2010-08-27 Spike activity

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

The New York Times covers the latest in the saga of whether there is a virus associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.

A lovely example of metaphorical priming over at the BPS Research Digest: feeling clean makes us harsher moral judges.

National Geographic discusses the intriguing question of why royal families have traditionally not been subject to the incest taboo.

Considering the news that the trapped Chilean miners are being sent antidepressants, Frontier Psychiatrist asks so what is the appropriate mental state for a trapped miner anyway?

Wired Science covers an important new criticism of the role of ‘kin selection’ in evolution – the idea that traits can evolve which may not promote personal survival but boost the chances of close relatives reproducing.

Body awareness illusions. Adapted for the pub. An excellent post over at Neurophilosophy. Please note: you need to be able to feel your body for them to work.

Science News reports on new research on how the 5,000 year-old body of ‘Ötzi The Iceman’ was buried and how he died in the first place.

Where does the meaning in words come from? Child’s Play discusses the relationship between words and the world and how they acquire their significance.

New Scientist discusses new research on the mechanics of hanging to try and understand what exactly kills people who are hanged – we still don’t know for sure.

Why are small towns more likely to produce sports stars than big cities? Frontal Cortex has some fascinating coverage of some counter-intuitive research.

The New York Times are in the midst of a science meltdown with their dire pick-two-studies-at-random-and-free-associate technology and the brain series. Want to join the fun? Nothing’s Shocking has a guide to writing your own.

There’s a discussion in meshing the evolutionary psychology of relationships and jealousy in homosexual couples over at Bering in Mind.

Not Exactly Rocket Science looks at when working as a team works out better than working individually. The key, it seems, is effective communication.

The mere presence of women seems to bring health benefits to men, according to research covered by The Economist. In which case, male physicists in danger, male psychologists virtually immortal.

Neuroskeptic covers an important study on the interaction of environment and genetic risk for psychosis. If it sounds technical, read carefully as it challenges many assumptions about schizophrenia ‘being genetic’.

Children seem to have a stereotyped view of robots, according to a new study of children’s drawings covered by New Scientist.

Neuroanthropology has a good response to the latest upsurge in ‘meme theory’ silliness. Ideas do not self-replicate, as any pub bore will tell you.

There’s an excellent piece on the pitfalls of labelling patients by diagnosis or by joky names over at The New York Times. If you read only one piece on clinical work this week, make it this one.

Wired Danger Room covers the news that while the US military have rejected the use of a ‘pain ray‘, it’s now been adopted by the US prison system.

A new paper in Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience covers the very early days of computational neuroscience. Wonderfully geeky with great photo.

The Wall Street Journal Blog says city traders are giving up cocaine for pot and pills. Damn that economic downturn.

As well as making you talk rubbish, amphetamine puts a strain on blood vessels in the body, according to research covered by Science News.

In the News covers a truly shocking report about the extent of sexual abuse in US prisons.

There’s a fantastic interview with Oliver Sacks on prosopagnosia (‘face blindness’) over at the New Yorker Podcast. He writes a locked article in this month’s edition.

The Wall Street Journal discusses how speaking in another language can alter our view of the world.

The recent upsurge in interest in the medical uses of psychedelic drugs is discussed over at Addiction Inbox.

Wiring the Brain has a great discussion of the synaesthesia-like ‘coloured hearing’ in William’s Syndrome. The blog is just getting better and better by the way.

Another study finds that oxytocin is not a universal ‘trust drug’ and is covered by New Scientist.

The Washington Post reports on research finding that drinking a glass of water before meals can promote weight loss. BigPharma to sue for water patent shortly.

Why are drug trials in Alzheimer’s disease failing? The Lancet has an editorial discussing the problem.

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