Author Archives: christianjarrett

Malcolm Gladwell profiled

Sunday‚Äôs Observer featured an in-depth profile by Rachel Donadio of Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point and Blink. ‚ÄúWith a writerly verve and strong narrative powers, he leavens serious social science research with zany characters and pithy, easily digestible anecdotes.‚Äù Gladwell‚Äôs publishing success ‚Äì Tipping Point has sold 1.7 million copies in N. America […]

A beautiful madness – the authors respond

The story in Prospect magazine about Nia – “…too beautiful to be in a psychiatric ward” [see post here] caused quite a furore in the blogosphere. Now the authors have given their response here.

Changing people’s behaviour

If you were designing an advert to encourage university students to drink less alcohol, which wording do you think would work better? “Most university students drink too much, with dire consequences for their future health”. OR “University students are healthier than you think, most have fewer than four drinks when they go out”. A growing […]

Dangerous advertising

Have you seen the new breed of lorry adverts? Surely they’re dangerously offputting? ;-] Thanks to J Mallory Wober for sending me the pic. It reminded me of these.

Preventing nuclear war

Now here’s an achievement that definitely deserves recognition, I’d say. Robert Jervis, the Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Affairs at Columbia University, is set to be awarded $20,000 by the National Academy of Sciences in America for carrying out psychological research that has helped prevent nuclear war. There must be a few people working […]

Existential crisis

All this week over at the Huge Entity – Reasons YOU don’t exist, including a brief contribution by moi based on fundamental attribution error.

Beautiful madness

This month’s Prospect magazine features a touching story about Nia – “..too beautiful to be in a psychiatric ward“. The true tale conveys elegantly the dilemma that often faces psychiatrists as they weigh up the benefits of antipsychotic medication against the side effects that can sometimes be worse than a patient’s original symptoms. In this […]

Henry Perowne on the neural code

“Just like the digital codes of replicating life held within DNA, the brain’s fundamental secret will be laid open one day. But even when it has, the wonder will remain, that mere wet stuff can make this bright inward cinema of thought, of sight and sound and touch bound into a vivid illusion of an […]

A man walks into a bar…

As Tom said, Valentine’s is fast approaching. Just in time, Christopher Bale and colleagues have published a study in Personality and Individual Differences on what 142 female and 63 male undergraduates thought of 40 different chat up lines as featured in mini stories about a man attempting to woo a woman. It was thumbs down […]

Mind Hacking at the gym

Most of the time it feels as though our perception of the world is based on what‚Äôs out there, what psychologists call ‚Äòstimulus-driven‚Äô or ‚Äòbottom up‚Äô processing. But in reality, our perceptual experience is a seamless mixture of both what really is out in the world and what we expect to be out there (so-called […]

Explaining religion

Last Saturday‚Äôs Guardian featured an essay by Andrew Brown on science‚Äôs attempt to explain why so many people the world over are religious. Brown says that many religions have existed without a belief in eternal life, thus undermining the argument that by promising an afterlife, religion evolved as a way for humans to cope with […]

Depression and heart disease

The journal Psychosomatic Medicine has a new free online supplement all about the link between depression and heart disease. There’s evidence that even mild depression can put people at increased risk of heart disease, and depression is three to four times more prevalent among cardiac patients than among the general population. Link to free online […]

Sport psychology

The Lancet medical journal has published a special sports supplement that for one month is available to view free as an e-magazine. The 76 page publication includes features on aggression in sport (p.35); depression in sport (p.41), including comment on double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes’ admission earlier this year that she deliberately cut […]

Diabolical cunning in the brain

There’s no credible motive but in 1903 that doesn’t matter, the prosecuting barrister can always blind the jury with a little bit of brain: Like you, members of the jury, I have at different moments of the trial, convinced as I am and as you will be of the prisoner’s guilt, I have found myself […]

A problem with placebo-controlled trials?

Following advice from the Committee on Safety of Medicines, the only SSRI-type anti-depressant that UK clinicians can prescribe to children and teenagers is fluoxetine. The risk of suicide and self-harm associated with the use of the other drugs in the SSRI family has been judged to outweigh their benefit. But speaking at a conference at […]


Research on smell – what scientists call olfaction – is discussed in the December issue of the Reader’s Digest magazine in an article by Paula Dranov. She explains how smells are composed of molecules that bind to our smell receptors located at the top of the nasal cavity. According to Nobel Prize-winner Linda Buck “A […]


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