News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences
The weekly edition of The Human Nature Daily Review
Volume 1: Issue 32 - 3rd November, 2001
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Palaeoanthropology - A leading expert says an important fossil find in Thailand may not be as old as first reported, but is still significant. [more]


Stigma - A number of studies have suggested homosexual and bisexual men and women face a higher risk of depression and other psychological conditions. Now new research supports the theory that social stigma and discrimination are at least partly to blame. [more]


Terrorism and stress - Offices whose workers are ravaged by a series of autumn coughs and sneezes may be hotbeds of chronic stress, warn scientists. [more]


Editor's choice Psychiatry - All the latest news from the American Psychiatric Association. Psychiatric News, Vol. 36, No. 21, 2 November, 2001. [more]


Science writing - Advice from Jill Kester Locantore, APS-AAAS media fellow. [more]


"Speaking figuratively" - "How do metaphors work? That is, how do we get to the non-literal meaning of this kind of language?," asks Sam Glucksberg. [more]


Editor's choice "Helping a national heal" - A special issue of the American Psychological Association's Monitor on Psychology. [more]


Verbal memory - Researchers have uncovered a strong link between low bone mineral density (BMD) and verbal memory impairment in a cross-sectional study of 4304 elderly subjects. [more]


"Concorde fallacy" - In 1976 Richard Dawkins, the Oxford University zoologist already noted for minting the term "selfish gene", dreamt up another catchy phrase, the "Concorde fallacy", to describe behaviour in which creatures persist with an activity into which they have invested a lot of time and energy. [more]


Editor's choice Schizophrenia - Although genetics are known to play a part in the development of mental illness, a new British study reveals that environment may also have a significant role. When researchers compared adults who had just been diagnosed with schizophrenia, they found that a significant number of them had been raised in poverty. WebMD, British Journal of Psychiatry.


Archaeology - The family of a renowned archaeologist who committed suicide after a magazine alleged he fabricated excavation results filed a damages suit Thursday, seeking 55 million from the magazine's publisher and chief editor. [more]


Immunology - If immunologists want to unravel the mystery of how human specific immunity evolved, they are going to have to radically reform their experimental methods, says a leading American immunologist. [more]


Genetics - The discovery of susceptibility genes for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia is thought to be one of the most intractable current problems in human genetics. [more]


Science and religion - Experts in science and spirituality got together at Clemson University Tuesday to discuss their disciplines, how they interact and how people view them. [more]


Sexual assault - According to Professors Mary Heppner and Puncky Heppner, many people in Taiwan still believe that rapes rarely happen, and when they do, they believe that the perpetrator is some sort of insane criminal, unknown to the victim. [more]


Crowd control - Tests of a controversial weapon that is designed to heat people's skin with a microwave beam have shown that it can disperse crowds. But critics are not convinced the system is safe. [more]


Editor's choice Psychiatry - Steven Hyman intends to resign as Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) after nearly six years in the job.  In mid-December, Dr. Hyman will assume the position of provost at Harvard University - the second highest academic position at the university. [more]


Traumatic stress - Proponents of a controversial and increasingly popular treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, are offering free therapy sessions to the latest group of traumatized Americans. [more]


Depression - Should treatments for depression take greater account of a patient's cultural background? To what extent should a patient's view on his or her ailments influence treatments given by doctors? [more]


Archaeology - Unidentified human hair dating back to the last Ice Age ten to twelve thousand years ago was discovered in 1999 at an archaeological dig in Woodburn, Oregon between Salem and Portland. [more]


Borderline personality disorder - Borderline personality disorder is a distressing condition, and notoriously difficult to treat. A new treatment, cognitive behaviour therapy, may offer a lifeline. [more]


"Crypto-zoology" - A group of British explorers claim to have found irrefutable proof of a "Yeti-like" creature on an Indonesian island. [more]


Bipolar disorder - A psychiatrist who operates an independent  mental health clinic in Beaver County, Dr. Vogel-Scibilia has suffered from bipolar disorder since she was 15 years old. Bipolar disorder is characterized by periods of intense highs and depressing lows. [more]


Language - On a warm recent afternoon, the conservative author and social critic Dr. John H. McWhorter, 36, was sitting in a New York sushi parlor, discussing his other profession: linguistics professor at the University of California at Berkeley with an expertise in language change and evolution. [more]


Artificial intelligence - Who will be in charge of whom? How will we decide whether decisions taken by machines are morally good or bad? These are questions Steven Spielberg raises, but does not really come to grips with in AI: Artificial Intelligence. [more]


Cognitive ecology - Bees may downsize the protein's role in their brains to enhance their cognitive abilities when faced with the increased challenges of navigating the outside world. [more]


Face recognition - The hot new tool on the market to ward off future terrorist attacks is a technology nurtured from its very beginnings by the Office of Naval Research, with later additional funding from other government agencies. [more]


Editor's choice Evolution - Ernst Mayr on "What evolution is". [video] [more]


Darwinian medicine - In an evolving world of medicine, Charles Darwin's principle of natural selection may be worth a closer look. [more]


Neurotheology - "Neurotheology is the belief that religion is all in the mind," says Anjana Ahuja. [more]


Obituary - Dr. George F. Solomon, one of the first scientists to see a link between emotions and immunity and a pioneer in the field now known as psychoneuroimmunology, died on Oct. 7 in Los Angeles, where he lived. He was 69. [more]


Cloning - Scientists are reported to have created the first embryonic clones of an adult primate. Ananova, The Sunday Times.


