2011-01-21 Spike activity

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

Music, expectancy and pleasure in the brain. The Frontal Cortex has an excellent piece on the neuroscience of error prediction and the music appreciating brain.

Science News reports on how a substantial minority of third to sixth graders think they’re best friends with a classmate who actually dislikes them.

Straight Outta Compton, a dainty mother hugger named Nice Cube. Prosocial song lyrics make kids less aggressive, according to a study covered by the BPS Research Digest.

Scientific American explains why you’re probably less popular than your friends. Although in my case, it’s largely because the majority of my friends are cooler than me. Even the imaginary ones.

The widely misreported ‘genetics of friends’ study gets an excellent write-up from Genetic Future.

Wired Science looks at at a secret service study on the psychology of assassins in the US.

A leading journal is under pressure to retract a notorious study on children, depression and antidepressant paroxetine. Neuroskeptic weighs the evidence in this heated case and gives its verdict.

New Scientist covers an intriguing concert for three harmonium players and a synaesthete that recently hit the stage in London.

There’s a fantastic piece on Addiction Inbox on the challenges of personalising addiction medicine when gene variants make anti-craving drugs a hit-or-miss affair.

The Guardian has a piece on the continuing stigmatisation of mental illness in the media.

A psychiatrist and addiction specialist is interviewed about why she finds Twitter useful over at Frontier Psychiatrist.

The Economist charts the rise of the cognitive elite. Sadly, not about a neurally implanted version of the 80’s space trading computer game, as I had first hoped.

Another one of Eric Schwitzgebel and colleagues’ wonderful studies on testing the practical implication of philosophy hits the wires over at The Splintered Mind: do ethics professors respond as well as other philosophers to student email requests?

Medscape covers a new study finding that older surgeons have 1.5 – 3 times the rate of suicidal thinking than the average man in the street.

The over-interpretation of dreams. PsyBlog covers an interesting study on biases that makes us think certain types of dreams are more meaningful than others.

BBC News covers a case of alien hand syndrome and has a video of a patient being attacked by her out of control hand.

Are extraverts better leaders? asks Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

Yahoo! News reports how burglars broke into a home, found white powder, thought it was cocaine, and ended up snorting a deceased man’s ashes. A mistake I think we can all relate to.

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