Author Archives: vaughanbell

Spike activity 21-11-2014

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Wall Street Journal on The Future of AI: An Ubiquitous, Invisible, Smart Utility. A list of the 100 most followed psychologists and neuroscientists on Twitter compiled by the BPS Research Digest. And a mixed bag it is too. Student Science has a fantastic how-to […]

Vogue magazine continues neglect of cognitive science

Mind Hacks has been awarded the 2014 British Psychological Society’s Public Engagement and Media Award for its services to obsessive coverage of psychology and neuroscience. I think I can speak for both Tom and I when I say we were actually aiming for recognition by Vogue magazine but it’s better than a poke in the […]

Cushing’s abandoned brains

I’ve just found a great short documentary about the abandoned brain collection of pioneering neurosurgeon Harvey Cushing. The video describes how Cushing’s archives, which genuinely involved hundreds of brains in jars, as well as rare slides and photos of the early days of brain surgery, were rediscovered in the basement of Yale University and restored […]

An earlier illusory death

For such an obscure corner of the medical literature, Cotard’s delusion is remarkably well known as the delusion that you’re dead. This was supposedly first described by Jules Cotard in 1880 but I seem to have found a description from 1576. It’s worth noting that although Cotard’s delusion has come to represent ‘the delusion that […]

More on the enigma of blindness and psychosis

A long-standing enigma in psychiatry has been why no-one has been able to find someone who has both congenital blindness and a diagnosis of schizophrenia. The newest and most comprehensive archive study to date has just been published on exactly this issue although it raises more questions than it answers. Evelina Leivada and Cedric Boeckx […]

Spike activity 14-11-2014

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: The Chronicle of Higher Education has an excellent piece arguing for more focus on developing good theories of the brain amid the cascade of cash for neuroscience methods. Moving Beyond Left Brain, Right Brain, Neuroskeptic goes in-depth with Michael Corballis. More neuronerd goodness from […]

Trifles make the sum of life

I’ve just found a curious scientific paper that looks at whether computational models of neural function are of relevance to clinical psychiatry. Oddly, it is written as a debate between two Charles Dickens characters. The paper was published in the journal Neural Networks and is entitled “Are computational models of any use to psychiatry?”. It […]

Hearing WiFi

New Scientist has a fascinating article on Frank Swain who has hacked his hearing aid to allow him to hear WiFi. It’s a great idea and riffs on various attempts to ‘extend’ perception into the realm of being able to sense the usually unnoticed electromagnetic environment. I am walking through my north London neighbourhood on […]

Spike activity 07-11-2014

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: The odd beauty of 60-Year-old preserved brains from the Texas State Mental Hospital. Photo series from the Washington Post. The Concourse has an interesting piece by an ex-con who discusses violence as a social currency in the US prison system. Interesting contrast between forensic […]

Beautiful online neuroscience learning

The Fundamentals of Neuroscience is a free online course from Harvard and it looks wonderful – thanks to them employing animators, digital artists and scientists to lift the course above the usual read and repeat learning. The course is already underway but you can register and start learning until mid-December and you can watch any […]

Hallucinogenic bullets

An article in the American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology discusses the history of ‘modern toxic antipersonnel projectiles’ and it has a short history of ammunition designed to introduce incapacitating hallucinogenic substances into the body. As you might expect for such an unpleasant idea (chemical weapon hand guns!) they were wielded by some fairly […]

Mind Hacks – Live!

At the end of November, we’ll be celebrating 10 years of Mind Hacks, and we’re putting on a live event in London to celebrate. You are cordially invited. Mind Hacks – Live! will be like the blog, but live, and with less scrolling. Some of the details are still under construction, but here’s what we […]

Spike activity 31-10-2014

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Nautilus has an interesting piece on how artificial intelligence systems are getting better at strategy. Two neuroscientists explain why zombies have so much trouble walking in Slate Vice magazine talks to a psychologist working in the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. Neuroscientists manage to get […]

Social psychology has lost its balance

The New Yorker has an interesting article about a lack of political diversity in social psychology and how that may be leading to a climate of bias against conservative researchers, ideas and the evidence that might support them. Some of the evidence for a bias against conservative thinking in social psychology goes back some years, […]

Quasi-stability

Yesterday, before I got here, my dad was trying to fix an invisible machine. By all accounts, he began working on the phantom device quite intently, but as his repairs began to involve the hospice bed and the tubes attached to his body, he was gently sedated, and he had to leave it, unresolved. This […]

Spike activity 24-10-2014

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: A Victorian lunatic asylum begins to reveal its secrets. The Wellcome Library now has the first of many digitised asylum records online. Narratively has an excellent piece on legendary San Francisco eccentric Emperor Norton. The marketers latest fad – make it seem it’s a […]

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