News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences
The Weekly Edition of The Human Nature Daily Review
Volume 1: Issue 27 - 18th August, 2001

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Psychiatric News - All of the latest news from the American Psychiatric Association. [more]

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Y chromosome - It's the chromosome that has for years been relegated to the sidelines of science. But now this tiny cell particle is providing the answers to some very big cultural questions - and putting a match to political time bombs. Jerome Burne reports. [more]

Grandiloquence - A guide to the favourite words of pretentious modern Britons was published yesterday by a linguistics professor. [more]

Genetics - From the man who gave us the automated DNA sequencer comes a whole new approach to the study of life. [more]

Robotics - John Weng, a robotics expert at Michigan State University, is teaching a robot to learn like a child -- to obey spoken commands, trundle down a hall, find and pick up toys with its mechanical hand. [more]

Racism - Racism has always been both an instrument of discrimination and a tool of exploitation. But it manifests itself as a cultural phenomenon, susceptible to cultural solutions, such as multicultural education and the promotion of ethnic identities. [more]

Science - A leading neuroscientist – Professor of Pharmacology at Oxford University and the first female Director of the Royal Institution – remembers how she first caught the science bug. [more]

Twins - Boy twins are likely to be heavier at birth if the other twin is a girl, researchers have found. [more]

Child development - Children are natural scientists. In fact, says Sanjida O'Connell, it requires scarcely any 'teaching' to put their native curiosity to good educational use. [more]

Editor's choice Happiness - Everyone wants to be happy, right? Wrong, says Ed Diener, a psychologist in the emerging field of "subjective well-being"-- a professor of happiness in all but name--at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. [more]

Self-perception - Some people understand who they are by defining what they are not, US researchers suggest. [more]

Editor's choice Language - Don't underestimate the complexity of language evolution, warned a British computer modeller today. [more]

Archaeology - Georgian archaeologists said on Tuesday they had unearthed a skull dating back 1.7 million years, similar to three discovered last year which may represent the first pre-humans who migrated out of Africa to Europe. [more]

Creationism - They're back. I suppose we should have always known they'd be back. As in those children's games played with tiny hammers, no sooner have you pounded them down in one place that they pop up somewhere else. I am referring, of course, to the anti-evolutionists. [more]

Cannibalism - Cannibalism was widespread among our Stone Age ancestors, who butchered humans like animals and cooked their flesh in ceramic pots, an expert in human evolution says. [more]

Editor's choice Obituary - As the world’s leading researcher into the neural basis of pain, Patrick Wall radically changed the way that we think about the subject. [more] and [more]

Dreaming - When researchers early this year announced they had strong evidence that their laboratory rats dreamed of navigating mazes, it was widely seen as a dramatic confirmation of what many researchers had thought: that dreams aid in memory and learning. [more] and [more]

Artificial intelligence - An audacious quest to teach a computer common sense—one fact at a time by Clive Thompson. [more]

Mass extinctions - Fifty thousand years ago, giant, carnivorous kangaroos bounded across the Australian landscape. Huge saber tooth cats roamed the countryside of North America. In fact, these continents were home to many large exotic animals. Then suddenly, they disappeared. [more]

Neuroscience - The paradigm-shifting conclusion that adult brains can grow new neurons owes a lot to Elizabeth Gould's rats and monkeys. [more]

History - A monument to same-sex couples has been discovered in a college chapel in Cambridge. [more]

Synaesthesia - Tesla, a pioneer in the field of electricity, could discern the flavor of certain sights; looking at small squares of paper in a dish of liquid would fill his mouth with a horrible taste. [more]

Neuroscience - While studying brain images of normal teenagers, neuroscientist Jay Giedd of the National Institute of found that adolescents undergo dramatic changes in the frontal lobe, or prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain critical to judgment, reason, self-control and planning. [more]

Music and the brain - Classical-music lovers are really going to like the results of recent British and Italian studies that offer one explanation for individual preferences for classical versus pop music: The former may require more brainpower. [more]

Obesity - An obesity gene which could pass from father to child has been discovered by scientists in Paris. [more]

Artificial intelligence - Artificial intelligence researchers and computer scientists have been invited to take part in an unusual kind of guessing game. [more]

Music - Music accompanies every human milestone, from baby-naming to marriage to memorials for the dead. It's found among every people on Earth. Is it hardwired into the brain or carried in our genes? [more]

