News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences
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Volume 1: Issue 29 - 13th October, 2001
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Mental illness - Combining medication with behavior modification therapy may not be the best way to help a patient overcome a psychological disorder. [more]


Education - The growing influence of the internet on education could damage children's ability to learn, a leading psychologist warned last night. [more]


Editor's choice Conflict - Is western culture better than any other? Umberto Eco argues that what is important is not superiority but pluralism and toleration. [more]


Economics - Any number of markets are somewhat biased in that one side has more information than the other. Such markets are said to be characterized by asymmetric information, and this year's winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics are credited with laying the foundation for a general theory of how these markets behave. [more]


Memory - Dr. Eric Kandel shared last year's Nobel Prize in medicine for figuring out what makes sea slugs remember. He's hoping the same technology can help aging baby boomers fight memory loss. [more]


Editor's choice Capital punishment - A new study suggests that the death penalty deters many more murders than most people thought plausible. A death-penalty opponent analyzes the evidence. [more]


The end of history - "A stream of commentators has been asserting that the tragedy of 11 September proves that I was utterly wrong to have said more than a decade ago that we had reached the end of history", says Francis Fukuyama. [more]


History - The life of the father of classical genetics, Gregor Mendel, is to be celebrated in a unique exhibition in the Czech Republic from May 2002 - May 2003. [more]


Homicide - People who live in large cities are two to three times more likely to be killed by their lovers or spouses than people living in small towns, the government says. [more]


Phobia - A new study suggests that such fear has been shaped by evolution, stretching back to a time when early mammals had to survive and breed in an environment dominated by reptiles, some of which were deadly. [more]


Psychotherapy - A new talking therapy is helping victims of guerrilla violence in northern Uganda conquer their fears and return to their crops. [more]


Genetics - A gene thought to play a role in deep vein thrombosis, miscarriage and premature birth may help women get pregnant more easily. [more]


Archaeology - Scientists say Stone Age make-up in a South African cave may have been used in sex strikes. [more]


Terrorism - A University of Michigan survey taken just after the Sept. 11 attacks and released Tuesday found that the American psyche faltered as a result of the terror. [more] It's the therapy capital of the world. So how have its residents coped with the emotional fallout from the September 11 attacks? Michael Ellison talks to Manhattan's psychoanalysts. [more]


Immunology - Discovery of another mechanism that stops a mother's immune system attacking her unborn child makes it even more unlikely that there will ever be just one central explanation of the phenomenon. [more]


Mental illness - A climate of discrimination still exists against people with a mental health problem, experts have claimed. [more]


Editor's choice Academic publishing - "Some time ago, I was part of a selection-committee meeting regarding a potential hire. When the discussion turned to a particular article by the candidate, a member of the committee asked, "Where was it published?" Nothing wrong with that question - except I had the feeling that the individual had not read the article and possibly had no intention of doing so", says Robert Sternberg. [more]


Comparative psychology - Information about the shape of one's environment gets special treatment in the brain, indicates a new study in rats. [more]


Psychology - We don't know our own strength. New research suggests that we underestimate our abilities to weather emotional storms--undermining our satisfaction in the process. [more]


Sleep - The success of cognitive behavioral therapy has made behavioral sleep medicine a fast-growing field. [more]


Genetics - A new technique should aid the hunt for genes in the human genome sequence. The method, which tracks only switched-on genes in cells, will help researchers to distinguish between diseased and normal tissues, and could point the way to new treatments. [more]


Robotics - The days of having a robot greet you with a friendly smile and interact with you in a natural way may not be far off. [more]


Publishing - Are mass resignations a viable way of promoting access to the scholarly literature? [more


Brain fingerprinting - Since the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, Dr. Lawrence A. Farwell has been arguing that terrorist operations can be investigated through careful monitoring of the brain waves emitted by suspects during interrogation. [more]


Editor's choice Primatology - Amy Vedder and her partner founded the Mountain Gorilla Project, a pioneering effort in the ecotourism movement, in 1979. ENN's Stacey Fowler presents a three-part conversation with Dr. Vedder. [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3]


Psychology - For years, humans have been tortured by Stuck Tune Syndrome, in which a seemingly innocuous piece of music lodges in the brain and won't leave. So far, no reliable cure exists, but a University of Cincinnati professor hopes to change that. [more]


Suicide - Suicide is the culmination of a chain of events, and the feelings caused by those events can be treated effectively using a technique known as cognitive therapy, a Baylor University psychology professor says. [more]


"Survivor guilt" - Now safely at home recovering, the 27-year-old securities broker Manu Dhingra is struggling with an emotion shared by perhaps thousands of others: survivor guilt. [more]


