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News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences
The weekly edition of The Human Nature Daily Review
Volume 3: Issue 105 - 29th August, 2003 - http://human-nature.com/nibbs/

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Schizophrenia (29 Aug) - About one in a hundred people worldwide suffer from schizophrenia. Now neuroscientists may have found a gene variation that predisposes people to this brain disease. As this ScienCentral News video reports, it could lead to genetically targeted drugs for schizophrenia. [more]

Psychiatry (28 Aug) - Richard Bentall is an unusual clinical psychiatrist. After experimenting with medication on himself, he has concluded that much of psychiatry is no more useful than astrology. [more]

Men (28 Aug) - The Y-chromosome - the ultimate symbol of machismo - is in a bad way. But, asks Bryan Sykes, apart from breeding, what real use is the male to the human race? [more]

Stress (1 Sep) - An emerging understanding of the brain's stress pathways points toward treatments for anxiety and depression beyond Valium and Prozac. [more]

Human evolution (1 Sep) - "Like the foxes, humans have become more agreeable as we've become more domesticated. Whereas humans are like chimpanzees when it comes to between-group aggression, when it comes to levels of aggression among members of the same social group, we are much more like peaceful, highly sexual bonobos. Harvard University anthropologist Richard W. Wrangham proffers a plausible theory: as a result of selection pressures for greater within-group peacefulness and sexuality, humans and bonobos have gone down a different behavioral evolutionary path than chimps have," writes Michael Shermer. [more]

Writing (25 Aug) - When a system of writing begins to die, people probably don't even notice at first. Maybe the culture that spawned it loses its vitality, and the script decays along with it. Maybe the scribes or priests decide that most ordinary people aren't able to learn it, so they don't teach it. Or a new, simpler system may show up -- an alphabet, perhaps -- that can be easily learned by aggressive upstarts who don't speak the old language and don't care to learn its fancy pictographic forms. [more]

Moral sense (26 Aug) - "The Moral Sense Test is a Web-based study into the nature of moral intuitions. How do humans, throughout the world, decide what is right and wrong? To answer this question, we have designed a series of moral dilemmas designed to probe the psychological mechanisms underlying our ethical judgments. By putting these questions on the Web, we hope to gain insight into the similarities and differences between the moral intuitions of people of different ages, from different cultures, with different educational backgrounds and religious beliefs, involved in different occupations and exposed to very different circumstances." [more]

Moral maze (6 Aug) - Are we are witnessing a tragedy of epic proportions working itself out, or the beginnings of a true democracy taking shape. What now is the West's moral duty to the Iraqi people? [more] [audio]

Human evolution (24 Aug) - The most improbable item in science fiction movies is not the hardware - the faster-than-light travel, the tractor beams, the levitation - but the people. Strangely, they always look and behave just like us. Yet the one safe prediction about the far future is that humans will be a lot further along in their evolution. [more]

Guilt (20 Aug) - Dostoevsky's books abound in protagonists who are tortured by their conscience and characters who act out of irresistible compulsion. The gamblers in his stories often embody both types at once. Through them, he explored the concept of guilty pleasure at the highest level possible, vividly rendering the facet of human psychology that allows gambling and countless other activities to make us feel simultaneously delighted and ashamed. [more]

Architecture (22 Aug) - In this hour of Science Friday, we look at the influence of architecture and design on the mind. Though a gloomy basement office room filled with drab cubicles might make you want to call in sick rather than work late, can architecture and design help improve your mental processes while you area at work? Can architecture make you feel better? Think more creatively? Be a better scientist? We'll talk about it, and the idea that optimal design may be more than just an efficient floorplan. [more]

Manhood (8 Aug) - After years of creeping feminization, manhood and masculinity appear to have made a significant comeback in American society. Since the national security crisis of 9/11, America has rediscovered the virtues of soldiers, firemen, policemen and other traditionally male (and masculine) professions that require courage and physical strength. What explains this phenomenon? Why is manhood, once again, being held in high esteem? Or is this all just a mirage, destined to vanish in the near future? [more]

