of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, the book written from the perspective of a young autistic boy, has not entirely pleased its author Mark Haddon: “I’m just suspicious that too many people liked it. All the books I really like are loathed by some people…It’s like you want […]

New source of online psychology news

The latest news reports of The Psychologist magazine now appear online first, freely available for anyone to read. Recent entries include a report on the Royal Institution debate: “What’s the worst ever idea on the mind?”; a discussion of whether increased rates of autism are all down to changes in diagnosis; and – is it […]

Biological psychiatry pioneer dies

One of the pioneers of biological psychiatry, Professor Joseph Schildkraut, died recently, aged 72. ‚ÄúThanks to Schildkraut, it was generally accepted that depression is a medical illness and that many mental disorders are related to imbalances in chemicals in the brain‚Äù, says his obituary that appeared in the Times. Schildkraut laid out his ideas in […]

Mind-reading competition

Don’t worry, this isn’t about telepathy and doesn’t involve Uri Gellar. No, it’s about a team of three Italian researchers who won $10000 in a brain-activity interpretation competition organised by the University of Pittsburgh earlier this year. Entrants were provided with the fMRI data and behavioural reports recorded when four people watched two movies. The […]

Born to be bad?

The latest issue of Prospect magazine features a fresh in-depth analysis of whether there is such a thing as a criminal personality. The author David Rose of the Observer notes that contemporary politicans have tended to focus on the social causes of criminality – think of Blair’s ‘tough on the causes of crime’ speech. But […]

Neurologism spotting

I just read the recent New Sci article on mind reading with fMRI that Vaughan flagged up recently, and couldn’t help noticing two more neurologisms coined by the writer of the article, Douglas Fox. Neuronaut: Fox describes getting ready to enter the brain scanner – “As they prepared the experiment this morning, I felt like […]

New infant language lab at Liverpool Uni

Liverpool University‚Äôs new Child Language Study Centre hopes to become the first UK-based lab to replicate and expand upon American findings published in the 90‚Äôs that led to the ‚Äòsyntactic bootstrapping‚Äô hypothesis ‚Äì the idea that children as young as two use their innate understanding of syntax to help them learn new words. With a […]

An influential psychologist

Psychologist Richard Davidson (pictured below) of the W.M. Keck lab for Functional Brain Imaging and Behaviour at the University of Wisconsin has been named one of the world’s Top 100 most influential people by Time magazine. He’s most famous for researching the neural correlates of meditation and for collaborating with the Dalai Lama: “East and […]

What got you going where

By combining a hand-held global positioning system with a galvanic skin response sensor (that measures the sweatiness of your fingers), London-based artist Christian Nold has created a gadget that measures your arousal as you walk around. Superimposing the data onto your route, using something like Google Earth, allows you to see a kind of ‘emotion […]

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