Tag: psychiatry

The political brain

Download the audio version.Get my science column weekly as a podcast. ***** I do hear tell that there may be an election or two in the offing in the next little while. There are those for whom such affairs are akin to blood sports. They identify so strongly with a particular party, or a particular …

Continue reading

There are no utopias, as I believe I’ve said before

Bullies are everywhere. Even in Second Life. Why research bullying in a virtual online world? Funding for this project has come from the Dean of Business, Law and Social Sciences, Professor Christine Ennew, who describes bullying as a complex issue and one which perhaps hasn’t had the research attention it deserves. Professor Ennew said: “When …

Continue reading

Shifty eyes=better memory

The next time you’re talking to someone with keeps looking from side to side as you talk instead of right at you, don’t write them off as untrustworthy. They may just be trying to remember your name. Dr. Andrew Parker, a psychologist specializing in cognitive neuroscience at Manchester Metropolitan University in the U.K., recently presented …

Continue reading

"Why are your eyes so shifty?"

“I’m trying to remember your name.”

Slow-wave sleep

The science of sleep was one of my earliest column topics, way back in 1991. And why not? After all, as I pointed out then, sleep is so important birds, fish, reptiles and mammals all do it, we spend a third of our lives doing it, and if we don’t do it, we die. Like …

Continue reading

A rat-tickling good time!

Last week’s column on laughter, inspired by John Tierney’s column in the New York Times, mentioned that rats make a high-pitched squeak when tickled. Tierney’s blog has had several laughter-related posts since his column appeared. Here’s another one, specifically about rat-tickling–complete with a link to a rat-tickling video! (And how often can one say that?)

That’s not funny…so why am I laughing?

Whenever an election is about to occur, we see stories of the “gender gap,” the difference in voting patterns between men and women. But there’s another gender gap that perhaps hasn’t had as much attention: the difference in laughing patterns between men and women. I’ve written before about laughter, but since I’ve noted sadly before …

Continue reading

Drug-induced selective amnesia

Scientists have used a drug to wipe out a specific memory, while leaving others intact. Only in rats…so far.

Decisions, decisions

Life is one long series of decisions. Today, for instance, I had to decide on a topic for this column—and decided to write about the science of making decisions. Despite what we’d like to think, research continues to show that rational thinking often has little to do with our decision-making process. As Jerry Adler pointed …

Continue reading

A machine that knows what you intend to do…

…before you do it. These findings also raise hope for improvement of clinical and technical applications. Already today the first steps are being made in easing the lives of paralyzed patients with computer-assisted prosthetic devices and so-called brain computer interfaces. These devices focus on reading out the movement the patient intends to – but is …

Continue reading

Dual-task interference

You can see them a kilometer away. You notice the car driving a) slowly or b) erratically or c) both. And then you get closer…and can see the cellphone glued to the driver’s ear. Everyone pays lip service to the notion that cellphoning while driving is a bad idea…and yet some people still do it. …

Continue reading

It’s déjà vu all over again

It’s the strangest mental phenomena most of us ever experience: the feeling that we’ve already done or seen something that we’re really doing or seeing for the first time. This week an interesting new aspect of the phenomenon came to light: for the first time, researchers have reported a case of a blind person experiencing …

Continue reading

Easy AdSense Pro by Unreal