News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences
The Weekly Edition of The Human Nature Daily Review
Volume 1: Issue 17 - 9th June, 2001

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Economic Darwinism - John Klima's ecosystem2000 uses animated birds and trees on a giant screen to represent the turbulence of global markets. [more]

Editor's choice Schizophrenia - The remarkable journey of the boy genius who sank into paranoid schizophrenia for 30 years and then emerged to win the Nobel Prize for work completed before his breakdown is the subject of "A Beautiful Mind," a film being directed by Ron Howard. [more]

Anthropology - African medicine men are taking European scientists to court to stop them "stealing" their traditional cures. [more]

Psychopharmacology - The family of a man who killed his wife, daughter and baby granddaughter before committing suicide has been awarded $6.4m (£4.2m) by a jury which ruled that the antidepressant Paxil - the British-owned version of Prozac - was to blame. [more]

'Designer babies' - Doctors in Chicago have announced the birth of the first baby who, as an embryo before being implanted in the womb, underwent genetic testing to screen for cancer that ran in the family. [more]

Work - Compared to their peers thirty years ago, America's 80 million white-collar employees are working longer hours, for the same pay and fewer benefits, at jobs that are markedly less secure, and for corporations that regard firing whole ranks of employees as a way to post paper gains and so win Wall Street's favor. [more]

Polygamy - Tom Green is a polygamist—one of thousands of so-called Mormon fundamentalists who insist on living in accordance with the church's original practice. And that is what led to his recent conviction on four counts of bigamy, which could send him to prison for 25 years. [more]

Child development - Kids need the playground just as much as the classroom. Having fun builds bigger, better brains, says Bryant Furlow. [more]

Deception - We can tell you if you're guilty or innocent. You can't fool the lie detector that knows what you are thinking. John McCrone investigates. [more]

Editor's choice 'Swarm intelligence' - Vince Darley and David Gregg scheduled software "ants" to lay pheromone trails (just like real ants) and find the best locations for and movements between the storage tanks, mixers and packing lines in a large Unilever factory. [more]

Publishing - Entrants for this year's Aventis Prize, the world's most important science book award, have departed from the usual formula, says Robert Matthews. [more]

Evolution - But the advent of genetic engineering has prompted scientists to analyze further the links between the genetic structure of life forms and the environments in which they live. [more]

Editor's choice Psychiatric News - An overview of the latest news from the American Psychiatric Association. [more]

Child abuse - About 30% of mothers who abuse their children suffer from depression, showed a survey by a child welfare group in Tokyo released Tuesday. [more]

Sexual behaviour - Cuddles, affection and hugs are more important than sex, say many women in long term relationships. A survey suggests the "Sex and the City" image of promiscuous women jumping from bed to bed does not reflect real life, with the average woman having eight partners before settling down at the age of 27. [more]

Editor's choice Human evolution - Scientists based in Britain and Denmark have questioned claims made in January that DNA extracted from a 60,000 year old Australian fossil challenge the "Out of Africa" theory. In a letter published in the journal Science on June 1st, they argue that the DNA may be contaminated, and even if it is not, it does not fall outside the range of modern human DNA variation. [more]

Statistics - Not only are figures being molded more and more to promote causes, the research itself can be manipulated. [more]

Creationism - If Michael Crichton were going to write a novel about the science-creationism battle, this is where he'd set it: right here in Lawrence, on the hilltop campus of the University of Kansas, during a conference. [more]

Publishing - The Sciences, the small but influential magazine published by the New York Academy of Science, has ceased publication. [more]

Darwinian medicine - Despite the knowledge that childhood fever is a natural body defense and not a disease, many parents continue to have a ''fever phobia'' that leads to overtreatment and misconceptions, according to a study published yesterday. [more]

Eugenics - Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder came out strongly Thursday in favor of certain kinds of genetic research, stoking an ethical discussion in a nation darkened by the legacy of Nazi scientific experiments. [more]

Kennewick Man - The discovery of the remains of a 9,000-year-old man on the Columbia River has set off a conflict over race, history and identity that isn't just about the American past, but about the future as well. [more]

Proteomics - The human genome has not yet provided any fundamental new insights. And, unlike penicillin, the genome has not yet saved a single life. [more]

Rape - Contentious theorizing that offers human rape a Darwinian cloak of scientific respectability by suggesting it has evolved naturally as an adaptive strategy for survival has resurfaced with the claim that cultural diffidence is inhibiting reasoned discussion of a legitimate hypothesis. [more]