Perception (26 Aug) - The case of Michael May, the blind man who can now "see" gives us a fascinating instance of the mind-brain conundrum and how habits shape perception. [more]

Depression (19 Aug) - NPR's Steve Inskeep talks with Kenneth Kendler, professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and co-author of a new study on the relationships between loss, humiliation and depression. Findings from the study suggest that major depression in people is not only caused by loss, but humiliating events like being abandoned by a romantic partner. The study was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry. [more]

Psychiatry (18 Aug) - Robert Spitzer is the man who's defined more mental disease than any other person living on the face of the earth. Now an old professor who works out of a shabby office on the Upper West Side of New York, Spitzer is the creator of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the American Psychiatric Association's official listing of mental disease. NPR's Alix Spiegel reports. [more]

Robotics (25 Aug) - Scientists have been given the biggest ever grant to build a "conscious robot". The work will not only bring the scores of intelligent, self-aware machines that populate science fiction a step closer, it could also provide valuable clues on how human consciousness develops. [more]

Obituary (25 Aug) - The Rev. Walter Jackson Ong, a Jesuit scholar of language and its evolution as a means of communication, died on Aug. 12 in St. Louis. He was 90. [more]

Animal cognition (22 Aug) - Scientists have long believed that animals do not have so-called episodic memory-the kind that allows humans to remember past events. But recent experiments with scrub jays, chimpanzees, and gorillas have led to rethinking of the nature of memory in animals. [more]

Open access (21 Aug) - Debate over open access to scientific articles is steadily moving into the mainstream, with the publication this month of an editorial in The New York Times, a recently introduced Congressional bill to promote open access publishing, and a television commercial sponsored by the Public Library of Science (PLoS), a California-based group that plans to launch an open-access journal in October. [more]

Human genetics - ethics (21 Aug) - A decision by the New Zealand government to introduce a bill that some say will promote human germline modification -- genetic engineering of the species -- has sparked debate among experts around the world. [more]

Mental illness (22 Aug) - The brief was tough: write a romantic Hollywood drama about mental instability and one of the most controversial literary marriages ever. But when John Brownlow's first draft got the green light, his problems were only beginning. Here he tells a true story of crashing egos, crazy deadlines and booze-fuelled, red-eyed nights working out how poets talk. [more]

Science and democracy (1 Sep) - Does the pursuit of pure science make sense in a world of scarcity and strife? With so much poverty on the planet, why spend vast sums of money on, say, the James Webb Space Telescope, due to replace the Hubble at the end of the decade and observe the first stars and galaxies in the universe; or the Terrestrial Planet Finder, whose mission is to detect other habitable worlds-discoveries that, however astounding, can bring no tangible benefits here on this barely habitable world called Earth? [more]

Gender identity disorder (20 Aug) - What do you do when your child wants to be the opposite sex? Naomi Coleman examines the rise of gender identity disorder. [more]

Addiction (19 Aug) - The road from Dr. Nora Volkow's childhood home in Mexico to the director's office at the National Institute on Drug Abuse here was surprisingly short and straight. From the time she entered medical school, at 18, Dr. Volkow devoted herself to the study of addiction. A research psychiatrist known for her brain-imaging studies, she has published hundreds of papers, including many that demonstrate how dopamine, a brain chemical linked to pleasure and motivation, plays a major role in addictions of all kinds: to drugs, to alcohol and even, some say, to food. [more]

Prehistoric art (17 Aug) - In the 19th century, scientists finally junked the Biblical idea of a seven-day divine Creation -- with man, at the pinnacle of the process, being fashioned from clay on the sixth day. Ever since, it seems, we haven't stopped searching for our secular version of the "sixth day": the dawn of modern humans. [more]

Genetic profiles (17 Aug) - Plans for every baby to be genetically screened at birth came under fierce attack yesterday from the Government's advisory watchdog on the new science. Ministers unveiled a genetics strategy earlier this summer, including proposals for the DNA of every newborn to be stored on a database. It could eventually form a vast reservoir of knowledge about their future health, enabling doctors to tailor treatment to each individual. [more]

