2005-10-21 Spike activity

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


New York Times on ‘Life Hackers‘ researching the interaction between humans and computers.

Neuroscientist Mike Merzenich interviewed on whether new technology is making us more intelligent or less.

Children born prematurely are to be studied to see how their brains adapt to damage.

Great article by Carl Zimmer on the new paper in the controversy over whether the ‘hobbit’ is a new species of human or person with microcephaly.

More on Clancy’s psychological research on self-confessed alien abductees.

BBC Radio 4 science programme Material Word on the development of music and language.

Mapping of immigation patterns in US show family, not economic reasons, are strongest influence.

Implant for deaf and hearing-impaired designed to boost music appreciation.

Vastly oversimplified neuroscience used to sell dating service.

2005-10-14 Spike activity

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


Former wold champion boxer Frank Bruno admits cocaine may have played a part in his earlier mental breakdown.

The LA Times discusses a form of religious obsessiveness called scrupulosity.

A poem by Adrian Mitchell is chosen as the poem that most people would like to see launched into space for any other life forms to potentially read (encounter?).

A forensic lab worker is investigated for stealing human pituitary glands to dope racehorses.

1980’s photos from parties at an abandoned psychiatric hospital (via BoingBoing).

China opens an internet addiction clinic.

The brain’s language areas become more lateralised with age.

New research shows how HIV affects the brain (I can’t find the original scientific paper yet though).

Researchers ‘identify’ (doesn’t say how) influential words in CVs and job applications.

Early life stress can increase risk of memory loss in later life.

A former crack user talks about his addiction.

2005-10-07 Spike activity

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


Users are more likely to agree with opinions when they’re delivered by a computer generated head that mirrors their movements.

The Times discusses a recent meeting on the ‘Science of Happiness and the new focus on ‘positive psychology’.

An outbreak of a rare form of the brain infection encephalitis threatens parts of India.

PINs, codes and passwords strain the brain (via BrainBlog).

Scientific American discusses research on what are being increasingly called ‘Halle Berry neurons‘ (see also previously on Mind Hacks).

Clowns help children cope with uncomfortable surgery but annoy Doctors (I love the image of a Clown squirting surgeons with trick flowers during surgery, much to the child’s delight).

A symposium on LSD is announced for 2006, on the centenery of its discovery discoverer (via MetaFilter).

Do computer harm children’s development? Yes, argues educator Lowell Monke.

2005-09-30 Spike activity

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


People who are known to be pathological liars may show differences in the white matter in the frontal lobes of the brain.

Cognitive therapy may be as effective as antidepressants as a treatment for severe depression, finds recent study.

Satirical piece proclaims Tom Cruise to lecture on the ‘The Modern Science of Mental Health’.

Brain scanners useful as lie detectors claims new study – and even good enough to “detect terrorists” claims another (dig those “fund me!” buzzwords).

Research on brain function during sleep suggest that the coherent activity of wakefullness connectivity breaks up into ‘islands’ during the night.

BrainBlog reports that UK soap Coronation Street will feature a character with dementia.

2005-09-23 Spike activity

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


Tiny protein tubes in the brain known as ‘microtubules’ may be linked to mental illness say neuroscientists. One for Penrose to wave around in the next consciousness debate.

Men and women not so psychologically different claims US psychologist.

Large-scale study finds older and newer antipsychotic medication of broadly equal effectiveness (via ScienceBlog).

The first face transplant is considered anew. A 2002 article (PDF) asks what might the psychological effects of such a transplant be ?

New York Times considers what swearing tells us about the organisation and development of the brain (grabbed from BoingBoing)

A microsensor is being developed that could be injected into the brain of a person with motor neurone disease to transmit important information to doctors.

Cognitive Daily has a great article on the interaction between race and the perception of attractiveness in others.

2005-09-16 Spike activity

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


Survey finds that women are more likely to try bisexuality, particularly in their late teens and early twenties.

Keeping your emotions in check during a distressing event may impair memory for the details.

People who score highly on measures of schizotypy show greater right hemisphere activation, and are branded ‘weird’, ‘odd’, ‘quirky’ and ‘awkward’ by a clumsy write-up.

Science News discusses research on links between brain areas implicated in experiencing pain and the thought of pain.

Older people are less tactful suggests new study.

Physically abused children remain sensitive to even subtle signs of anger and find it hard to ‘relax’ even after the situtation has resolved.

2005-09-09 Spike activity

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


Headlines note that the Chernobyl disaster is “likely to kill 4,000” but most seem to skip over the more surprising conclusion of the report, that the most significant impact of the Chernobyl disaster has been on mental health.

Stay Free! Daily note some recent research about the negative effects of TV on cognitive and educational development in children.

The “brain is still evolving” claims scientists in new study.

Tiredness from working long shifts can affect doctor’s judgement as much as three or four beers suggests new research.

The Guardian has a fascinating profile of influential biologist, anthropologist and contradictarian Robert Trivers.

Gamblers are more likely to be superstitious than the rest of the population.

Younger boys may have trouble perceiving emotional expression in other people’s faces.

2005-09-02 Spike activity

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


Brain areas associated with pleasure and anxiety are activated when assessing risk.

Early research suggests that emotion can increase the risk of an attack in people with asthma.

The first book on vetinary psychiatry is published.

Safety Smock‘ – especially designed clothes for preventing suicide (nicked from BoingBoing).

More on Edinburgh University’s Koestler Parapsychology Unit, this time from The Guardian.

Computer scientists devise algorithm to ‘learn’ languages unaided.

Circadiana discusses the interaction between sleep cycles and Bipolar disorder.

