Category Archives: Integrating

Hungry judges less likely to grant parole

Not Exactly Rocket Science covers a study that is in equal parts delightful and terrifying: it found that judges are much less likely to grant parole when they’re hungry. It’s the work of Shai Denzeger from Ben Gurion University of the Negev, and summarises the results of 1,112 parole board hearings in Israeli prisons, over […]

The Oscar for best neuroscience research goes to…

Both of this year’s lead Oscar winners have published scientific papers on neuroscience. We’ve covered Natalie Portman’s work on frontal lobe development in children before, but it turns out Colin Firth has also just co-authored a study on structural brain differences in people with differing political views. An excellent post on The Neurocritic tells the […]

Reflecting on a psychopath

A psychologist’s personality may affect whether someone is diagnosed as a psychopath or not. Forensic psychology blog In the News covers a preliminary study on how evaluators with different personality traits systematically differed in their ratings when using the ‘industry standard’ Hare Psychopathy Checklist. The checklist is often referred to by the abbreviation PCL-R. It […]

Kids on speed and the birth of misbehaviour

Dr Charles Bradley first reported the effects of amphetamine on children with behavioural problems in 1937. An article in The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine takes a look at how this early study opened the door to treating ADHD with Ritalin and how it tied in with changing ideas about child misbehaviour. Bradley was […]

Slumber therapy

A delightful moment from a New York Magazine article where a guy who had four psychoanalysts in a row fall asleep on him goes back to each to find out why: I ask him about falling asleep, and he says, cheerfully, “I have no memory of that whatsoever.” This is surprising, considering he passed out […]

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 […]


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