Sex differences (16 Aug) - Women empathise, men systemise. So the basic brain function goes. It's only a social problem in extreme cases, though especially for analytical men who lean towards autism, writes Simon Baron-Cohen. [more]

 Animal rights (16 Aug) - "Pressured by animal rights activists and by growing public support for the humane treatment of animals, these companies have financed research into, among other things, the emotional, mental and behavioural states of our fellow creatures. What the researchers are finding is unsettling. It appears that many of our fellow creatures are more like us than we had ever imagined. They feel pain, suffer, experience stress, affection, excitement - and even love," writes Jeremy Rifkin. [more]

Homosexuality (14 Aug) - On a sweltering day in June 1997, a gay pride parade passed down Market Street San Francisco. Among the thousands marching was Joan - then Jonathan - Roughgarden, a theoretical ecologist and marine biologist of some repute. A few months later, at 52, she underwent a sex change to become a transgendered woman. But that day was a turning point of a different sort. "I was looking at all these people and realising that my discipline said they weren't possible," she recalls. "Homosexuality is not supposed to exist, according to biology." [more]

Depression (13 Aug) - In their search for the roots of depression, psychiatrists have long focused on the experience of loss -- the jarring loss of a loved one, the lost haven of a relationship, or the more primal feelings of loss that can be traced back to the mother's breast. But a new study of more than 7,000 adult twins calls into question assumptions about depression that date to Sigmund Freud. The events that send people into major depression, the authors found, are not merely losses, but humiliating ones that drive at a person's self-esteem -- most typically, being abandoned by a romantic partner. [more]

Celebrity (13 Aug) - Those hours spent poring over the exploits of J-Lo and Ben, Posh and Becks or Robbie Williams could be time well spent - scientists say celebrity worship could help us live our lives more successfully. [more]

Diet (13 Aug) - By understanding how diet developed throughout the history of our species, these researchers hope to offer insight on how the food we eat affects our health and bodies today. [more] and [more]

Anorexia (12 Aug) - The age of anorexia sufferers in Australia is dropping alarmingly, according to research published yesterday, with doctors saying they are treating nine-year olds for the condition and even, in one case, a child of four. Anorexia is now the third-biggest health problem for girls under 18 in Australia, and one in 20 women has suffered from it at some point. [more]

Fear - desire (11 Aug) - The sex hormone oestrogen plays a crucial role in a wide variety of human emotional responses, say experts. It not only has a part in generating feelings of sexual desire, claim scientists, but is also at the root of other types of arousal - producing alertness or even fear. [more]

Archaeology (10 Aug) - Prehistoric fire starters may have unwittingly killed off the big beasts that once roamed Australia. Analysis of ancient eggshells suggests that the animals suddenly became extinct about 50,000 years ago because people burned up their habitat. [more]

Networks (8 Aug) - How connected are we in this connected world? A famous experiment by psychologist Stanley Milgram created the idea of 'six degrees of separation' -- the thought that a message could be passed between two people who didn't know each other by handing it along a chain of an average of just six connected people. But does that result still hold true in the hyper-connected Internet world? A recent experiment says it does -- replacing the movement of a paper message with the forwarding of an email, researchers found that it still took 5 to 7 steps to complete a message chain. We'll talk about it, and about ways in which the theory of networks can be applied to practical problems. [more]

Human evolution (7 Aug) - The Leakey family is synonymous with the search for the origins of mankind. The late Louis Leakey, born 100 years ago today, started a dynasty of fossil hunters who still explore the sediments of East Africa. For National Geographic Radio Expeditions, NPR's Christopher Joyce reports on the legacy of the Leakey family patriarch. [more]

Neanderthals (5 Aug) - Aubrey Manning returns with more archaeological mysteries and this week visits a site in Norfolk that is littered with the bones of great mammoths and the flint tools of our Neanderthal cousins. But were they lucky scavengers or were they hunting down the great beasts? [more] [audio]

