2010-12-24 Spike activity

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

Brain scans as art. The Neurocritic covers a charming paper where a bunch of Serbian radiologists review the history of neuroradiology in famous artworks and then contribute some of their own creative efforts!

Scientific American looks at the evolutionary pressures on religious belief in light of the fact that religious people vastly out-reproduce secular folks.

The first recorded human snog is uncovered by The Intersection. No mention of ancient bike sheds being involved.

The RSA Journal has a thoroughly fascinating interview with behavioural economist Dan Ariely on many curious biases in how we reason about money and finances.

Don’t miss Neuroskeptic on the subtleties of the new studies that seemed to have all but dismissed the link between the XMRV virus and chronic fatigue syndrome. The devil being in the detail.

New Scientist has a positive review of Oliver Sacks’ new book ‘The Mind’s Eye’.

Meet the Denisovans, a potentially new branch on the human tree of life, over at The Loom.

The British Medical Journal has a seasonal paper on phantom vibration syndrome – on the hallucination of an incoming call.

Brain-damaged patients who are paralysed but are unaware of it show unconscious recognition of their difficulties, according to a fascinating new study covered by the BPS Research Digest.

Cerebrum from the Dana Brain Alliance has an excellent piece on ‘the promise and the reality of stem-cell therapies for neurodegenerative diseases.’

20 simple steps to the perfect persuasive message. PsyBlog rounds up its recent series on persuasion and influence.

Discover Magazine asks whether music is for wooing, mothering, bonding, or is it just “auditory cheesecake”? Mmmmm…. cheesecake.

The Man with the Electronic Brain. Great comics find from Boing Boing.

Scientific American has put the stand-out chapter from Carl Zimmer’s Brain Cuttings book online – taking a critical look at the ‘singularity’ and the neuro-immortalists.

Some great coverage of the new study finding that placebos seems to work even when we know they’re placebos from Neurotribes and Not Exactly Rocket Science. Also a more critical take from Respectful Insolence.

Time Magazine asks what methamphetamine has to do with addiction and autism treatments? Turns out, they’re all interesting new findings on the hormone oxytocin.

There’s a lovely look at self-organising principles in the nervous system over at Wiring the Brain.

The Washington Post has a case of very applied ethics. A philosopher calls a vote on whether he should donate a kidney.

Great coverage of a study that used brain activation to try and predict the improvement of teenagers with dyslexia over at BishopBlog.

The Wellcome Collection has the audio of its ‘Describing the Drug Experience’ event online.

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