Friday, 22 February 2013
1. Obama is planning to spend $billions mapping the human brain, reported the New York Times this week. Science mag provided some more details. What do the experts think? The psychologists Gary Marcus and Christopher Chabris were quick to publish their reactions to the news.
2. Over at the Wall Street Journal, a diverse range of columnists, including psychiatrist Samantha Boardman, shared their thoughts on the topic of discipline. "Self-discipline reminds us we always have a choice," says Boardman. If you are willing to explore alternative behaviors, you open yourself up to possibilities that you never dreamed of."
3. Kerching! Neuroscientist Cornelia I. Bargmann is among the recipients of a new tranche of $3 million mega-awards for top researchers in the life sciences. Nature has a profile of Bargmann, describing her work "unpicking the neural circuits that drive eating, socializing and sex."
4. One of my favourite blogs, Neuroskeptic, has moved home to join the Discover magazine stable - in one first his/her posts on the new site, the Neuroskeptic highlights new research showing that some of the most prestigious journals actually have the poorest standards for reporting statistical details.
5. Forget the Mantel / Middleton gossip in the TLS, the same journal also featured philosopher-medic Ray Tallis reviewing Oliver Sacks' latest book Hallucinations. Although the book bypasses many important philosophical issues arising from hallucinations, Tallis says it is "nonetheless a superb synthesis of the literature on these arresting, disturbing and sometimes terrifying phenomena, and a profound work of humanity."
6. Vaughan Bell at Mind Hacks shares his discovery of a handy online brain anatomy tool: "when you point at any part of an MRI scan it tells you which part of the brain you’re looking at in all three planes."
7. King's College, Cambridge has launched a new magazine, the Kings Review, and in one of the first articles, Dana Smith argues that the new edition of the DSM (American psychiatry's diagnostic code) is over-medicalising normal suffering.
8. Exciting new developments in brain-machine interfacing have been announced at this month's Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Boston.
9. Does Neurofeedback really work? I had a look at the evidence for my Brain Myths blog.
10. Fascinating links between language and a person's ability to save are detailed in this newly posted TED talk from Keith Chen. "languages without a concept for the future -- 'It rain tomorrow,' instead of 'It will rain tomorrow' -- correlate strongly with high savings rates."
And looking ahead to the weekend - watch out for Dame Professor Uta Frith, autism expert, on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs on Sunday at 11.15am.
Post compiled by Christian Jarrett (@psych_writer) for the BPS Research Digest.