Genomics - After the success of the genome, scientists have got carried away with the study of 'omics. They all want 'omes of their own, explains Oliver Morton. [more]


Depression - Scientists believe that being depressed makes you more likely to suffer heart disease - and a new project is trying to find out why. [more]


Editor's choice Anorexia - Dutch researchers studied the DNA of 145 anorexia patients. They found that 11% of the patients shared the same genetic mutation. [more]


Depression - Results by Northwestern University researchers suggest the WKY rat could be used to investigate the genetic basis of human depression. [more]


Editor's choice Neurotransmission - Neuronal responses are an all-or-nothing affair, or so traditional dogma holds. But a growing body of opinion sees neurotransmission as more analog than digital, with synaptic vesicles controlling the amount of neurotransmitter they discharge across synapses. [more]


Editor's choice Depression - The most common drugs used today to treat depression focus their attention on the brain chemicals, serotonin and norepinephrine. Increasing evidence, however, now indicates that another player in the brain, corticotropin-releasing factor, should share the spotlight. [more]


Homelessness - Homeless people with mental illness manage better if they live in cities and towns with high levels of social capital or community activism, Yale researchers report in the August issue of Health Services Research. [more]


Gambling - Male gamblers are more likely than female gamblers to report addictive behavior related to strategic or "face-to-face" forms of gambling such as blackjack or poker, Yale researchers report in a new study published in the September issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry. [more]


Neuroelectronics - Electronic devices to probe the brain's reaction to fear, compensate for damaged nerves and possibly halt the degenerative effects of Parkinson's disease — part of a new interdisciplinary field known as Neuroelectronics — will be among the innovations presented at the UCLA Electrical Engineering Department's Annual Research Review. [more]


Evolution - The evolution of adaptive phenotypic plasticity has led to the success of organisms in novel habitats, and potentially contributes to genetic differentiation and speciation. [more]


Psychiatry - Most patients with symptoms that they attribute to environmental pollutants actually have psychological problems, according to a recently released German study. [more]


Editor's choice Cognitive science - The language most bilingual people use to mentally solve math problems isn't necessarily their native language or even the language that is most prevalent in their environment. Psychological research shows it's the language in which they were first taught math - a finding with educational implications, especially for areas with high concentrations of bilingual persons. [more] and [more]


Development - Neonatal glucocorticoids and the developing brain: short-term treatment with life-long consequences? [more]


Sleep disorders - Researchers implicate Orexin in narcolepsy and possibly in other sleep disorders. [more]


Human genome - Consolidation of transcript and protein databases suggests humans may have more than 70,000 genes. [more]


Antidepressants - The findings of a recent study published in the December 2001 issue of the  journal Synapse indicate that a novel drug structure represents a potential   breakthrough in the development  of  a  new class  of antidepressants. [more]


Editor's choice Primatology - More non-human animals may be capable of abstract thought than previously known, with profound implications for the evolution of human intelligence and the stuff that separates homo sapiens from other animals. A trans-Atlantic team of psychologists has found evidence of abstract thought in baboons, significant because baboons are "old world monkeys," part of a different primate "super family" that -- some 30 million years ago -- split from the family that gave rise to apes and then humans. [more]


Neuroscience - Alexander C. Huk and colleagues have explored the neural basis of a visual illusion known as the "motion aftereffect". [more] and [more]


Editor's choice Evolutionary psychology - A part of the human brain that processes rewards and pleasure, races with activity when eye contact is made with a good-looking person, according to research, which demonstrates how visual signals can enhance the appeal of an attractive face. Nature, The Times, BBC News Online, New Scientist, The Telegraph, The Guardian.


ADHD - Rats with a deficit in selective attention accompanied by impulsivity can be identified using a five-choice serial reaction time task (5-CSRT) and have been proposed to represent a rodent model of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). [more]


Editor's choice Cognitive neuroscience - Despite a need for rule learning in everyday life, the brain regions involved in explicit rule induction remain undetermined. A new study suggests a role for the anterior prefrontal cortex. [more]


Neurosteroids - The term neurosteroid refers to steroids formed in the brain. It was created in 1981 by Dr. Etienne-Emile Baulieu and colleagues, following the remarkable discovery that the brain appeared to have the capacity to synthesize its own steroids in situ. [more]


Schizophrenia - For almost a century, researchers have suggested that schizophrenia is the result of brain-based abnormalities (Kraepelin, 1919). [more]


Editor's choice Anxiety - Estrogens are powerful modulators of neuronal physiology and in humans may affect a broad range of functions, including reproductive, emotional, and cognitive behaviors. [more]


