Category Archives: News

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 […]

Peter Huttenlocher has left the building

The New York Times has an obituary for child neurologist Peter Huttenlocher, who surprised everyone by finding that the human brain loses connections as part of growing into adulthood. Huttenlocher counted synapses – the connections between neurons – and as a paediatric neurologist was particularly interested in how the number of synapses changed as we […]

Super-recogniser officers policing Europe’s biggest party

The Guardian are reporting that the London Metropolitan Police have deployed ‘super recogniser’ officers to Notting Hill Carnival to pick out known criminals from the crowd. This is curious because this is a verified ability that has only recently been reported in the scientific literature. It has been long known that some people have severe […]

#DearMentalHealthProfessionals

Just a quick post to say that the #DearMentalHealthProfessionals hashtag on Twitter is one of the most interesting and helpful things I’ve read online in a long time. It contains heartfelt feedback, gratitude, anger, and useful insights and makes for essential reading. If you don’t use Twitter you can read it live here and some […]

A half hour of hallucinations

I’m on the latest PLOS Mind the Brain podcast discussing the science of hallucinations with the inimitable Ruchir Shah. We cover everything from the experience of ‘hearing voices’ and its relation to mental illness to how chemists are pioneering new variations of psychoactive substances to get around drugs laws. In this podcast, we discuss one […]

A concise, solid grounding in neuroscience

I often get asked ‘how can I avoid common misunderstandings in neuroscience’ which I always think is a bit of an odd question because the answer is ‘learn a lot about neuroscience’. This is easier than it sounds, of course, but if you want a solid introduction, a book by Mo Costandi called 50 Human […]

Shuffle Festival

A festival of music, film and neuroscience is about to kick off in an abandoned psychiatric hospital in East London. Called Shuffle Festival, it runs from the 8th – 18th August. It is happening in the old St Clement’s Hospital on Mile End Road and is being curated by Oscar winning film director Danny Boyle. […]

Life of a Neuro Pope

The late Pope John Paul II is to be made a saint by the Catholic church after having two miracles confirmed – both of which allegedly involved curing neurological disorders. As Popes go, John Paul was particularly interested in neuroscience and seems to have continued his interest in the, er, afterlife. His post-mortem miracles have […]

The Connected Brain: Edinburgh

I’m giving at talk at the Edinburgh festival on August 9th, called The Connected Brain. It will be at Summerhall (Fringe Venue 26 during the festival), cost £3, and here is the blurb: Headlines often ask if facebook is making us shallow, or google eroding our memories. In this talk we will look “under the […]

Is social psychology really in crisis?

My latest ‘behind the headlines’ column for The Conversation. Probably all old news for you wised-up mindhacks.com readers, but here you go: The headlines Disputed results a fresh blow for social psychology Replication studies: Bad copy The story Controversy is simmering in the world of psychology research over claims that many famous effects reported in […]

An unrecognised revolution in street drug design

I’ve got an article in The Observer about the ongoing but little recognised revolution in street drug design being pushed forward by the ‘legal high’ market. Since 2008 we’ve seen the first genuine wave of ‘designer drugs’ that are being produced by science-savvy professional labs that are deliberately producing substances to avoid drug laws. New […]

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