Violence (5 Aug) - More and more girls under 18 are being arrested for violent crimes. They're still far less likely than boys to get picked up for things like robbery and assault. But the gap is narrowing. That's led to the perception that girls have become much more violent in recent decades. But as NPR's Jonathan Hamilton reports in Part Three of the series Girls and the Juvenile Justice System, experts on juvenile crime have another theory. [more]


Prisons - mental health (29 Aug) - A study in this week's British Medical Journal suggests that many aspects of prison life damage the mental health of both prisoners and prison staff and that a better understanding of the prison environment is needed if prisoners are to be successfully rehabilitated into society. [more]

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Mental health (29 Aug) - Research in this week's British Medical Journal reveals that being one of the youngest children in your school year puts you at greater risk of developing mental health problems. British Medical Journal, BBC News Online, New Scientist.

Genetics (28 Aug) - Increasingly, researchers believe that the mechanisms that govern gene activity themselves resemble a complicated non-DNA code - an intricate pattern of activity among the molecules that package and control access to the DNA. They suspect that the coordinated interplay of a number of specific enzymes is required to turn on a particular gene. [more]

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Neuroscience - learning (28 Aug) - Scientists have directly demonstrated in rats that one area of the brain can support the creation of memories by changing nerve cell firing patterns in another part of the brain, aiding the animal's efforts to predict the outcome of an action based on past experience and act on that prediction. The process, one scientist says, is something like what happens when a comic strip character sees something and is immediately reminded of something else. [more]

Family (28 Aug) - What's really happening to family and other intimate relationships? Commonly made claims about changes in family and other intimate relations are not supported by actual research, according to a new working paper sponsored by the ESRC. [more]

Development (26 Aug) - Scott Johnson of New York University reports in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that babies learn to follow objects with their eyes at between four and six months old. They even work out where the objects are going to end up when they go out of view. The Guardian, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Depression (25 Aug) - Evidence is growing that a key mechanism underlying major depression--a sometimes heritable, often lifetime illness, with repeated remissions and relapses--involves dysregulation of the signaling proteins called cytokines. [more]

Addiction (25 Aug) - Researchers know that certain kinds of experiences, such as those involved in learning, can physically change brain structure and affect behavior. Now, new research in rats shows that exposure to stimulant drugs such as amphetamine or cocaine can impair the ability of specific brain cells to change as a consequence of experience. EurekAlert, BBC News Online, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Depression (25 Aug) - A new analysis of the media’s coverage of depression, anti-depressant drugs and related issues over the past 15 years shows a significant shift in how newspapers and magazines portray mental health problems. Instead of describing depressive illnesses in terms of specific symptoms and medical terms, as they did when the era of Prozac began in the late 1980s, the printed news media are now far more likely to depict women’s mental issues in relation to gender-stereotyped roles, such as marriage, motherhood, and menopause. But during the same time, descriptions of depression in men have not shifted in the same way. [more]

Laughter (25 Aug) - Appreciation of humor doesn't change with age. Older adults still enjoy a good laugh. But ability to comprehend complex humor diminishes in later years. A Canadian study of humor in older adults has found that appreciation and emotional reactiveness to humor doesn't change with age. Older adults still enjoy a good laugh. [more]

Applied psychology (24 Aug) - A new study on managerial pay involving more than 2,000 managers from more than 500 organizations finds that not only do women managers earn approximately nine percent less than male managers, but that pay of both men and women managers is also related to the gender and age of those they work with. The study finds that managerial pay is lower when the manager’s referent group (subordinates, peers or supervisors) is largely female, when subordinates are outside the prime age group, and when peers and supervisors are younger. The findings are published in the August issue of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Journal of Applied Psychology. [more]

Depression (24 Aug) - Young adults who experienced an episode of major depression in adolescence may be more vulnerable to a relapse in adulthood that could significantly affect their quality of life, say researchers in a study on the psychosocial functioning of adults who have recovered from major depression. [more]

