News in Brain and Behavioural Sciences
The weekly edition of The Human Nature Daily Review
Volume 2: Issue 40 - 5th January, 2002.
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Editor's choice Terrorism - "In a profound sense, everything of terrorism is about psychology.  Beyond their mind games is the way we cope with their threat.  When national leaders repeatedly issue alarms for hyper-vigilance, they ignore all the psychological research about the negative effects of non- specific warnings without any action focus - only making us more paranoid and less mindfully alert," writes Philip G. Zimbardo. [more]


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Profile - Simmons professor Sophie Freud, granddaughter of Sigmund, has her own theories, and they don't involve psychoanalysis. [more]


Neurology - People can function with bits of their brains removed, but not completely. Michael feels an overwhelming flood of empathy. Stuart feels nothing. [more]


Editor's choice Science - Francis Fukuyama explains how science should be regulated. [more]


Editor's choice Homosexuality - Gay adults are just as pleased with their overall quality of life as their straight counterparts, a team of researchers reports. [more]


Language - Baby talk sounds silly, but it makes sense to babies. The reason? It's easier to understand than normal English-at least to the ears of a new speech-recognition software system. [more]


Adolescence - You thought it was over at 18. Not so fast. For those who study adolescence as a stage of life, treat it as a disease, sell to it as a market, entertain it with songs and shows that make it seem the greatest time of life, it is growing and growing, providing ever new opportunities for grants, fees, jobs and changing how we think about kids. [more]



Creationism - Design Yes, Intelligent No. A Critique of Intelligent Design Theory and Neocreationism. [more]


Psychology - Yale University professor Robert J. Sternberg, PhD, has been elected APA's 2003 president. He'll begin his term next January. [more]


Cognitive science - Robert M. Shiffrin receives the $100,000 Rumelhart Award for creating math-based models of cognitive processes. [more]


ADHD - The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released guidelines for primary-care physicians on the treatment of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). [more]


AAAS - Alan Leshner is new CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The former NIDA director plans to increase the visibility of science through public education. [more]


Social behaviour - Social cognitive neuroscience merges three distinct disciplines in hopes of deciphering the process behind social behavior. [more]


Social policy - Children must choose their own beliefs. In an open letter to Estelle Morris, Richard Dawkins calls on the Government to think again about funding yet more divisive faith schools. [more]


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Editor's choice Profile - Halfway through the last century, information became a thing. It became a commodity, a force -- a quantity to be measured and analyzed. It's what our world runs on. Information is the gold and the fuel. We measure it in bits. That's largely because of Claude Shannon. [more]


Editor's choice Science and culture - "The founder of Japanese primatology, Kinji Imanishi, saw nature as inherently harmonious. Species fit together in an ecological whole, adjusting to each other, each finding its own niche. This rather un-Darwinian view so upset a British palaeontologist, the late Beverly Halstead, that he felt Imanishi needed to be set straight," writes Frans de Waal. [more]


Fatherhood - Australian researchers say fatherhood harms men's sex life more than they expect and makes them fat. A study of first-time fathers shows men have less sex than they expect after their baby is born. [more]


Health - Running may give the brain a workout, too. A new study finds that individuals consistently scored higher on intellectual tests after embarking on a running program. [more]


Science - politics - Co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, James Watson, has received an honorary knighthood. [more]


Editor's choice Human genome - Today we can read human and ape genetic legacies. In 50 years, we could resurrect the past, says Richard Dawkins. [more]


Lesbianism - Children raised by lesbian couples have no more problems than other children, according to research in Norway. Earlier studies showed half the Norwegian population believed being raised by single-sex couples would harm a child. [more]


Cannabinoids - Cannabis research "has become a very active field," says pharmacology expert Leslie L. Iversen, who has written a book on the subject. [more]


Human genome - With the Human Genome Project — the effort to work out the sequence of the three billion chemical letters that embody human heredity — nearly complete, biologists are facing a daunting transition. They must move from their traditional pursuit of understanding one gene at a time to the challenge of figuring out how tens of thousands of genes work in concert in the human cell. [more]


Editor's choice Archaeology - Archaeologists have found evidence of the presence of Celts in an unlikely place - Central Turkey. [more]


Depression - At McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., brain researchers have hit upon what could become a new way to treat depression--blocking a brain chemical called dynorphin, the "evil cousin" of endorphin, which triggers the "runner's high." [more]


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Bioethics - In the experimental field of gene therapy, scientists have worked carefully to avoid the momentous step of making a genetic alteration that could be passed along to future generations. But now it appears that one experiment may inadvertently have come close to breaking that barrier. [more]


Science - A passion for science has to start somewhere. As the scientists here tell us, it can begin with a simple gift. Perhaps the gift is someone else's time or a shared sense of wonder at nature. [more]


Body clock - A team of researchers believes it has found another component in the complex system that makes us sleep at night - and wake in the morning. They are hopeful that their finding may one day contribute to improved treatments for people with sleep disorders. [more]

Psychopharmacology - Treatment of schizophrenic patients with risperidone is associated with greater reductions in the severity of psychotic symptoms and side effects, and a lower risk of relapse, compared with treatment with haloperidol. Reuters, BBC News Online.