Genetics - Heated international debate over agricultural biotechnology and news that genes alone cannot be entirely responsible for life's diversity have prompted a re-evaluation of the links between the genetic structure of life-forms and the environments in which they live. [more] and [more]

Evolution - Mating across species boundaries sounds downright unnatural.   Such peculiar pairings often don't produce any offspring at all, or they give rise to sterile progeny, such as mules. But   for some birds, mating with another species may produce distinct evolutionary payoffs. [more]

Editor's choice Archaeology - A rich treasure trove of rock engravings in the remote East Pilbara has been dated as the oldest rock art in Australia -- more than 26,000 years old -- and may be the world's largest surviving concentration of Ice Age art. [more]

Education - History and science are taking on personal meaning for some Boston schoolchildren. Working with a molecular biologist, they have harvested samples of their DNA and are waiting to learn whether genetic tests can establish ties to ancestral kin in Africa. [more]

American Psychological Association - A statement on the recent controversy surrounding editorial policy from Norine Johnson, Ph.D., President APA and Phil Zimbardo, Ph.D., President-Elect, APA. [more]

Editor's choice Primatology - Once an Eden for primates, Cambodia along with neighboring Vietnam and Laos, are being rapidly emptied of primates by meat poachers, traditional medicine merchants and villagers encroaching on their ranges. [more]

Hormones and behaviour - A woman's hormones help determine whether her daughter prefers Scalextric sets or Barbie dolls, scientists have discovered. Pregnant women with higher than average levels of the male hormone testosterone in their blood have a greater chance of giving birth to a tomboy. Ananova, The Times.

Feminism - The mother of all feminist myths on campuses today is that one in four female students has been the victim of rape or attempted rape. So states the conservative Independent Women's Forum in a recent advertisement in student newspapers across the country. [more]

Bipolar disorder - Lithium helped Fiona Campbell cope with her childhood traumas, but she says, the drug brings its own problems. [more]

Depression - This week, I've come across at least three references in the news to increased levels of depression and anxiety in young adults. To wit: It is being reported the level of depression and other psychiatric disorders has risen in every group of 18- to 24-year-old Americans -- one generation to the next -- since the Second World War. [more], [more] and [more]

Creationism - Michael Shermer reports on a debate with Duane Gish. [more], [more] and [more]

Evolutionary psychology - Steven Rose constructs his own version of evolutionary psychology. [more]

Psychiatry - Stemming from evolutionary man and his simple, primitive act of help in exchange for help and Darwinian theory, Paul Genova, M.D., discusses the role reciprocal altruism plays in the "helping profession" of psychiatry. [more] Psychiatric Times.

Parenthood - Children used to be a necessity: they continued the line, followed in the family firm, were the guardians of our values, looked after us in old age. But those reasons are all redundant. Since the advent of birth control, children have been a choice - and one we are more and more unlikely to take up. What's going on? [more]

Neuroscience - Jay Giedd was studying the brains of healthy teenagers when he noticed something odd: The brains appeared to change in unexpected ways as the youths matured through adolescence. [more]

Longevity - A happy marriage and a good education point the way to living to a ripe old age, according to a Harvard Medical School study. [more]

Posttraumatic stress disorder - PTSD is becoming a society wide phenomenon in Israel, according to Israeli psychiatrists this week. People have PTSD not only in war-torn areas, they warn, but increasingly after chronic, graphic exposure to violence and devastating disasters through the media--such as the collapse of a Jerusalem wedding-hall building that buried 21 people alive last month. [more - free registration required]

Human genome - The Human Genome Project's discovery that the human body runs on an instruction manual of a mere 35,000 or so genes--compared to the worm's 19,000, the fruit fly's 13,000, and the tiny mustard relative Arabidopsis thaliana's 25,000--placed humanity on an even playing field with these other, supposedly simpler, organisms. [more]

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'Mind and body' - For years, mind-body research has been conducted at the perimeters of the scientific mainstream, but that marginalization appears to have ended, as the National Institutes of Health funnels money and personnel into interdisciplinary investigations of the relationship between mental states and physical health. [more]

Editor's choice Personality - Differences between people in many attitudes are also partly attributable to genetic factors. These include attitudes as diverse as whether one likes roller coaster rides to controversial social issues such as attitudes toward abortion and the death penalty for murder. [more]

Emotion - Human emotions have deep evolutionary roots, a fact that may explain their complexity and provide tools for clinical practice. [more]

