For one night only: Art from the inside

Being at St Clements is a one night only art event being held in London on the night of Tuesday 24th April to showcase a project combining the talents of dedicated artists and patients from a psychiatric hospital.

The event will present some brand new multimedia works, including a never before seen video and animation projects, sound installations and an exhibition of digital prints.

It will also include a live show to keep you entertained throughout the evening.

The event is being held at the SPACE Gallery, 129-131 Mare Street, London, E8 3RH. 6 – 9pm (Live show @ 7pm).

Link to details of event (thanks Tenyen!).

The defeat of sleep

BBC Radio 4 recently broadcast a documentary on the effects of the new generation of anti-sleep drugs on health and society.

Drugs, such as modafinil and adrafinil, seem to remove the need for sleep and promote alertness while having minimal side-effects in most users.

Unlike older drugs which prevent sleep, such as amphetamine, these drugs typically don’t feel pleasurable and have few other effects, meaning they are less likely to be used recreationally or lead to compulsive use.

Originally used to treat sleep disorders, there is now a large grey market for these compounds, as people use them to extend their work or play time.

The BBC documentary tackles the possible effects on society of being able to easily manipulate and delete the need for sleep at will, as well as investigating the possible mind and brain consequences of not sleeping for long periods.

Link to The Defeat of Sleep webpage with embedded audio.

A quick snack before the main meal?

I returned from lunch and was surprised to find an email from The Mind Lab giving details of the ‘chocolate vs kissing’ study we reported on earlier and dismissed as rubbish. So, is it junk?

Well, it certainly wouldn’t get published in an academic journal, but it’s certainly not as far-fetched as it seemed from the press releases.

Notably, it’s described as a ‘pilot study’ which is often a test-run study done by scientists to try out methods, equipment, ideas or get some initial data.

The email from Dr David Lewis noted that it was for a larger piece of research investigating the role of certain food stuffs in enhancing vigilance in groups whose performance often seriously, and sometimes fatally, affected by fatigue – such as long distance drivers and combat troops.

After reading the report, the premise still seems a bit daft (melting chocolate vs kissing? why?), the number of participants low (only 12), the methods not as robust as they could be and the data presented as summary graphs only with no statistical analysis.

But, for the first time ever for a ‘PR study’, I was provided details of the study when they were requested, so at least I can see that for myself.

Whether it’s healthy that research labs should be ‘selling’ pilot studies (which can’t really be used to draw any firm conclusions) for the advertising industry to promote as science is another matter.

The report is available from The Mind Lab on request.

Link to The Mind Lab.

Psychology in top ten most satisfying jobs in America

Yahoo! News is reporting that psychology has been ranked the 9th most satisifying job in America.

The ranking is from a project from the University of Chicago called the ‘General Social Survey’ which monitors changes in attitude and behaviour across various populations.

I can’t actually find the original research online, but any pointers would be gratefully received.

For a list of the most and least satisifying jobs, follow the link below.

Link to Yahoo! News story ‘Survey Reveals Most Satisfying Jobs’.

2007-04-20 Spike activity

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

Cognitive Daily investigates the curious psychological effects of self-refilling bowls.

The San Francisco Chronicle discusses OCD from the perspective of a popular radio broadcaster and author who experiences the condition.

OmniBrain finds three auditory illusions you can try yourself.

Recent find of an old paper: Using Social Psychology to Motivate Contributions to Online Communities.

Does having more children make you happier? Frontal Cortex investigates.

BBC News looks at pharmaceutical drugs that may boost your brain power.

The Neurophilosopher commemorates the 64th birthday of LSD.

SciAm Mind Matters has a good review of a recent Science paper on visual processing. Scroll down to section entitled ‘Selective Vision‘ (can’t seem to link to individual entries).

Developing Intelligence looks at research on whether children understand time.

Consciousness in the single neuron. A new feature article on Science and Consciousness Review

Madame Fathom investigates part of why smoking may be so attractive despite the health risks: it’s cognitive effects on the brain.

Jeff Hawkins on making AI more human

Independent artificial intelligence researcher Jeff Hawkins has an article in this month’s IEEE Spectrum magazine asking the question ‘why can’t a computer be more like a brain?’.

Hawkins argues that while we hope that machines will be able to simulate human intelligence, we ignore the thing that makes us so – the brain.

He suggests that we need to create artificial intelligence systems that closely match the architecture of the brain to achieve this task.

Hawkins has outlined his arguments, and his own theories of simulated brain architecture, in his book On Intelligence, but if you want a whistle-stop tour of his theories, this article is a great summary.

Link to Hawkin’s article ‘Learn Like a Human’.

I Think With My Brain Now

You wait all day for a neuroscience version of an 80s pop song with scientifically accurate lyrics, and two come along at once.

Hot on the heels of the occipital lobe remix of Britney’s Baby One more Time… comes a re-working of Tiffany’s I Think We’re Alone Now.

This time, some medical students who have obviously spent a little too much time in lab class, bring you the video extravanganza that is I Think With My Brain Now.

The lyrics are very special.

Link to YouTube video of ‘I Think with My Brain Now’.