News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences
The Weekly Edition of The Human Nature Daily Review
Volume 1: Issue 18 - 16th June, 2001

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Editor's choice Psychiatry - The molecular basis of learning and memory fascinated him so much, Eric Kandel told the standing-room-only audience, because it addresses one of the most remarkable aspects of human behavior, the ability to acquire new ideas and patterns of thought from experience. [more] [contents]

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Political correctness - It has been a source of prudishness over the past two decades, and the butt of innumerable jokes: but why did political correctness arise in the first place? Stephen Morris, an economist at Yale University, thinks he knows the answer. [more]

Editor's choice Primatology - conservation - Though illegal, the trade in bush meat thrives in Congo and is pushing bonobos apes to extinction. [more]

Cognitive psychology - According to research being conducted at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, humans look for information on the Web with the same food-gathering techniques employed by animals. Namely, by following its scent. [more]

Work - Every employer is agreed that people are their greatest asset in the new economy. Yet few of them show any real interest in understanding the most important part of any person - their mind. [more]

Autism - Quick intervention is the key to improving the lives of children with the disorder. [more]

Human genome - Having learned from other countries' setbacks, Estonia is about to become home to the world's largest database of genetic information. [more]

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Domestic violence - Women are more likely than men to perpetrate domestic violence, according to new research on Irish couples who seek marriage counselling. [more]

Neuroscience - More than 5,000 neurologists and neuroscientists are about to descend on London for the World Congress of Neurology at Earls Court. [more]

Editor's choice Human genome - Bill Haseltine is certain we have 100,000 genes rather than 30,000. If he is right, the implications for medical science will be profound, say Victoria Griffith and Clive Cookson. [more]

Genetics - Contrary to accepted dogma, researchers find that mitochondrial genes are under significant selective pressure. They are rapidly co-evolving with nuclear genes. [more]

Amnesia - He can speak French and read Latin. He is probably British. But apart from that, 'Philip Staufen' knows nothing about himself. [more]

Depression - A police officer who sough t help is now battling for her job. [more]

Psychopharmacology - Thousands of people in the UK could be hooked on the anti-depressant drug Seroxat, without knowing it. BBC News Online, The Guardian.

Human genome - The two rival teams that decoded the human genome met on neutral ground last week to exchange notes on the merits of their respective approaches. [more]

Homosexuality - A radical rethink of Church of England teaching on homosexuality that declares it to be "divinely ordered" is revealed this week in a catechism commissioned by the Archbishop of York. [more]

Looting - As the international appetite for Maya culture grows, so has the hunger for illegal artifacts. In fact, researchers are involved in a race against time with increasingly tenacious looters. [more]

Archaeology - John Miller investigates the perils of looking into American prehistory. [more]

Ethics - 'Three-and-a-half billion years later -- one year ago -- scientists announced they had put together a book of life roughly mapping out how God accomplished that miracle,' according to David Briggs. [more]

Eating disorders - Nicci Gerrard tucks into our love-hate relationship with food. [more]

Narrative therapy - "People are built to talk about stories," says Will Haas, a retired professor from the Minnesota School of Professional Psychology who also practiced clinically. "They seem to be that kind of symbolic creature." [more]

Psychology - A new study has found that morning sunshine at the sites of 26 leading stock exchanges around the world - including the New York Stock Exchange - is linked to positive market returns that day. [more]

Editor's choice Genetics - Biologists at the University of California, San Diego have identified genes in the common fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, that appear to be counterparts of genes responsible for more than 700 different genetic diseases in humans. [more]

Psychology - Well-documented gender differences in people's ability to navigate and orient themselves in the real world are vastly exaggerated in computer-simulated virtual environments, according to studies conducted by University of Washington researchers. [more]

Aggression - According to a new study, self-described aggressive drivers have a more pronounced physiological response to certain driving scenarios than their calm-headed peers. [more]

Fatherhood - A published study of hormonal changes in a group of Canadian men becoming fathers for the first time showed a decrease in testosterone and cortisol levels and a higher level of estradiol concentrations, a hormone known to influence maternal behavior. [more] Men may have one more thing to thank their Dads for this Fathers Day: strong, enduring adult relationships. [more]

'Mystery moods' - Have you ever been in a bad mood that you couldn't explain and wondered what put you in a funk? A researcher at Ohio State University found that such negative "mystery moods" can occur when people fail at a goal that they didn't even know they had. [more]

Editor's choice Language acquisition - The results of a study of  that 8-month-old infants support the hypothesis that statistical learning mechanisms generate word-like units with some status relative to the native language. [more - pdf]

Bipolar disorder - Bipolar disorder in children is the focus of several studies presented at an international meeting in Pittsburgh. [more] and [more] BBC News Online.

