News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences
The Weekly Edition of The Human Nature Daily Review
Volume 1: Issue 16 - 2nd June, 2001

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Schizophrenia - Danish scientists want to produce schizophrenic pigs so they can research how the illness affects humans. [more]

Anthropology - Anthropologists usually don't find the skeletons of long-dead toddlers when digging into ancient ground. But at Syria's Dederiyah Cave, they did just that in 1993 and again in 1997. [more]

Human Genome Project - It's full of human intrigue. In short, it's just like most science, only more so. [more]

Autism - More than half a million people in the United States have been diagnosed with autism or some other form of pervasive developmental disorder, an umbrella term encompassing a range of disabilities. They are also called autism spectrum disorders. [more]

Closer to Truth - Will the Internet change humanity? Why do we make music and art? Does sex have a future? What will tomorrow really be like? Questions such as these lack simple answers, but open discussion of them is vital to understanding the nature of human existence. [more]

Violence - Fifty years ago in America, there were children, there were schools and there were guns. But there were no "school shootings." Now there are. An opinion from Thomas Szasz. [more]

Abiogenesis - Chemists studying the rise of life on earth have penetrated a little deeper into its mystery. Research reported earlier this month shows how a common mineral could have sorted some of life's precursor chemicals into biologically significant groups. [more]

Clinical neuropsychology - The brain contains infinite space. This is my area of expertise, yet I feel the awe of ignorance, says Paul Broks. [more]

Cytoplasmic transfer - Ooplasmic transplantation - A treatment for infertility which combines the DNA of a donor and both parents is raising medical and ethical fears, reports Roger Highfield. [more]

American Psychological Association - Ed Diener comments on the controversy surrounding the editorial policy of American Psychologist. [more] Richard McCarty responds to the controversy. [more]

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Racism - The Louisiana Senate put a rest to Charles Darwin Tuesday, giving final legislative passage to a resolution that now only says the state abhors racism and Hitler. [more]

Darwin - The centrepiece of an exhibition at Down House near Bromley, Kent, is a newly discovered writing box containing keepsakes of Annie's life collected by Darwin and his wife Emma. [more] and [more] [first chapter]
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Human genetics - We are an orphan species seeking the mother and father we never knew. To discover our evolutionary parentage, researchers are sifting the genes all people share for telltale variations that show how modern humans first came into the world. [more] We are all descended from the 33 daughters of Eve. Just take a swab from your cheek and you can find which one is your original ancestor. [more]

Proteomics - Divining the details of protein creation on the molecular level will be the key to developing potentially lifesaving treatments for diseases including cancer. [more]

Alcoholism - A spate of studies over the past decade from respected researchers has reinforced the belief that teen drinking damages the brain, compromising its function by as much as 10 percent during youth and throughout adulthood. [more]

Biology - A profile of Jill Bargonetti. [more]

Homosexuality - 'Homosexual attraction, like many other strong attractions, includes both biological and environmental influences. Scientific attempts to demonstrate that homosexual attraction is biologically determined have failed.' [more]

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Consilience - Paul Gross argues that 'Wilson has politics like the rest of us, but certainly compared with most writers on human-social behavior, his arguments are uniquely fair-minded and none partisan (which hasn't stopped his accusers nor is it likely to).' [more] Paul Gross comments.

Male biological clock - It was not hard to detect some gloating in the coverage of a recent study showing that older fathers are more likely to have children with schizophrenia. [more]

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder - Ritalin improves daily academic performance and behavior of teenagers. [more] Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology.

Neuroscience - A mutant zebrafish swims towards danger, rather than away from it. Misplaced connections in its brain reveal that a single type of cell controls the urge to get away. [more] Development.

Child psychology - Preschoolers have difficulty distinguishing imagination from reality, particularly if asked about events some time after they occurred, which could have implications for eyewitness testimony. [more]

Editor's choice Neuroscience - Mark A. Mintun and colleagues have discovered that, unlike many other animals, humans have a reserve of oxygen in the brain. This buffer allows the brain to adapt to arduous situations without demanding a sharp increase in blood flow. This finding challenges the previously accepted idea that blood flow increases occur during tasks such as reading to raise oxygen levels in the brain. [more] Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Evolutionary psychology - humans in all cultures engage in a broad variety of aesthetically oriented activities that appear to have no obvious evolutionary utility, including immersion in those falsehoods called fiction. [more]

Hypertension - Women who were depressed and felt socially alienated and men who felt inadequate in their jobs were more likely than their peers to develop high blood pressure decades later, according to a new study. [more]

Motor control - Research into finger-tapping has shown that an internal mechanism guides motor actions, helping us to respond to subliminal changes in stimuli. [more] Journal of Experimental Psychology (after June 13)

Birth order - A child's place in the family birth order may play a role in the type of occupations that will interest him or her as an adult, new research suggests. [more] Journal of Career Assessment.

Editor's choice Language acquisition - A series of eight experiments with infants has provided evidence that even at eight-and-a-half months, they seem sensitive to word boundaries. [more] Journal of Experimental Psychology (after June 13).

