Author Archives: vaughanbell

Spike activity 16-05-2014

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Motherboard on a legal rights framework for biohacking the brain. Caveat hax0r no? There Is a Doppelganger Inside All Our Heads. Interesting piece in Nautilus. Discover Magazine covers the latest study on using electrical stimulation to increase the chance of lucid dreaming. The seductive […]

Unsure memories of murder

The BBC News site has a special multimedia feature on a case of false confession to murder that has been been troubling Iceland from the 1970s and has recently erupted again. The Beeb have clearly gone a bit ‘Scandinavian detective drama’ on the whole thing but it is a gripping story, not least because it […]

The genetics of intelligent radio

BBC Radio 4 has just concluded an excellent three-part series on the controversies over the genetics of intelligence and it’s one of the best and most nuanced discussions you’ll hear about the topic for many years. The series is called Intelligence: Born Smart, Born Equal, Born Different and it’s carefully put together, wide in scope […]

A forest of porous dreaming

A fascinating section of the book How Forests Think by anthropologist Eduardo Kohn where he describes how dreaming is much more porous among the Runa people of Ecuador. This is both because of how they understand dreams, but also because of the way sleep happens in their culture – it being a more social and […]

Spike activity 09-05-2014

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Slate has an in-depth piece on the ‘real story’ of Phineas Gage. Perhaps not such a revelation to some but beautifully told nonetheless. There’s an extensive piece on the latest developments with neuromorphic chips in MIT Tech Review. Foreign Policy magazine has ‘The Case […]

The poly themes of psychosis

The latest London Review of Books has an amazing first-person account of psychosis that illustrates the complex interlocking webs of ideas and perceptions that can occur in the more intense versions of the experience. As a description of the lived-experience of psychosis, it is actually quite rare, because most are written about relatively (and I […]

Spike activity 02-05-2014

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: All the amazing Dwayne Goodwin and Jorge Cham brain comics are collated in this one fantastic tumblr. Not Exactly Rocket Science covers a fascinating study on how randomly distributed initial benefits can lead to long-term gains. You Neanderthal! Why thank you madam. New Scientist […]

Berlin Hallucinations Talk, Thursday 8th May

I’m going to be doing a public talk on the science of hallucinations in Berlin next week. This thoroughly awesome poster has been made for the event. A big tip of the hat to illustrator Eoin Ryan for that one. The talk will take place in the Villa Neukölln bar, is part of the Big […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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