Mental illness - Each year, as many as 8 million Americans with serious mental illness fail to receive adequate treatment, a team of Harvard researchers reports. [more]


Child sexual abuse - A ``cycle'' of child sexual abuse seems to exist for only a minority of male victims, but not at all for female victims, British researchers report. [more]


Psychoneuroimmunology - For older men, feelings of depression may weaken the immune system, new research suggests. And anger seems to have a similar effect in both men and women caring for a spouse with Alzheimer's disease. [more]


Memory - An investigation of the activity of individual human nerve cells during the act of memory indicates that the brain’s nerve cells are even more specialized than many people think. [more]


Editor's choice Education, income inequality, and mortality - Lack of high school education is a powerful predictor of death in the United States, concludes a study in this week's British Medical Journal.


Editor's choice Genetics - Scientists say they've found the gene which controls cleanliness. Tests on mice show the Hoxb8 gene can lead to compulsive cleaning and even self-mutilation. Researchers say a mutation of the gene could explain why some people become obsessive about washing. Ananova, BioMedNet, Press Release. DISCUSSION: Andrew Brown, William M. Brown, Irwin Silverman, William M. Brown, Irwin Silverman, William M. Brown, Andrew Brown, Andrew Brown, William M. Brown, Andrew Brown, Andrew Brown, Terry Deacon.


Editor's choice Genetics - Harmful mutations appear in the human genome at a much faster rate than earlier estimates suggest, an evolutionary biologist will tell population geneticists tomorrow. But they are also being eliminated more quickly than once thought, according to Adam Eyre-Walker, evolutionary biologist in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Sussex. [more]


Evolution - Why do females typically mate with more than one male? Female mating patterns have broad implications for sexual selection, speciation and conflicts of interest between the sexes, and yet they are poorly understood. [more]


Schizophrenia - A second-generation antipsychotic drug lowers the risk of relapse in patients with schizophrenia by nearly half, according to a team of researchers, led by psychiatrists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Results of the two-year, multicenter study are reported in the Jan. 3, 2002 New England Journal of Medicine. Eurekalert.


Deception - The airports of the future could identify potential terrorists by using a lie detector that spots concealed blushing with a super-sensitive thermal imaging camera. BBC News Online, Nature Science Update, Nature.


Editor's choice Language - neuroscience - The first demonstration of a 'sensitive' or 'critical' period for language in an Right Hemisphere structure. This has implications for language acquisition and for understanding age-related changes in neuroplasticity more generally. Eurekalert, Nature Neuroscience.


Brain and cognition - Neurophysiological and behavioral evidence suggests that the prefrontal cortex (PFC) may be sexually differentiated in nonhuman primates. The present study examined whether there are sex differences in working memory in humans that might reflect sexual differentiation of human PFC. [more]


Editor's choice Genetics - Independent scientific research groups from Pfizer and Harvard Medical School have discovered a critical gene responsible for fat cell development. [more]


Psychopharmacology - Generalized anxiety disorder in children and adolescents can be treated safely and effectively with the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor sertraline, according to a report in the December issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry. [more]


Editor's choice Placebo effect - New findings suggest that "effective" placebo treatment induces changes in brain function that are distinct from those associated with antidepressant medication. If these results are confirmed, cordance may be useful for differentiating between medication and placebo responders. American Journal of Psychiatry, Eurekalert, Images, BBC News Online.


Bipolar disorder and panic disorder - Comorbid panic disorder identifies a genetic subtype of bipolar disorder and suggest a role for COMT and 5-HTT in vulnerability to these disorders. [more] The patterns of bipolar disorder and panic disorder comorbidity observed in families imply a complex genetic etiology, which may be elucidated by using endophenotypes. [more]


Editor's choice Communication - Humans chat and mice squeak - but both follow some of the same basic rules of sound recognition to communicate, scientists say. Ananova, Nature Science Update, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Editor's choice Genetics - Polymorphisms in the dopamine receptor genes DRD1 and DRD3 are associated with delusional or aggressive behaviour among patients with Alzheimer's disease, UK researchers report. [more]


Editor's choice Development - Coxsackie virus of the placenta is associated with respiratory failure and central nervous system abnormalities in newborns, researchers report in the December issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology. [more]


