Spike activity 22-04-2016

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

Nautilus has a fascinating piece on the science of practice and improving skills – not the same as just gaining experience.

The science behind the stoner lore of different strains of weed having distinctly different highs is taken apart by a great article in PrimeMind.

Science reports on recent findings from a cadaver study that casts doubts on whether tDCS can actually stimulate the brain at all.

Does mental illness enhance creativity? A good balanced look at the evidence from BBC Future.

Slate asks: Think Psychology’s Replication Crisis Is Bad? Welcome to the One in Medicine.

Should Therapists Write About Patients? Important personal piece published in The New York Times.

The Guardian has a brief first-person piece: The secret life of a trainee brain surgeon.

A data geek may have resurrected the much maligned field of serial killer profiling. Good piece in Boston Magazine.

Spike activity 08-04-2016

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

Why we’re living in an era of neuroscience hype. Excellent piece in The Daily Dot by well-known neuroscience blogger Neuroskeptic.

The Atlantic has a wonderful piece on teaching neuroscience in prison. No, not some dodgy course on ‘better living through neuroscience’ – genuine neuroscience. A great reflection on teaching science in an unlikely place.

How deep learning survived the AI winter and came to dominate cognitive computing. Great piece in re/code.

Nautilus has an interesting piece on the science of empathy in the caring professions.

My terrifying – and valuable – time in a psychiatric ward. Times Higher Educational Supplement has a piece by a US academic.

The Psychologist has an excellent piece by novelist Alex Pheby on Daniel Paul Schreber’s classic memoirs of psychosis.

The killer of Kitty Genovese dies in prison. The New York Times covers the case, the killer and the psychology myth.

Scientific American Mind asks why does the brain need so much energy?

Spike activity 12-02-2016

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

Don’t tase me bro! Because it’ll cause short term cognitive impairment which may affect my ability to respond correctly under police interview. Important research from Drexel.

Mosaic has an interesting piece on hacking the placebo response and associative learning to improve medical treatments.

Your Next New Best Friend Might Be a Robot. Might be already for all I know. Nautilus on social robotics.

Science reports that sleep deprivation markedly increases false confessions.

The microcephaly brain changes apparently linked to the Zika virus are puzzling science. Good piece from NBC News.

The Atlantic covers the bitter fight over the benefits of bilingualism.

Good sceptical Gary Marcus talk on the current state of artificial intelligence and a useful tonic to those who think deep learning will lead to strong AI.

The Economist has an excellent in-depth article on the social effects of legalising cannabis.

There’s an excellent interview with pioneering neuroengineer Ed Boyden in Edge. Really, go read it.

Science News reports that the rise of human civilization was tied to belief in punitive gods. And also reality TV, you’ll notice.

Spike activity 22-01-2016

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

The New Yorker covers the shifting sands of autism in light of recent books that have rethought the history of the condition.

Brian Resnick at Vox asked twenty psych researchers: What do you hate about science journalism? Lots of good stuff.

Science reports big and welcome news: the Montreal Neurological Institute, one of the world’s leading brain research centres, is going entirely open science.

Why does the brain use so much energy? asks Wired UK.

The Independent has a piece on the history of the drug amyl nitrate, sold widely as ‘poppers’, and its place in gay culture, clubbing and sex.

I get interviewed by the Spanish-language blog Neuromexico – text in Spanish but audio largely in English.

The New York Times has a subtle first-person piece on prison psychotherapy.

A brief history of decapitation. Over at Inverse.

Spike activity 15-01-2016

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

The New York Times has a brilliant piece on the non-scandal around sociologist Alice Goffman that’s also a reflection on sociology itself.

There’s a fascinating piece on ‘super forecasters‘ – people who seem to have an exceptional ability to judge the outcome of future events – in the Washington Post.

Knowing Neurons is a relatively new neuro blog that just keeps getting better.

Applying a knowledge of cognitive biases to add reality to virtual reality. Aeon covers an interesting area of applied psychology.

National Geographic has a fantastic piece on the evolution of the eye.

A mathematician is using computers to manufacture award-winning illusions. Fantastic piece in Nautilus.

Spike activity 08-01-2016

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

The State of Texas now allows guns in state-run psychiatric hospitals, according to the Statesman. I am genuinely lost for words.

Sifting the Evidence has an excellent piece on the science behind the UK’s new lowered alcohol intake recommendations.

Scale Invariance: A Cautionary Tale Against Reductionism in Neuroscience. Thought-provoking piece from Knowing Neurons.

The New York Times has an excellent piece on the psychology of the con.

Human clinical trials planned for revolutionary neuroscience technique optogenetics, reports Scientific American.

The Atlantic has a wonderful piece on how we coordinate conversations between us with the most precise synchronisation.

There’s a good piece on the psychopharmacology of new psychoactive substances in Cerebrum.

The New York Times reports how psychologists have now been quietly but officially withdrawn from working with Guantanamo detainees.

We need more pieces like this on male mental health: Ex-editor of lad’s mags Loaded and GQ talks on “How therapy saved my life” in The Telegraph.

A radio station run by patients that broadcasts from inside an Argentinean psychiatric hospital. Al Jazeera with an excellent documentary.

Geek medal to this man: Neurosurgeon criticises latest Bond movie over anatomically inaccurate depiction of how to drill out the fusiform gyrus. Gizmodo has the story.

Cognitive Sciences Stack Exchange

Cognitive Sciences Stack Exchange is a question and answer forum for Cognitive Science. The Stack Exchange model works well for computer programming and now cogsci.stackexchange.com is one of the 150+ sites in their family, which includes topics as diverse as academia, mythology and pets.

There’s a dedicated community of people answering questions and voting on answers, producing  a great resource patterned around the questions people have on Cognitive Science topics. Three examples:

So head over, if you have questions, or if you can lend an evidence-based, citation-supported, hand in working on answers:

Link: Cognitive Sciences Stack Exchange