2010-07-16 Spike activity

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

If you thought nothing could top the last ‘digital drugs’ news report, it has been surpassed. Experts consulted: school IT guy and school nurse – who simulates the sound of digital drugs with her voice. Thanks Mind Hacks reader alex!

The New York Times asks ‘When did we first rock the mic?’ in an article on the historical lexicography of hip-hop.

A new study covered by the excellent Addiction Inbox finds that drug prohibition likely contributes to higher violence and homicide rates. Pushing universally used substances into the hands of criminals leads to violence? Shocker.

The Onion on satirical top form: ‘Nation’s Music Snobs Protest Predictable Use Of Metallica, Pantera To Torture Prisoners’. The fact that the US Military missed the irony of torturing people to ‘Vulgar Display of Power’ is of small comfort.

Jesse Bering looks at stray dog psychology in his endlessly fascinating column for Scientific American Mind.

The New York Times had an interesting piece on when good parents have difficult kids. Don’t miss the smart commentary on the piece over at Neuron Culture that disentangles the article’s oversimplifications.

Can the personality of your first child put you off having another? asks the excellent new Evidence Based Mummy blog.

The Chronicle of Higher Education covers some fascinating anthropological work on ‘frequent flyer’ drug trial volunteers. Anarchists and “transient, economically struggling people”.

A fantastic counter-intuitive study, brilliantly covered by Not Exactly Rocket Science. Sales and donations massively increase when customers told they can pay whatever they want for a photo and half goes to charity.

NPR has a short but interesting segment on a man who can’t recognise people by their voices. Technically called phonagnosia but given the not-quite-right nickname of ‘voice blindness’.

The mighty Language Log has a sideways look at thought-bubbles, comics and theory of mind.

Wired Science covers a new study finding that happiness and sadness spread through social networks like disease. Another analysis of the Framington Heart Study, which also seems to be quite contagious.

There’s an excellent discussion of how and when talking to ourselves helps us solve problems over at Frontal Cortex. Good job man. Thank you sir!

New Scientist briefly covers a study finding that a single dose of anti-depressants leads to less crying.

There’s a fantastic neuromarketing short story by Cory Doctorow over at Subterranean Press. Really is very good.

The New York Times catches up with the news on K2 Spice, JWH-018 and synthetic marijuana. See also some great background from Terra Sigilata

The neuroscience bloggers’ neuroscience blog Developing Intelligence has sprung back into life and among many other great pieces has a post on ‘Four Things to Keep in Mind When Reading fMRI Studies’.

New Scientist asks can you teach yourself synaesthesia?

Brain training – maybe a little effective? The Nature blog discusses a new study that suggests small but generalisable benefits from brain training.

Wired Science has a piece on how ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, or, to sound less of an arse, how the development of a child’s brain reflects the evolution of the human brain.

A study on distraction covered by the BPS Research Digest finds that people talking on their mobiles phones are more likely to miss a unicycling clown. Ironic, because when unicycling to the circus I often miss calls on my mobile phone.

NPR has an engaging interview with psychiatrist Daniel Carlat about his new book on the unhealthy relationship between Big Pharma, doctors and mental illness.

Futurist David Gelernter discusses dream-logic, the internet and the future of artificial intelligence over at Edge.

Cerebrum, the excellent online neuroscience magazine from The Dana Foundation, has an in-depth piece arguing that neuroenhancers should be available but regulated.

The consistently excellent forensic psychology blog In The News discusses myths about sex offender treatment and psychology versus what the evidence actually tells us. See also this week’s BBC Radio 4 All In the Mind on an innovative treatment programme.

The New York Times discusses moves to expand the diagnostic criteria for Alzheimer’s disease.

There’s fantastic coverage of a new, well-controlled study finding that rich families have higher rates of autism than poor families, contrary to the pattern we normally see in the prevalence of disorder, over at Neuroskeptic.

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