2008-12-19 Spike activity

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

The visually unappealing but fascinating Culture and Cognition blog has a fantastic piece on new research showing it’s possible to predict hot topics before they become hot, based on an analysis of YouTube videos.

Cognitive dissonance in action: Scientific American reports on a study finding that soldiers who have taken a life more likely to defend Iraq war.

New Scientist has more psychology of soldiering news, reporting that higher IQ WWII soldiers were less likely to survive the war – although the IQ difference is pretty minimal.

An interesting publication in Neuropsychological Rehabilitation on amnesic patient Clive Wearing, discussing whether his persistent experience that he has “awoken for the very first time” is a delusion or coping strategy.

The New York Times has an obituary of Nobel-prize winning neuroscientist and sex offender, D. Carleton Gajdusek.

New technology to monitor the brain could be used to assist fighter pilots, reports Wired.

PLoS One has an interesting paper entitled ‘Losing the Big Picture: How Religion May Control Visual Attention’.

If you’ve not caught the latest Neuropod yet, it’s a special report with highlights from the Society for Neuroscience conference.

Neurophilosophy and Ars Technica have two of the best articles on the recent research on images reconstructed from brain activity. Black mark for any one of the news outlets that drivelled-on about brain scans displaying dreams.

The Neurocritic casts a sarcastic eye over recent research on the cognitive neuroscience of crime and punishment. I’m not entirely sure whether ‘sarcastic eye’ makes sense, but you get the picture.

The ’12 laws’ of emotions are discussed on PsyBlog.

An interesting article on the cultural construction of disease is published on BBC News as they cover the curiously French diagnosis of ‘heavy legs‘.

The Wall Street Journal has an op-ed arguing we should end drug prohibition based on the US’s previous disastrous experiment with prohibition.

Dr Petra takes down the latest in the long line of fake formula nonsense.

The year in mental health is <a href="
http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2008/12/17/mental-health-year-in-review-2008/”>reviewed by Psych Central.

My Mind in Books previews upcoming philosophy of mind books for 2009.

Antidepressants may damage more sex lives than previously thought, reports The Boston Globe.

Scientific American has an interesting article on visual problems caused by brain damage that has a confusing title that spuriously uses the word ‘mind’.

Lyrical and level-headed cognitive science writer Jonah Lehrer is interviewed by The New York Times about his forthcoming book on how we choose.

New Scientist has an online experiment you can take part in as part of a research project being conducted with psychologist Richard Wiseman.

Manipulating customers’ credit card repayment behaviour and profit through the use of ‘anchoring’ to set the minimum repayment. An interesting piece on the NYT’s Freakanomics Blog.

Furious Seasons reports how under-fire pharma researcher Charles Nemeroff wrote himself a letter as editor of a psychiatry journal to request an academic article praising a specific antidepressant produced by a drug company he took money from and offering himself $3,000 for his efforts. You couldn’t make it up.

Under-fire pharma researcher Fred Goodwin writes to the Trouble with Spikol blog and makes some good points in his defence.

Neuronarrative has an interesting piece on how older people may be better at filtering out negative memories than younger people.

Aren’t Spike Activity posts long these days? Compare with the first edition.

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