Category Archives: Other People

Interview with Wade Davis: Part I – altered states

Anthropologist and explorer Wade Davis recently gave a talk at Medellín’s fantastic science museum Parque Explorer and myself and science journalist Ana María Jaramillo managed to grab some of his time to discuss altered states of consciousness and cultural diversity. If you’re not familiar with Davis’ work, his TED talk on ‘Cultures at the far […]

Mental air

A poem by the great Irish writer William Butler Yeats on the difficulties of getting the balloon of the mind into its narrow shed. No, I’m not really sure what it’s about either, but I wonder if that’s the point. The Balloon Of The Mind by William Butler Yeats Hands, do what you’re bid: Bring […]

I’ve got a certificate in armchair psychology

The Guardian’s Lay Scientist blog has an excellent piece on the misguided and intrusive habit of getting psychologists to comment on the mental state of people in the public eye. Although the media must take some responsibility for encouraging such crass and unhelpful speculation the responsibility lies squarely on the shoulders of the psychologists and […]

A shrink among the shady in 1920s New York

Neurophilosophy has a wonderful profile the pioneering forensic psychiatrist and criminologist Carleton Simon who was working the street in prohibition-era New York in the 1920s and 30s. Apparently, a minor celebrity in his day owing to a constant stream of headline-grabbing busts and scientific discoveries, he has since faded into obscurity but this excellent new […]

Ted Hughes On Thinking

Editor of The Psychologist and man about town, Jon Sutton, just sent me a fantastic monologue by poet Ted Hughes on the experience of thinking. I’ve uploaded the piece to YouTube where you can hear Hughes’ remarkable analysis in his own characteristic voice. The piece is almost nine minutes long but in this part Hughes […]

A previously unseen species of hallucinated moth

I’ve discovered H.G. Wells’ amazing short story The Moth about a scientific feud between two leading entymologists that ends with one’s premature death and the other being driven insane by an hallucinated moth. It’s a deftly written piece because it captures the method of scientific grudge matches – devastating and savage critiques in scholarly journals […]

Campaign man

Wired Science has an exclusive interview with Ari Ne’eman, the first openly autistic White House appointee in history, who has been given a place on the National Council on Disability that advises the president on equality for disabled people. Ne’eman is an advocate of neurodiversity, which rather than automatically seeing conditions like autism and Asperger’s […]

Edvard Munch in 100 words

This month’s British Journal of Psychiatry has the latest in their ‘100 words’ series on the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, famous for his iconic painting ‘The Scream’ and his own struggles with mental illness. The Norwegian Expressionist Edvard Munch caused outrage when his paintings were first shown in Berlin but became one of the most […]

Visual science in the art of Chuck Close

I’ve just found this amazing article on the work of artist Chuck Close from a 2008 edition of the Archives of Ophthalmology. It examines the visual science behind his pixelated style and how a stroke left the artist paralysed – after which he has produced some of his finest work. Chuck Close (1940- ) is […]

An Opthamologist on Mars

Oliver Sacks is interviewed on NeuroTribes where he talks about his forthcoming book and his own experience of spectacular hallucinations that occurred after he developed a tumour behind his retina. NeuroTribes is a new blog by ace science writer and Wired veteran Steve Silberman. It is part of the new PLoS science blog network and […]

A series of famous cases

BBC Radio 4 have just started a new season of Case Study that looks at some of the most famous and important cases in the history of psychology. The first is on HM, and although there’s nothing in the programme that’s particularly new about the science of memory, it does give a much fuller account […]

A neuroscientist’s psychosis

As well as publishing scientific papers about mental illness, Schizophrenia Bulletin also publishes personal accounts of psychosis and schizophrenia. I’ve just discovered this incredible 2006 article where a neuroscientist recounts her personal experience of becoming psychotic. It’s not only vividly descriptive but wonderfully lyrical as well, written with both honesty and insight. I was awash […]

The legend of Lester D

When searching for psychology research, I inevitably come across a study by ‘Lester D’, who is apparently a psychologist in an obscure college in New Jersey who seems to be interested in everything. Mostly, the things you’ve never thought of, and probably never even thought of thinking of, and perhaps don’t even have the capacity […]

The experiment requires that you continue

Spanish daily El Pa√≠s recently published an article on psychologist Stanley Milgram which had this amazing photo of the young conformity researcher where he looks surprisingly beatnick. Sadly the photo isn’t dated but it makes quite a contrast to the better known photos where he looks much more like the typical professor of the age. […]

The blessed neuroscientist

Neurosurgery has an article on the 17th Century neuroanatomist Niels Stensen who not only made major contributions to our understanding of the brain but was beatified – the first step to becoming a saint – by Pope John Paul II in 1988. His work was not restricted to the brain and was a founding figure […]

Aldous Huxley’s final trip

This month’s edition of the cancer medicine journal Lancet Oncology discusses some ongoing trials of psychedelic drug assisted psychotherapy for people dying of cancer but notes that author Aldous Huxley actually died while on LSD – by his own request. Today, in a small handful of laboratories across the USA, an equally small handful of […]


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