2010-03-12 Spike activity

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

The University of California has an interview with space psychiatrist Nick Kanas

There’s a thoughtful consideration of the recent New York Times article on whether depression has evolutionary benefits over at Neuron Culture.

Time magazine discusses research finding that deaths from cocaine overdoses rise even when the weather warms up only slightly.

We’re slower at processing touch-related words than words related to the other senses, according to new research covered by the BPS Research Digest.

Wired UK discusses a new study on how electrical brain activity recorded from the scalp’s surface is enough to support the (rough) reconstruction of 3D hand movements on a computer.

The bizarre double life of Dr. William Stewart Halsted is discussed in a book review over at The Neuro Times.

The Neurocritic welcomes yet another attempt to resurrect Freudian ideas about the brain with a new paper taking the ‘but looks at the similarities!’ approach.

Male batterers consistently overestimate rates of domestic violence, according to a study covered in e! Science News

Not Exactly Rocket Science on how cooperative behaviour spreads through social networks, but so does cheating.

Asking an experienced stranger predicts our future happiness better than we can ourselves. A nugget from a piece on the work of Daniel Gilbert over at Harvard Magazine.

Neurophilosophy discusses some new lab research suggesting that the immune system response to brain infection may trigger Alzheimer’s disease.

The somewhat chilling piece on the rise of ‘human flesh search engines’ in China is discussed by The New York Times.

Deric Bownd’s Mind Blog covers a fascinating study that found thinking about randomness enhanced belief in the supernatural.

The UK’s programme to detain and treat people with ‘Dangerous and Severe Personality Disorder’ is heavily criticised in a government report. New Scientist covers the story.

Seed Magazine asks ‘is there an evolutionary basis for our religious beliefs?’ I for one know that my belief in Thor makes me more attractive to the ladies.

Bigger men are more aggressive when drunk, according to research covered by Science News.

Neuroanthropology discusses why students drink before even leaving the door to party, a practice known as ‘pre-gaming‘. The site also has an excellent essay on how obesity is discussed as a medical problem.

A variant of gene SCN9A has been linked to pain perception, according to a new study covered by Science News.

The Loom discusses how bacteria could change our behaviour. I expect to see ‘the bacteria made me do it’ defence in court cases some time soon.

Fat may be detectable as a ‘sixth taste‘ suggest a new study covered by Wired UK.

Newsweek thinks fMRI “proves” addiction is a brain disease (hello neuroessentialism fallacy!) while making an otherwise important point on the need for psychological treatment for addiction.

A long but interesting piece on how to train teachers with simple effective classroom techniques appeared in The New York Times.

RadioLab discusses “a rare but disturbing delusional disorder called Capgras” in one of its excellent short broadcasts. Although it’s not actually that rare in people with psychosis and dementia.

2 thoughts on “2010-03-12 Spike activity”

  1. Regarding cocaine overdoses, I can’t help but wonder if the jump may be due at least in part to more people taking more cocaine when the weather gets nice. As soon as the weather begins to get nice, people head outside and party more.

  2. The article on domestic violence study makes no mention of a control group.
    Sure batterers overestimate rates of domestic violence, but maybe non-batterers do too!
    Okay, I’m sure the actual study authors had a control group (pretty blatant oversight if they didn’t) but the article is pretty useless without mentioning it. What kind of “Science News” site overlooks something like that!

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