Domestic violence - Women in their high-school years to their mid-20s are nearly three times as vulnerable to attack by a husband, boyfriend or former partner as older women. [more]


Philosophy - Human reason has this peculiar fate that in one species of its knowledge it is burdened by questions which, as prescribed by the very nature of reason itself, it is not able to ignore, but which, as transcending all its powers, it is also not able to answer. [more]


Obituary - Marvin Harris, an anthropologist who spent his career adding fuel to the fires of academic controversy, as when he theorized that the cannibalism of the Aztecs was motivated by protein deprivation, died on Thursday in Gainesville, Fla., where he lived. He was 74.[more]


Editor's choice Gender - Being born of uncertain gender is the last sexual taboo. But why is the truth about 'intersex' so often kept from the patients themselves? Christine Toomey reports. [more]

Reading disability - The risk factors for reading disability appear to differ between boys and girls, suggesting that the biology underlying such problems is not equal between the sexes, researchers report. [more]


Pet therapy - It might be the prescription of the future: Take two aspirin and get a pet immediately. [more]


Editor's choice Intelligence - What is intelligence? This may seem to be more of a question for psychologists than physicists. But two physics researchers argue that intelligence is not an abstract concept, but must be considered as a physical phenomenon. [more]


Infant crying - Adults' responses to crying are influenced both by acoustic gradations in the cry itself and by the caregiving context. [more]


Behaviour genetics - Genes are understandably crucial to physiology, morphology and biochemistry, but the idea of genes contributing to individual differences in behaviour once seemed outrageous. Nevertheless, some scientists have aspired to understand the relationship between genes and behaviour. Nature Reviews Genetics.


Editor's choice Cognitive neuroscience - The seat of temperance has been located by experiments on men watching X-rated films, revealing a region in the front of the brain that can control our most primitive sexual urges. The Telegraph, Journal of Neuroscience.


Archaeology - According to the "farming-language dispersal hypothesis," throngs of farmers, armed with seeds, genes, and language, swept across the land beginning 100 centuries ago, pushing aside indigenous hunter-gatherers. [more]


Neurocreationism - In developing mammals, how does the cerebral cortex become compartmentalized into different regions responsible for functions as diverse as motor control and sensory perception? [more] and [more]


Editor's choice Gesture - The resilience of gesture in talk: gesture in blind speakers and listeners. [more] Explaining math: gesturing lightens the load. [more]


Rationality - A suitable project for the new Millennium is to radically reconfigure our image of human rationality. [more]


Noetic therapies - Noetic interventions (those that do not involve a drug, device, or surgery) improve outcomes in patients with unstable coronary syndromes, researchers report in the November issue of the American Heart Journal. [more]


Body Dysmorphic Disorder - A a severe form of body image disturbance - affects as many men as women, yet it remains underrecognised and underdiagnosed, according to an editorial in this week’s British Medical Journal. Eurekalert, British Medical Journal.


Editor's choice Men's health - A leading expert on men's health predicts that his sex risk becoming extinct unless their basic approach to health issues changes. BBC News Online, Eurekalert, British Medical Journal.


Editor's choice Dreaming - When you're asleep, your mind uses dream time to process information for use when you're awake. Or not. BioMedNet, AP, Eurekalert, Science - Siegel, Science - Stickgold et. al., Science - Maquet, Science - Stern, Nando Times. DISCUSSION: Stan Franklin, University of Memphis.


Editor's choice Face recognition - Although young children can process featural and configural face information, their memories are highly susceptible to disruption from superfluous paraphernalia. [more]


Language - An expectation linking count nouns to object categories emerges early in acquisition and supports the emergence of other word-to-world mappings. [more] DISCUSSION: Larry Trask, University of Sussex. Tony Dickinson, Washington University School of Medicine.


