2008-08-08 Spike activity

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

Language Log has an excellent piece on another reason why the amphetamine methylphenidate (Ritalin) may be popular as a study drug – apart from its boost to wakefulness it might actually improve some forms of learning.

Genes for schizophrenia uncovered. Again!

Scientific American reports on how our moral decision-making can be altered by distraction and additional cognitive effort.

Neurologist Robert Burton has a good piece in Salon on the placebo effect in conventional medicine.

Can cholesterol-lowering drugs reduce the risk of dementia? Newsweek examines evidence from a new study.

Furious Seasons on reports of people faking schizophrenia to get sleep-inducing antipsychotic drug quetiapine (Seroquel). God knows why.

US psychiatrists are deserting psychotherapy in favour of a sole focus on medication management, reports AP News. Original study here.

Edge presents A Short Course in Behavioural Economics. Scroll down past the chummy restaurant photos to get to the interesting bit.

Human brains have evolved a particularly strong capacity to detect what neuroscientists call ‚Äúerrors‚Äù. A sentence from a dreadful article on the ‘neuroscience’ ‘of’ ‘leadership’.

The New York Times discusses the benefits of boredom.

Researchers develop robots that learn to move themselves, reports BBC News. But the video shows they’re not just moving, they’re break dancing! Hey You The Robot Steady Crew, show em what you do, make a break, make a move.

Neuroanthropology has an excellent article on the sex differences and the ‘<a href="http://neuroanthropology.net/2008/08/07/girls-closing-math-gap-troubles-with-intelligence-1/
“>maths gap‘.

Daniel Dennett publishes an extract from his autobiography. No mention of inspiration for Santa-like beard yet.

Scientific American has an article on the neurological basis of genius.

The ‘torture debate‘ among US psychologists rumbles on and is covered by PsychCentral.

NPR Radio has an excellent piece on novelist Virginia Woolf and the psychology of the self, inspired by Jonah Lehrer’s recent book. Wonderfully produced in the unique RadioLab style.

Neuroscientist Shitij Kapur does the warm up for Gladys Knight with a lecture on dopamine and psychosis. No really. Channel N has the scoop.

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