Moral emotions - Jonathan Haidt receives psychology's largest monetary prize for research on how people are motivated to do pro-social deeds by witnessing "saintly" behavior in others. [more]

Cognitive science - Four dozen of the world's leading cognitive neuroscientists met  at the Collège de France from 3 to 5 May to share their latest data on topics as diverse as amusia--an inability to perceive music--and number sense in infants. [more]

Longevity - Living to a happy ripe old age may be a matter of personal choice, say Harvard researchers in the June 2001 American Journal of Psychiatry. [more]

AIDS - The epidemic in Africa provides a rare example of how epidemic infectious diseases can exert selective pressure on the human genome. [more]

Editor's choice Sexual dimorphism - Significant sex by age interactions have been observed for cerebral gray and white matter volumes and corpus callosal areas. [more] Sexual dimorphisms of adult brain volumes were more evident in the cortex, with women having larger volumes, relative to cerebrum size, particularly in frontal and medial paralimbic cortices. [more]

Sexual behaviour - Pregnancy prevention programs that include talking to teens about their sexual behavior and instructing them on contraception use do not increase sexual activity among young people. [more]

Addiction - A single exposure to cocaine triggers a week-long surge of activity in a brain region central to the development of addiction, according to new research on mice published this week in Nature. EurekAlert, Nature Feature of the Week.

Aggression - A 20-year study of almost 4000 children, issued yesterday by the Australian Institute of Criminology, found that 31 per cent of those classified as aggressive at age five remained in the aggressive group at age 14. [more]

Tool use - Monkeys will happily transport nuts to a cache of rocks for processing, but will almost never search for a rock and transport it to a previously noted pile of nuts. Nature Science Update, Journal of Human Evolution.

Editor's choice Child development - Babies have a different way of hearing the world by listening to all frequencies simultaneously. [more]

Sexual harassment - Women like to believe they would report or confront someone who was sexually harassing them, but when faced with an actual situation, out of fear they rarely voice objections, according to a study by a Yale University researcher. [more]

  Editor's choice Schizophrenia - National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) scientists have linked a gene variant that reduces dopamine activity in the prefrontal cortex to poorer performance and inefficient functioning of that brain region during working memory tasks, and to slightly increased risk for schizophrenia. [more] and [more] BBC News Online. A summary of advances in schizophrenia research. [more]

Traumatic stress - Barry Krakowhas focused his research on techniques to help crime victims recover from nightmares and difficulties in getting a good night's sleep. [more]

Obesity - While studies have linked obesity to serious cardiovascular diseases including strokes and heart attacks, University of Toronto researchers have found that overeating can damage overall health - from slower thinking to experiencing more pain. [more], [more] and [more]

Sociology - Robert Hanke argues that TV culture is a site of struggle over the meanings of historical experiences in the shape of popular memory. Social histories of race relations, Vietnam and the women's movement activate the plot-lines in some episodes, while others recycle TV's own past conventions. [more]

Evolutionary psychology - Marital status as a candidate moderator variable of male-female differences in sexual jealousy: The need for representative population samples. [more]

Sexual dysfunction - Women may be able to benefit from the anti-impotence drug Viagra, Italian researchers suggest. [more] and [audio], Ananova, Sky News, New Scientist, Reuters.

Botany - Burkhard Bilger reviews The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World. [more] [first chapter]

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Fear - Harriet Stewart reviews Phobias: Fighting the Fear by Helen Saul [Amazon UK] and Buried Alive: The Terrifying History of Our Most Primal Fear by Jan Bondeson. [more]

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Psychoanalysis - Mark Edmundson reviews Heinz Kohut: The Making of a Psychoanalyst by Charles B. Strozier. [more] [first chapter]

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Language - The fourth international conference on the evolution of language will take place at Harvard University Wednesday March 27th - Saturday March 30th, 2002. [more]

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Aggression - We wish to inform you that the 16th CICA (International Colloquium on the Brain and Aggression) will meet in Colombo from Sunday 18th to Tuesday 20th November 2001, organized by the Sri Lanka Pugwash Group. [more]

Nutrition - To what kind of food are we genetically adapted? Isn't that the major question when it comes to making decisions about what kind of food to choose for your body? Instinctive Living, Allan Kugel, Roman Deambrun, Warren Sarle.

Editor's choice Parenting - The first issue of Marc Bornstein's new journal, Parenting: Science and Practice is now out. The journal should prove to be of interest to a wide range of researchers and those more interested in applied issues related to parenting. [more]

Primatology - Christophe Boesch reviews The Ape and the Sushi Master: Cultural Reflections by a Primatologist by Frans de Waal. [more] [Read the first chapter]
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Science - Walter Gratzer reviews Rivals: Conflict as the Fuel of Science by Michael White. [more]

Primatology - M. Lynn Byrd reviews Primate Visions:  Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science by Donna J. Haraway. [more] A recommendation from Paul Gross [more] An analysis by Robert M. Young. [more]

Statistics - David Colquhoun reviews The Lady Tasting Tea: How Statistics Revolutionized Science in the Twentieth Century by David Salsburg. [more]

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Sexuality - Did Starsky have a thing for Hutch? Was Kirk in love with Spock? What if Bodie got it on with Doyle? These unlikely plots are standard in a cult literary phenomenon known as 'slash literature': a genre of romance fiction that pairs heterosexual characters from television and film in fantasy romantic relationships. In Warrior Lovers, Catherine Salmon, an evolutionary psychologist and slash author, and Donald Symons, a world expert on the evolution of sexuality, place 'slash' in the context of our evolved sexual psychology. [more]
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Evolution - James F. Crow reviews Mendel's Demon: Gene Justice and the Complexity of Life by Mark Ridley. [more]

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History - Rachel Cooke reviews Sexual Chemistry: A History of the Contraceptive Pill by Lara V. Marks. [more]
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Archaeology - Barry Cunliffe disputes what he calls the "established pseudo-history" that the Celts swept westwards through Europe until they reached the Atlantic seaboards of Spain, France, Britain and Ireland. "There is simply no evidence for this," he said. [more] Larry Trask comments.
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Medicine - Do you want to devise a new form of alternative medicine? No problem. Here's the recipe. [more]

Genetics - Robin McKie reviews The Seven Daughters of Eve by Bryan Sykes. [more]

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