Category Archives: News

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 […]

Bomb disposal for the brain

New Statesman has an excellent profile of the wise, funny and acerbic neurosurgeon Henry Marsh. Marsh was the subject of the fantastic 2007 documentary The English Surgeon but he’s now one year away from retirement and has clearly decided that diplomatic responses are no longer a tactical necessity. The piece also gives a vivid insight […]

How to win wars by influencing people

I’ve got an article in The Observer about how behavioural science is being put at the centre of military operations and how an ‘influence-led’ view of warfare is causing a rethink in how armed conflict is managed. Techniques such as deception and propaganda have been the mainstay of warfare for thousands of years, but there […]

Parting – art through psychosis – at King’s Place

If you’re in London on Sunday 16th March, there’s an amazing stage show at King’s Place about psychosis called Parting. The performance has been created by talented twin sister composers Effy and Litha Efthymiou and, along with folks with first-person experience of psychosis, I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with them during the development of […]

Mind Mosaic

Biomedical charity The Wellcome Trust have launched a new online science magazine called Mosaic which is rammed full of mind and brain stories for its launch. As part of their role is medical education, the idea is that they get writers to produce in-depth articles about science and then give them away for free (welcome […]

What’s the evidence for the power of reason to change minds?

Last month I proposed an article for Contributoria, titled What’s the evidence on using rational argument to change people’s minds?. Unfortunately, I had such fun reading about the topic that I missed the end-of-month deadline and now need to get backers for my proposal again. So, here’s something from my proposal, please consider backing it […]

Interviews at the Frontier

The BBC Radio 4 Exchanges at the Frontier series has just concluded and it includes interviews with the likes of Kay Redfield Jamison and Human Brain Project leader Henry Markram. They’re all online as podcasts. All the interviews are done by philosopher A.C. Grayling and for a BBC talking shop are remarkably good fun. Even […]

Building the greatest artificial intelligence lab on Earth

The Guardian has an article on technologist Ray Kurzeil’s move to Google that also serves to review how the search company is building an artificial intelligence super lab. Google has gone on an unprecedented shopping spree and is in the throes of assembling what looks like the greatest artificial intelligence laboratory on Earth; a laboratory […]

The hallucinated demons of intensive care

I’ve got an article in The Observer about the psychological impact of being a patient in intensive care that can include trauma, fear and intense hallucinations. This has only been recently recognised as an issue and with mental disorders being detected in over half of post-ICU patients it has sparked a serious re-think of how […]

What’s the evidence on using rational argument to change people’s minds?

Contributoria is an experiment in community funded, collaborative journalism. What that means is that you can propose an article you’d like to write, and back proposals by others that you’d like to see written. There’s an article I’d like to write: What’s the evidence on using rational argument to change people’s minds?. Here’s something from […]

noob 2 l33t: now with graphs

Myself and Mike Dewar have just had a paper published in the journal Psychological Science. In it we present an analysis of what affects how fast people learn, using data from over 850,000 people who played an online game called Axon (designed by our friends Preloaded. This is from the abstract: In the present study, […]

The mysterious nodding syndrome – a crack of light

Two years ago we discussed a puzzling, sometimes fatal, ‘nodding syndrome‘ that has been affecting children in Uganda and South Sudan. We now know a little more, with epilepsy being confirmed as part of the disorder, although the cause still remains a mystery. The condition affects children between 5 and 15 years old, who have […]

Year Four of the Blue Brain documentary

Film-maker Noah Hutton has just released the ‘Year Four’ film of the decade-long series of films about Henry Markram’s massive Blue Brain neuroscience project. It’s been an interesting year for Markram’s project with additional billion euro funding won to extend and expand on earlier efforts and the USA’s BRAIN Initiative having also made it’s well-funded […]

The best graphic and gratuitious displays

Forget your end of year run-downs and best of 2013 photo specials, it doesn’t get much better than this: ‘The 15 Best Behavioural Science Graphs of 2010-13′ from the Stirling Behavioural Science Blog. As to be expected, some are a little better than others (well, Rolling Stone chose a Miley Cyrus video as one of […]

A disorder of marketing

The New York Times has an important article on how Attention Deficit Disorder, often known as ADHD, has been ‘marketed’ alongside sales of stimulant medication to the point where leading ADHD researchers are becoming alarmed at the scale of diagnosis and drug treatment. It’s worth noting that although the article focuses on ADHD, it is […]

London’s Shuffle Festival is back

London’s film, food and science festival in an abandoned psychiatric hospital is back as the Shuffle Festival kicks off its Winter run. Hosted in the old buildings of St Clement’s Hospital the festival has an impressive programme including everything from Jarvis Cocker to Brian Cox. There are also regular talks from working scientists including a […]

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