More mind hacks

While mistyping my Google search terms, I found the similarly named, a site also concerned with tweaking the human mind. (in contrast to this site, relies solely on user contributions – sort of like a for psychology.

Although it seems to have been a little quiet of late, it has plenty of fascinating material in its archives, and is undoubtedly an underused resource.

Link to

‘Dhat’ and semen loss

An article by psychiatrist Athula Sumathipala that discusses a curious syndrome involving pathological anxiety about semen loss, has just become available online from last year’s British Journal of Psychiatry.

The syndrome, known as dhat, involves feelings of fatigue, weakness, anxiety, loss of appetite, guilt and sexual dysfunction, all attributed to the loss of semen.

Dhat is typically associated with India and China, where it was discussed in ancient texts. Sumathipala’s review makes it clear however, that such concerns have been prevalent in the west as well.

In fact, they were discussed as far back as early medical texts by Galen, and formed the basis of relatively recent (although spurious) theories on madness and masturbation.

The article starts with a discussion on the shaky psychiatric concept of a culture-bound syndrome – a supposedly culturally specific mental illness – and describes the curious syndrome in detail in the Results section of the paper.

Link to full text of article from the British Journal of Psychiatry.
Link to an Introduction to Culture-Bound Syndromes from the Psychiatric Times

2005-04-01 Spike activity

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news:


A new edition of Scientific American Mind is available in the shops and two articles are freely available online. One on deja vu and the other a critical look at the Rorschach inkblot test.

An article on Kuro5hin discusses the psychology and construction of the ‘Big Five‘ personality model.

A paralysed man is able to control household appliances through an implanted brain chip (story from Guardian and BBC).

An article from the Pittsburg Post-Gazette discusses the work of psychologist Jennifer S. Lerner on the effect of emotion on decision-making and risk-taking.

A personality analysis of Adolf Hitler, commissioned by the forerunner to the CIA during the 1940s, is published online by Cornell University.

Teasing is “an indispensable social tool, vital to all healthy relationships”.