Mirror neurons - Monkeys and other primates, including humans, have specialized brain cells that act like an internal mirror. These cells, aptly dubbed "mirror neurons," are active when a monkey does something such as grasp a block and also when the monkey sees someone else grasp a block. [more]

Ethics - A few months back, a posh school in New York decided to ban Mother's Day. The decision was taken in response to a protest from a homosexual couple who have a child there. [more]

Evolution - With some people still upset over Darwin's theory, which suggests that apes are our grandparents, along comes an even more unsettling view: we are just another breed of ape. [more]

Primatology - Could apes ever rule over man? Frans de Waal, a leading primatologist, argues that Planet of the Apes is not just science fiction - we are more like our hairy cousins than we dare admit. [more]

Philosophy - Philosophy is a set of pursuits which, in various ways and across a range of endeavours, investigates truth, meaning, knowledge, reason, existence and value. These at first seem heady matters, but almost everyone at some time ponders them, so they are, in fact, familiar to us all. [more]

Aging - Older adults actually use different regions of the brain than younger adults to perform the same memory and information processing tasks, according to University of Michigan research to be presented Aug. 24 at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association in San Francisco. [more]

Inattentional blindness - Arien Mack replies to commentaries on A. Mack and I. Rock. (1998) Inattentional Blindness. [more]

Archaeology - Using innovative mapping techniques, University of Arkansas researchers have developed a predictive model that enables archeologists to more accurately surmise where long-buried sites are located on a given landscape. [more]

Schizophrenia - Anticipating incoming events: an impaired cognitive process in schizophrenia? [more] [full text]

Editor's choice Evolution - Scientists from Imperial College, London, have found an important evolutionary link between the two powerhouse protein complexes that drive photosynthesis. This shared evolutionary adaptation may have been crucial for the establishment of environmental conditions required for the emergence of humankind. [more]

Aging - Wisdom and aging: irrational preferences in college students but not older adults. [more] [full text]

Sexual aggression - Nearly one in ten girls and one in twenty boys report experiencing violence and/or being raped on a date, according to a survey of 81, 247 ninth and twelfth grade boys and girls in Minnesota public schools. [more]

Genomics - US computer scientists may have a less error-prone way to piece together the many short DNA sequences that make up a genome. [more]

Violence - college students, primed for rejection, showed a greater range of antisocial behaviors, such as increased aggression against someone who insulted them, less attempts to meet new people, less willingness to cooperate with the group or help others, or against someone they do not know. [more]

Neuropsychology - A new study by Carnegie Mellon University scientists shows that because of the way the brain works, we understand spoken and written language differently, something that has potential implications in the workplace and in education, among many other areas. [more]

Editor's choice Anthropology - The first entrants to the Western Hemisphere of maybe 15,000 years ago gave rise to the continuing native inhabitants south of the U.S.-Canadian border. These show no close association with any known mainland Asian population. Instead they show ties to the Ainu of Hokkaido and their Jomon predecessors in prehistoric Japan and to the Polynesians of remote Oceania. [more] and [more]

Neuropsychology - The amygdala is important for emotional crossmodal sensory convergence with the associated perceptual bias during fear processing, being mediated by task-related modulation of face-processing regions of fusiform cortex. [more]

Editor's choice Psychopathy - Psychopaths are characterized by a pronounced lack of fear in response to aversive events. Furthermore, new results suggest a general deficit in processing affective information, regardless of whether stimuli are negative or positive. [more]

Editor's choice Anthropology - A new species ancestral to later European and African hominines should be named to accommodate such a unique fossil specimen. [more]

Economics - A new model of economic fluctuations suggests that a global recession is indeed imminent - probably worse than that of 1990-91 - and that forecasters should have spotted it a year ago. [more]

Editor's choice Cloning - Humans could be technically easier to clone than sheep, cows, pigs and mice because humans possess a genetic benefit that prevents fetal overgrowth, a major obstacle encountered in cloning animals, according to new research by Duke University Medical Center scientists. [more]

Memory - People in their 20s don't usually complain about forgetting names or phone numbers, or having trouble learning something new. But that's when memory and mental energy first start to decline, according to psychologist Denise Park. [more]

Sexual behaviour - Nearly one in three young men who have sex with men had had unprotected anal sex with a man in the past 3 months, and nearly one in five had also had sex with a woman, according to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta. [more]