Diet (21 Aug) - The "French paradox" -- the perplexing disconnect between France's rich cuisine and slender population -- can be explained in part by portions that are significantly smaller in French restaurants and supermarkets than in their American counterparts. So say researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and CNRS in Paris, who compared the size of restaurant meals, single-serve foods and cookbook portions on both sides of the Atlantic. [more]

Memory (21 Aug) - Is it possible to intentionally forget specific memories, without affecting other memories? Many would undoubtedly be happy to learn that unpleasant memories might be erased. This ability could be especially significant when it comes to the kind of traumatic memories that are debilitating to those experiencing them. It may well be that in the future, we will be able to wipe out, or at least dim, certain types of memories with controlled accuracy. A new fundamental rule governing the workings of the brain, recently discovered by a team of scientists in the Weizmann Institute of Science, headed by Prof. Yadin Dudai of the Neurobiology Department, constitutes a step towards reaching this goal. [more]

Genetics (21 Aug) - With the human genome in hand, scientists now know the roughly 30,000 words making up the language of the human body. But what do those words mean? Stuart Kim, PhD, associate professor of developmental biology and genetics at the Stanford School of Medicine, has created the first dictionary that defines them. [more]

Behaviorism (21 Aug) - Findings reported in Science may offer clues to eating disorders, addiction. There's a little of Pavlov's dog in all of us, according to new research. Instead of using meat and a ringing bell, scientists have trained humans to hunger for vanilla ice cream, at the sight of an abstract computer image. Not only do we mentally connect the enjoyment of certain foods with unrelated stimuli, our brains can also relax these connections once we're full of that food, the researchers discovered. EurekAlert, New Scientist.

Social behavior - human genetics (20 Aug) - A rare genetic disorder may lead scientists to genes for social behavior, a Salk Institute study has found. The study zeros in on the genes that may lead to the marked extroverted behavior seen in children with Williams syndrome, demonstrating that "hyper-sociability" - especially the drive to greet and interact with strangers -- follows a unique developmental path. [more]

Biology - publishing (19 Aug) - As you know, the first issue of PLoS Biology will be unveiled in October 2003. In the meantime, we would like you to be the first to see a preview of two research articles from the inaugural issue that exemplify the outstanding quality and diversity of the articles that will appear in PLoS Biology. [more]

Human evolution (18 Aug) - Adam and Eve may have put on fig leaves while still in the Garden of Eden but a study that looked at the most intimate of pests -- body lice -- suggests that humans started wearing clothes 70,000 years ago, scientists said on Monday. Reuters, New York Times, Washington Post, Nature Science Update, Current Biology.

Political psychology (18 Aug) - The ordering of candidates' names on ballots in the upcoming California recall election will likely affect the outcome, if the state's presidential election is a guide. In the 2000 presidential race, George W. Bush received 9 percent more votes among Californians when he was listed first on the ballot than when he was listed later, a new study found. [more]

Religion (18 Aug) - As the German saying goes, there was only one thing the Communists accomplished in their part of the country - driving out God. More than a dozen years after reunification, the Easterners are as godless as before, according to new survey commissioned by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, which is close to the opposition Christian Democratic Union. [more]

Human genetics - athletics (14 Aug) - Athletes and coaches long have assumed that talented runners are gifted with exceptional genes. Now scientists have identified a specific gene that conceivably could push a runner over the line between good and great. Wired, The Guardian, BBC News Online, New Scientist.

