Category Archives: News

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 […]

A quarter century of All in the Mind

A new series of BBC Radio 4’s All in the Mind has just kicked off and to celebrate 25 years of broadcasting they’ve just had three great episodes looking back on the last quarter century of psychology, neuroscience and mental health. Each make for a interesting discussion of how science and attitudes have changed. As […]

The grass is always greener

If you’re a neuroscience fan, Marketing magazine has a somewhat depressing report of a Susan Greenfield speech to the travel industry at the ABTA conference in Croatia. It’s sad for two reasons. Firstly The Baroness is still pursuing the same bizarre and evidence-free line that the internet causes all sorts of brain curdling problems and […]

Scraping the bottom of the biscuit barrel

As a wonderful demonstration how media outlets will report the ridiculous as long as ‘neuroscience’ is mentioned, I present the ‘Oreos May Be As Addictive As Cocaine’ nonsense. According to Google News, it has so far been reported by 209 media outlets, including some of the world’s biggest publications. That’s not bad for some non-peer […]

The rise of the circuit-based human

I’ve got a piece in The Observer about how we’re moving towards viewing the brain as a series of modifiable brain circuits each responsible for distinct aspects of experience and behaviour. The ‘brain circuit’ aspect is not new but the fact that neuroscience and medicine, on the billion-dollar global level, are reorienting themselves to focus […]

A comic repeat with video games and violence

An article in the Guardian Headquarters blog discusses the not very clear evidence for the link between computer games and violence and makes a comparison to the panic over ‘horror comics’ in the 1950s. The Fifties campaign against comics was driven by a psychiatrist called Fredric Wertham and his book The Seduction of the Innocent. […]

A coming revolution walks a fine line

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an excellent in-depth article on the most likely candidate for a revolution in mental health research: the National Institute of Mental Health’s RDoC or Research Domain Criteria project. The article is probably the best description of the project this side of the scientific literature and considering that the RDoC […]

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