Eating disorders - Eating conflicts, struggles with food, and unpleasant meals in early childhood are linked to the development of eating disorders in adulthood, according to a report published in the December issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. [more]


Stress - Patients with type 2 diabetes who incorporate stress management techniques into their routine care can significantly reduce their average blood glucose levels, according to a new study by researchers at Duke University Medical Center. [more]


Editor's choice Addiction - Scientists believe they are closer to understanding why alcohol and drugs exert an addictive effect on the brain. A study of rats suggests that part of the brain linked to addiction produces a strong supply of morphine-like substances called endorphins in response to alcohol, cocaine or amphetamine. BBC News Online, Eurekalert.


Editor's choice Suicide - Childhood abuse, household dysfunction, and the risk of attempted suicide throughout the life span: findings from the adverse childhood experiences study. Journal of the American Medical Association.


Editor's choice Neuroscience - Language - Brodmann's area 44 delineates part of Broca's area within the inferior frontal gyrus of the human brain and is a critical region for speech production, being larger in the left hemisphere than in the right — an asymmetry that has been correlated with language dominance. Here we show that there is a similar asymmetry in this area, also with left-hemisphere dominance, in three great ape species (Pan troglodytes, Pan paniscus and Gorilla gorilla). [more - pdf]


Anthropology - This article revisits the old controversy concerning the relation of the mother's brother and sister's son in patrilineal societies in the light both of anthropological criticisms of the very notion of kinship and of evolutionary and epidemiological approaches to culture. [more]


Evolutionary psychology - Evolutionary psychology claims biological inclinations for certain behaviors (e.g., a desire for more frequent sex and more sexual partners by males as compared to females), and the origin of these inclinations in natural selection. [more]

Evolutionary psychology - Daniel Nettle reviews Dawkins vs. Gould: Survival of the Fittest by Kim Sterelny. [more]

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Free will - Adina L. Roskies reviews Neurophilosophy of Free Will by Henrik Walter
 [more]

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Human behaviour - Gordon Fisher reviews Are We Hardwired? The Role of Genes in Human Behavior by William R. Clark and Michael Grunstein. [more]

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Evolutionary developmental psychology - Herbert Gintis reviews The Origins of Human Nature: Evolutionary Developmental Psychology by David F. Bjorklund and Anthony D. Pellegrini. [more]
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Optimism - Nikolaos A. N. Gkogkas reviews The Science of Optimism and Hope: Research Essays in Honor of Martin E. P. Seligman by Jane E. Gillham. [more]

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Politics - Sunil Khilnani reviews The Reckless Mind: Intellectuals in Politics by Mark Lilla. [more] [first chapter]

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Reasoning - D. S. Clarke reviews Varieties of Practical Reasoning edited by Elijah Millgram. [more]

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New York Times Reading Group - For the month of January, readers will discuss "The Language Instinct" by Steven Pinker. The author will respond to readers' questions at the end of the month. [more]


Trauma studies - Marilyn Nissim-Sabat reviews The Limits of Autobiography: Trauma and Testimony by Leigh Gilmore. [more]

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Evolutionary road - Edward J. Larson reviews Alfred Russel Wallace by Peter Raby and The Alfred Russel Wallace Reader edited by Jane R. Field. [more]

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Racism - Alan H. Goodman reviews The Emperor's New Clothes: Biological Theories of Race at the Millennium by Joseph L. Graves, Jr. [more]

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Mental illness - Every Family in the Land is the online expanded publication of the Royal Society of Medicine's Psychiatry Section lecture programme on stigmatization of people with mental illness. This progamme supports the Royal College of Psychiatrists' 'Changing Minds: Every family in the land' campaign and is endorsed by the College. [more] DISCUSSION: Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair


Editor's choice Creationism - Creationists began attacking the PBS series 'Evolution' even before it began to air. A steady stream of misinformation and bad science came from such organizations as Answers in Genesis, the Discovery Institute, and the Institute for Creation Research. The National Center for Science Education responded to many of the claims made by these groups, often consulting with leading scientists in various fields. We have compiled the complete set of press releases, articles, and other information into one easy-to-use resource. We urge teachers, students, parents, and concerned individuals to help us set the record straight. [more - pdf]



Philosophy - Jim Holt reviews Wittgenstein's Poker: The Story of a 10-Minute Argument Between Two Great Philosophers by David Edmonds and John Eidinow. [more] [first chapter]

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Film - Charles Taylor on A Beautiful Mind. [more] A different perspective from Chris Suellentrop. [more]


The body - Tim Radford reviews The Oxford Companion to the Body edited by Colin Blakemore and Sheila Jennett. [more]

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