Editor's choice Harassment - A new analysis of 62 studies that looked at how men and women define sexual harassment finds little difference in what both genders believe constitutes the more serious types of harassment, but did find gender-based disagreement about the more subtle forms of harassing behavior. [more]


Neurology - According to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, the brain has an increased vulnerability to severe, perhaps permanent, injury for at least 24 hours following a concussion. [more]


Neuroscience - "Potassium channels underlie all our movements and thoughts," says Rod MacKinnon of Rockefeller University in New York. [more]


Predictability - The future cannot be predicted, no more how powerful one's computer, and this applies essentially independently of the laws of physics. The general result can also be used to define a novel formulation of computation that is independent of the Chomsky hierarchy. [more]


Stress - Engaging in stressful tasks like trying to meet a deadline may strengthen the immune system while exposure to stress that must be endured passively - like watching violence on TV - may weaken it, a researcher at the Ohio State University says. [more]



ADHD - Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder may be less likely to develop a substance abuse disorder if they receive treatment with a stimulant such as methylphenidate, new study results suggest. [more]


"Parkinson's personality" - The quiet, inflexible, introverted personality long thought to be a dopamine-modulated feature of Parkinson's disease does not appear to be dopamine-dependent. [more]


Depression - Certain sleep patterns and elevated cortisol levels may indicate that an adolescent is at risk for depression or its recurrence. [more]


PTSD in mental illness - Exposure to trauma, particularly violent victimization, is endemic among clients with severe mental illness. [more] and [more] DISCUSSION: L. Eugene Arnold, Ohio State University.


Race - Race should not influence drug prescriptions, warn geneticists. Genetic differences between individuals give a better indication of who will respond well to a medicine, a new study shows. Nature Science Update, Nature Genetics.


Depression - Even though a variety of treatments are available for depression, many patients experience an incomplete response, resulting in chronic functional impairment. [more]


Editor's choice Memory - The consolidation of human memory over decades revealed by functional magnetic resonance imaging. [more]


Self-esteem - The functional domain-specificity of self-esteem and the differential prediction of aggression. [more - pdf] [more]


Consciousness - Bruce Mangan, Sensation's ghost: The non-sensory "fringe" of consciousness". [more]

Editor's choice Anthropology - Les Sponsel reflects on the Darkness in El Dorado affair. [more]


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Editor's choice National Center for Science Education - NCSE has now established an email news service to alert interested parties about the latest developments in the creation/evolution controversy. [more]


Editor's choice Social sciences - Significant changes have been taking place at the world's largest computerized social science data archive, the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR). [more] and [more]


Finger length - Could the length of your fingers predict a predisposition to breast cancer? Or musical genius? Or homosexuality? [more]
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Employment - The University of Texas at Austin, Department of Psychology, is entering an exciting period of new growth.  We are moving into a new Psychology Building with state-of-the-art research facilities.  The Department will augment its programs in Behavioral Neuroscience, Clinical, Cognition and Perception, Developmental, Evolutionary Psychology and Individual Differences, Sensory Neuroscience, and Social and Personality with several Assistant Professor positions, effective Fall 2002. [more]


Sex - "To our enemies, the West's public obsession with sex proves our decadence. But history shows that it is a sign of civilisation - and worth defending," says Stephen Bayley. [more]
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Seasonal Affective Disorder - Richard Morriss reviews Seasonal Affective Disorder: Practice and Research edited by T Partonen and A Magnusson. [more]
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Heredity - The Max-Planck-Institute for the History of Science Berlin is inviting scholars from a wide variety of disciplines, including historians of science, art and literature, medicine, law, and economics, to submit paper proposals for its forthcoming workshop "Cultural History of Heredity II: Eighteenth to Nineteenth Centuries". [more]


Editor's choice Journals - Sage offers free access to all of its electronic journals during November and December. [more]


Homicide - Suzy Hansen reviews Base Instincts: What Makes Killers Kill? by Jonathan H. Pincus. [more]

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War - Why The West Has Won: Carnage and Culture from Salamis to Vietnam by Victor Davis Hanson. [more]

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Primatology - The Chimpanzees I Love: Saving Their World and Ours by Jane Goodall. [more]


Sociobiology - Steven Rose reviews The Triumph of Sociobiology by John Alcock. [more]

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Science - Dan Ferber reviews It Ain't Necessarily So: How Media Make and Unmake the Scientific Picture of Reality by David Murray, Joel Schwartz, and S. Robert Lichter. [more]

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Emergence - John Cornwell reviews Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software by Steven Johnson. [more]

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Editor's choice Rationality - Herbert Gintis reviews Bounded Rationality edited by Gerd Gigerenzer and R. Selten. [more]

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The Human Nature Daily Review/News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences will now consider for publication original articles and book reviews on any subject covered by this newsletter. To submit a manuscript write to The Editor.


Editor's choice Darwinism - John Cartwright reviews Dawkins vs. Gould: Survival of the Fittest by Kim Sterelny. [more] and [more]

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Animal behaviour - Herbert Gintis reviews Animal Traditions: Behavioural Inheritance in Evolution by Eytan Avital and Eva Jablonka. [more]

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