Category Archives: Other People

The testing of Alan Turing

The Providentia blog has a brilliant three part series on Alan Turing, focusing on how his homosexuality was treated at the time both as a mental illness and a criminal act. As with all of the posts of Providentia it’s wonderfully written and captures the sad circumstances leading to the death of one of the […]

A connoisseur’s list of essential psychology

Every month since 2008 The Psychologist magazine has run an interview with a leading psychologist where they ask them to name one book or journal article, either contemporary or historical, that all psychologists should read. The BPS Research Digest has compiled all the answers into handy and fascinating list. A few of the answers: Mistakes […]

Time flies when you’re having fun

The New Yorker has a fantastic profile of neuroscientist David Eagleman that captures both his playful approach to science and his intriguing work on how we perceive time. Eagleman is one of the most engaging thinkers in neuroscience – equally at home tackling fascinating areas of cognitive science and writing playful books about the afterlife. […]

From Both of Me to all 15 of You

While browsing through Flickr I just found this amazing signed photo that rocker Alice Cooper dedicated to his psychologist Eugene Landy. If you click on the image for the full version you can see the photo in all its Cooper-esque glory. It’s dated 1976, which is apparently shortly before Cooper was hospitalised to treat his […]

It’s just something inside my head

A remarkably accurate account of the learned helplessness theory of depression as recounted in the lyrics of downbeat hip-hop track ‘Something Inside My Head’ by London based rapper Akala. I wasn’t born this way My condition was learned Once bitten twice shy I don’t wanna be burned When you travel a passage That leaves your […]

A slice of the pusher man

New York Magazine has an in-depth article on a low-level drug dealer in the Big Apple who is trying, somewhat half-heartedly, to get out of the game. It is neither glamorisation nor condemnation, but is a carefully observed slice of life from a business minded, spreadsheet obsessed, upper middle class cocaine dealer. Lenny sighs, rubs […]

I can smell burnt toast

Pioneering neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield was the subject of one of Canadian television’s ‘Heritage Minutes’ in a melodramatic classic that celebrates his stimulating brain research. It really does just last one minute and looks like a cross between Hammer Horror and Gone With The Wind with the dramatic stares and hammy acting to match. Penfield is […]

Interview with Wade Davis: Part II – culture clashes

This is Part II of our interview with ethnobotanist and explorer Wade Davis where we discuss technology, culture and the slippery concept of human nature. Davis kindly spoke to myself and science journalist Ana María Jaramillo while visiting Medellín’s excellent science museum Parque Explorer and in Part I we discussed altered states of consciousness and […]

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 […]


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