Palaeontology - When paleontologists unearth a dinosaur's bones, they can pick up extra tips if they expand the scope of their analysis. While bones and other fossilized body parts may indicate the animal's size and shape, different types of fossil can reveal an animal's interactions with its environment. [more]

Sexual behaviour - The vast majority of young women who participated in a study report that they have sex because they ``like'' or ''love'' the person they choose to have sex with. About one-third said the main reason that they had sex was that they ``liked having sex.'' [more]

Sperm competition - Tricking male sand martins into mating with a dead bird - glued to a branch and not always female - has revealed an aspect of sperm competition hitherto impossible to explore accurately. [more]

Evolution -  Intriguing hints from cell and molecular biologists suggest that organisms can speed their own evolution but evolutionary biologists are not yet convinced. [more]

Editor's choice Mass extinction - "All Australian land mammals, reptiles and birds weighing more than 100 kilograms perished in the late Quaternary," Richard G Roberts of the University of Melbourne and his colleagues write in the journal Science. But why? BBC News Online, EurekAlert, Science, Science, New York Times, Yahoo, Yahoo, MSNBC, Dallas Morning News.

Sex chromosomes - Men and women with sex chromosome abnormalities (SCA) are able to complete high school, hold full-time jobs, marry and have children, according to a new report. [more]

Editor's choice Sexual selection - Differential male mating success (or, more generally, higher variance in male than in female fitness), can drastically reduce mutational load in sexual populations. [more] The fitness of sexual females is higher than asexuals because there is no difference in the fecundity of sexual females and asexuals of the same genotype, but the equilibrium frequency of deleterious mutations is lower in sexual populations. [more]

Eating Disorders - In a double-blind placebo-controlled crossover trial, 12 individuals with bulimia nervosa were given either placebo or 18 g of inositol daily. The results suggested that inositol produced significant improvements in the condition. [more] International Journal of Eating Disorders.

Speciation - Research has provided insight into the genetic basis of sexual isolation that contributes to speciation -  one of the unsolved questions in evolutionary biology. [more]

Editor's choice Archaeology - Technology for making body ornaments such as beads and pendants emerged simultaneously in Europe, Asia and Africa more than 40,000 years ago—perhaps as a new form of communication among the expanding populations in these regions. Scientific American, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Schizophrenia - These data suggest that the COMT Val allele, because it increases prefrontal dopamine catabolism, impairs prefrontal cognition and physiology, and by this mechanism slightly increases risk for schizophrenia. [more]

Memory - New results show that the advantage to the food-storing species associated with an enlarged hippocampus is one of memory persistence. [more]

Biometrika - The journal Biometrika celebrates its first 100 years. [more]

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder - A new study into treatment methods research takes a multi-site approach to gathering data, and the results will be widely applicable to the general population. [more]

Anorexia - A new study into anorexia has found people with this condition often form secretive "cults" with other anorexics in order to feel as if they are part of a group. [more]

Neuroscience - Scientists have come up with proof that too much thinking can be exhausting. The impact of straining the grey matter is likely to be more pronounced in older people. BBC News Online, Ananova.

Editor's choice Development - Researchers have discovered that a protein that escorts copper through cells is essential for the proper formation of organs and tissues. Mice lacking this protein are at high risk for birth defects or infant death. BBC News Online, EurekAlert, EurekAlert, BioMedNet, Scientific American, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Aggression - A University of Pennsylvania professor is teaching troubled boys to control their aggression through basketball, martial arts and cultural pride. [more]

Sociology - In money-making organizations, respectful disagreement among colleagues – not close friendships – is the ideal, according to a new study by Brown sociologist Brooke Harrington. [more]

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder - A new 12-hour formulation of the most commonly prescribed drug for ADHD, has proved to be as effective as the standard three-times-a-day dosing regimen, a clinical trial conducted by University at Buffalo researchers has shown. [more]

Editor's choice Neuroscience - Christopher A. Walsh ponders the future of neuroscience in the post-genome era. [more]

Memory - A recent report by Cipolotti et al. demonstrates that the hippocampus and perhaps the parahippocampal area are essential for retrieval of remote episodic memory and important for remote semantic memory. [more]

Editor's choice Computational genetics - Computers are now so central to genetics - and most other branches of biology - that computational expertise is an essential part of any research programme. [more]

