Following on from last year’s successful ‘essential sites’ round up, Mind Hacks presents our 2006 list of essential websites for mind and brain students, just in time for the new academic year.
Whether you’re a future graduate psychologist, a hardened lab-based neuroscientist or are in the midst of studying any of the cognitive sciences, we should have something to help you on your way.
News and information feeds
One thing that is likely to make you stand out from the crowd is if you can include new research in your work, rather than only including studies that are described in textbooks and handouts.
Keeping an eye on the latest news is also one of the most important things for maintaining your motivation. Study is hard work, and learning the fundamentals can sometimes seem a little uninspiring. Discovering that the fundamentals help you understand the latest discoveries in how we think, feel and behave can be a massive high.
The following sites are just a few of the ones that we get a particular kick out of.
New Scientist special reports on the brain and mental health.
As well as containing guides and information resources, these ‘special reports’ also contain a constantly updated list of all the New Scientist’s new reports relevant to the area.
ABC Radio’s All in the Mind.
ABC Radio is Australia’s national talk radio network, and All in the Mind is their fantastic and fascinating show on everything mind and brain related. It is on every week without fail, you can download the shows as mp3 podcasts or listen online, or you can read the transcripts on the Wednesday after the show has been broadcast. It often tackles some of the most important issues in contemporary cognitive science and shouldn’t be missed.
The British Psychological Society’s Research Digest.
First let me say that Christian, who writes for this site, writes the BPS Research Digest. However, whereas he writes here for free, he gets employed by the BPS to write fortnightly summaries of scientific research to make psychology research as widely accessible as possible. You can even get it delivered straight to your email inbox to save you having to check the website every two weeks.
The Society for Neuroscience.
As well as having a huge amount of information that will give you all the background on brain and nervous system function, it also has news on the latest scientific developments and upcoming meetings and events.
The ScienceBlogs Brain and Behaviour Channel.
ScienceBlogs is a collection of scientist and science writers who write about what they love. The Brain and Behaviour Channel lists any article, post or opinion piece on psychology or neuroscience from a wide range of blogs. Great for opinion, alternative views of mainstream news stories, or careful analysis of scientific research.
Other great blogs which have a good mix of psychology, neuroscience and mental health news and are regularly updated include Developing Intelligence, Brain Ethics, PsyBlog, Neurocritic and PsychCentral. Actually, there are plenty more, so have a look round to find your most useful reads.
Grey Matters is a online TV station – dedicated to neuroscience!
It’s a project of the University of California San Diego, a world centre of neuroscience research, and has a massive video archive of talks and presentations that you can watch online using realplayer.
Getting things done
As well as being knowledgable about human nature, academic study involves doing the practical work of conducting experiments, writing reports and analysing data.
These sites should help you with some of these activities that can seem bewildering at first.
Simply Psychology is simply fantastic.
It describes psychological methods in a straightforward way, and there’s no better compliment than that. On top of this, it has sections on some of the key debates in psychology. A great introductory guide.
Other resources include All Psych’s Guide to Research Methods which is more of an online textbook if you need something a little more in-depth, and if you’re a bit more experienced with research and have a query, the Research Companion Message Board is an online watering hole for social science researchers.
Recommending PubMed is like recommending Google for internet users.
It’s the world database of medical and related research. It seems obvious, but it’s an essential resource and one that’s worth learning how to use effectively. There are also services that run a specific search on PubMed every week and email you any new articles that have appeared. I prefer BioMail but you can do this in PubMed itself now.
Google Scholar is an alternative to PubMed.
PubMed can be a bit light on psychology research and a bit intimidating at first. Google Scholar has a very wide range of research indexed and it’s a bit easier to use. The only drawback is that sometimes you can’t find the articles it lists. Still a useful tool though.
The best internet resources are the one’s you have collected yourself because you know they fit your needs, but hopefully this list should give a balance of useful reference material to bookmark, and sites you can check regularly for the latest in news and views.
If you have any sites which you’ve found particularly useful that aren’t included here feel free to add them to the comments below (just remember that you need to paste the web address in as text, as the blogging software disallows direct links to prevent spam).
Apart from that, enjoy! After all, there’s nothing more interesting than people.