Crime (17 Aug) - Computer forecasts that predict where and when crimes will happen by analysing past patterns should help police channel resources where they are needed most. The technique, now under trial in the US, could be available for routine use within a year. [more]

ADHD (17 Aug) - Scientists tracking the progress of children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as they became teenagers have shed new light on the link between ADHD and the risk of developing alcohol and substance use problems. The researchers found that individuals with severe problems of inattention as children were more likely than their peers to report alcohol-related problems, a greater frequency of getting drunk, and heavier and earlier use of tobacco and other drugs. The findings indicate that childhood ADHD may be as important for the risk of later substance use problems as having a history of family members with alcoholism and other substance use disorders. The study appears in the August issue of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. [more]

Alcoholism (14 Aug) - Previous research has found a significant degree of sensation-seeking behavior in male patients with a particular subtype of alcoholism called Cloninger's type I. A study in the August issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research has found for the first time an association between the DdeI polymorphism of the D1 dopamine receptor (DRD1) gene and sensation seeking among alcoholic men. [more]

Suicide (14 Aug) - Researchers in Denmark identified 21,653 same sex twins born from 1870 to 1930 and established date and cause of death from 1943 to 1993. They compared suicide rates with the general population. Twins (both men and women) had a substantially lower suicide rate compared with the general population. This supports the view that strong family ties reduce the risk for suicidal behaviour, say the authors. [more]

Artificial intelligence (14 Aug) - A new type of "smart" machine that could fundamentally change how people interact with computers is on the not-too-distant horizon at the Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories. [more]

Psychology -personality (13 Aug) - A study funded by the US government has concluded that conservatism can be explained psychologically as a set of neuroses rooted in "fear and aggression, dogmatism and the intolerance of ambiguity". The Guardian, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Press release, Psychological Bulletin.

Drug addiction (13 Aug) - Relapse among recovering drug addicts can now be linked to specific nerve cells in a particular region of the brain, according to a team of researchers at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. The discovery may help pave the way for new addiction therapies and intervention strategies. [more]

Development (13 Aug) - They might not normally merit a second glance, but those everyday objects around the house are constantly undergoing intense scrutiny, categorization and classification by babies trying to make sense of a world only months new to them. [more]

Cognitive psychology (12 Aug) - People change the rate at which they speak or play music to more closely match speakers or musicians they have just heard, new research suggests. One study found that musicians played faster or slower than their normal tempo depending on the tempo of music they listened to immediately before playing. A related study found that people read a sentence faster or slower depending on the speaking rate of a recording they had just heard. [more]

Human evolution (13 Aug) - An examination of tooth shape in the earliest members of the human genus reveals a change in diet to tougher foods - possibly the first anatomical evidence of a shift toward regular meat eating, says University of Arkansas anthropologist Peter Ungar. [more]

Crime (10 Aug) - Programmes aiming to change young offenders and those that support victims need to be re-thought because they are often the same people, according to new research sponsored by the Economic & Social Research Council. This latest in a series of reports tracking 4,300 young people who started secondary school in Edinburgh in August 1998, shows that victimisation and offending are closely linked. [more]

Body image (8 Aug) - While eating disorders among athletes are often seen as a problem mainly for women, some male athletes may also have their own issues regarding body image, new research suggests. But the eating and body image problems for men may be different than they are for women. [more]

Neuroscience - depression (8 Aug) - Blocking the formation of neurons in the hippocampus blocks the behavioral effects of antidepressants in mice, say researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Their finding lends new credence to the proposed role of such neurogenesis in lifting mood. It also helps to explain why antidepressants typically take a few weeks to work, note Rene Hen, Ph.D., Columbia University, and colleagues, who report on their study in the August 8th Science. EurekAlert, Nature Science Update.

Evolution (7 Aug) - Like the snap of a clothespin, the sudden mixing of closely related species may occasionally provide the energy to impel rapid evolutionary change, according to a new report by researchers from Indiana University Bloomington and three other institutions. [more]

Autism (7 Aug) - A new study provides confirmation that some young autistic children can make remarkable progress when they participate in a specially designed intensive behavioral intervention program. [more]

Human evolution (7 Aug) -  Our earliest ancestors probably behaved in a much more “human” way than most scientists have previously thought, according to a recent study that looked at early hominid fossils from Ethiopia. Previously skeptical, an Ohio State University anthropologist now supports the idea that the minimal size differences between male and female pre-hominids suggest that they lived in a more cooperative and less competitive society. [more]