Death - 'Human Awareness of Mortality and the Evolution of Culture' by Sheldon Solomon, Jeff Greenberg, ,Jeff Schimel, Jamie Arndt, and Tom Pyszczynski. [more]


Learning - Experience-dependent plasticity of sensory representations in the cerebral cortex may underlie the learning of associations between objects. [more]


Editor's choice Sexual reproduction - Sex is thought to facilitate accumulation of initially rare beneficial mutations by allowing simultaneous allele replacements at many loci. However, this advantage of sex depends on a restrictive assumption that the fitness of a genotype is determined by fitness potential, a single intermediate variable to which all loci contribute additively, so that new alleles can accumulate in any order. [more]


Aggression - In one of the first studies ever to compare existing school-based aggression prevention programs across the nation, researchers from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found that targeting programs to kindergarten and young elementary school students, focusing on aggression in girls as well as boys, and conducting programs in naturalistic settings like playgrounds are key factors in the success of aggression prevention in schools. [more]


Machiavellian tactics - Groucho Marx said he wouldn't want to join any club that saw fit to elect him. A new study suggests he might have been in more danger of being elected by a club that didn't want him. [more]


Neurology - Celebrated neurologist Oliver Sacks combines his loves of chemistry and neurology in his latest article, which explores the mind of 18th Century British chemist Henry Cavendish. [more]


Mental illness and HIV - In a study conducted at two hospitals in Australia, serious mental illness was diagnosed in 17% of HIV-infected patients, compared with 2.3% of the general population. [more]


Evolutionary psychology - A new study offers insight to why many are having trouble with concentration and normalcy after terrorist attack. Research finds that during heightened anxiety, people have difficulty turning their attention away from threatening stimuli. [more] and [more]


Autism - More than one area of the brain is responsible for autistic behavior in children with tuberous sclerosis and brain lesions, according to an article published in the October 9 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology. [more] and [more]


Speech - Dr Johanneke Caspers, an NWO-funded linguistics researcher, has observed how speakers of Dutch use speech melody to indicate that they wish to continue speaking during a conversation. Melodic cues prove especially important when the sentence structure suggests that they have in fact finished speaking. [more]


Editor's choice Gender roles - Contrary to longstanding theories of gender and psychology, women and men can benefit by taking on more than one traditional social role, such as worker or parent, report two researchers in the October issue of American Psychologist. [more]


Panic - Depression doesn't solely explain the relationship between panic disorder and suicide, new research suggests. [more]


Human migration - Human migration is closely linked to economic, environmental, demographic and political factors and is a conspicuous feature of the world political and demographic scene, with an estimated 22 million migrants in the past year. [more]

Philosophy - Anthony Gottlieb reviews A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues: The Uses of Philosophy in Everyday Life by André Comte-Sponville. Translated by Catherine Temerson. [more]

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Evolutionary psychology - James Sage reviews Evolution and the Human Mind: Modularity, Language, and Meta-Cognition edited by Peter Carruthers and Andrew Chamberlain. [more]

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Mind - John Lee reviews The Oxford Guide to the Mind edited by Geoffrey Underwood. [more]

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Borderline Personality Disorder - Danny Sullivan reviews Borderline Personality Disorder: A Clinical Guide by John G. Gunderson. [more]

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Psychiatry - Michael Rutter reviews Brave New Brain Conquering Mental Illness in the Era of the Genome by Nancy C. Andreasen. [more]

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Neuroscience - Andrew Bailey reviews I of the Vortex  From Neurons to Self by Rodolfo R. Llinás. [more]

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Editor's choice Evolution - Frans de Waal examines the new PBS series on evolution. [more]


Evolutionary psychology - Keith S. Harris reviews The Debated Mind: Evolutionary Psychology Versus Ethnography edited by Harvey Whitehouse. [more]
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Emergence - Roz Kaveney Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software by Steven Johnson. [more]

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Neuroscience - Nicholas Shea reviews States of Mind: New Discoveries About How Our Brains Make Us Who We Are edited  by Roberta Conlan. [more]

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Evolution - Anna Mundow reviews Trials of the Monkey: An Accidental Memoir by Matthew Chapman. [more]

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Emotion - Havi Cavel reviews Emotion: The Science of Sentiment by Dylan Evans. [more]

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Consciousness - Marcel Scheele reviews Individual Differences in Conscious Experience: Advances in Consciousness Research, Volume 20 edited by Robert G. Kunzendorf and Benjamin Wallace. [more]
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Emergence - Anjana Ahuja reviews Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software by Steven Johnson. [more]
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