Category Archives: Psychology

Spike activity 24-06-2016
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Spike activity 24-06-2016

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: Why do some children thrive in adult life despite a background of violence and neglect? Fascinating piece from Mosaic. Scientific American asks with the flood of neuroscience PhDs, where will all the neuroscientists go? Ask British neuroscientists, they’re probably weighing up their options right … Continue reading “Spike activity 24-06-2016”
This Woman Knows How to Fly a Plane, But Can’t Recall Her Husband
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This Woman Knows How to Fly a Plane, But Can’t Recall Her Husband

She can tell you how to bring an aircraft out of a stall, but has no memory of her marriage. She can explain an arpeggio, but doesn’t remember the tune to “Happy Birthday.” She can detail the steps to remove excess paint from a watercolor painting, but fails to recognize “Starry Night”.

Lonni Sue Johnson is teaching scientists new things about our brains, after losing a critical part of hers. Infected in 2007 with a form of encephalitis, Johnson would end up losing her hippocampus, much o

Sleight of mind in fMRI
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Sleight of mind in fMRI

I’ve written a piece for the BPS Research Digest about a fascinating study that caused people to feel their thoughts were being controlled by outside forces. It’s a psychologically intriguing study because it used the psychology lab to conduct the study but it also used the psychology lab as a form of misdirection, so participants … Continue reading “Sleight of mind in fMRI”
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The mechanics of subtle discrimination: measuring ‘microaggresson’

Many people don’t even realise that they are discriminating based on race or gender. And they won’t believe that their unconscious actions have consequences until they see scientific evidence. Here it is. The country in which I live has laws forbidding discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity, religion, sexuality or sex. We’ve come a long … Continue reading “The mechanics of subtle discrimination: measuring ‘microaggresson’”
Cultures of mental distress
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Cultures of mental distress

BBC Radio 4 is currently running a fascinating four-part series called The Borders of Sanity on the interaction between culture and mental illness. It’s been put together by cultural historian Christopher Harding and takes an in-depth look at four particular instances where culture and mental health interact, perhaps in seemingly curious ways if you weren’t … Continue reading “Cultures of mental distress”
Researchers Add New Variables to the Happiness Equation
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Researchers Add New Variables to the Happiness Equation

In 2014, Discover reported on an equation that purported to lay out key variables that determine how happy we are. It said, in a nutshell, lower your expectations if you want to be happier.

But the pursuit of happiness is far more complicated than simply expecting nothing, so it’s no surprise that the “happiness equation” has since grown. Now, on top of lowering your expectations, you might want to avoid scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed comparing yourself to other smiling faces. I

Having a ‘Bird Brain’ Is Actually a Compliment
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Having a ‘Bird Brain’ Is Actually a Compliment

Calling a person a birdbrain isn’t the insult to intelligence it used to be. Sure, bird brains are small, but, according to a new study, their surprising intellect might arise from packing more neural connections into a smaller package.

Some birds excel at tasks believed to require “higher thought,” such as planning for the future, using tools and recognizing themselves in mirrors. Birds accomplish these challenges at a level that matches or exceeds primates’ problem-solving skills, despi

Spike activity 10-06-2016
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Spike activity 10-06-2016

Quick links from the past week in mind and brain news: The New York Times has a fascinating piece on the online community of people who believe they are being ‘gang stalked’. Completely destroy the immune system with chemotherapy and rebuild it with stem cells. A radical experimental treatment that seemed to halt multiple sclerosis … Continue reading “Spike activity 10-06-2016”
Twenty years, one Saturday
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Twenty years, one Saturday

If you’re in the UK this Saturday, London’s Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience is celebrating 20 years of peering into the brain with an all-day £5 conference that gathers leading researchers to cover everything from the neuroscience of cannabis to embodied cognition. By looking at the talks (warning: pdf format programme), it seems they’re pitched half … Continue reading “Twenty years, one Saturday”

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