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Sociology - A widespread belief among the American public is that schools no longer "teach values" -- or that they only teach values concerned with contemporary interests in cultural diversity. [more]

Editor's choice Neuroscience - Professional musicians use their left brain more than other people when listening to music, a magnetic-resonance study suggests. Musicians, unlike others, may process music much as a language, the result hints. [more]

Genetics - The centromeres of chromosomes -- considered by some to be the genomic equivalent of black holes -- may hold the answers to many scientific questions, according Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator Steven Henikoff. [more]

Aging - John McCrone reviews Aging With Grace: The Nun Study and the Science of Old Age by David Snowdon. [more]
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Editor's choice Neuropharmacology - Elsevier Science is pleased to announce the launch of Neuropharmacology interactive, the new website for the journal Neuropharmacology.

Health - Donald Campbell reviews Human Frontiers, Environments and Disease: Past Patterns, Uncertain Futures by Tony McMichael. [more]
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'Wartime neuroses' - Mary Hager reviews A War of Nerves: Soldiers and Psychiatrists in the Twentieth Century. [more]

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Science - Jonathan Beard reviews Borderlands of Science: Where sense meets nonsense by Michael Shermer. [more]
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Self-help genetics - Ruth Chadwick reviews Your Genetic Destiny: Know Your Genes, Secure Your Health, Save Your Life by Aubrey Milunsky. [more]

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Cannibalism - David F. Salisbury reviews Consuming Grief: Compassionate Cannibalism in an Amazonian Society by Beth A. Conklin. [more]
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Genetics - Brian Charlesworth reviews The Misunderstood Gene by Michel Morange. [more]
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Sexual behaviour - Virginia A. Sadock reviews Sex, Love, and Health in America: Private Choices and Public Policies edited by Edward O. Laumann and Robert T. Michael. [more]
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Humour - American jokes reflect a pompous and boastful sensibility, the British and French prefer self-mockery and Canadian humour is a Yankee-Brit cross, a book about humour says. [more]
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Primatology - Stephen Mihm reviews Beauty and the Beasts: Woman, Ape and Evolution by Carol Jahme and Beyond Innocence: An Autobiography in Letters - The Later Years by Jane Goodall edited by Dale Peterson. [more]

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Science - Keay Davidson reviews Science, Money, and Politics: Political Triumph and Ethical Erosion by Daniel S. Greenberg. [more]
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Genetics - Danny Yee reviews It Ain't Necessarily So: The Dream of the Human Genome and Other Illusions by Richard Lewontin. [more]

Mental illness - John Cornwell reviews Brave New Brain: Conquering Mental Illness in the Era of the Genome by Nancy C Andreasen. [more]

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Human nature - Bobbi S. Low reviews Human Natures: Genes, Cultures, and the Human Prospect by Paul R. Ehrlich. [more]
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Robotics - David B. Fogel reviews Evolutionary Robotics: The Biology, Intelligence, and Technology of Self-Organizing Machine by Stefano Nolfi and Dario Floreano. [more]
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Origin of life - Gene D. McDonald reviews The Spark of Life: Darwin and the Primeval Soup by Christopher Wills and Jeffrey Bada. [more]
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Primatology - William C. McGrew reviews The Ape and the Sushi Master: Cultural Reflections of a Primatologist by Frans de Waal. [more]
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Neuroscience - Brian Hayes reviews I of the Vortex: From Neurons to Self by  Rodolfo Llinás. [more]

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Probability - Mark R. Patterson reviews Chance in Biology: Using Probability to Explore Nature by Mark W. Denny and Steven Gaines. [more]
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War - Geoffrey Parker reviews Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise of Western Power by Victor Davis Hanson. [more]
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History - Robert J. Richards reviews Victorian Sensation: The Extraordinary Publication, Reception, and Secret Authorship of Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation by James A. Secord. [more]
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Ethnic conflict - Herbert Gintis reviews Ethnic Conflict and Indoctrination by Irenaus Eibl Eibesfeldt (Editor), Frank K. Salter (Editor). [more]
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Language - Gary F. Marcus reviews Pathways to Language: From Fetus to Adolescent by Kyra Karmiloff and Annette Karmiloff-Smith. [more]

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Sociobiology - Herbert Gintis reviews The Triumph of Sociobiology by John Alcock. [more]
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