Human evolution - Meredith Small reviews Sex, Time and Power: How Women's Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution by Leonard Shlain. [more] [review]

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Eugenics - history - Roderick T. Long reviews War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America's Campaign to Create a Master Race by Edwin Black. [more] [review]

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Thinking - Ray Rennard reviews The Structure of Thinking: A Process-Oriented Account of Mind by Laura E. Weed. [more] [review]

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Mind - Daniel Callcut reviews Life of the Mind: An Essay on Phenomenological Externalism by Gregory McCulloch. [more] [review]

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Mathematics - Jonathan Heawood reviews The Music of the Primes: Why an unsolved Problem in Mathematics Matters by Marcus du Sautoy. [more] [review]

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Man-Eating Predators - Michiko Kakutani reviews Monster of God: The Man-Eating Predator in the Jungles of History and the Mind by David Quammen. [more] [review]

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Psychiatry - Christian Perring reviews Rethinking the DSM: A Psychological Perspective edited by Larry E. Beutler and Mary L. Malik. [more] [review]

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Mental health - Peter B. Raabe reviews Women's Mental Health: A Comprehensive Textbook edited by Susan G. Kornstein and Anita H. Clayton. [more] [review]

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Human nature - Brian Fagan reviews Quest: The essence of humanity by Charles Pasternak. [more] [review]

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Prehistoric art - Paul Bahn reviews Prehistoric Art: The symbolic journey of humankind by Randall White. [more] [review]

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Genetics - Sheldon Penman reviews The Delphic Boat: What Genomes Tell Us by Antoine Danchin. Translated by Alison Quayle. [more] [review]

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Authentic happiness - Christian Perring reviews Authentic Happiness:  Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment by Martin Seligman.  [more] [review]

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Cyborgs - Neil Levy reviews Natural-Born Cyborgs: Why Minds and Technologies Are Made to Merge by Andy Clark.  [more] [review]

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Consciousness - Prem Dana Takada reviews Neurochemistry of Consciousness:  Neurotransmitters in Mind by E. K. Perry, Heather Ashton, Allan Young. [more] [review]

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Unconscious - Paul A. Wagner reviews Strangers to Ourselves: Discovering the Adaptive Unconscious by Timothy D. Wilson. [more] [review]

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Conscious will - The experience of conscious will is the feeling that we're doing things. This feeling occurs for many things we do, conveying to us again and again the sense that we consciously cause our actions. But the feeling may not be a true reading of what is happening in our minds, brains, and bodies as our actions are produced. The feeling of conscious will can be fooled. [more]

Men - genetics - Richard Pendlebury reviews Adam's Curse: A Story of Sex, Genetics, and the Extinction of Men by Bryan Sykes. [review] [review]

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Depression - Eduardo Keegan reviews Depression Fallout: The Impact on Couples and What You Can Do to Preserve the Bond by Anne Sheffield. [more] [review]

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Philosophy - Jon Turney reviews Myths We Live By by Mary Midgley. [more] [review]

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Memory - emotion - Andrew Motion reviews Memory and Emotion by James L McGaugh. [more] [review]

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Telepsychiatry - Kristina Fiter reviews Telepsychiatry and e-Mental Health edited by Richard Wootton, Peter Yellowlees, and Paul McLaren. [more] [review]

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Disease - philosophy - Devin Henry reviews In the Grip of Disease: Studies in the Greek Imagination by Geoffrey E. R. Lloyd. [more] [first chapter] [review]

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History - politics - Sam Clark reviews The First Darwinian Left: Socialism and Darwinism 1859-1914 by David Stack. [more] [review]

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Language - human evolution  - When did we start talking to each other and how long did it take us to become so good at it? In the absence of palaeo-cassette recorders or a time machine the problem might seem insoluble, but analysis of recent evidence suggests we may have started talking as early as 2.5m years ago. [more] and [more]

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Biography - Roy Herbert reviews Fitzroy by John and Mary Gribbin. [review]

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