Category Archives: Integrating

Regrets, I’ve had a few (but not too few to mention)

The ‘Regrets of the Typical American’ have been analysed in a new study that not only looks at what US citizens regret most, but provides some clues for those wanting to know whether it is better to regret something you haven’t done, or regret something you have. The research has just been published in the […]

Suggesting altered states

The neuroscience of suggestion and hypnosis are helping us to understand mysterious disorders where people are blind or paralysed with no apparent medical explanation, and may be useful in investigating altered states from diverse cultures – according to an engaging discussion in the monthly JNNP podcast. The JNNP is the slightly catchier name for The […]

Court in the cross-fire

There are not enough quality forensic psychology blogs in the world, which I suspect is not a thought that passes through the mind of anyone except Mind Hacks readers. However, if you’re after a punchy fast paced look at the world of criminal and legal psychology you’d do far worse than checking out the website […]

The brain behind the lion heart

I’ve just read a completely fascinating New York Times article on the neuropsychology of courage – a core human attribute that curiously seems to be largely ignored by cognitive science. The piece looks at how we define courage, it’s relation to fear and the sometimes wonderfully innovative research that has tackled the area. In pioneering […]

To catch a thief and fool a scientist

If you only listen to one radio programme this month, make it this one. The BBC Radio 4 programme Fingerprints on Trial explores how identifying people at crime scenes by their prints is subject to serious psychological biases and is not the exact science that we, and ironically, the forensic fingerprint community, like to believe. […]

A mental map of city street drugs

Urbanite has a fascinating article on researchers who are attempting to map drug users’ minds onto the city streets. They are giving addicts GPS-enabled PDAs that ask the participants to rate their psychological state as they move around Baltimore. By using pre-existing maps of the city that chart things like neighbourhood poverty and local drug […]

Infested by the Wizard of Oz

Jay Traver had begun to notice an uncomfortable crawling sensation under her skin. Scalp spots had bothered her for years but despite her best efforts – she was, after all, a renowned professor of zoology – she couldn’t identify the parasites. Over the seasons the bugs had spread across her body and eventually invaded her […]

Emotional fluctuations in the lyrics of Bob Dylan

A 2008 study looked at the fluctuation in the use of emotional words in the lyrics of Bob Dylan in relation to the events in his life. Emotional fluctuations in Bob Dylan’s lyrics measured by the dictionary of affect accompany events and phases in his life Psychol Rep. 2008 Apr;102(2):469-83. Whissell C Lyrics for Bob […]

Faking tragedy and the pull of online sympathy

The Guardian has a fascinating article about the motivations of people who have faked terminal illnesses as their online companions have offered support and sympathy right until the supposed end. Several cases have become notorious online where illnesses, and even deaths, have been faked much to the betrayal of community members. Mandy is one of […]

A victim of metaphor

A gripping piece from Not Exactly Rocket Science describes how simply changing the metaphors used to describe crime can alter what we think is the best way of tackling it. The article covers a new study on the power of metaphors and how they can influence our beliefs and understanding of what’s being discussed. In […]

Sniffing out the unconscious

The illusion that a horse could do maths may be behind sniffer dogs falsely ‘detecting’ illicit substances according to an intriguing study covered by The Economist. The horse in question was called Clever Hans and he was rumoured to be able to do complicated maths, work out the date, spell German words – all from […]

A strangely effective video

Australian science reporter Professor Funk has made a fantastic animated video about the science of the placebo effect that’s three minutes of sheer joy even without an active ingredient. It takes you through the remarkable ways in which the placebo effect differs between different types of pills, perceptions and places and is highly recommended.   […]

Painful relief for a guilty act

The idea that physical pain can alleviate guilt has a long heritage but a new study just published in Psychological Science has produced evidence that helps confirm this long-held belief. The experiment, led by psychologist Brock Bastian, asked people to recall a time when they had behaved unacceptably and then rate their current level of […]

The myth of the tongue map

I have just discovered Wikipedia’s page on a ‘List of common misconceptions’ that includes, among many other wonders, a great piece about the myth of the tongue taste map. Different tastes can be detected on all parts of the tongue by taste buds, with slightly increased sensitivities in different locations depending on the person, contrary […]

Words about The Scream

January’s British Journal of Psychiatry has another short article in its fantastic ‘100 words’ series, this time on Edvard Munch’s classic painting ‘The Scream‘. The image is perhaps one of the most iconic artworks of the 20th century and has spurned as many parodies and light-hearted take offs as straight-up tributes. However, the BJP piece […]

Road kill for hot lady drivers

In 1960, the American Journal of Psychiatry reported on “an unusual perversion”, in a case of a man with “the desire to be injured by an automobile operated by a woman.” The patient, a man in his late twenties, reported a periodic desire to be injured by a woman operating an automobile. This wish, present […]

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