Category Archives: News

A museum of many minds

I spent a very long time in the old Bethlem museum, owing to the fact that there’s little else to do when you live at one of the world’s oldest psychiatric hospitals. The Bethlem Royal Hospital, or Bedlam as it’s been known in centuries past, has moved many times over its lifetime, but it’s now […]

Oliver Sacks has left the building

Neurologist and author Oliver Sacks has died at the age of 82. It’s hard to fully comprehend the enormous impact of Oliver Sacks on the public’s understanding of the brain, its disorders and our diversity as humans. Sacks wrote what he called ‘romantic science’. Not romantic in the sense of romantic love, but romantic in […]

Don’t call it a comeback

The Reproducibility Project, the giant study to re-run experiments reported in three top psychology journals, has just published its results and it’s either a disaster, a triumph or both for psychology. You can’t do better than the coverage in The Atlantic, not least as it’s written by Ed Yong, the science journalist who has been […]

Psychological science in intelligence service operations

I’ve got an article in today’s Observer about how British intelligence services are applying psychological science in their deception and infiltration operations. Unfortunately, the online version has been given a headline which is both frivolous and wrong (“Britain’s ‘Twitter troops’ have ways of making you think…”). The ‘Twitter troops’ name was given to the UK […]

Digital tech, the BMJ, and The Baroness

The British Medical Journal just published an editorial by me, Dorothy Bishop and Andrew Przybylski about the debate over digital technology and young people that focuses on Susan Greenfield’s mostly, it has to be said, unhelpful contributions. Through appearances, interviews, and a recent book Susan Greenfield, a senior research fellow at Lincoln College, Oxford, has […]

APA facilitated CIA torture programme at highest levels

The long-awaited independent report, commissioned by the American Psychological Association, into the role of the organisation in the CIA’s torture programme has cited direct collusion at the highest levels of the APA to ensure psychologists could participate in abusive interrogation practices. Reporter James Risen, who has been chasing the story for some time, revealed the […]

Context Is the New Black

The New Yorker has one of the best articles I’ve ever read on the Stanford prison experiment – the notorious and mythologised study that probably doesn’t tell us that we ‘all have the potential to be monsters’. It’s a study that’s often taught as one of the cornerstones of psychology and like many foundational stories, […]

The thin white line of future drug control

The UK Government have announced they want to change the drugs law and ban “[any] substance which is capable of producing a psychoactive effect”. It’s a fairly clumsy attempt to tackle the wave of ‘legal highs’ but there’s a little psychopharmacological gem, hidden away, in the Home Secretary’s letter that accompanies the proposed changes. There’s […]

The most unaccountable of machinery

The latest edition of intriguing podcast Love and Radio is on a lesbian who passed as a man to report on masculinity, writing a amphetamine-fuelled stream-of-consciousness biography of Virginia Woolf, and finding hope in suicide. It’s an interview with writer Norah Vincent and it makes for compelling listening. Love and Radio is an interesting project […]

The CIA’s inner circle of white elephant specialists

The New York Times recently covered a report by long-term critics of psychologists’ involvement in the CIA torture programme. It includes a series of leaked emails which suggests something beyond what is widely noted – that the US security agencies have been handing out key contracts to high profile psychologists on the basis of shared […]

Vice on mental health

Somewhat unexpectedly, Vice magazine has just launched a series of articles, videos and interviews on mental health, and it’s really very good. The VICE Guide to Mental Health covers the science of mental illness, what it’s like being sectioned, recovering from suicide or being severely anxious, and the social issues in getting mental health care, […]

Cognitive lives scientific

The BBC Radio 4 series The Life Scientific has recently profiled three four, count’em, three four, cognitive scientists. Because the BBC find the internet confusing I’m just going to link straight to the mp3s to save you scrabbling about on their site. The most recent profile you can grab as an mp3 was artificial intelligence […]

A fluctuating wellness

The New York Review of Books has an excellent new piece by Oliver Sacks where he describes the psychological effects of cancer treatment in terms of its effects on the ‘homeostasis of well being’. The article weaves together the role of the autonomic nervous system, the progression of migraine and the repressions and releases of […]

A brain of wonders

The U-T San Diego, which I originally thought was a university but turns out it’s a newspaper, has an excellent online multimedia project called ‘The Wonders of Your Brain’ which is an extensive and excellent look at some of the key issues in modern neuroscience. It tackles everything from the development of the brain from […]

Oliver Sacks: “now I am face to face with dying”

In a moving and defiant article for the The New York Times, neurologist Oliver Sacks has announced he has terminal cancer. Over the last few days, I have been able to see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape, and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its […]

A refocus of military influence

The British media has been covering the creation of 77th Brigade, or ‘Chindits’ in the UK Army which they’ve wrongly described as PsyOps ‘Twitter troops’. The renaming is new but the plan for a significant restructuring and expansion of the UK military’s influence operations is not. The change in focus has been prompted by a […]


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