2005-08-26 Spike activity

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


Manchester University initiates a survey on out-of-body experiences – which you can participate in here.

Workaholics are better in bed claims questionable recent study.

The placebo effect causes real-life opioids to flood the brain.

Change blindness is particularly associated with a small area of the parietal lobe, finds magnetic brain stimulation study (via BoingBoing).

In the UK, suicide is most likely to occur on Mondays, possibly due to a “sense of unease over starting something new”.

Men score consistently higher on IQ tests than women, claims controversial new study.

2005-08-19 Spike activity

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


Erotic or gory images prevent the processing of other images for a (very) short time.

The mysterious “junk DNA” may have an important role in guiding brain development.

Mobile brain-scanner proposed to detect possible stroke in an ambulance.

A piece in The Herald asks the question why do we believe in aliens?

Money might bring happiness, but only relatively.

Numenware on a recent paper that discusses the neuroscience of why mystical experiences often happen on mountaintops.

Interesting analysis of Sherlock Holme’s cocaine habit.

Developmental psychologist Rebecca Saxe describes theories about how we understand other people’s minds.

Co-operative mind-brain weblog

neurodudes.jpgNeurodudes is a psychology and neuroscience blog with a difference – it allows readers to login and post their own stories.

The site’s regulars, Neville Sanjana and Bayle Shanks, make sure there’s always a wide variety of new material on the site, while significant additions from guest contributors provide pointers to some of the more obscure and interesting stuff in the online brain science world.

Recent posts include a breathless post from a guy inviting people to discuss the classic neuroscience text Ion Channels of Excitable Membranes and an elegant synopsis of a paper on the interaction between action and vision in the brain.

Link to neurodudes.com

2005-08-12 Spike activity

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


Threaten a man’s masculinity, and he’s more likely to support the war in Iraq, want to ban gay marriage and buy an SUV. Makes you wonder what George Bush’s homelife is like…

New York Times reviews Clancy’s book on the psychology of self-confessed alien abductees.

Meanwhile, the The Guardian asks where have all the aliens gone?

An audience participation play at the Edinburgh Festival about a traumatic therapy session has employed a psychologist in case anyone gets traumatised!

Thoughts reads‘ via brain scans (should be ‘Journalists’ bamboozled via brain scans).

Simon Baron-Cohen outlines his systematising / empathising theory in the New York Times.

The Register report on the recent artificial intelligence conference in Edinburgh.

Mixing Memory on how word gender affects how people think.

Remote control humans!

2005-08-05 Spike activity

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


With all-new date-first title. I’ve realised that MovableType chops the URL of each post, so every ‘Spike activity’ had the same URL. Hopefully, we should be fixed…

Science News has a feature article on how pharmaceutical companies influence doctors’ drug prescriptions.

Wired discuses research on how ‘mental workouts‘ are being found to maintain mental sharpness in some.

Fantastic article from Harvard Review on the function of sleep and the work on leading sleep neuroscientist Robert Stickgold.

Story and video report on research showing that cognitive therapy reduces repeat suicide attempts by half (via PsyBlog).

Psychiatric polypharmacy, the practice of prescribing more than one medication to treat a condition, is being widely practised on US children.

The Economist discusses how describing financial markets as if they were alive, changes predictions made about them.

People with severe mental illness and more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators, finds recent study.

Mixing Memory

A recent discovery of mine is the Mixing Memory blog that is choc-full of well written, carefully referenced posts about psychology and neuroscience.

A couple of my recent favourites include a post about the neuroscience of morality and one discussing racial attitudes and how they’re reflected in the brain.

Chris, the blog’s maintainer, has even set up an email list to run a cognitive science reading group. Enjoy!

Link to Mixing Memory.

2005-07-29 Spike activity

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


New York Times on going through all the stages of a relationship through the medium of text messaging.

An elegant study shows that the brain ‘shuts down’ certain areas when we blink.

A writer’s perception of the psychology of the London Underground in the wake of the bombings.

A guy with synaesthesia produces images of music and maps out colours of letters on a keyboard. Thanks Simon!

Old skool neuroscience tech up for sale on ebay (via BoingBoing).

Tyneside to lead stroke research in UK.

Review of Mind Hacks from the MaineE Linux Users Group. Thanks Brian!

Article on developments in understanding chronic fatigue syndrome.

A slew of great articles from PsyBlog this week:
* No performance enhancement from caffeine?
* Psychological differences between men and women. Take note BBC!
* Link to a Guardian piece on the psychology of stage magic.

Researchers think that hand gestures are linked to better recall of language skills during speaking.

Propranolol, a drug usually used to treat high blood pressure, may block out traumatic memories.

UPDATE: Programme on NPR radio discusses the neuroscience of meditation as discussed previously on Mind Hacks. Thanks David!

2005-07-22 Spike activity

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


A thought-controlled voice synthesiser might be the next logical step for ‘neuroprosthetics’.

Marketing companies are developing software to profile personal characteristics from blogs.

One we missed from the week before: Great Cognitive Daily article on research into eliciting false confessions.

Wired looks at the research of the ‘Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research program’ who investigate whether mental events can affect machines.

Children as young as 7 can detect self-interest in a speaker’s claims.

Scientific American takes a look at how neuroscience is advancing treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

Adolescent girls show changes in slang and colloquial language before boys.

Architects and designers are starting to use findings from neuroscience to design better buildings.

Researchers claim to have found one of the genes that increase risk for autism.

Study finds 80% of 14-16 year old girls want to crash diet to “attract boys’ attention and achieve self-confidence”.