Editor's choice Memory - 'It's not only people who go to a therapist who might implant a false memory or those who witness an accident and whose memory can be distorted who can have a false memory. Memory is very vulnerable and malleable,' according to Jacquie Pickrell. [more]

Longevity - It is now well known that tall people tend to live longer, but has this always been the case? A study of skeletal remains dating back to the 9th century published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health concludes that short bones have always been a marker of a short life. EurekAlert, BBC News Online, Yahoo.

Neuroscience - We are the prisoners of our brains. We see only what they decide to let us see. Researchers now illustrate this with an illusion in which the brain erases some aspects of the visual field. Nature Science Update, Nature.

Emotion - Human emotion can be a powerful force, fueling everything from improbable sports championships to tragic acts of violence. Now there's evidence showing how powerful human emotional states can be when it comes to determining a person's ability to feel pain. [more]

Neuroscience - Leading neurologists have joined forces to denounce the work of two peers who question the status quo on 3-D methods of cell counting in the brain. "I see this as a major setback," said Mark West, champion of the 3-D cause and leader of the NeuroStereology Laboratory at the University of Aarhus in Denmark, who leads the attack. [more]

Stress - Those students who tended to focus on their emotions and anxiety during the high-stress period were more likely to shorten their sleep, while those who tended to ignore emotions and focus on tasks extended their sleep and shut themselves off from stress. [more]

Sleep - An exhausted nervous system activates specific genes to send distress signals that enforce rest, according to new information from microarray studies. [more]

Editor's choice Consciousness - Somewhere in the brain, Christof Koch believes, there are certain clusters of neurons that will explain why you're you and not someone else. [more]

Hypnosis - Though often denigrated as fakery or wishful thinking, hypnosis has been shown to be a real phenomenon  with a variety of therapeutic uses -- especially in controlling pain. [more]

Neuroscience - Without any other information, we can recognize and sex individuals from how they move their heads and faces. [more]

Child development - An Essex University researcher has found pupils with one younger brother or sister achieve better results than those in bigger or smaller families. Ananova, The Sunday Times.

Schizophrenia - The complex heterogeneity of schizophrenia renders identification of a specific etiology extremely difficult. Nevertheless, there is strong heritability in affected families, and linkage has been demonstrated at several loci. [more]

Anthropology - As part of the continuation of the "Experience Rich Anthropology" (ERA) project a set of lectures on the anthropology of religion have been digitised [more]

What is it to be human? - A debate hosted by the Royal Institution and the Institute of Ideas to mark the publication of the IoI's  first Conversation in Print: What is it to be human? what science can and cannot tell us. [more]

History - Bruce Weber reviews Annie's Box: Charles Darwin, His Daughter and Human Evolution by Randal Keynes. [more]

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Child development - Maria Gieron-Korthals reviews Localization of Brain Lesions and Developmental Functions edited by Daria Riva and Arthur Benton. [more]

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Editor's choice Mental illness - Robert Plomin reviews Brave New Brain: Conquering Mental Illness in the Era of the Genome by Nancy C. Andreasen. [more]

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Depression - One in four American women will experience a major depressive episode. Depression can kill. [more]

Genetics - James Meek reviews The Seven Daughters Of Eve by Bryan Sykes. [more] [excerpt]

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Genetics - Anyone yearning to settle down and live happily ever after should look for a Dyson. New scientific research has revealed that over the past 800 years members of the family have proved the most faithful and fertile partners in Britain. [more] [excerpt]
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History - Gaby Wood reviews Sexual Chemistry: A History of the Contraceptive Pill by Lara V Marks. [more]

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