Category Archives: Uncategorized

Human Touch

A curious article has just appeared in the latest edition of the International Journal of Group Psychotherapy. The opening line of the summary is oddly delightful: The group, with its intensity, interaction, roles and dynamics, is an important unit of experience in everyday life, in psychotherapy groups, and in Bruce Springsteen’s music. The author, psychotherapist […]

One who studies the soul

i-D magazine has an interview with instrumental dubstep fusion maestro Psychologist. As part of the interview they asked him where the name came from and he gave quite a beautiful answer What’s behind the name? Literally, Psychologist means ‘one who studies the soul’, we think of it as a scary word in our harsh-sounding, Germanic […]

Berlin cognitive science safari: report

So I’m back from my time in Berlin at the BMW Guggenheim Lab. As announced previously, I was there to give a talk about how perception works, and how cities control our perception. If you’re a regular reader nothing I said would have been earth-shattering – it was a tour through some basics of […]

BBC Column: What makes us laugh?

This is my BBC Future column from a couple of weeks ago. You can find the original here   A simple question with a surprisingly complex answer – understanding laughter means understanding fundamental issues of human nature. Why do we laugh? Well it’s funny you should ask, but this question was suggested by reader Andrew […]

The seers and oracles

An evocative passage from the 1976 book Hallucinogens and Shamanism about the use of the hallucinogenic Psilocybe mexicana mushroom by the Mazatec people of Mexico. The Mazatecs say that the mushrooms speak. If you ask a shaman where his imagery comes from, he is likely to reply: I didn’t say it, the mushrooms did. The […]

Dressing psychologists as wizards in court

From we hear that in 1995, New Mexico state senator Duncan Scott introduced a legislative ammendment providing that When a psychologist or psychiatrist testifies during a defendant’s competency hearing, the psychologist or psychiatrist shall wear a cone-shaped hat that is not less than two feet tall. The surface of the hat shall be imprinted […]

Gimme Shelter

The Rolling Stones launched their career in a social therapeutic club, designed to help troubled youth with communication skills. The club became legendary in rock ‘n roll history but its therapeutic roots have almost been forgotten. Eel Pie Island is a small patch on the River Thames famous for the underground club that earned a […]

Bookended by amnesia and neurofeedback

A new edition of RadioLab has just hit the wires which riffs on the concept of loops and is bookended by an initial piece on transient global amnesia and a closing piece on the use of neurofeedback to control pain. The programme is a sublime, lucid trip into a series of cycles, from the effects […]

Relax, it’s just a reversible drug-induced coma

The New York Times has a fantastic interview with Emery Neal Brown, a neuroscientist and doctor who is trying to understand how anaesthesia works to better understand the brain and to build better drugs. It’s a great interview because he address several of the common beliefs and myths about anaesthesia as well as the challenge […]

Quito bound

Due to the complexities of the Colombian visa system, I am off to the beautiful city of Quito, Ecuador, for a week to organise the paperwork. I’m not sure how internet access will work out, so apologies if updates are a little less frequent than usual. If anyone knows any good mind and brain things […]

The Maudsley cat

The not very good photo is of Coco, the Maudsley Hospital cat and one in a long line of felines who reside in psychiatric hospitals. Not all psychiatric hospitals have cats, but they’re not uncommon and exist as a sort of informal tradition of live-in feline therapy. They’re very popular with both staff and patients, […]

the forbidden experiment

Rebecca Saxe, a psychologist from MIT, reviews Encounters with Wild Children by Adriana S. Benzaqu√©n, a history of the fascination that scientists have had with children who grow-up isolated from human contact. To raise a child without the influence of culture is the ‘forbidden experiment’, the test theorised by philosophers of human nature to reveal […]

Brain-Computer Interfaces

In this week’s edition of the journal Nature my colleagues and I at Brown and Cyberkinetics present more results from the first human implanted with a multi-electrode array-based direct-brain-computer interface, and also my colleagues at Stanford present a report on experiments exploring the maximum bit rate possible with such direct interfaces. Nature has provided a […]

Week 4, book draw winners

Sunday night means entry to this week’s Mind Performance Hacks book draw is now closed. A drumroll, please, while I pick this week’s winners (as before, with an added sort to make the uniq command work properly)… and our two winners are John Doppke and Jose Antonio Ortega. Congratulations! I’ll be in touch to get […]

Last chance to win Mind Performance Hacks

If you’ve caught my posts the last few Mondays, you’ll know that I read and commented on Mind Performance Hacks, a new book from Ron Hale-Evans and O’Reilly (with some of the regulars of this blog contributing a hack or two) some weeks ago and we’ve been running free draws since. If you want to […]

Week 3, book draw winners

Hello folks, it’s time to pick out the 2 winners for this week’s Mind Performance Hacks free book draw (I’ll do it the same way as a couple of weeks ago)… Congratulations to Mark Atwood and Monique Milgrom! Well done, and I’ll email you soon to get your postal addresses. Everyone else, bad luck but […]


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