Language acquisition - Normal children learn tens of thousands of words, and do so quickly and efficiently, often in highly impoverished environments. In How children learn the meanings of words, Paul Bloom argues that word learning is the product of certain cognitive and linguistic abilities that include the ability to acquire concepts, an appreciation of syntactic cues to meaning, and a rich understanding of the mental states of other people. [more]

Editor's choice Learning - Statistical regularities of the environment are important for learning, memory, intelligence, inductive inference, and in fact for any area of cognitive science where an information-processing brain promotes survival by exploiting them. [more]

Robotics - How should biological behaviour be modelled? A relatively new approach is to investigate problems in neuroethology by building physical robot models of biological sensorimotor systems. [more]

Female aggression - Females' tendency to place a high value on protecting their own life enhanced their reproductive success in the environment of evolutionary adaptation because infant survival depended more upon maternal (rather than paternal) care and defence. [more]

Editor's choice Animal cognition - There have been suggestions of gene-culture coevolution in cetaceans, and culture may be implicated in some unusual behavioural and life-history traits of the whales and dolphins. We hope to stimulate both discussion and research on culture in these animals. [more]

Editor's choice Learning by imitation - To explain social learning without invoking the cognitively complex concept of imitation, many learning mechanisms have been proposed. Borrowing an idea used routinely in cognitive psychology, we argue that most of these alternatives can be subsumed under a single process, priming. [more]

Substance abuse - A special issue of the American Psychological Association's Monitor on Psychology. [more]

Editor's choice Drug prices - Drug pricing has been an important political issue, off and on, ever since the Kefauver hearings in the late 1950s, and it now reappears in a strange disguise. After several failed efforts at passing "reasonable pricing" legislative amendments, Congress now will be asked to consider targeting--guess what?--not the drug companies, but U.S. research universities. [more]

Disease - cognitive science - Julia Lowe reviews How Scientists Explain Disease by Paul Thagard. [more]

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History - Jean Strouse reviews The Metaphysical Club by Louis Menand. [more] [first chapter]

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History - Janet Maslin reviews The Metaphysical Club by Louis Menand [more]
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Anthropology - Dan Sperber applies the epidemiological approach to culture to the old controversy concerning the relation of the mother's brother and sister's son in patrilineal societies. [more]

Human sociality - A new title: The Evolution of Human Sociality by Stephen K. Sanderson. [more]
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Rape - The 'History of rape' bibliography contains literature about the history of rape, sexual child abuse and sexual violence in general. Articles, books and other tools are listed dealing exclusively or in parts with the topic. Print and electronic resources are considered. Where possible, links are provided to sources that are available online, for example, electronic abstracts or full-texts of print articles. [more]

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History - A new title: Charles Darwin's Beagle Diary by Charles Darwin, R. D. Keynes. [more]
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Editor's choice Online psychological research - The American Psychological Society (APS) provides a site, maintained by John Krantz, Ph.D., with links to current online research projects related to psychology.  Those of you conducting research online might consider having your study linked to this site. [more]

Bioethics - Terri Peterson reviews Bioethics in America: Origins and Cultural Politics by M. L. Tina Stevens. [more]

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Fear - William A. Sodeman reviews Buried Alive: The Terrifying History of Our Most Primal Fear by Jan Bondeson. [more]

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History - Hannah Atkins reviews Alfred Russel Wallace: A life by Peter Raby. [more]

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Nature vs. nurture - After extensive research, William Dickens and James Flynn have found a way to resolve the nature versus nurture debate (21 April, p 44). Where have they been? [more]

Evolution - Richard Harrison reviews Frogs, Flies & Dandelions: The Making of Species by Menno Schilthuizen. [more]

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

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Fiction - Michiko Kakutani reviews Thinks... by David Lodge. [more]

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GM food - 'If the nineteen recent books and fifteen-pound stack of articles that confront me as I write are any measure, then nothing is more productive of food for thought than thoughts about the production of food', says Richard Lewontin. [more]

Darwinism - Robert William Goodrich reviews Socialist Darwinism: Evolution in German Socialist Thought from Marx to Bernstein by Richard Weikart. [more]
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VISIT OUR WEB SITES: Human Nature, Online Dictionary of Mental Health, Darwin and Darwinism, The Human Nature Daily Review, Against All Reason 

Feminism - Is an international women's history project seeking to uncover the realities of female lives, and of peoples free, conquered, enslaved, decimated and resurgent. We want to know... How have women been written out of history? [more]

Depression - David Gates reviews The Noonday Demon by Andrew Solomon. [more]

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